A Nobel laureate who has been called the conscience of Nigeria told a Harvard audience on Wednesday that ruthless Islamist religious fundamentalism is “the enemy of humanity.”“They do not want to reason — they kill,” said playwright and poet Wole Soyinka, urging vigorous international action against Islamist militant groups like Boko Haram, whose campaign of terror in northern Nigeria has included the kidnapping of thousands of women and girls.“We’ve reached a state where there’s a party of life and a party of death,” he said, and those on the side of life must fight for their belief “as ruthlessly” as the foe they face.Soyinka, a former political prisoner who became in 1986 the first black African to win the Nobel Prize in literature, spoke at the Barker Center in the wake of a historic vote in Nigeria. In a general election at the end of March, opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari, former military ruler of the country, prevailed over incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan by more than 2.7 million votes.Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard and a former student and longtime friend and colleague of Soyinka’s, speaks to the gathered audience. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerWhen Jonathan conceded defeat, it marked the first time an incumbent president had been voted from office via the ballot box in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, with the continent’s largest economy.Soyinka, an outspoken campaigner for human rights as Nigeria’s pre-eminent public intellectual, was invited to give his perspective on the political landscape of a nation troubled by a history of military dictatorship, corruption, and civil strife.His talk, “Predicting Nigeria? Electoral Ironies,” was hosted in the Thompson Room by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, the Department of African and African American Studies, and the Center for African Studies.“It will not be easy to enthrone democracy as the norm,” Soyinka said. “This [won’t] happen in my lifetime, I’m sorry to say, but definitely we must assist the coming generation by reducing the handicap. This happened in Nigeria when, for the first-ever time, an incumbent president was unseated” by popular vote ― “even though,” he quipped, “we had to use a dictator.”The newly elected president formerly led the country as a military strongman. Installed by one coup in 1983, deposed by another in 1985, Buhari brought an iron hand to what he called a “war against indiscipline” during a 20-month rule remembered for strict anti-corruption measures but also for human-rights abuses.From the audience, Walter Carrington ’52, J.D. ’55, former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, asked how optimistic Soyinka was at the prospect of Buhari’s presidency. Given the former general’s “frugality, honesty, and opposition to corruption,” Carrington asked, was it possible that Buhari “might become for Nigeria what someone like Lee Kuan Yew became for Singapore,” a strong leader who does “what probably needs to be done” yet adheres to democratic principles?“I’m very, very cautiously optimistic,” Soyinka replied. He predicted that Buhari will be pressed by those around him to “keep his nose to the letter of the law,” though “in his zeal to absolutely eradicate corruption,” he might “take advantage of ambiguous areas” in the law and constitution “to empower himself to deal very ruthlessly and quickly with those who have robbed the nation blind.”In any event, Soyinka suggested, Buhari hardly can do worse than his presidential predecessors as far as posing a threat to the country’s nascent democracy.“I think that Buhari has a sense of history,” Soyinka said. “He knows that he must make a mark, a very positive mark, on Nigeria to be able to live with himself, or die with a clean conscience.” However, Soyinka stressed, “Make sure that Nigerians are not allowed to forget his past”; they should not “think that the messiah has finally arrived.”“I think we stay on guard [and] continue to do what has needed to be done for the past 20 years or so,” said Soyinka, adding his hope that the next time he and Carrington meet, they will have occasion to “celebrate with a little glass of wine.”The Hutchins Center’s director, Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard, is a former student and longtime friend and colleague of Soyinka’s. He asked Soyinka to expand on a remark that Boko Haram, and by extension the fundamentalist group ISIS, could create a complete redistribution of power and boundary lines in West Africa.“We will never get rid of Boko Haram,” Soyinka replied. He described the jihadists who wish to impose Sharia law and ban Western learning across Nigeria as indoctrinated “fanatics who believe that if they die in the cause, they will go straight to heaven,” where they “believe literally in the 77 virgins awaiting their arrival.”He said the “reconfiguration of West Africa could very easily have taken place if the army had not finally been assisted in the acquisition of new weaponry.” He called for continued vigorous action against Islamist militants, citing the French destruction of North African al-Qaida arms in Mali. “This is what we do, everywhere,” he urged.“There’s a kind of complacency that frightens me about many world leaders,” Soyinka said. “Sometimes it’s because they’re balancing forces, in the Middle East and Africa.”Soyinka was introduced by Biodun Jeyifo, professor of African and African American studies and of comparative literature at Harvard, who said Soyinka’s efforts as a champion of human rights had “stricken fear into the hearts of dictators” while inspiring millions of people in Africa and across the developing world who had never read his plays or poems.Soyinka, who spoke under a large portrait of Theodore Roosevelt in a leonine voice that matched his shock of white hair, was welcomed with a standing ovation.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Ekathimerini.com:Wind energy output in Greece soared to new records in 2019, with more new wind energy farms launching operations than in any other year, the Hellenic Wind Energy Association (HWEA/ELETAEN) said in a report released on Thursday.The increase was almost four times the annual average rate of the previous decade, raising the total power of wind farms to more than 3,500 megawatts last year.HWEA said the new wind energy farms coming online had a total power of 727.5 MW, four times more than the annual average rate of the previous decade (185 MW), with the biggest single wind energy farm operating in southern Evia (154.1 MW).In Kozani, wind turbines have the largest rotor diameter (136 meters), while the first hybrid power station using wind energy and batteries started operating on the island of Tilos. A hybrid station also began pilot operations on the island of Ikaria.At the end of 2019, wind energy farms’ power totaled 3,576 MW, up 25.4 percent from 2018. Foreign investors owned 43 percent of wind energy farms in Greece and accounted for 47 percent of new investments in 2019.More: Wind energy farms set new record in 2019 Greek wind generation capacity tops 3,500MW after record year of new construction read more
Taylor said FA chairman Greg Dyke’s announcement of moves to reduce the number of non-European Union players in English football was welcome but “a drop in the ocean” and that radical action is needed. Taylor told Press Association Sport: “The key is starting on the field of play and to have at least four home-grown players of which one should be club-grown. With so much money going into youth development we need to see some return from that. “Look at Sunday, there were only four English players in the Manchester City v Chelsea teams and the best player on the pitch was one of them, James Milner. “We have a meeting with the head of the Labour Party’s policy review about our concerns on youth development. The fall-out rate has been so high that if we were a university we would probably have been closed down. “Unless we tweak the system with regards to quotas I don’t see how that’s going to improve. “Earlier this month I saw England Under-19s draw with the German Under-19s who were the European champions – we were the best team and I was so impressed but you wonder what opportunities they are going to get in senior football. “We will also be approaching the current Government on these issues as well.” Taylor also wants political support for the PFA’s backing of the ‘Rooney rule’ to encourage more black and ethnic minority coaches – there is only one black manager in the 92 league clubs, Chris Powell at Huddersfield. Press Association The ‘Rooney rule’, used in American football, would oblige clubs to shortlist at least one black/ethnic minority candidate for each coaching position. Taylor is also pushing for the FA board to include representatives from the PFA, fans and the League Managers’ Association. The PFA chief said the FA’s move to toughen up the work permit rules for non-EU players was to be welcomed but would only have a very limited effect on the number of English players in the top flight. He added: “The fact is there are so many countries that are either in the EU, or have trade agreements that are permit-free, and then you have Argentinian players with passports from Spain and Italy, and Brazilians with Portuguese passports. “It’s just going to be a drop in the ocean.” The Professional Footballers’ Association has launched a major political drive for rule changes to ensure a minimum of four home-grown players in starting line-ups for every club match from the Premier League down. PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor met Jon Cruddas, the MP leading the Labour Party’s policy review, on Monday to push the union’s position aimed at increasing the number of English players at the top of the professional game. Taylor also plans to meet the Government to argue the case for quotas of home-grown players, with each starting XI having four with at least one trained by the club. It would need the agreement of the Football Association, the Premier League and the Football League to bring in the rules, but winning political support from the main parties would be a big boost to the PFA. read more