September 11, 2018
Sionne Rameah Neely, PhD
My name is Sionne Rameah Neely, PhD. and this statement refers to a post written by Targaryen Tyrion Nudho on Medium.com entitled, “We Should All be Ashamed.” On September 7th, 2018, this article was written and shared on a very public platform without my knowledge or consent. Although claiming to write in solidarity with me, there was no sincere consideration about my story, circumstances, personal and professional life, and relationships.
It is deeply unjust to assume another woman’s story without even speaking to her about it. It is an intensely intimate violation to share what is believed to be her truth with the entire world. I am the only one who can speak my story. This article has misrepresented a very complex situation and amplified my private life in public ways that distract from the critical work, finances and energy that I and others have contributed, for nearly a decade, to shaping ACCRA [dot] ALT and the CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival.
Through this piece, the author has coerced me to step forward and yet is hiding behind an alias. I am now receiving numerous calls, emails and messages from friends, associates and people I do not even know, who are insisting that I answer to something I never consented to share in the first place. This writing does not bring me joy, solace or peace and has the potential to further deepen existing tensions within Accra’s small arts community by creating mechanisms of misunderstanding, kokonsa and chaos. Those who truly know me also know that I am not about that life.
The article has unfairly named a number of artists, activists and art generators within the Accra community for being silent and complicit. This is not right as many of these folk have honored my requests for privacy. It is not the responsibility of artists – particularly those named – to have to speak publicly on a highly vulnerable and private matter. Some of those persons named have provided me quiet solidarity, confidentiality and comfort during a very difficult time within my life which also includes the sudden loss of my beloved father. To insist that they are not being supportive or somehow hypocritical demonstrates that this author is not invested in knowing or sharing the full truth and yet is proclaiming to speak on my behalf and in the name of truth.
A sincere truth-telling process cannot happen if those who are involved are unaware of or vehemently against the methods of that process and how it is revealed. This is not how honesty, reconciliation and healing work – it cannot be forced. Instead, this writing has created a double violence, wounding and traumatization for me and others in the arts community who bear no responsibility.
I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I ask that the public respect my request for space to deal with this intensely private matter in my own time and through my own process. I also ask that the same respect be given to the artists named within this piece. I have sent a request to Medium to immediately take down this story which they have done. I hope that this platform and others will work to ensure that the violent marginalization of people’s life stories will not continue to take place without their knowledge or approval.