It’s a great pleasure to be here today to talk to you about a topic that interests me. And should interest all of us. A topic eating at the heart of society. I think my first question would be, Why do we have to cancel other voices? Why are people in my generation quick to still the opinion of others? We are quick to cancel, quick to nullify sound judgement, quick to extinguish rationality.
Distinguished Nigerian Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie made a comment few years ago upon which another writer is now using as a means to have her de-platformed and cancelled. What is it with this social media generation (In Nigeria, we call them the Indomie generation) that we are quick to nullify voices that are not ours?
I’m saddened that I now belong to a generation that live in perpetual fear. Fear of expression has swallowed the famous term ‘freedom of expression.’ This has now birthed a lot of false posturing and pandering to popular opinion. Many are all for the bandwagon, all about the bandwagon. Following popular opinion at a detriment to rational thinking.
As a writer, I have had my own share of misalignment of opinions where a certain book reviewer said she would no longer read my books because I am very opinionated after she read my collection of poems ‘Born in Lockdown.’
I do not owe the reviewer an apology as my writings in itself are expression of opinions, which I hold sacrosanct. I find it astonishing that while cancel culture rages with ferocious verve, many people look on as society slowly withers away.
As a writer, I choose to speak and not cower to the oppressive system that aims to make us voiceless. I also see that in society today, we are losing our toga of humanity, empathy and we are quick to point out flaws and the mistakes of others.
Some young Nigerian influencers face occasional targeted harassment and social media bullying because they made the abominable choice of supporting the incumbent administration into power. That was their only offence, supporting their country for a change of leadership that they thought would bring the much-desired change. Our politicians are in no way different. They are in haste to nullify other voices.
Writers like me who write about the ills of government are endangered species. Some go missing, some into exile while those who choose to stay either take cover or are strangulated for choosing to have an opinion, a voice to spell out the ills of bad governance. Just like politicians who know the truth refuse to speak up, everyday people like you and I have been caught in this melee.
Like Chimamanda, like JK Rowling, like Kanye West, it shows the desperation to which people would go to cancel out the opinion of others. Are the keyboard warriors and influencers who at times are paid to trend a narrative winning this war? Are we gradually sliding into becoming a voiceless and heartless generation?
Gradually shedding our toga of humanity and the values that hold us together.
Has cancel culture taken roots? And is this the birth of a voiceless generation?
Thank you for your time!