Saturday, February 6, 2010

Writers and Wars...

Okay here we go again, just stumbling on interesting issues on our website trips. We came across Mantle Thought and that's thanks to Tolu Ogunlesi's Facebook status. The objective of The Mantle is "to provide a forum for the next generation of leaders to be heard—to provide a space for opinions that are different from those found in traditional, established outlets." You may also be interested in contributing to Mantle Thought

The latest 'roundtable' discussion is about writers and wars. Really what's the role of a writer in conflict? Maybe as a writer you've never thought about it--things look so great and a war just isn't on your mind; or you are one of the good optimists that wave off conflict. The thing is whether we accept it or not, there are conflicts in the society, no matter how small they are. Read the thought-provoking contributions here--Tolu Ogunlesi's Art is A Debt We Owe;Vicente Garcia Groyon's We Must Bear Witness and Sehba Sarwar's For Choice. 

Remember that a huge part of Nigerian literature is dedicated to the Biafran Civil War. But that's not all the conflict we've had to deal with. And yes, war, like bad news sells! But how do you stay true to the issues at hand--who is the hero? Who is the villain? How do you portray humans during wars--as there's more to it than the guns? What's writing without 'conflict' anyway? Writers are supposed to be witnesses, aint they? Should a writer sit on the fence? Jump into the war like Christopher Okigbo or fight with words till they are jailed like Wole Soyinka? What say you--what's the role of a writer in conflict? 

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