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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Be courageous. Tell the truth

 


このブログではマラリアサミットでスピーチをしたチママンダ・ンゴズィ・アディーチェを紹介しました。彼女の影響力は大きくなる一方でちょっと前にヒラリーに物申したことも話題になりましたし、先週はハーバード大学で卒業スピーチをしたようです。日本でも他人事ではない「平気で嘘をつく社会」に警鐘を鳴らしています。



If I were asked the title of my address to you today, I would say, ‘Above all else, do not lie.’ Or ‘don’t lie too often’—which is really to say, ‘Tell the truth.’ But lying, the word, the idea, the act, has such political potency in America today, that it somehow feels more apt…Today, the political discourse in America includes questions that are straight from the land of the absurd. Questions such as, ‘Should we call a lie a lie? When is a lie a lie?’

小説家ですから、幅広く読むことを勧めています。英語の運用能力を上げたり、資格試験でいいスコアを出すには対象を絞らざるを得ないのですが、幅広く読むことの大切さは忘れないようにしたいです。

To help you do this, make literature your religion, which is to say read widely: read fiction, and poetry, and narrative, nonfiction—make the human story the center of your understanding of the world. Think of people as people, not as abstractions who have to conform to bloodless logic but as people—fragile, imperfect with prides that can be wounded and hearts that can be touched. Literature is my religion. I have learned from literature that we humans are flawed, all of us are flawed, but even while we are flawed, we are capable of enduring goodness. We do not need first to be perfect before we can do what is right and just.

そんな世界的名声に本人はどのように対処しているのか、今週の雑誌New Yorkerの記事で取り上げていました。といっても記事は彼女のこれまでの作家人生とナイジェリアとアメリカでの暮らしををまとめてくれているもので、世界的名声に本人はどのように感じているかを知りたかったYutaには少しばかり肩透かしでした。(ナイジェリアでのすごさとそれに伴う悲劇も知ることができたのは収穫ですが)

そうは言っても彼女のことを色々知れて有益でした。例えばハーバード大のスピーチで彼女のルーツであるIbgoになんども触れていましたが、この記事によって思い入れの強いものだったと知ることができたのです。大辞泉でもビアフラ戦争のことを書いていますが、彼女の2作目のHalf of a Yellow Sunの舞台になったものです。

(大辞泉)
イボ
Ibo ; Igbo
ナイジェリア南東部に住む民族。農耕を主とするが,早くからキリスト教化し,商業活動が盛ん。ビアフラ戦争では多数が死亡。

ProfilesJune 4 & 11, 2018 Issue
As her subjects have expanded, her audience has, too, but visibility has its drawbacks.
By Larissa MacFarquhar

She had always known that she would write about Biafra, but it was no small thing to presume to tell the story of the war that had been such a defining catastrophe for her country, and one that she had not lived through herself: it ended in 1970, seven years before she was born. It had been a catastrophe especially for Igbos, and, while being Igbo was not important to most people she knew, it was very important to her. She had written a play about Biafra in high school, but decided it was dreadful and put it aside. Then, shortly after she finished “Purple Hibiscus,” she wrote a short story about the war, as a second test. The story worked. It was time.

She wanted the incidents she described to be true, so she asked many people about those years. She had not known much before she started asking: her parents had lived through the war, but they rarely mentioned it. She knew that when Chuks, her eldest brother, was born in Biafra, in 1968, her mother had had to beg for milk for him, fearing he would die of malnutrition. Her father, like most academics, had worked in one of the directories in the Biafran capital. He had tried to persuade his father to join him there, but he didn’t want to leave Abba

“Who am I running away from my own house for?”

and stayed there until it was almost too late: the Nigerian Army was close to overrunning the town, and most people had already fled. At the last minute, he left for a refugee camp, and there he grew sick and died. Her father believed that it was the loss of his dignity as much as the physical circumstances that killed him—to be a titled man reduced to begging for food from relief agencies, or, if that food ran out, scrambling for lizards. As the eldest child, her father was obligated to bury his father, but because of the war he couldn’t do it.


昨年の卒業スピーチはEnglish Journalの2018年1月号に抜粋版が載っていました。問題意識は変わっていませんね。かぶっているネタもありますのは仕方がないでしょう(苦笑)

14分39秒あたりから
To stand for social justice is, in many cases, to be uncomfortable. Please, be willing to be uncomfortable. You might squirm a bit. You should squirm a bit, because nobody really enjoys being uncomfortable. But be uncomfortable. Discomfort can breed resilience. Discomfort can open up new understanding and meaning and knowledge.

社会正義のために立ち上がると、多くの場合、気まずい思いをすることになります。気まずい思いをするのを、いとわないでください。(居心地の悪さに)ちょっと身もだえするかもしれません。それが当たり前です、気まずい思いをして楽しい人なんていないのですから。でも、気まずい思いをしてください。違和感から、しなやかな不屈の力が生まれることがあります。違和感から、新たな理解や意味、知識が開かれることもあります。

保身に走る大人たちを批判するのはたやすいんですが、一方であの日大学生のように気まずさを受け入れて社会正義のために立ち上がる勇気がYutaにも本当にあるのかと言われると。。。
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Yuta

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