My e-Conversation With Esiaba Irobi
Somebody stands next to you in a bookshop, by a shelf, he is reading aloud from a play 'Hangmen Also Die' written by Esiaba Irobi "...and we do what we do because we know we have no future, because we know, no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, no matter how high we aspire, there is something waiting in the atmosphere to destroy us..." then the reader thinks aloud, "Who is Esiaba Irobi?" What would you say to him?Esiaba:
He is from the Republic of Biafra and has lived all his life in exile in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the USA. Nnorom:
Everything he wrote in Hangmen Also Die has come to pass including the hanging of the boys, the killing of the chiefs, the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa in a prison in Port Harcourt. The recent revolt by riverain women against foreign oil companies in Nigeria reminds us strongly of Tamara in the play and also resonates with the reason for the iconoclastic philosophy of The Suicide
Hangmen Also Die is the most prophetic of all of Esiaba works. It is a picture of the future. Our future as a country: Area Boys. Bakassi. Armed Robbery. Anarchy! The worst is yet to come. Nigeria will break apart like a loaf of bread in water, it will capsize like a leaking
canoe on the River Niger!
Hangmen Also Die, as an apocalyptic, Nostradamic text belongs in the same category of intuitive and prophetic insight as A Dance of the Forests, A Man of the People and Come Thunder. It addresses Franz Fanon's injunction that "Every generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfil or betray it. "
Writers like yourself in one way or the other have written without ceasing in condemnation of jaundiced political practices, religious bloodletting, academic impoverishment of universities, and the dumbfounding paradox of excessive poverty in a world so well-endowed with human and natural resources which you have also addressed through your plays and poems. So why is nothing changing? Is it perhaps that intellectual terrorists like yourself are being over-academic about the realities of the simple people of the world? How can writers, especially, Nigerian writers one of whom you are, evolve from torrential theorists to practical, real and positive catalysts of change and progress? Esiaba:
A writer or even activist like Noam Chomsky preaches to those who do not know the truth. People like yourself who we believe can change things. Younger generations. There is no point preaching to those in power who already know the truth. Who perpetuate the truth and who, in turn, reap September elevens. Bush and Blair and Obasanjo.