Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, said on Saturday he still intends to destroy his green card, but won’t be railroaded into fulfilling the promise. The professor said the media and online critics should let him make good his promise on his own terms and at his convenience, especially since he didn’t make the promise directly to them but under the semblance of his privacy. “I have been asked several times – interestingly only by the foreign media, with the exception of The Interview – whether indeed I did make such a statement at any time, and whether I still intended to carry it out, and the answer remains a categorical ‘Yes’.”
Mr. Soyinka was reacting to a deluge of disparaging comments directed at him following the emergence of Donald Trump as the newly-elected President of the United States. The attackers were hanging on a statement Mr. Soyinka made a few days before the American election in which he said he would destroy his green card should Mr. Trump emerge victorious in the election. The moment they announce his [Trump’s] victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up,” Mr. Soyinka told a gathering at Oxford University last week.
The attackers immediately bailed on the famous social critic, with some speculating that he had allegedly denied making the promise. Mr. Soyinka first responded on Friday, telling The Interview newsmagazine that the public should watch out for his exit from the United States on or before January 20 when Mr. Trump is expected to be sworn in. “Come January 20, 2017; watch my WOLEXIT! (Donald Trump will be sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States of America on Friday, January 20, 2017),” the Interview quoted Mr. Soyinka as saying.
On Saturday, Mr. Soyinka followed his remarks with a 4,000-word essay laced with his signature vocabularies to affirm his true position on the matter. The professor described his online critics on the matter as noisome creatures and nattering nitwits. Mr. Soyinka said many of those attacking him on the Internet would be more reluctant to do so if they really knew he had been negotiating his “relations with both peoples and nations” from his own sovereign entity which he named the “Autonomous Republic of Ijegba.” He said destroying his documents to enter the United States was similar to measures he’d taking against different countries over the past decade.
Countries including China, Cuba, South Africa and even Australia have been no-go destinations for him due to their different transgressions towards him. For instance, Mr. Soyinka said he declined going to Australia within the past 15 years because of a stringent visa application policy that the country had towards senior citizens, especially those above the age of 70. “That application document was highly disrespectful of age and I wondered what kind of mentality had crafted it,” Mr. Soyinka said.
The alleged failure of Chinese government to show remorse for the deadly repression of Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and frequent outbreak of xenophobic attacks in South Africa were the reasons the professor cited for staying away from those countries. Although he admitted that tearing the green card might be physically exhausting, he, nonetheless, said he will embark on shredding it to fulfil his promise —but only at his convenience.
“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.” Finally, Mr. Soyinka said he failed to understand why people were so fixated about his decision to destroy a document that belongs to him. “I simply fail to understand why this has gone beyond a flurry of public commentary and hilarious cartoons, and turned into a masturbatory for some, a vomitory for others, and an epileptic sanatorium for a self-reproducing number,” he said.