Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Interview with Controversial Playwright Shehu Sani, author of The Phantom Crescent, on Sumaila Isah Umaisha's blog "Everythin Literature"
Having moved out of my apartment last week, I check in to the blogworld from my "cage" in the library where I attempt to finish revisions on my dissertation proposal. Checking through my blog roll, I find a fascinating interview with Shehu Sani, the playwright whose play The Phantom Crescent is critical of the application of shari'a law in Northern Nigeria, on Sumaila Isah Umaisha's blog Everythin Literature. Critics attempted to get a shari'a court to ban the play, and the play is currently "stopped [...] from further circulation, distribution or performance."
Some excerpts from the interview:
"many people have reached out to me from both within and outside the country, that they want to reproduce the Phantom Crescent and that I should even perform it in London, Paris and other places. But I’m not interested in performing in London or Paris, because I want to simply educate and enlighten the people that are here where I come from. I’m not intending to make it a show business kind of thing; I wrote my book to reach out to my own people and to send a clear message and it is here that it should be performed and not anywhere else."
"what I will say is that we cannot have laws in a society where the leaders are lawless themselves. We cannot have one kind of law for the poor and another one for the rich. I think for the implementation of Shari'a to be effective certain things are necessary. One, there should be enlightenment and education. Those who are for it and those who are against it must be enlightened. Secondly, there must be a serious attempt to solve the problem of poverty. For instance, if you have money as a government, you have two options; either to solve the problem of water or solve the problem of water borne diseases. They should know it that when you address the problem by providing clean water there will not be water borne diseases. But if you think you can allow people to drink from the mud and then cure those who are affected by the diseases that come from that sources of water, I think you are simply wasting your time. So you must solve the problems that lead people into crimes or else you will only succeed in punishing and jailing people and the problems will not be solved."