Politically un-correct in Berlin
I think it was early in 2002 that Wole read – among others – the Obatala excerpt from ‚Burden of Memory“ in the Berlin ‘House of Cultures of the World’. Hardly had I finished reading the translation and the discussion started when a young lady in a wheel-chair grabs the hall microphone to protest that this story is ‘absolutely incorrect, because unfair to handicapped people’.
Again and again Wole – and to some extent the poor translator as well – try make the lady and the public understand that “this is after all a most humanistic and humane creation myth, since ‘we Yorubas’ believe that even the Gods must do pennance.” To no avail in politically correct Berlin! Unlike in Bayreuth, Heidelberg, Cologne or Munich the Berlin audience – always in the forefront of the fight for political correctness – simply doesn’t buy Wole’s argument.
We have simply failed. But then this is Berlin, which I, at least, like to erase from the list of forthcoming lectures…