Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wole Soyinka and Darfur

Wole Soyinka (on Democracy Now) expects the Arab League to clean up Dar Fur:

"The Arab League has a clear responsibility, and I think that if a family member of the Arab world, you know, if a family member errs, then the entire family has a responsibility to say, “You cannot do this in our name. And if you do this, we expel you, we cut you off, we denounce you, and we proscribe you from our community.” I expect that kind of action of deep and profound moral integrity from the Arab world."

Personally I think that expecting the Arab League to stop the genocide in Darfur is like expecting the Ku Klux Klan to take responsibility to stop lynching of African Americans.

The Arab League is an ethnically based organization designed to promote the interests of Arabs as an ethno-linguistic group. Not a race, Arabs are not a race, but they are the largest ethnic group in Africa. The Arab League should be abolished and the African Union should become a federal government designed to defend the rights of all people regardless of their ethnicity or their language.

The problem with Soyinka and his politics is that he can't see things in any political paradigm other than ethnic. That's why he expects the Arab League to take action in Darfur to stop genocide. That's why he doesn't support the African Union. That's why his book about Nigeria blames everything on northerners and why he supports Yoruba, as long as those Yoruba will criticize other ethnic groups in Nigeria and end what he insists is northern domination of Nigeria. He doesn't mention that northerners are the majority of Nigerians, and calling for ending northern domination of Nigeria is about as democratic as calling for ending black domination of South Africa. I won't even go into the fact that northerners are deeply split politically, as are Yoruba, as any ethnic group should be. I don't like ethnic separatism.

Sure, celebrities have as much right to talk about politics as anyone else. However, I have to wonder if it is always a good idea. Soyinka's plays are great, but they don't show much political sophistication.

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