BIAFRA: THE FORGOTTEN GENOCIDE
In the past fifty years Africa, just like other parts of the world has experienced many social and political upheavals of earth-shaking magnitude. Of all the wars that have happened within this period both in Africa and elsewhere none has had so much devastating and of a far-reaching effect in terms of human death tolls and collateral property damage like the Biafra War. Yet in spite of this fact it is about the least remembered and talked of wars of recent history. Why?
Forty years have gone by since the so-called end of the war that produced the worst haunting war pictures of all time; pictures of dead and dying children and their mothers. And despite the fact that these gory pictures of children with oversized heads, bloated stomachs grotesquely distending from nightmarish skeletal frames, cannot possibly be erased from the mind of anybody who has seen them, nobody seems to remember again. These sepulchral pictures have this quality of burning effect that gets them permanently etched into the mental plate of the person who looks at them. So the question is has the world really forgotten or it is just suppressing the memory with all the strength which it could use in facing them? Can a present successfully erase the past and expect a bright and glorious future? The truth is that the future must always be an inextricable part of the past. And every anticipated successes or failures of tomorrow will always be tied up with what we did or did not do and even how we did it yesterday. Our past is the shadow of our future and try all we can we can never escape this specter as we journey toward the light of a future.
Nigeria of Yakubu Gowon and Britain of Harold Wilson from 1966 on set out to completely rid Nigeria of Biafrans for daring to assert that they had a right to life after they were persecuted and first massacred in their hundreds of thousands all across Nigeria. The method these two men employed was to use every means possible to exterminate and cleanse Nigeria of all traces of Igbo and all Easterners once and for all.
So on the 15th of January 1970 when Biafra surrendered to Nigeria, there was no definite conclusion or resolution of the conflict. Nigerian government’s announced position was that there was no victor or a vanquished side. But the truth is that nothing could be more deceitful than that. On the Biafran side they asked for nothing and got nothing, it was very timid, clumsy and hasty, a shortsighted and an unrealistic way of ending such a colossal devastation. On the Biafran side it was naïve and like under duress it was a timid patchwork of a defeated people anxious to get it over with without thinking of the implications of its effect on the future generations of their people. How to bury their dead or concretely prevent a future occurrence was never properly and comprehensively addressed by either side. They should have done better and it must be addressed no matter how long it has taken. On the Nigerian side it was such a calculated deceit and a clever way of hiding from the world their actual intentions. Because they were still anxious to complete the “Final Solution”, the Machiavellian style, on the Biafrans, they still wanted to make sure that the Biafrans will never again attempt any kind of self-assertion. So the project continued unabated after the 15th of January but now the rest of the world had been successfully hoodwinked, they would see nothing and say nothing since now it had to be, what does the Nigerian government policy say, instead of what actually went on and what is still going on in Biafra Land till this date.
The British government under Wilson lobbied and convinced the rest of the world that the Biafrans were “worthless” and deserved nothing less than extermination. They backed up these claims by supplying Nigeria with war tacticians, combat personnel, weapons of mass destruction, mortars, tanks, war planes, chemical weapons, etc. The Biafrans were defenseless and it would have been easy for the combined forces of Nigeria and Britain to accomplish the mission but Wilson wanted some form of legitimacy to assuage his frayed conscience, he invited others to join. They convinced the others that there will be lots of gains; much resource to fuel their domestic economies and feed fat their very “valuable” citizens at the expense of the extermination of the “worthless” Biafrans. So the Russians came, the East Germans came, the Egyptians came. They came with men and arms and supplies. They came to test the effectiveness of their latest weapons on the “worthless” Biafrans who were fit only for annihilation.
The United States of Lyndon Johnson had their head in the sand as the ostrich and claimed neutrality and noticed nothing. (Yet at the so-called end of the war United States never remained neutral and pretended that there was no oil to be exploited. That would have been good enough. But no they are all in the forefront with all their big time harvesters mopping up both the oil and the blood of the 3.1 million Igbo/Biafrans and having a good time). U Thant’s United Nations were roundly incompetent and did not seem to know the difference between an international conflict and an internal national conflict. The war was between two sovereign states, Republic of Biafra and Republic of Nigeria but U Thant and his United Nations adjudged it an internal matter and let 3.1 million people be massacred and their homeland pillaged. The Organization of African Unity which now goes by African Union was as it still is an Arabs’ affair so it was only short of an open declaration of support with materials and arms supply to their Fulani brothers of Nigeria, similar to what is going on in Sudan’s Khartoum today.
(But we need to commend the efforts of private citizens of United States and a few other nations who were bold enough to believe otherwise because they heard the news, read the papers, saw the pictures, knew the truth and had their conscience. They believed in their private capacities that the Biafrans could worth something better than extermination. So as Red Cross personnel, Caritas International of the Vatican, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) of France, World Council of Churches, Irish Church organizations, and other helping hands, came to help). The Biafrans will never forget.
Ever since the so-called end of the war, Nigeria as a country has remained a genocide and terrorist country both inside and outside its borders. The Christmas day of 2009 attempted terrorist attack on the Detroit bound Northwest Airlines of flight 253 is just an export sample from the sinister terror factories of the Nigerian state. When the Nigerian state unleashed the horrible genocide against the Biafrans, the United States and the majority part of the world pretended that nothing was going on or at best it was happening far away and should be none of their business as it was an internal affairs of another “sovereign state”. Very well, but they forgot that we are living in a one-world society and what that means is that we should show concern when a part is being bullied. When we do not, the tendency is always that it will spill over and sometimes touch those who were very far away from the original place of birth of the monster. Nigeria like all other failed states has become a breeding ground for terrorists of all shapes and colors but what is worse about its own case is that it is state sponsored unlike in the other places. In other places the states at least overtly distance themselves from the terror organizations, here the state sponsors and equips the terror outfits.
Nothing emboldens like success, so with their near-success at annihilating the Biafran people with Britain and many others cheering them along, Nigerian state has now come to believe they can confidently take on the world and terrorize everybody everywhere. While the world is harvesting the blood-oil from the Niger Delta/Biafra region to energize their domestic economies and provide the good life for their citizens to the total devastation of the indigenous peoples of Biafra let them also be ready to take the terror exports from the Nigerian Arab North. When the Arab North of Nigeria with Wilson’s Britain, Leonid Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, Gamal Nasser’s Egypt ganged up and nearly exterminated the entire Igbo/Biafran race, it was a non-issue. But today the Nigerian terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of the 25 December 2009 was born and raised in Nigeria, schooled and trained in Britain and Yemen and was recruited by the al Qaeda terror group in Nigeria and was headed for the US to explode his terror devise. That is how it is today, one-world society, inter-connected. So it teaches us that no one can anymore afford to ignore the murder and mistreatment of another no matter how remote and far removed it might be from where you are, it might come back to haunt us some day. The world of today cannot afford to forget the Biafran genocide because the victims can never forget and some day maybe very soon they will demand for justice in a violent manner and no force can stop the move of the second coming of the Republic of Biafra. The wound is too deep to be glossed over and the pain is eternal and too incessant to be wished away. If the world is willing they can do the right thing now. They can cub this impending catastrophe before it begins because it will begin. Injustice cannot be bottled up and hidden away forever.
“Genocide” as defined in Article II of the United Nations convention “is a crime of intentional destruction of a national, ethnic, racial and religious group, in whole or in part”. With all the copious evidences that are available to the United Nations and other organizations on the Biafran catastrophe can anyone sincerely argue that the Biafran genocide does not fall within this definition. Or is it that by virtue of color, race, religion, geography or politics the definition has acquired some sort of discriminatory application. The time is now for the deafening silence to this question to end. Let the world listen, let them remember, if they had forgotten, the victims with this overweighing burden have not and can never forget.
Any attempt at forgetting is delusional and a postponement of the evil day. Millions of lives have been lost in the most gruesome manner and they died for just one reason – an independent sovereign homeland. A time comes when men and women are called to give account of what they did or did not do and that time is now. And we need to be reminded that the days of an irresponsible world have since passed, the world of today thinks differently. The world of today is more responsible and accountable and wants to do the right thing. It wants to right the wrongs of yesterday’s world. And we believe it will do the right thing now in the case of the genocide in Biafra.
For anyone who still doubts what genocide means please follow this link, check it out with a number of other pictures of the Biafra war. Cut and paste if the link does not work. http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=biafran+war+pictures&rlz=1R2GGLL_en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=E6VwTPaeKIP58AbHuJibDQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CCYQsAQwAA&biw=1419&bih=633 What you see in these pictures are the way millions and millions of Biafran children, women and men died. They died a slow and painful agonizing death. For the others who were lucky, they were tortured to death in a matter of a few days, hours and minutes. And the luckiest ones were those massacred and bombed into smithereens in a matter of seconds. Some other lucky ones dug their own graves and were buried alive in them. They were skinned alive with broken bottles and left to die slowly. They were thrown into wells till the deep wells were filled then stones cast over the mouths. They were raped and beheaded with knives and machetes. They were disemboweled and their unborn babies smashed to the ground and the mothers killed. They were fed with feces and urines and mauled down, their heads were spiked and their unburied bodies left to rot and feed the animals and birds of the air. Now, how can anyone forget?