A unique collection of the last writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa that reveals the indomitable mind and spirit of the legendary campaigner for justice in the last months before his execution.
The letters and poems collected here are the last writings of a man on trial for his life. They were smuggled out of military detention in food baskets.. Nigerian author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, facing execution by the military regime on trumped-up charges, corresponded extensively with Irish nun and solidarity worker Majella McCarron during the last 18 months of his life. Clear and direct, these letters and poems are the last expression of a voice the regime was determined to silence: a voice for indigenous rights, environmental survival and democracy, many of whose battles were won despite his death and whose voice comes alive today again in these extraordinary letters.
Saro-Wiwa was a leading figure in the world of Nigerian and African letters, as novelist, playwright, non-fiction writer, author of children's books and television writer. He was also a major figure in Nigerian politics, when his support for the autonomy of his own, indigenous Ogoni people led to his removal from office. Following this Saro-Wiwa threw himself into business to provide the financial basis for the movement which from 1990 took the shape of MOSOP, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People. MOSOP raised not only the issue of indigenous autonomy but also that of environmental survival in the face of massive oil and gas extraction in the Niger Delta and the associated oil leaks, gas flaring and other environmental crises threatening traditional livelihoods in the area. This was a direct challenge to those who benefitted from the situation: the oil and gas multinationals and the Nigerian military government.
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About the Author
Helen Fallon is Deputy University Librarian at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. She has worked in libraries in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and Saudi Arabia. Her professional interests include libraries in developing countries, African women writers, staff develop- ment, academic publishing, creativity, and the leadership and marketing of academic libraries. She has published extensively and runs workshops on academic publishing and maintains a blog for library staff who wish to write for publication at http://academicwritinglibrarian.blogspot.ie/
Laurence Cox co-directs the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. He is co- founder of the international, open-access social movement journal Interface (http://interfacejournal.net), co-editor of Understanding European move- ments: new social movements, global justice struggles, anti-austerity pro- test and Marxism and social movements and author of Buddhism and Ireland. He is currently part of an international team researching the life of U Dhammaloka, an Irish migrant worker who became a Buddhist monk and anti-colonial activist in early 20th Century Burma. Dr Cox has been involved in a wide range of social movements in several countries for over quarter of a century.