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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2005, 08:14 GMT
Ken Wiwa: 'Committed to remembering'
A decade ago, the writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed by the Nigerian government. His son, Ken Wiwa, told the BBC News website of his memories of that day and how he sees the situation now.

The late Ken Saro-Wiwa speaking  [Image: Greenpeace/Lambon]

I remember the exact moment he died.

I was sitting in a restaurant chatting and laughing with friends when I felt a brief palpitation in my chest - it felt like a vital connection had been ruptured inside me and I just knew.

I fell silent and looking back I can see myself sitting alone with my thoughts while all around me there is laughter and genial conversation at the table.

It was midnight in Auckland and midday in Nigeria and my father had just been hanged; his broken body lay in a shallow sand pit in a hut at the condemned prisoners' block at Port Harcourt Prison.

I have so many vivid memories of the days and weeks before and after my father was killed.

For a long time I tried to forget. It was the only way I knew how to mask the trauma.

Three generations of Wiwas

But then somewhere down the line I realised that to forget was to play into the hands of those who wanted him dead and I eventually came to appreciate that the best way to deal with my grief was to remember the personal details of my father's death in order to preserve the political integrity of his life.

Looking back, the issues my father died for - greater political and ecological accountability in the oil industry - are now at the front and centre of international affairs with climate change and the war on terror dominating world affairs.

In a way, the future of the planet is very much at stake in these issues and I appreciate why so many people are committed to remembering my father.

On this tenth anniversary, around the world, thousands of people are actively preventing that erasure of memory; from the Remember Saro-Wiwa project in London to the vigils being held from Thailand to South Africa.

People are refusing to forget the name, Ken Saro-Wiwa.

As Milan Kundera wrote, 'The struggle of humanity against power, is the struggle of memory against forgetting.'

In pictures: Ken Saro-Wiwa
09 Nov 05 |  In Pictures
Saro-Wiwa's remains go home
01 Dec 04 |  Africa

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