DÉJÀ VU – In Tragic Vein By Wole Soyinka - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

DÉJÀ VU – In Tragic Vein By Wole Soyinka


I arrived home from external commitments just over a week ago to an extraordinary homecoming gift. It took the form of a movement -- sometimes angry, sometimes entrancing, poignant, sometimes strident, certainly robust in expectations but always moving, visionary and organized. That movement demanded an end to brutality from state security agencies, focusing on a notorious unit known as SARS. But, of course, SARS merely stood for the parasitic character of governance itself in all ramifications. That dimension – albeit not in those very terms of course – was acknowledge by the first formal response of government, delivered through the Vice-President.
The movement involved members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Feminist Groups, Professionals, Technocrats, Students, Prelates, Industrial institutions, and Artistes – writers, cineastes, actors, musicians. It was markedly a youthful movement, its energy, creativity and resolve diffused throughout the nation through impressive strategies. It was, above all, orderly.  In places, one felt vibrations that seemed to echo concert grounds like Woodstock, other times, the massed processions of France’s Yellow vests or waves of Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement.  Even closer, more recently and pertinent, the patient, stoical gatherings in Mali that lasted weeks and, in whose resolution, our own nation played a critical role.
As I stated in my Message to Youth at the Freedom Park 10th anniversary events on Saturday, 17th, these youths brought fresh blood into tired veins. It was bliss indeed to be alive, to watch youths finally begin to take the future into their own hands.
But – and haven’t we been here before? -- suddenly, virtually overnight, it all changed. State security services – which specific branch, we have yet to identify – transported thugs to break up the protests. The videos exist, they have been widely disseminated – sleek motorcades with number plates covered – moved to recruit and disgorge thugs and breeds of hoodlums to break up the peaceful protests. Those mercenaries set fire to the protesters’ vehicles where parked, set upon the gathered youths with cudgels...

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