Saturday, April 05, 2014

Stern distinctions (AMNESIA/INSOMNIA)

Aleksandr Hemon interviews Teju Cole at BOMB:
TC Nigeria is an ideal for me in two ways. One, it’s a space of possibility, an opportunity for its people to move beyond the pressures of tribe or ethnic group. This opportunity is often squandered. Two, it’s a soccer team, one that could be one of the world’s best—there’s certainly enough talent to be, at least, on Uruguay’s level. This opportunity, too, is often squandered. So, Nigeria haunts me in terms of being a space of unfinished histories. But my identity maps onto other things: being a Lagosian (which is like a city-state), being a West African, being African, being a part of the Black Atlantic. I identify strongly with the historical network that connects New York, New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, and Lagos. But, as a subject, Nigeria won’t let go of me.

Like you, I am now in a country where people (convinced of their innocence) sleep well; and like you, I’m still one of history’s amnesiacs.

AH Amnesiacs?

TC I meant to write “insomniacs”! But the error is illuminating.
Also: "yes, I believe in life online, the way a person in 1910 might believe in aviation, or a person in 1455 might believe in movable type: with excitement and apprehension."

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