INTER PRESS SERVICE
By Lisa Vives
May 14, 2015
NEW YORK, May 12 2015 (IPS) – Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, co-curator of a spectacular World Voices week with over 100 African writers, closed the May 4-10 event with an admonition.
Referencing “codes of silence” that govern American life, Adichi urged her audience at the Great Hall of the Cooper Union University in New York City “to reject silence.”
“There is a general tendency in the United States to define problems of censorship as essentially foreign problems,” she was quoted to say by reporter Nicole Lee, writing for the Guardian UK publication.
Americans like to be comfortable and this comfort has brought a “dangerous silencing” into American public conversation, Adichie observed. “The fear of causing offense, the fear of ruffling the careful layers of comfort, becomes a fetish,” she said. As such, the goal of many public conversations in the United States “is not truth … [it] is comfort”.
According to Adichie, social media is a contemporary “tool of silencing.” The Twitter campaign to Bring Back Our Girls focused on the abduction of 200 girls in Nigeria, for example, and it appeared as if Boko Haram only targeted girls.
While that image recalled the actions of the Taliban in denying rights to women and girls, in fact, the terrorist group kidnapped almost as many young boys, making them into child soldiers. Boko Haram, she reminded the audience, is opposed to Western-style education for both girls and boys. More…