Sunday, March 29, 2009

How Bono got away with saying ' f&^%^ Brilliant ' in public : This is f^%^& brilliant !

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wole Soyinka at Dubai International Poetry Festival

Some sound-bytes from a Q&A that we did :

• On George Bush - I believe as other Nobel Laureates who gathered in Brussells some time back that he should be tried in the international court of Justice, just like the current president of Sudan. He has perpetuated crimes against humanity and as such should be held accountable for them
• On Sudan – I believe that the African countries and Arab countries should have intervened earlier. Many years earlier, and not waited for 2.5 million people to be displaced. What is happening in the country is the mass rape, murder and displacement of millions of helpless people and this cannot be tolerated. I don’t think this is interefernece in the country’s internal politics. It is intervention against what is wrong.
• On Nobel Prize : I haven’t done anything after winning the prize which I didn’t do before winning the prize.
• Can poetry Change the world : I don’t think it is possible for poetry alone to change the world. Politicians are very powerful in today’s world. But I do firmly believe that poetry can bring about a change in perceptions and have a long-term impact on the people’s minds which will start a battle against all evil.
• On competition of languages ( French, Arabic , English for domination ) : We need to agree to have working languages which will make our lives easier. If we have a common medium of exchange purely for practical purposes, that is welcome; while respecting and maintaining the diversity of each language.
• On the role of poetry in the world : I believe that poetry is undergoing a revival of sorts. This is because the world is in a bad situation today. We are going through tough times and I don’t mean only economically. While some people turn to religion during times of trouble, others turn to Poetry and I personally prefer poetry over religion . It offers me solace and I believe this is the reason many others turn to it too.
• On Barack Obama : he is a brilliant young man who has shown in a short time his leadership qualities. I think he ought to be worshipped coming in after George bush.
• On poetry in the Arab world : I am not very familiar with the Arabic language but from what I know., I believe there is a rich tradition of poetry in the Arabic world and the tradition is very rich indeed. There is a distinct differentiation between formal Arabic and colloquial language, which doesn’t exist in other languages.
• On Palestine : I think the solution is an independent Palestinian state, and some world leaders are beginning to realize this as a viable long-term solution.
• On generalizations done about Africa : I am not comfortable about the generalizations that people make about the continent. We must be aware that it is made up of many countries with several traditions and religions and languages. The complexities involved are various and many layered. It is not a homogenous continent much like Europe.
• On Arabic literary heritage : one thing that I find fascinating is the rich literary language in the Arab world. There is a clear demarcation of the literary language and colloquial form.