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Hardcover The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis Book

ISBN: 0195105575

ISBN13: 9780195105575

The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis

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Book Overview

On November 10, 1995, the Nigerian military government under General Sani Abacha executed dissident writer Ken Saro-Wiwa along with eight other activists, and the international community reacted with outrage. From the Geneva based International Commission of Jurists (who called the executions a criminal act of state murder) to governments around the world (including the United States) who recalled their ambassadors, to the Commonwealth of Former British...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Thought Provoking

I read the book with the goal of learning more about Nigeria and its people. Obviously this book is from a very biased source, however, in reading of the horrors in his native land his bias is understandble and only logical. There is a lot of pathos, intense emotions in his description of the crisis in Nigeria. As a scholar/journalist I like to hear all sides of a complex issue so I feel like I've heard one perspective from a first-hand witness after having read this book.As some of the other reviewers have pointed out, unless one is familiar with the key players in Nigerian politics it is difficult to grasp totally what is being discussed. Also, since the book is composed of various presentations given elsewhere it lacks a certain amount of cohesion.With that aside, I feel like I know a little more about the country after having read it. The book isn't long. As I read more I hope to understand more of what is taking place in that country. I want to be part of an informed public that can help do something about the plight of victims of dictators.

Appropriately disturbing and illuminating

Soyinka wastes no words. In this book, based on a series of lectures, he argues that the ruthlessness of the military dictatorships that have ruled Nigeria for the past twenty years have deprived her of her very nationhood. At the very beginning, Soyinka asks the key question: "When is a nation?" He argues that Nigeria may be "a nation on the verge of extinction" - or rather a nation that was serverly stabbed with the annulment of the June 12 presidential elections, and is now slowly bleeding to death. This annulment by Babangida, dictator from 1985 - 1993, is the focal point for Soyinka's rage. Soyinka is a very strong proponent of democracy in Africa - especially in Nigeria, which he still believes could be a leader of the continent - and he views this annulment as a profound betrayal of national trust and of Nigeria's future. However, despite his anger and his bitterness at the injustices that have been Nigeria's fate since independence, Soyinka retains hope and faith in the people of Nigeria. He believes that repression and corruption cannot last forever - democracy and true nationhood, while difficult to attain, have not been forever lost to history.While I found this book excellent, I would not recommend it to someone who was not already somewhat familiar with Nigerian political and cultural history over the last thirty years. Also, it is helpful if the reader is familiar either with Soyinka's work or with somewhat convoluted writing. Soyinka's ideas are well worth reading and stem from remarkable personal experiences, but, from point A to point B - he will not usually choose to draw a straight line. Reflective of Nigerian politics, and Nigeria as a whole, nothing is simple!I hope other readers will learn as much from this book as I have. It has opened my eyes to what the newspaper articles simply leave out and has given me both more to be concerned and more to be hopeful about Nigeria.

Interesting,a must read for anybody interested in Nigeria

This book by Wole Soyinka is reccomended for anybody who is remotely intersted in finding out how a nation that was once on an upward tragectory in the 60's & 70's has wound up being a confused and financially bankrupt nation inspite of being the world's sixth largest oil producer.He introduces the dramatis personnae in a way that is uniquely Soyinkaesque.It is actually a collection of essays that has as it,s main theme the annulment of the June 12 presidential elections,other issues explored include the National question which has come to the fore after the annulment and the collapse of all infrastructure-Education,Health,Agriculture.He also discusses the mistrial and eventual judicial murder of Ken Saro Wiwa.This is butressed by the report of the Queen's counsel who observed the trial.The earler political experience is also visited i.e the 1979- 83period.The book is aptly dedicated to the conscience of the nation the late Dr Tai Solarin.The book is highly reccomended but not for the linguistically challenged.
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