America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life
The perils of activism: Ken Saro-Wiwa
was right!Support The
The last time I visited the Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa in Port Harcourt, two years before he was hanged in the city’s prison, the naked corpse of a man lay on the sidewalk of the Aggrey Road, about a hundred yards from his office. Broiling in the noonday sun, the body was so inflated by the gases of decomposition that it looked as if it might ascend to heaven of its own accord, in a halo of black flies.
Meanwhile, the radio appealed for the “owner” of the corpse, which had so far remained unclaimed for three days, to take it away as it was causing a public nuisance. All things considered, however, life seemed to be proceeding around it normally enough, as if a naked corpse in the street were nothing very remarkable. Which in Nigeria, perhaps, it isn’t.
I mentioned the corpse to Saro-Wiwa, who was only too aware of its presence nearby, and of the unavailing radio appeals to the public spi ...
This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 18 January 2000, on page 4
Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.comhttp://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-perils-of-activism--Ken-Saro-Wiwa-2733
E-mail to friend
On the sharp-tongued music critic of the 1940s
The complicated legacy of the anti-Nazi theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
How England's public school boys won the First World War.
November 04 2014
Friends and Young Friends Event: Election Night Party
November 12 2014
Friends and Young Friends Event: Book Launch Party with Andrew Roberts
The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"