19:35
TEDGlobal 2007

Chris Abani: Telling stories from Africa

Chris Abani告訴你真實的非洲

Filmed:

在這篇發人深省的演講中,奈及利亞作家Chris Abani 認為"是故事塑造了我們"。他藉由詩篇及敘事作品來追尋真實的非洲,也從中追尋真實的自我。

- Novelist, poet
Imprisoned three times by the Nigerian government, Chris Abani turned his experience into poems that Harold Pinter called "the most naked, harrowing expression of prison life and political torture imaginable." His novels include GraceLand (2004) and The Virgin of Flames (2007). Full bio

I just heard the best joke about Bond Emeruwa.
我剛聽到一個關於Bond Emeruwa 最好笑的笑話
00:25
I was having lunch with him just a few minutes ago,
幾分鐘前我們一塊共進午餐時
00:28
and a Nigerian journalist comes -- and this will only make sense
碰到一個奈及利亞記者
00:31
if you've ever watched a James Bond movie --
你得看過007電影,你才會覺得好笑
00:33
and a Nigerian journalist comes up to him and goes,
這名奈及利亞記者走向他,,然後說著
00:36
"Aha, we meet again, Mr. Bond!"
"哈! 龐德先生,我們又見面了"
00:38
(Laughter)
(笑聲)
00:41
It was great.
哈!很經典吧!
00:43
So, I've got a little sheet of paper here,
我這有張小抄
00:44
mostly because I'm Nigerian and if you leave me alone,
可能因為我是奈及利亞人,如果你們不阻止我
00:48
I'll talk for like two hours.
我可以說上..嗯....整整2小時
00:50
I just want to say good afternoon, good evening.
不過,我現在只想說午安!晚安!
00:52
It's been an incredible few days.
這些日子真令人難以置信
00:58
It's downhill from now on. I wanted to thank Emeka and Chris.
這種經歷以後不可能再有了!在這我想先謝謝Emeka 還有Chris
01:00
But also, most importantly, all the invisible people behind TED
當然還有最重要的,所有這些不為人知的幕後功臣
01:03
that you just see flitting around the whole place
這些你們看得到的點點滴滴
01:07
that have made sort of this space for such a diverse and robust conversation.
讓這地方充滿各種多彩多姿及精彩絕倫的對話
01:10
It's really amazing.
這真是太棒了!
01:16
I've been in the audience.
我也曾坐在台下當個聽眾
01:19
I'm a writer, and I've been watching people with the slide shows
我是個作家,看著這些科學家和銀行家們
01:21
and scientists and bankers, and I've been feeling a bit
一張張秀著自己帶來的幻燈片
01:25
like a gangsta rapper at a bar mitzvah.
我的感覺像是在猶太男孩成年禮現場,看著饒舌歌手在說唱
01:29
(Laughter)
(笑聲)
01:32
Like, what have I got to say about all this?
為什麼我要說這些呢?
01:34
And I was watching Jane [Goodall] yesterday,
昨天聽到珍古德演講
01:38
and I thought it was really great, and I was watching
非常棒!
01:40
those incredible slides of the chimpanzees, and I thought,
當我看著黑猩猩的幻燈片時,我想著
01:42
"Wow. What if a chimpanzee could talk, you know? What would it say?"
哇!如果黑猩猩會說話,它會說什麼呢?
01:46
My first thought was, "Well, you know, there's George Bush."
第一個想到是竟然是"喬治布希"
01:51
But then I thought, "Why be rude to chimpanzees?"
但我後來又想"怎麼可以對黑猩猩這麼無禮呢?"
01:53
I guess there goes my green card.
糟糕,這下我的綠卡泡湯了!
01:59
(Laughter)
(笑聲)
02:01
There's been a lot of talk about narrative in Africa.
人們開始談論著很多非洲的故事
02:03
And what's become increasingly clear to me is that
但在我看來
02:06
we're talking about news stories about Africa;
說的都只是關於非洲的新聞
02:10
we're not really talking about African narratives.
並沒有真正接觸到代表非洲的作品
02:13
And it's important to make a distinction, because if the news is anything to go by,
這差別很大,因為新聞如果真的可信
02:15
40 percent of Americans can't -- either can't afford health insurance
那麼有40%的美國人繳不起保費
02:19
or have the most inadequate health insurance,
或者是最低額的健康保險都負擔不起
02:25
and have a president who, despite the protest
而現任的總統(布希)
02:28
of millions of his citizens -- even his own Congress --
不顧人民反對,甚至是國會的抗議
02:31
continues to prosecute a senseless war.
也堅持發動戰爭
02:34
So if news is anything to go by,
所以如果只看新聞報導
02:37
the U.S. is right there with Zimbabwe, right?
那美國和辛巴威豈不一樣?
02:39
Which it isn't really, is it?
那事實果真如此嗎?
02:42
And talking about war, my girlfriend has this great t-shirt
講到戰爭,不能不提到我女朋友那件很酷的T恤
02:46
that says, "Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity."
上面印著:為獲取和平而發動戰爭如同為了保持貞操而做愛
02:48
It's amazing, isn't it?
超酷的!對吧?
02:53
The truth is, everything we know about America,
事實上,關於我們所知道的美國
02:56
everything Americans come to know about being American,
以及美國人眼中的美國
03:05
isn't from the news.
並非源於這些新聞
03:07
I live there.
我們生活的社會也是如此
03:09
We don't go home at the end of the day and think,
我們不會忙了一天回到家後,突然想到
03:11
"Well, I really know who I am now
"啊!我終於知道我是誰了
03:13
because the Wall Street Journal says that the Stock Exchange
因為根據華爾街日報
03:14
closed at this many points."
今天道瓊是收在多少多少點"
03:18
What we know about how to be who we are comes from stories.
我們知道自己是誰是因為故事的關係
03:20
It comes from the novels, the movies, the fashion magazines.
它可以是小說,是電影,是時尚雜誌
03:23
It comes from popular culture.
它是源於流行文化
03:26
In other words, it's the agents of our imagination
換句話說,這些是能激發我們想像力的原動力
03:28
who really shape who we are. And this is important to remember,
成就了對自我的認同,這點很重要一定要記住
03:30
because in Africa
因為,即便在非洲
03:34
the complicated questions we want to ask about
關於"我是誰"這種複雜的人生問題
03:37
what all of this means has been asked
也透過不同方式
03:41
from the rock paintings of the San people,
舉凡古老桑族人的岩畫
03:43
through the Sundiata epics of Mali, to modern contemporary literature.
馬里人的史詩,直到當代文學都曾被探討過
03:47
If you want to know about Africa, read our literature --
如果你想了解非洲,請讀我們的文學作品
03:51
and not just "Things Fall Apart," because that would be like saying,
"Things Fall Apart"所描述的並非非洲全貌
03:54
"I've read 'Gone with the Wind' and so I know everything about America."
你總不會以為看過"亂世佳人",就懂美國,這是一樣的道理
03:58
That's very important.
這很重要
04:02
There's a poem by Jack Gilbert called "The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart."
Jack Gilbert有首詩叫做”遺忘的心靈片語”
04:04
He says, "When the Sumerian tablets were first translated,
裡頭寫到”當蘇美爾石板第一次被翻譯出來時
04:08
they were thought to be business records.
人們以為那是商業紀錄
04:13
But what if they were poems and psalms?
但你又怎麼知道那不會是詩歌或詩篇呢?
04:16
My love is like twelve Ethiopian goats
我的愛如同12隻埃塞俄比亞的山羊
04:18
standing still in the morning light.
佇立在早晨的暮光中
04:22
Shiploads of thuja are what my body wants to say to your body.
藉由滿山遍野的崖柏表達我的心意
04:26
Giraffes are this desire in the dark."
以及內心最深處的渴望"
04:31
This is important.
這很重要
04:35
It's important because misreading is really the chance
因為誤解往往造成
04:36
for complication and opportunity.
更多的誤解
04:39
The first Igbo Bible was translated from English
18世紀時,聖經第一次傳入奈及利亞
04:41
in about the 1800s by Bishop Crowther,
是主教Crowther 將英文版翻譯成伊格博語的
04:45
who was a Yoruba.
他是約魯巴人
04:47
And it's important to know Igbo is a tonal language,
重點是伊格博語是帶聲調的語言
04:48
and so they'll say the word "igwe" and "igwe":
當你說"igwe"及"igwe"時
04:51
same spelling, one means "sky" or "heaven,"
雖然拼音相同,但一個指"天空"或"天堂"
04:55
and one means "bicycle" or "iron."
另一個則是"自行車"或"鐵"
04:59
So "God is in heaven surrounded by His angels"
所以當"上帝在天堂,天使們圍繞在旁"
05:02
was translated as --
被翻譯成
05:06
[Igbo].
(伊格博語)
05:08
And for some reason, in Cameroon, when they tried
不知為何,喀麥隆有個民族
05:12
to translate the Bible into Cameroonian patois,
在翻譯聖經時
05:14
they chose the Igbo version.
使用的是伊格博語版本
05:16
And I'm not going to give you the patois translation;
我就跳過喀麥隆語言的翻譯
05:18
I'm going to make it standard English.
直接用英文來表達
05:20
Basically, it ends up as "God is on a bicycle with his angels."
總之,這句話變成"上帝坐在自行車上,天使們圍繞在旁"
05:21
This is good, because language complicates things.
這個例子說明了語言往往使事情更加複雜
05:28
You know, we often think that language mirrors
我們總以為語言是一面鏡子
05:33
the world in which we live, and I find that's not true.
能反映我們所存在的世界,我發現這是錯的
05:35
The language actually makes the world in which we live.
事實上,語言造就了我們的世界
05:39
Language is not -- I mean, things don't have
萬事萬物本身並沒有價值
05:44
any mutable value by themselves; we ascribe them a value.
價值是我們賦予它的
05:46
And language can't be understood in its abstraction.
所以單單要了解語言的抽象是不可能的
05:49
It can only be understood in the context of story,
只有在故事中
05:52
and everything, all of this is story.
語言才有意義
05:54
And it's important to remember that,
這很重要
05:58
because if we don't, then we become ahistorical.
否則,我們就變成罔顧史實的人了
06:00
We've had a lot of -- a parade of amazing ideas here.
在這裡,我們看到很多令人激賞的創意
06:04
But these are not new to Africa.
但對非洲來說卻不是什麼新鮮事
06:07
Nigeria got its independence in 1960.
奈及利亞於1960年取得獨立
06:09
The first time the possibility for independence was discussed
而早在1922年,發生婦女市場暴動事件
06:12
was in 1922, following the Aba women's market riots.
獨立思想隨即萌芽
06:16
In 1967, in the middle of the Biafran-Nigerian Civil War,
1967年內戰暴發時
06:20
Dr. Njoku-Obi invented the Cholera vaccine.
霍亂疫苗就已經被奈及利亞人發明出來了
06:24
So, you know, the thing is to remember that
請大家一定要記住
06:28
because otherwise, 10 years from now,
不然未來的10年
06:30
we'll be back here trying to tell this story again.
我會一直重覆敘述它的
06:32
So, what it says to me then is that it's not really --
但我真正想說的是
06:36
the problem isn't really the stories that are being told
重要的並非說了什麼故事
06:41
or which stories are being told,
而是什麼故事被說出來
06:43
the problem really is the terms of humanity
問題是
06:45
that we're willing to bring to complicate every story,
人總愛把事情複雜化
06:48
and that's really what it's all about.
好像這是唯一重要的事
06:51
Let me tell you a Nigerian joke.
我來說一個奈及利亞的笑話
06:54
Well, it's just a joke, anyway.
只是個笑話,別太當真喔!
06:56
So there's Tom, Dick and Harry and they're working construction.
Tom, Dick和Harry三個人在工地工作
06:58
And Tom opens up his lunch box and there's rice in it,
午餐時間,Tom打開便當盒發現又是吃飯
07:02
and he goes on this rant about, "Twenty years,
忍不住大聲地抱怨"唉!20年了
07:05
my wife has been packing rice for lunch.
我老婆只會給我準備米飯
07:07
If she does it again tomorrow, I'm going to throw myself
如果明天還是這樣
07:09
off this building and kill myself."
我乾脆跳樓自殺算了!"
07:11
And Dick and Harry repeat this.
Dick 和Harry也深有同感地附和著
07:13
The next day, Tom opens his lunchbox, there's rice,
第二天,Tom打開便當,果然又是米飯
07:15
so he throws himself off and kills himself,
二話不說,跳樓死了
07:17
and Tom, Dick and Harry follow.
Dick 和Harry也照做
07:19
And now the inquest -- you know, Tom's wife
事後,可想而知
07:21
and Dick's wife are distraught.
Tom 和Dick的老婆有多傷心
07:23
They wished they'd not packed rice.
也很後悔,不該只給老公準備米飯
07:24
But Harry's wife is confused, because she said, "You know,
只有Harry 的老婆感到不解,因為
07:26
Harry had been packing his own lunch for 20 years."
20年來Harry 的便當都是自己準備的
07:29
(Laughter)
(笑聲)
07:32
This seemingly innocent joke, when I heard it as a child in Nigeria,
小時候我聽到這笑話時
07:36
was told about Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa,
故事主角被換成伊格博人,約魯巴人和哈薩人
07:41
with the Hausa being Harry.
而哈薩人就是故事中的Harry
07:43
So what seems like an eccentric if tragic joke about Harry
就這樣一個茶餘飯後的笑話
07:45
becomes a way to spread ethnic hatred.
竟成了傳播種族歧視的媒介
07:49
My father was educated in Cork, in the University of Cork, in the '50s.
我父親於1950年代在愛爾蘭的Cork 大學受教育
07:53
In fact, every time I read in Ireland,
每當我在愛爾蘭時
07:57
people get me all mistaken and they say,
總有人把我誤認為是我父親
07:59
"Oh, this is Chris O'Barney from Cork."
"哦!這不是Cork 大學的Chris嗎?"
08:01
But he was also in Oxford in the '50s,
但事實上,他也曾在50年代在牛津大學唸過書
08:03
and yet growing up as a child in Nigeria,
從小在奈及利亞長大的他
08:07
my father used to say to me, "You must never eat or drink
我父親以前常警告我
08:09
in a Yoruba person's house because they will poison you."
千萬別在約魯巴人家裡吃任何東西,你會被毒死的
08:12
It makes sense now when I think about it,
現在想想其實很有道理
08:17
because if you'd known my father,
如果你認識我父親
08:19
you would've wanted to poison him too.
你也會想毒死他
08:20
(Laughter)
(笑聲)
08:23
So I was born in 1966, at the beginning
1966年我出生時
08:28
of the Biafran-Nigerian Civil War, and the war ended after three years.
正值奈及利亞內戰爆發,三年後戰爭結束
08:32
And I was growing up in school and the federal government
在我唸書時期
08:38
didn't want us taught about the history of the war,
政府有意隱藏這段歷史
08:41
because they thought it probably would make us
他們害怕會教出
08:44
generate a new generation of rebels.
新一代的反叛份子
08:47
So I had a very inventive teacher, a Pakistani Muslim,
但當時我的老師思想非常前衛,他是巴基斯坦回教徒
08:49
who wanted to teach us about this.
他希望我們正視這段歷史
08:52
So what he did was to teach us Jewish Holocaust history,
不但如此,他還告訴我們納粹是如何屠殺猶太人
08:54
and so huddled around books with photographs of people in Auschwitz,
一張張令人毛骨悚然的照片
08:58
I learned the melancholic history of my people
我透過納粹震驚世界的罪行
09:03
through the melancholic history of another people.
開始了解發生在自己國家的慘痛歷史
09:06
I mean, picture this -- really picture this.
想想看
09:08
A Pakistani Muslim teaching Jewish Holocaust history
一個巴基斯坦回教徒講述猶太人歷史
09:10
to young Igbo children.
給伊格博小孩聽
09:15
Story is powerful.
故事的力量如此地無遠弗屆
09:16
Story is fluid and it belongs to nobody.
並且深植人心
09:18
And it should come as no surprise
這,不難想像
09:20
that my first novel at 16 was about Neo-Nazis
16歲時我出了生平第一本小說
09:22
taking over Nigeria to institute the Fourth Reich.
故事內容是關於新納粹佔領奈及利亞,並成立第四帝國
09:25
It makes perfect sense.
聽起來並非無稽之談
09:28
And they were to blow up strategic targets
在小說裡,新納粹計劃轟炸重要戰略據點
09:29
and take over the country, and they were foiled
企圖控制全國,但最後被
09:33
by a Nigerian James Bond called Coyote Williams,
奈及利亞版的"007" Coyote Williams
09:35
and a Jewish Nazi hunter.
以及一名專門獵殺納粹的猶太殺手所遏止
09:39
And it happened over four continents.
小說一上市
09:42
And when the book came out, I was heralded as Africa's answer
有人拿我媲美間諜小說家Francis Forsythe
09:43
to Frederick Forsyth, which is a dubious honor at best.
當然這些讚譽對我僅是虛名
09:46
But also, the book was launched in time for me to be accused
同一時間,因為這本書的關係
09:50
of constructing the blueprint for a foiled coup attempt.
我被指控"企圖煽動政變"
09:53
So at 18, I was bonded off to prison in Nigeria.
18歲時,更因此鋃鐺入獄
09:57
I grew up very privileged, and it's important
我成長在有特權的環境,談論特權是很重要的
10:02
to talk about privilege, because we don't talk about it here.
因為我們在這裡不談論這個議題
10:03
A lot of us are very privileged.
有很多人都享有特權
10:06
I grew up -- servants, cars, televisions, all that stuff.
小時候我家裡有佣人服侍,有轎車可開,有電視可看
10:08
My story of Nigeria growing up was very different from the story
這和我在奈及利亞的日子簡直是天壤之別
10:12
I encountered in prison, and I had no language for it.
回想被關在監獄裡那段時光,真不知該怎麼形容
10:15
I was completely terrified, completely broken,
我簡直嚇壞了,完全不知所措
10:19
and kept trying to find a new language,
只是不斷想著
10:23
a new way to make sense of all of this.
這一切是怎麼回事?
10:27
Six months after that, with no explanation,
六個月後,亳無預警的
10:30
they let me go.
我被釋放了
10:33
Now for those of you who have seen me at the buffet tables know
不過如果你們剛看到我吃飯的樣子
10:34
that it was because it was costing them too much to feed me.
應該不難理解他們一定是怕被我吃垮,只好放我走!
10:36
(Laughter)
(笑聲)
10:39
But I mean, I grew up with this incredible privilege,
說真的,我在這樣的享有特權環境下長大
10:48
and not just me -- millions of Nigerians
但不只是我,很多在奈及利亞的孩子
10:50
grew up with books and libraries.
都在書本伴隨下成長
10:52
In fact, we were talking last night about how all
事實上,我們昨晚還談到
10:54
of the steamy novels of Harold Robbins
Harold Robbins 的小說
10:58
had done more for sex education of horny teenage boys in Africa
對非洲青少年的性啟蒙造成的影響
11:00
than any sex education programs ever had.
是其他任何性教育課程都無法比擬的
11:04
All of those are gone.
但現在這樣的東西都消失了
11:08
We are squandering the most valuable resource
我們正在糟塌
11:10
we have on this continent: the valuable resource
在這塊土地上最重要的資源
11:12
of the imagination.
那就是我們的想像力
11:14
In the film, "Sometimes in April" by Raoul Peck,
Raoul Peck 導演的電影" Sometimes in April"
11:16
Idris Elba is poised in a scene with his machete raised,
其中有一幕Idris Elba 舉起彎刀
11:19
and he's being forced by a crowd to chop up his best friend --
在眾人脅迫下,要砍死他最好的朋友
11:23
fellow Rwandan Army officer, albeit a Tutsi --
一名盧安達軍官,是個圖西人
11:27
played by Fraser James.
這角色由Fraser James扮演
11:30
And Fraser's on his knees, arms tied behind his back,
Fraser 跪在地上,雙手被反綁在背後
11:32
and he's crying.
眼中泛著淚光
11:36
He's sniveling.
身體也不停顫抖著
11:38
It's a pitiful sight.
著實令人心酸
11:39
And as we watch it, we are ashamed.
看著這畫面,我們也不自覺地感到羞愧
11:40
And we want to say to Idris, "Chop him up.
心裡真想對Idris說"動手吧!
11:45
Shut him up."
殺了他!"
11:48
And as Idris moves, Fraser screams, "Stop!
只見Idris 舉起彎刀,Fraser 大喊著,"不要,
11:50
Please stop!"
請停下來!
11:54
Idris pauses, then he moves again,
Idris 猶豫了一下,仍再度舉起手上的刀
11:56
and Fraser says, "Please!
Fraser 不停的喊著,"拜託!
11:59
Please stop!"
請你停下來!"
12:02
And it's not the look of horror and terror on Fraser's face that stops Idris or us;
其實並非Fraser 驚恐害怕的表情阻止了Idris
12:04
it's the look in Fraser's eyes.
而是他的眼神
12:10
It's one that says, "Don't do this.
那雙眼睛彷彿在說"請你住手
12:12
And I'm not saying this to save myself,
我這麼哀求不是為了我自己
12:16
although this would be nice. I'm doing it to save you,
而是因為你
12:18
because if you do this, you will be lost."
因為這一刀砍下去,你會迷失自我"
12:22
To be so afraid that you're standing in the face
想想有多可怕,你面對死亡
12:26
of a death you can't escape and that you're soiling yourself
逃都逃不了
12:29
and crying, but to say in that moment,
只能嚎啕大哭
12:31
as Fraser says to Idris, "Tell my girlfriend I love her."
這時Fraser 還對Idris 說"請告訴我的女朋友,我愛她。"
12:33
In that moment, Fraser says,
Fraser 還說
12:37
"I am lost already, but not you ... not you."
"反正我沒希望了,但是你還有機會..你是還有機會的。"
12:41
This is a redemption we can all aspire to.
這是所有人都希望得到的救贖
12:46
African narratives in the West, they proliferate.
在西方,你可以聽到愈來愈多關於非洲的故事
12:49
I really don't care anymore.
那已經不是我所關注的了
12:53
I'm more interested in the stories we tell about ourselves --
我感興趣的是那些真正屬於非洲的故事
12:54
how as a writer, I find that African writers
身為一個作家,我發現非洲的作家
12:58
have always been the curators of our humanity on this continent.
一直都扮演著詮釋非洲人性的角色
13:03
The question is, how do I balance narratives that are wonderful
問題是,要劇情扣人心弦?
13:06
with narratives of wounds and self-loathing?
還是要據實揭露醜陋的傷疤?
13:12
And this is the difficulty that I face.
這中間的平衡一直困擾著我
13:16
I am trying to move beyond political rhetoric
我試著跳出政治的框架
13:19
to a place of ethical questioning.
以倫理為本位
13:21
I am asking us to balance the idea
我要求大家認清
13:23
of our complete vulnerability with the complete notion
自身的軟弱
13:26
of transformation of what is possible.
才有改變它的可能
13:30
As a young middle-class Nigerian activist,
年輕時,我是個激進份子
13:32
I launched myself along with a whole generation of us
和同時代的許多年輕人一樣
13:34
into the campaign to stop the government.
投身於反政府運動
13:37
And I asked millions of people,
我要求這些年輕人
13:40
without questioning my right to do so,
不管我是否有這樣的權利
13:42
to go up against the government.
我鼓動他們站出來和政府對抗
13:44
And I watched them being locked up in prison and tear gassed.
我也親眼看著他們被關進監牢
13:46
I justified it, and I said, "This is the cost of revolution.
我還自我辨護,這就是革命的代價
13:48
Have I not myself been imprisoned?
難道我沒有進過監獄?
13:51
Have I not myself been beaten?"
難道我沒有被鞭打過?
13:53
It wasn't until later, when I was imprisoned again,
直到我再次入獄
13:55
that I understood the real meaning of torture,
我才體會到何謂真正的折磨
13:58
and how easy your humanity can be taken from you,
人性又是如何的脆弱
14:00
for the time I was engaged in war,
我以為這是一場戰爭
14:03
righteous, righteous war.
一場正義之戰
14:06
Excuse me.
對不起
14:09
Sometimes I can stand before the world --
有時我會挺身而出
14:12
and when I say this, transformation
雖然如此
14:14
is a difficult and slow process --
我深知改革是一條漫長的路
14:16
sometimes I can stand before the world and say,
有時我會挺身而出,大聲說
14:18
"My name is Chris Abani.
"我是Chris Abani
14:21
I have been human six days, but only sometimes."
整整六天我終於嘗到做人的感覺,雖然僅只是偶爾。"
14:23
But this is a good thing.
但這是件好事
14:26
It's never going to be easy.
改革絕非一蹴可幾
14:28
There are no answers.
也沒有任何正確答案
14:30
As I was telling Rachel from Google Earth,
如同我告訴Google Earth 的Rachel
14:32
that I had challenged my students in America --
在美國教書時,我對學生說
14:34
I said, "You don't know anything about Africa, you're all idiots."
"你們根本不知道真正的非洲,你們都是一群笨蛋。"
14:36
And so they said, "Tell me about Africa, Professor Abani."
學生們說:"教授,那請你告訴我們吧!"
14:39
So I went to Google Earth and learned about Africa.
於是我打開Google Earth,告訴他們非洲在哪裡
14:42
And the truth be told, this is it, isn't it?
真相已經被告知了,不是嗎?
14:45
There are no essential Africans,
其實沒有所謂的主要的或必要的非洲人
14:48
and most of us are as completely ignorant as everyone else
大部分的非洲人跟其他人一樣
14:49
about the continent we come from,
根本對非洲一無所知
14:51
and yet we want to make profound statements about it.
卻總對它高談闊論
14:53
And I think if we can just admit that we're all trying
我認為如果每個人都試著去
14:56
to approximate the truth of our own communities,
瞭解自己的來歷
14:58
it will make for a much more nuanced
當講述自己國家的故事時
15:01
and a much more interesting conversation.
才更有意義
15:03
I want to believe that we can be agnostic about this,
我也相信唯有跳脫舊有框架
15:06
that we can rise above all of this.
我們才能超越現在
15:10
When I was 10, I read James Baldwin's "Another Country,"
10歲時,我讀了James Baldwin的"另一個國家"
15:12
and that book broke me.
這本書深深震撼了我
15:16
Not because I was encountering homosexual sex and love
不是因為我第一次接觸同性戀及愛的題材
15:18
for the first time, but because the way James wrote about it
而是James敘述情節的方式
15:21
made it impossible for me to attach otherness to it.
讓你不得不深受感動
15:24
"Here," Jimmy said.
他寫到:"這"
15:27
"Here is love, all of it."
"這就是愛"
15:29
The fact that it happens in "Another Country"
這樣的故事發生在他所寫的這本書中
15:31
takes you quite by surprise.
確實令人驚訝
15:33
My friend Ronald Gottesman says there are three kinds of people in the world:
我朋友Ronald Gottesman曾提過世上有三種人
15:36
those who can count, and those who can't.
懂算術和不懂算術的
15:38
(Laughter)
(笑聲)
15:41
He also says that the cause of all our trouble
他還說人之所以受苦受難
15:45
is the belief in an essential, pure identity:
是因為思想僵固,太多先入為主的成見
15:48
religious, ethnic, historical, ideological.
就宗教,種族,歷史或意識形態上皆是如此
15:51
I want to leave you with a poem by Yusef Komunyakaa
最後我想和大家分享一首由Yusef Komunyakaa作的詩
15:56
that speaks to transformation.
內容是關於轉變
15:59
It's called "Ode to the Drum," and I'll try and read it
這首詩叫”頌鼓”
16:02
the way Yusef would be proud to hear it read.
我會試著用Yusef 引以為傲的方式來吟誦它
16:05
"Gazelle, I killed you for your skin's exquisite touch,
非洲的羚羊啊!我宰了你,為了你皮毛細緻的觸感
16:11
for how easy it is to be nailed to a board
為了輕易地把它釘在木板上
16:17
weathered raw as white butcher paper.
像白紙一樣被風化
16:20
Last night I heard my daughter praying for the meat here at my feet.
昨晚我聽到女兒為了腳邊的肉不斷祈禱著
16:24
You know it wasn't anger that made me stop my heart till the hammer fell.
你知道我的心往下掉,並非因為憤怒,直到榔頭掉了下來
16:29
Weeks ago, you broke me as a woman
數週前,像個女人一樣,粉碎了我的心
16:33
once shattered me into a song beneath her weight,
像一首歌,留下的是殘缺不全的片段
16:36
before you slouched into that grassy hush.
你什麼話也沒說就消失在草叢裡
16:40
And now I'm tightening lashes, shaped in hide as if around a ribcage,
現在我繫緊韁繩,挺起胸膛
16:43
shaped like five bowstrings.
像繃緊的弓弦
16:48
Ghosts cannot slip back inside the body's drum.
就連鬼魂也無法碰觸我的身體
16:50
You've been seasoned by wind, dusk and sunlight.
狂風,日暮,日出,週而復始
16:53
Pressure can make everything whole again.
壓力可以讓萬象更新
16:57
Brass nails tacked into the ebony wood,
枯木逄春,連釘在木頭裡的銅釘也不例外
17:01
your face has been carved five times.
只在臉上留下歲月的痕跡
17:03
I have to drive trouble in the hills.
山丘上
17:06
Trouble in the valley,
山谷中
17:08
and trouble by the river too.
河沿上,我帶走不幸
17:10
There is no palm wine, fish, salt, or calabash.
沒有可可果,棕櫚酒,魚,鹽,也沒有葫蘆
17:12
Kadoom. Kadoom. Kadoom.
咚咚..咚咚..咚咚
17:16
Ka-doooom.
咚咚
17:20
Now I have beaten a song back into you.
我為你寫了一首歌
17:22
Rise and walk away like a panther."
快快起立,像黑豹一樣奔馳吧!
17:26
Thank you.
謝謝大家
17:30
(Applause)
(掌聲)
17:32
Translated by Wen Chao
Reviewed by Paoli Lee

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About the Speaker:

Chris Abani - Novelist, poet
Imprisoned three times by the Nigerian government, Chris Abani turned his experience into poems that Harold Pinter called "the most naked, harrowing expression of prison life and political torture imaginable." His novels include GraceLand (2004) and The Virgin of Flames (2007).

Why you should listen

Chris Abani's first novel, published when he was 16, was Masters of the Board, a political thriller about a foiled Nigerian coup. The story was convincing enough that the Nigerian government threw him in jail for inciting a coincidentally timed real-life coup. Imprisoned and tortured twice more, he channeled the experience into searing poetry.

Abani's best-selling 2004 novel GraceLand is a searing and funny tale of a young Nigerian boy, an Elvis impersonator who moves through the wide, wild world of Lagos, slipping between pop and traditional cultures, art and crime. It's a perennial book-club pick, a story that brings the postcolonial African experience to vivid life.

Now based in Los Angeles, Abani published The Virgin of Flames in 2007. He is also a publisher, running the poetry imprint Black Goat Press.

More profile about the speaker
Chris Abani | Speaker | TED.com