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October 29, 1994 (2)

29/10/94

Sr. M,

  1. I almost forgot this! For the London meeting of the RLA as demanded, it would be well worth it contacting Glen Ellis of Oxford who made The Drilling Fields.[1] He has a load of material which he has not used, includ­ing me reading from A Forest of Flowers. Kweku also has a film of Ogoni women of FOWA [Federation of Ogoni Women’s Association] at work. Appolos has the address and telephone number of Glen Ellis.
  2. [2]The flag and poster of MOSOP are also available in the office and you should please take a number of each.
  3. MOSOP singlets are also available—there are probably some in my house. Elfreda will assist you get them.[3]
  4. The Rivers State Govt’s “MOSOP” film has a section where the Commander of the Internal Security Task Force [Col. Duada Musa Komo] describes his methods. I asked that a clip of this be made. You should please demand it. There’s also a place where he accuses me (falsely, of course) of misusing funds donated from abroad. That clip may be useful.
  5. Greenpeace Communications Ltd. have those photographs of the
    devastation of Ogoni.[4] I have asked for colour reproductions of the ones we have in black and white. You may renew the demand for them. I will be prepared to pay for them. I heard on radio this morning that they are cash-strapped, and have had to lay off some staff. They owe me £700.00 which they’ve refused to pay since January 1993. But that does not matter. The RLA Foundation may be willing to pay, I don’t know. In any case, I’m desirous of having these photographs for the exhibition in Sweden. I’ll send a cheque to cover costs. The Award money can be used for it.
  6. For the same exhibition, we need a single copy of each of my books (25 in all published as of today—7 are in MS [manuscript] stage). Between PH [Port Harcourt] and Lagos, they should all be available. Whatever is not available (Transistor Radio may not be), ask Deebii[5] to collect from Heinemann (Lagos Branch). Collect the pamphlets too.
  7. There is a wretched film of me in the Civil War days done by a German Company. A “poor” copy is in my house here. Ask Elfreda for it. Some clips may be found useful.
  8. It is possible that the Swedish Embassy will willingly put all we need for the exhibition in a diplomatic bag and send it all to Sweden. The Americans did it for me the last time I went to the United States at their invitation. This could save us all the embarrassment & weight carrying these things around.
  9. In case I’m not able to attend the ceremony, a team of 2 will be leaving Nigeria for it. But I’ll ask my son to read the Acceptance Speech and collect the prize on my behalf while those coming from Nigeria will be on hand to attend press conferences and do whatever else.[6] The last I heard of the young man he was in the U.S. He may not have sent letters to me because I had said I would let him know the best way of doing so. If you find him, please introduce him to the [initials] route. It will help us all a great deal. I’m sending him a letter as to how he’ll get to Sweden (money for travel, hotel etc.)
  10. I will also be asking my cousin Vincent[7] to see if he can make the journey to Sweden. The London Ogoni as well. It would be wonderful if we could get a small Ogoni crowd in Stockholm. There’s only one Ogoni man in Sweden. I expect he’ll be there to assist.
  11. I hope that you can make it. Speak to the Bodyshop. They may be willing to provide a ticket & hotel accommodation
  12. This is a load of work, but I expect you, as usual, to do it all and even better. I’m sure you have other ideas that will enrich the Stockholm exhibition on which I lay great store. Glen Ellis, if he’s in Oxford (pray God he is) will be of great assistance because he also has some good pho­tographs. (By the way, some of his photographs are in my briefcase—large ones—ask Elfreda—I saw them the other day when I had the briefcase brought here for a moment.) You have seen them in Lagos.
  13. I don’t know if some of the magazine covers dealing with the Ogoni situation will be useful. A number of them are available as well as pen-portraits of my happy self—both local and overseas. They are there in the file.
  14. We certainly will need a map showing the relative position of Ogoni in Nigeria and Africa. The newspapers in the U.K. often provide that quite easily, if we cannot get it locally.
  15. In case Glen Ellis is not available, I wonder if Robin Sharp [of] the RLAF[8]Research Section in London will be able to use The Drilling Fields?
  16. My mind is dashing about the place, so if it’s not orderly, don’t worry. I’m taking a chance to write to General Oladipo Diya—Chief of General Staff—to ask him to get me out of here and enable me to go to the Award Ceremony.

Regards,

Ken.


  1. McCarron had agreed to meet representatives of the Right Livelihood Foundation in London to hand over Saro-Wiwa’s Acceptance Speech and other materials for the award ceremony in Stockholm on 9th December 1994.
  2. Enumeration in the original letter starts at 2. There is an indistinct number 1 alongside the first paragraph which appears to have been added as the list of items grew.
  3. Elfreda Jumbo, a friend of Saro-Wiwa in Port Harcourt.
  4. Copies of these photographs are held in the Ken Saro-Wiwa Collection at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.
  5. Deebii Nwiado managed Saros Publications in Lagos.
  6. Saro-Wiwa ultimately decided to assign the task of reading his speech to a member of MOSOP. McCarron believes that he changed his mind because he wished to demonstrate the relevance of the award to the Ogoni people rather than to just himself or his family. Simeon Kpoturu of MOSOP read the acceptance speech in his name in Stockholm on 9th December 1994. See <http://www.rightlivelihood.org/saro_wiwa_speech.html>.
  7. Vincent Ideymore, President of MOSOP in the U.S.A.
  8. Probably a mixed acronym: Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

License

October 29, 1994 (2) Copyright © 2017 by Text, letters and images: Copyright © 2013 John Paul II Library, Maynooth University, Republic of Ireland. Ken Saro-Wiwa’s poems: © 2013 Ken Saro-Wiwa Estate. All Rights Reserved.

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