The Sunday Poem
Ken Saro-Wiwa was a poet, novelist and journalist and member of a small ethnic group, the Ogoni, numbering over half a million who inhabit a small region in the south east of the Niger Delta where more than 100 oil wells, a petrochemical complex and two oil refineries were located.
Saro-Wiwa led a non-violent campaign against the environmental destruction and seeking basic rights for the Ogoni people. An outspoken critic of the Nigerian government, he was executed by the then Nigerian military regime in November, 1995.
His book, Silence Would be Treason, features the private letters he had written to Irish missionary nun Sister Majella McCarron while he was on death row, as well as a selection of his poems. The letters, smuggled out of his detention centre in bread baskets, document his painful transition from political activist to political prisoner, his courageous efforts to protect the Niger Delta, his hopes for peace in Northern Ireland and his passion for peace and justice. The letters were donated by Sister Majella to NUI Maynooth two years ago. The book was edited by Dr Íde Corley, Helen Fallon and Dr Laurence Cox of NUI Maynooth and was published by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and Daraja Press.
There is a fire in me
Burns all night and day
Flares at injustice
Leaps at oppression
Glows warmly in beauty.