Joe Jencks

Saro Wiwa

from I Hear Your Voice

I followed the passion and death of Ken Saro Wiwa for months on NPR & the BBC.  He stood up to Shell Oil's horrible destruction of the Niger Delta and the Ogoni homeland with poetry, son, dance, and beauty.  For his efforts the military government of Nigeria framed him on a murder charge and executed Ken and several of his compatriots.  The day Ken was executed, I was driving in my car and I pulled over and sobbed.  Out of my grief for the loss of this beautiful, powerful man I cried out: "I hear your voice Ken Saro Wiwa, I hear your vice.  I will not let you die."  Last year I got to meet Dr. Owens Wiwa, Ken's brother, who is in exile in Toronto, Canada.  I played the song for Owens, who was very emotional and said simply, "My brother would like you!  He was a poet you know?"

I hear your voice Saro Wiwa I hear your voice
Though you faced the darkness still that didn't change your choice
To fight for human rights and justice where you live
I hear your voice Saro Wiwa I hear your voice

Though you're not the first somehow I pray you'll be the last
To lose your life by bloody tyrants' hands
And halfway 'round the world in a strange and distant land
I hear your voice urging me to take my stand

I hear your voice Saro Wiwa I hear your voice
Though you faced the darkness still that didn't change your choice
To fight for human rights and justice where you live
I hear your voice Saro Wiwa I hear your voice

There is no gun that can silence freedom's voice
Even when the wicked say that justice is their choice
And halfway 'round the world in a strange and distant land
I hear your voice urging me to take my stand

I hear your voice Saro Wiwa I hear your voice
Though you faced the darkness still that didn't change your choice
To fight for human rights and justice where you live
I hear your voice Saro Wiwa I hear your voice

I hear your voice
Ken Saro Wiwa I hear your voice

© 1996, 2003 Joe Jencks

updated: 9 years ago