From: Isaac Ogezi To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Monday, 17 June 2013, 16:25 Subject: Re: [krazitivity] Re: My Original Sin Against Soyinka: Adewale Maja- Pearce
Maja-Pearce released these emails to show the world the genesis of grouse against him and I believe most strongly that he has done the right thing. Please as intellectuals, let us not allow primordial sentiments like filial relationships to becloud our reasoning. Soyinka is not sacrosanct and cannot lambast a fellow writer without the latter being granted a right of hearing. And these emails speak volumes about Soyinka, the man behind his works
On 18 Jun 2013, at 07:06, Wumi Raji wrote:
I honestly don't see the "volumes" the emails speak about Soyinka. Adewale first wrote to him,asking for his side in a story regarding past incident between him and JP. Soyinka responded to the issue in details, adding however an opinion to the effect that he would rather prefer that the matter be allowed to rest. He then went ahead to raise another issue which is unconnected to the one at hand. This I agree he should not have done. Given the way he has done it makes it clear that Soyinka, in spite of everything, is a naive person after all. Actually, in my view, that is what it is - naivety, rather than, meanness. A naturally mean person would know better than to raise such issue in an email. S/he would not say anything, but would go on being wicked and evil to the person who s/he sees as having hurt him.
Now, let us analyse what this other issue has disclosed about Soyinka, the issue that he has raised out of the blue. The man was in a position of power as a member of the selection panel for a fellowship for which Adewale has applied. In other words, he could either choose to assist or he could choose to stand in the applicant's way. Given the information at his disposal that the candidate has been attacking him, he feels unable to assist. At the same time however, and believing that he might not be able to act without bias when it comes to considering Adewale's application, he elected to opt out of the selection panel. In other words, he also decided NOT to stand in the man's way. What is more, he was honest enough to tell the individual affected what exactly he did. I have personally learned the hard way that human beings are mostly vindictive, and that many, placed in Soyinka's position, would have done worse things. Each of us, indeed, ought to ask ourselves a hard question at this point: what would I have done if I find myself in that kind of situation? Ask, and try to answer it truthfully and honestly.
Finally, I think there is an irony underlying this whole "My Original Sin Against Soyinka" topic. If we are to believe Adewale that Soyinka descended heavily on him and his book because of an "original sin" which he committed against Soyinka, is he himself not suggesting that any such "attack" by him or any other person on a book or an individual must also have issued from an "original sin" which the author of the book in question committed against him? For example, is his negative response to YOU MUST SET FORTH AT DAWN due to an "original sin" committed by Soyinka against him? And so on, and so on... Wumi
In assessing AMP's body of work, Ikhide in his review of A Peculiar Tragedy states, "he is probably best remembered for his long rambling attack-review of Soyinka in 2007 under the smirking title Credulous Grammarian, a scathing “review” of Soyinka’s You Must Set Forth at Dawn that is so full of ridicule, it barely has room for substance." Pure gold. I am tempted to rap, 'will the real Pa Ikhide please stand up' but I am no Slim Shady.
Except for people like Isaac (who are suddenly shocked to discover that Soyinka is 'imperfect') I think most people can see that Soyinka and AMP clearly had a 'relationship', one that can almost be classified as a friendship. If I considered someone a friend and they went ahead to publish such a vicious review in which I was ridiculed, I would probably go looking for ways to pay them back. Soyinka clearly feels comfortable with raising it with AMP in an email because they have rapport. Soyinka makes mention of his intention to take the matter up with AMP in person, based on the curious feedback from several sources. Your word choice, 'naive', implies that Soyinka is the victim here, not AMP. We 'naturally mean' people know 'ourselves'. Soyinka is not one of us.
Then, as you have observed on the JP Clark issue, Soyinka goes into detail and explains exactly how he sees the situation. There is an openness to this explanation.
It is however no surprise that Soyinka does not respond to AMP's last email, where AMP lashes out, pouts and sulks. Who knows if it was the rudeness in that final email that Soyinka was reacting to in the Sahara Reporters interview? The ways of our elders are sometimes mysterious but this is what I was saying about the links in a chain...
On a personal level, my main concern is that AMP is setting a horrible precedence. For this reason alone, this act should be roundly condemned. I for one became suddenly very nervous after reading about AMP's Original Sin on Maxim's Facebook page. When we write emails, especially when writing to friends, we let our guard down. We tell in-jokes, we make snide comments, we lay ourselves bare, we are emotionally honest. The potential for disaster would be huge if emails our emails were to be taken out of context, without fully establishing the intricacies of the relationship between the parties involved. I now live in mortal fear of being Maja-Pearced. It's the sort of betrayal that I can not quite capture with words. Without being overly dramatic, this is the sort of thing that leads people to hack each other to death.
My prayer for you all is this: may you never be Maja-Pearced!
When you find the real Ikhide, DM me, I would love to meet him. Abeg I nor fit shout. I stopped participating in this matter because it had become quite personal and acrimonious. My views about any and everything are well documented everywhere. I read, write, love and play noisily. I was quite unhappy with Professor Soyinka's interview and I said as much - loudly. I was quite unhappy about Adewale Maja-Pearce's book and I said as much - loudly. I did enjoy Ike Oguine's piece here and I said so - loudly. So, I don't know why you seem irritated. It is for you and others to judge me when I pass on to the next pantheon, but know this, my first passion around here is the literature of our people is my first passion. In all of this, you will have to admit that thanks to social media we have never had it this good when it comes to talking about literature. It is a great time to be alive and I am happy to be part of the conversation. I would like to say more but my shoulders are bearing personal elephants and I cannot stop to fight you. Besides, I love you, Lola. Don't worry about it, everything will be alright. And I say to the rest of the ilo, abeg, let's move on.