In an interview with The Atlantic, and in a characteristic tone of dissent, Wole Soyinka expresses his grievance about the rhetorics of the President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump.
This follows his pledge to destroy his permanent U.S. resident card if the candidate Trump wins the election.
Soyinka mentioned that he has now rendered his Green Card “inoperable,” and adds, “I don’t have strong enough fingers to tear up a Green Card. As long as Trump is in charge, if I absolutely have to visit the United States, I prefer to go in the queue for a regular visa with others. I’m no longer part of the society, not even as a resident.”
“There is inevitably some kind of apprehension when someone rides to power on what one considers a negative outlook on a multinational society like America still is today,” Soyinka explained. “What horrified me was not so much the individual demagogue, but to watch … [the] swelling numbers of his followers—to expect, for instance, that listening to that kind of rhetoric [from] a would-be leader of peoples, that crowds would diminish. But they did not. … It’s like seeing a people in a different light for the first time.”
Soyinka recalled his interactions with leaders of black-power movements in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s: “I witnessed the assertion of the black peoples. And one was encouraged by that beginning transformation, which attained its apogee with the election of the first black president of the United States, and [the first American president with] African [heritage] for that matter. One didn’t thereby imagine that racism would die or anything of the sort. But I think that that temporary summit of black equality, this symbolic ascendancy of Obama, [suggested] that social consciousness in a progressive way would be the norm. Mr. Trump’s campaign was a sharp, deliberate reversal, almost as if Barack Obama had just been tolerated all along.”
The piece, which can be read here, expounds on some of the laureate’s position on multinationalism, terrorism and the symbolic ascendancy of Obama.