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Nigeria’s Soyinka urges world to shun Sudan

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Nov 9, 2006 (NAIROBI) — Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has called on the world to shut its doors on the government of Sudan for "genocide" in Darfur.

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Wole Soyinka

"Two million people are squatting in their own country, facing genocide by their own government," he said during a visit to Nairobi, referring to the conflict in western Sudan which has killed an estimated 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million.

While Washington and some rights groups have called the Darfur crisis "genocide", African leaders and intellectuals have generally held back from using such a charged term.

"I look down on all those who have not removed the Sudanese consulate from their country and who have not removed their consulates from Sudan," Soyinka, a playwright and novelist, told reporters after giving a lecture late on Wednesday.

"This is the least that they could do. ... These small gestures are very important."

Soyinka, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986 and is known for his outspoken political views, was also critical of President Robert Mugabe’s running of Zimbabwe which he compared to Adolf Hitler’s tactics in Germany.

"Mugabe has his brown shirts," he said.

In his lecture, which received a standing ovation, Soyinka painted his ideal picture of good governance.

"In nature, when a large leaf falls, it does not crush the small leaf," he said, describing an ideal state where the powerful see it as a duty to cover and protect the vulnerable.

(Reuters)

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