By its nature this whole post is rather long: we are quoting from the twitter thread of Taffistan Am Byth, (formerly Jaan Exotic) @punkistani93, and continue now with her point 11.
11. Jim Perrin asks if it’s legit that @jomadine saw a snake in Cameroon, and then saw one on the telly in what I imagine was probably Ely, having chatted briefly with Eric on council estates. Mate, is this bloke serious? He simultaneously projects colonial tropes while denying: from childhood of finding a horned viper in a rat mole burrow is alien and terrifying. It’s integrated back into the world of the Cardiff housing estate in which he and his daughter eventually find themselves by the introduction of commentary from a David Attenborough documentary he watched on television in the latter place. Does that somehow shadow the veracity — if it is such — of the original account? It’s a question that could only arise when your belief in the author has been undermined.
12. The likelihood of a snake emerging in a sub tropical climate, the white colonial gaze of an Attenborough documentary in discussing the ‘same snake’: Jim reckons there are no snakes in Africa? What?
13. This is the bit that gets me: ‘It’s to the credit of this little country that took Ngalle in.’ I’m going to try hard to explain why this is offensive. What does he mean? ‘To the credit of this little country that took Ngalle in.’? What does this mean and why did @WalesArtsReview publish it?
Jim Perrin’s review: These disjunctions abound. They add to our understanding of the terrible deracinations implicit in the migrant experience. Yes it’s to the credit of Wales that this little country took Ngalle in, providing him with a Creative Wales Award to allow him to write his memoir, found him a publisher in the excellent little west Wales house of Parthian and, through the good offices of kulturtragers like Sally Baker of PEN Cymru and Peter Florence at Hay Festival, showcased him at our nation’s leading English-language literary events. [Editor’s comment: it is plain to see Jim Perrin at work here, in this section of his review, flattering all those he can by introducing them specifically… before his opiniated final remark.] But have they perhaps been a little credulous, a little tokenist, here?
14. History lesson! The British Empire colonised ¼ of the planet, including Cameroon and historically, Nigeria too. So a lot of the cash that built this country was directly robbed from countries like Nigeria, Pakistan, etc.
15. Wales didn’t take him in. Wales doesn’t take anyone in. Wales doesn’t have a devolved policy around immigration and asylum. But when people talk in such totalising terms about Wales and its generosity, it’s a dog whistle.
16. It’s a dog whistle because Wales is a deeply, deeply racist country with ideas of itself as a ‘tolerant nation’. Insinuating that it’s to Wales’ ‘credit’ that they took someone in. This is racist. Wales did NOT take him in and give him opportunities.
17. He didn’t just waltz in, get five years to remain and get a ‘publishing contract’. @yomadene has been writing for years, longer than I have been alive (25 years) and is also pursuing a PhD in English literature at @cardiffuni. The reduction of Eric to his lived experiences. [Editor’s note: Jac’s sisters have shown conclusively, in previous posts, that Jim Perrin has lied by claiming falsely that HE had achieved such a PhD… and calling himself ‘Doctor’. ]
18. In equal parts, dehumanising, white supremacist, colonial and deeply motivated by feelings of jealousy within Jim himself. Jim’s upset Eric is doing well. I wonder why.
19. Is it racist for a white man to insinuate an extremely talented writer like @yomadene has only had prestigious stages such as @hayfestival because of usage of terminology relating to ‘tokenistic’? Yes, it’s racist , and offensive.
20. It begs the question ‘would the author have written about Eric if he was a white man and used such racially motivated terminology as ‘tokenistic’ towards a white man?’ No. Probably not.
21. Is this an example of ‘different treatment’ under the equality act? Yes, seemingly.
22. Usage of the term ‘Sergio Leone eastern’, says it all. That should never have seen the light of day. ‘Sexually exploitative’, yeah I feel really uncomfortable with this projection onto a black and minority ethnic man, for obvious reasons. This is extremely loaded.
23. Here’s the screenshot. Hilarious the author believes @yomadene’s lived experience is more likely to stoke racists than, say, Jim’s racism itself.
Jim Perrin’s review: Ngalle may have more to offer in the way of explorations of the cultural disjunctions that so teasingly underpin this Sergio Leone eastern. Unfortunately, the boastful sexually exploitative, palpably dishonest authorial persona that emerges from this egotistical narrative plays straight into the hands of those seditious racists, the ardent brexiteers. They’ll find too much in it to confirm their terrible, wicked, dehumanising prejudices. [Ed. A typical Jim Perrin red herring and simply displaying his OWN prejudices. In fact we have frequently heard it said that whenever Jim Perrin writes a review — or a biography — he is usually writing about himself… ] It’s certainly not a text for which many outside our literary establishment, which has been so swift to raise its dubious author to a position of influence, could feel much fondness or admiration.
24. @yomadene and I have had a series of creative differences over the past three years, but so do all artists in our extremely small city. I feel uncomfortable with how his book has been discussed and I wanted to articulate this all in one place.
25. I’ve used @WalesArtsReview to challenge inequality and racism. I’m disappointed to see @WalesArtsReview use their platform to publish what is a racist article. You can’t be a fox and a hound. It’s not fair, and it exploits people like me and others.
26. As a light skinned British-born black and minority ethnic woman, I call on other ‘diverse’ artists to demonstrate their solidarity with Eric.
27. ‘Activism is the price I pay for living on this earth.’ — Alice Walker — and if anyone wants any references, I’ve got texts that articulate why Jim’s text is so next level colonial and ‘fucked up.’
* * * * *
Among many others, Robert Macfarlane commented on this thread as follows: ‘This is a brilliant and necessary thread, Yasmin. Thank you for writing it, for calling out Jim Perrin and for articulating in such detail what was grotesque about his ‘review’, which should never have come close to publication.’
We, Jac’s sisters, also feel that this thread was of particular importance. For DECADES Jim Perrin has been ‘cock of the walk’ in Welsh literary circles; he has dominated the literary scene for far too long with his flim-flam and intellectual flattery, and his insidious ways; and we too congratulate Yasmin for her passionately determined and influential stand. So influential indeed, that Wales Art Review were obliged to remove the so-called review. (And might maybe reconsider their loyalty to one who has shown himself so overtly mean-minded and inferior.)