‘Your problem is ignorance’ : Soyinka hits back at internet trolls
Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, has hit back at those trolling him on the Internet over his vow to cut up his American
green card if Donald Trump won the presidential election. The professor has come under severe criticism for not
fulfilling his promise since Trump won, and he has described his traducers as “noisome creatures” and “nattering nit-wits” who were commenting on an issue from the “secure cesspits of anonymity” out of “ignorance”.
In an opinion article which he shared with TheCable, Soyinka listed several instances when he had issued a “red card” to countries, including Australia, Cuba and South Africa, on principle, which he said he did not share with the media.
He also insisted that when he made the promise to exit America, he was speaking at a private meeting with Oxford University students and was not making a pledge to the media, questioning why the media would now want to draw up a departure timetable for him.
On the Internet trolling, he wrote: “Let me end with a Red Card to those noisome creatures, the nattering nit-wits of Internet: maybe Trumpland is not as despicable as the Naijaland you impose on our reality from your secure cesspits of anonymity. Go back to school.
Your problem is ignorance, ignorance of whatever subject you so readily comment upon. Learn to study your subject before opening up on issues beyond your grasp. Sometimes you make one feel like swapping one green for another, out of embarrassment for occupying the same national space as you. But don’t get nervous, or start jumping for joy too soon – the Nigerian passport is just as tough to rip, physically, as is the Green Card…”
He decried the “literal” interpretation given to his statement that he would cut his green card — the US residency permit renewable every ten years — the “moment” Trump was declared winner.
He cited a gruesome ISIS story to illustrate the literal interpretation people give to statements, declaring: “That is all I have to say to the ‘literalists’ who obsess over a time scheme of their own assessment. Thus, failure to have torn my Green Card ‘the moment’ that I learnt that Mr. Donald Trump had won the presidential elections of the USA. It did
not matter what I was doing at the time – teaching, eating, swimming, praying, under the shower or whatever. Or a
family member saying, ‘Wait for me!’ – speculatively please, no such disturbance ever took place. If it did however, I am supposed to contact the Nigerian media – to whom I have never spoken, and who never contacted me – except one – to beg permission to pursue a realistic definition of ‘the moment’. Media fascism is however a subject for another day.”
Soyinka said anyone would think that the Brexit Vote “made it imperative for the Brits to plunge into the English Channel instantly, instead of negotiating two years for an orderly withdrawal. Plebians like me of course need far less time, nevertheless they do not uproot overnight. Any other proposition speaks of a permanent agenda, of frustration and hidden histories – such as opportunities to rehabilitate themselves in the public eye.”
He said there is also recession in the land, “and I can understand the psychology of impotence and thus, transferred