A LETTER FROM JONATHAN GULLIBLE
A free market play was written and produced by Adedayo Thomas [below left] and Paul Ugbede and directed by Dr. Sam Kafewo [below right]. This production was based on my book, The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey (aka JG) which was first published by Sam Slom and Smart Business Hawaii twenty years ago. With an acting cast of 22, the play was performed August 13 to 15, 2009 at the Drama Village of Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria.
One of the actors, Olokesina Peters Ijagbenu, reported on the event: “Right from the rehearsal of the play, we the actors were apprehensive that the audience might not respond appropriately to the play. The theatre was famous for producing indigenous plays that involved dances, songs, and African proverbs and riddles. Here was a play based purely on ideas. Will the audience be receptive?
“We were pleasantly surprised when the play started and the audience sat in rapt attention, following its message and even comparing images and symbols to the contemporary Nigerian situation. For instance, when one of the lords said that a house was not built according to specification and had to be demolished, the audience chorused the name of Nasir El Rufai. He was the immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria who became infamous for demolishing ‘illegal’ structures in his bid to return the city of Abuja to its original master plan.
“The audience members were unanimous on the three nights that the play should go beyond the four walls of the University and should be taken to the authorities in Abuja who perpetuate the problems enunciated in the play.”
Smuggling In and Out of Cuba
How do we know of the impact the book is having? When Yuri Perez, 26 years old, recently escaped from Cuba, he wrote to me because of a smuggled Spanish copy of JG he had obtained covertly in Cuba. Writes Yuri, “I read your book The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey. It is a great book and an easy way to teach [classical] liberalism to a new generation. I really thank you because of your book…Now I escaped from Cuba and I am living in USA with political refugee status. I arrived about 2 weeks ago and I’d like to kep in efforts of expanding liberalism in the world. I’d like to make contact with you.”
I immediately wrote to him to learn more of his story. “I’m happy,” said Yuri, “because the USA is a great country and I’m safe here but a little frustrated because I left the fight for freedom in my country. There in Cuba, my uncle was a political prisoner and my father was expelled from his job. In Cuba everything is under government control, including the economy. I had a lot of problems at my university while studying law. On orders from State Security (Cuba’s secret police), I was expelled from the university… Later, I entered the Juventud Martiana organization (it is the [classical] liberal youth in Cuba) and on December 2006 we got our observer membership in the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY)… In November 2008, I became president of the organization… “Your book The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible and the Filosofi’a de la Libertad [the animated epilogue of the book] I used to open with a video player (internet access is not easy in Cuba) and I had a book written by the French [classical] liberal, Frederic Bastiat, who says the same. I don’t remember who gave these to me, some people who visited us in Cuba, maybe it was a diplomat from the US or Europe. I just liked it a lot and as I wrote you it is a very good way to teach our principles to a new generation.”
Yuri Pérez [below left] will be a featured speaker at the conference of the International Society for Individual Liberty in Phoenix, Arizona, January 8-10. http://www.isilretreat.org/
The Slovak Smuggler
It just so happens that we may know the likely smuggler ofJohnathan Gullible into Cuba. Several years ago Matus Povanc [above right] of the Hayek Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia was allowed to travel to Cuba as a citizen of a former Soviet satellite country. Mat took a lot of materials with him and described a stealthy rendezvous with the underground freedom movement.
Writes Mat, “I brought there not only your book but also Bastiat and Huerta de Soto. I brought there also some CDs where there were many papers from the Mises, Cato, and Acton Institute in Spanish and also some e-books and also the animated Philosophy of Liberty. Who knows. If it is true, I am glad that I am a small grain of the history.” Mat is also progressing with his Johnathan Gullible Slovak play, soon to be adapted for radio drama. Reports Mat, “We actually still do not have any theatrical group to perform the play, but I found one student who wants to transform it into a radio series. He has access also to Slovak and Czech radio stations. So it is maybe some starting point for the theatrical performance as well. We will see.”A Hundred Thousand Copies…CD’s, Internet, and Awards The International Policy Network (IPN) of London is distributing 100,000 copies of the book along with a collection of more than a hundred free market books, essays, and articles by Hayek, Friedman, Bastiat, Rothbard, Mises, and others too numerous to name. “Ideas for a Free Society” is a CD that is primarily intended for distribution in developing countries.
IPN Chairman Linda Whetstone explained, “I think that JG has probably already reached these countries but JG and the CD are now on their way to Zimbabwe, Malaysia, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Slovenia, Ghana, Afghanistan, China, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Vietnam, Cambodia, Montenegro and Nepal. Someone working in the US treasury on international affairs has also asked for copies for some of his colleagues…. I may have told you that we sent 3000 to Afghanistan but possibly not that they arrived without a hitch so Jonathan Gullible is now available at two separate universities in Kabul.” The Finnish edition of JG is also now available courtesy of Petri Kajander, who translated the book and offers it on his website, “Essential Economics or Basics of Economics” at www.taloudenperusteet.com. Petri has also translated works by Hayek, Mises, Rothbard, and numerous Austrian economists. He is currently forming the first free market think tank in Helsinki.
Johnathan Gullible has just been nominated by two separate institutes for the Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Award. The Atlas Economic Research Foundation offers this award in recognition of “the institutes that published a book, magazine, report, monograph, or study that… made the greatest contribution to public understanding of the free society.” The book was nominated for the third Bulgarian edition that was published by the Bulgarian Society for Individual Liberty and the Sindhi and second Urdu editions of that were published by the Alternate Solutions Institute of Pakistan.
Finally, the animated epilogue of the book, “The Philosophy of Liberty,” is now available in 39 languages on the Web sitehttp://www.jonathangullible.
Says Mark Skousen, former President of the Foundation for Economic Education and author of nearly 30 books on economics, investments, and history: “Nobody has done what this book has done, withJonathan Gullible and getting read by thousands around the world via 46 translations.”