RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Sudanese writer bares his heart out on writing, media

From October 19 to 21, tens of African writers gathered in Kampala for Beyond Borders: Festival of Contemporary African Writing. Some of the writers participated in a panel discussion at Makerere University on politics, conflict and creativity. One of the participants, Mr Michael Baffoka Alexander Baffoka, a teaching assistant at Juba University and founder of the Juba University English and Literature Society, discussed ‘the role of a writer.’ Dennis D. Muhumuza captured his views

We write about people. We write about things that were done, things that are not done and things that will be done. We write in order to expose evils and correct malpractices.

We write to expose injustices suffered by the masses. It is about values to hold on to, things to reach for, experiences familiar, things forgotten or things slipping out of our hands.

Writing deals with issues of democracy, cultural invasion, human rights violation, dictatorship, gender issues and corruption. These issues are political. So I can say here that writing is intrinsically a political activity.

The second question is why few writers deliberately enter the political arena; to me, it’s not fair.

A writer is an educator, a healer, an explainer, a portrayer, a prophet, an examiner of all aspects of society. For a writer to accomplish all this, he need not be in the centre, rather, he should be at the edge so as to have a clear view of what goes on in the political arena. So, entering the political arena will lead to subjectivity and bias in one’s work.

It will also offer a narrow view of the whole society. The writer will not have a wider scope for exercising his creative work. Deliberately entering the political arena will deprive him the chance of being an educator, an observer and an explainer - for instead of being an observer, a writer will be the observed.

A writer is a judge, is a referee whose role is to examine society consciously and carefully and judge events that happen in the society.
This must be done without favouritism. The writer must report exactly what happened, is happening and will happen in the society.

A writer has to portray both the good and evil, the ugly and beautiful without being biased. This requires that a writer should be objective, if he is to judge the society without siding with any group.

Assuming a political career will make a writer blind a bit for he has to pay allegiance to his party and mould his effort to advance his party’s objectives. Now, this will result into bias and lack of objectivity for it is true that one would not oppose from within.

The other question is political instability and literary production. Yes. Political instability stimulates literary production. I come from a country, until yesterday, where the political situation was very horrible. Political instability leads to social and economic instability, human rights abuse, political intimidation, oppression, corruption and undemocratic system of government.

The human mind is a bit relaxed and slow to function when things are normal but as soon as problems hit, then the mind works very fast in order to find solutions to the problems. So, political instability very much stimulates literary production because this instability brings with it social instability, economic instability, human rights abuse, and all that.

And writers will work to put things right by criticising, opposing, enlightening and educating the masses and correcting the wrongs.
They will be stimulated to make their views, and offer advice so that their voices and the voices of the masses are heard.

All my works have got political overtones. And that’s one reason as to why up to now, my works are not published in my own country. The other question is, can writers effectively resist political tyranny? Writing of any nature is likely to meet opposition from some group of the larger society. If you look at our continent, it is by and large an undemocratic continent where freedom of expression is denied to the people.

Even in the few so-called democratic countries in Africa, one is not free to write on issues of immediate concern to the society.

So history is full of battles between writers and cruel governments in Africa, which in many times end in imprisonment and persecution of writers. The question then is, should writers bow to the corrupt and cruel regimes and stop being the voices of the masses? I think not.

Now, this demands that writers should bear the cross and be prepared to face the worst with their arms open if they are to resist political tyranny and bring about change.

Published in Daily Monitor, October 30, 2005.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Liverpool- the new European Champs!

When Liverpool edged out Beyer Leverkusen, writes Dennis D. Muhumuza, many thought it was by luck...

But then, the evening of the final in Istanbul - Turkey, they moved in for the kill and dumped Juventus along with the new English Premiership Champions out of the much-coveted Champions League semifinal. Lost for words, a
ll Jose Mourinho could do was to console himself: “the best team lost,” he said.

But heck! If indeed, his was the best team, why then did they lose? You may choose to deny it but by the virtue of their new calculative manager, pool of talent coupled with utter determination, I can’t help believing that Liverpool’s days of glory are back! Which is why it will be no surprise on my part when they humiliate the much defensive Italians on
And you don’t have to say never. There is no doubt that the Antifield boys wield enormous talent though they have always been unlucky on local scene. Remember Liverpool is legendary - they have won this championship many times than any other English team.

You may also follow the words of central defender Jamie Carragher who shortly after their encounter with the ‘blues’ said: “we are desperate to get to the days of glory!” And who can stop, a keen hungry team? To once more echo Carragher’s wisdom, “the best teams don't always win the Champions League.”

Liverpool is not certainly the best team in Europe at the moment but you can’t rule out the possibility of them returning home with the scoop after 25th of May. If we go back and turn the pages of history, you probably reminisce the glorious day Greece whipped favorites Portugal, moreover on home turf in the previous European Cup of Nations.

How about when the novice Senegalese left the world in its wake by routing defending champions France in the opening match of the 2002 World Cup! The lion’s of Taranga went on to grace the quarterfinals with their envious streaks of world-class football!

Similarly, this will be reality for a team that has waited for a long time and is probably hungry to see their reflections on the golden mirror of the Champion’s league trophy. In 2002, they managed to reach the quarterfinals, failed to win and now, the hunger is biting and the lads can’t wait.

Indeed, this year’s championship has seen the Reds dodge the sword of ejection where Arsenal, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona which are considered stronger than Liverpool fell off the swinging pendulum over to the bank before the quarter-finals. Yet, the Reds are still in full contention!

Besides, these guys have had the misfortune of missing on the talents of upbeat players like Alonso, Kewell, Sinama Pongolle, Cissé due to injuries and even Morientes who is cup tied. In fact, if it weren’t for Rafa’s ingenuity in trusting the likes of Dudek, Carragher, Riise, Gerrard, Baros and the lucky winning goal scorer -Luis Garcia, panic would have disorganized his team.

And as I write this, the quality and depth of the Liverpool squad is now a dependable one. They might have the misfortune of not defending the trophy they might win if at all they stay in fifth position in premiership but at least, it will not matter. After all, they will be the European Club Champs!

How troublesome it was to see a miserable crying Terry who just could not captain his team to the final as he has captained it to premiership championship! The agony of loosing was too much for him just like the naked joy of Liverpool fans that stripped with joy because after their team had won against the proud, obstinate Chelsea!

As it is, many fans across the world are waiting to see this joy relived when the D-day approaches for the Istanbul encounter a few weeks from now. There is unbridled hope. History sheets have it that Liverpool last won Champion’s League when a new Pope had just been elected and Prince Charles had just married.

This may be the case this time too, seeing that Charles recently married his timeless frame -Camilla Parker Bowles after which Joseph Ratzinger was crowned the new Pope!That not withstanding, on the evening the ‘Pool’ boys humiliated the ‘Blues’ out of Champion’s League, a Liverpool fanatic was shown in the stands waving a placard with words written in bold: ‘A cup of Rafa’s red is sweeter than Mourinho’s whine!’ They might want to see much of this jubilation, to see if Italian ale will taste much softer than the fine red wine come May, 25.

Whatever the case, the Merseysiders are waiting with bated breath. And I do guarantee that on that day, they will do the waltz alongside the singing of the Champion’s ballad. This I promise you!

Published on Masscom online in 2005