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The 30th of May
Biafra and Biafanism
THE 30th of MAY
In few weeks it will be another anniversary of the day that the Biafrans declared their independence as a sovereign state borne out of necessity. The declaration of 30th May 1967 was not just an option open to the people at the time and now but it was and still is the only thing to do by a people who were threatened to be wiped out of the face of the earth by another group of human beings. The people were in danger of imminent destruction. What they did was in self defense. A frantic and desperate move to salvage and secure what was left of their broken and battered lives and property. All the Biafrans resident in every part of Nigeria were being tortured, killed, burned alive, beheaded, lynched, thrown into wet and dry wells and every imaginable form of inhuman treatment you can think of was dished out to their women, children, fetuses, men, the old and the infirm. It was a Nigerian state sponsored project. The Gowon government planned and systemically executed the project to kill every Igbo and, all other people of Biafran extraction. The then head of state of Nigeria Aguiyi Ironsi of Igbo extraction before Gowon had been tortured to death by his killers who tied him alive under an army Land Rover truck, with his head and torso dragging on the ground along the road.
It was a state organized genocide and Biafrans, the ones that returned and those back home out of desperation frantically drew a line and asked to be left alone as a people. It was not an aggressive declaration but a defensive declaration by a people that begged to let be since they had been declared by the Nigerian state as an unwanted people. But the aggressor, Nigeria would not leave them be and took the killing to the Biafran homeland and mustered the most fiendish force of men and equipment and carried out one of the worst destruction of life and property that has been witnessed by the world in modern time. While the genocide and mass murder were going on against Biafrans and Biafra, the rest of the world watched. Indeed some cheered and actively took part in the killing spree, some watched in consternation and batted breathe while just a few others raised their voice in condemnation of the gargantuan crime against humanity that was being executed on a defenseless people.
At the conclusion of the genocide the victors and their allies divided the spoil and have ever since been feeding sumptuously on the carcasses of the vanquished, Biafra and the Biafrans. I am embarking on the writing of this article with the hope that somehow it will be able to arouse the conscience of the world from their more than forty years stupor. Reflecting on the terrible experiences of the Igbolese (this is of course another way of addressing the people which I think is a lot more convenient and appropriate) and the rest of the Southeasterners who fought and lost in their bid for self determination as a sovereign state of Biafra some forty years back creates an agonizing perplexity. This is a very sober issue that should be occupying every waking moment of all the people concerned. Unfortunately that is not the case and of course the world will be eager to forget since they are not being reminded by the victims. The victims have gone about their business almost like nothing has happened and is still happening. It has remained like the case of irresponsible children who have gone about toasting and feasting with the murderers of their father while the corpse is still on the bed unburied. These children would have been forgiven maybe, if they were ignorant that those that killed their father are the same people they are wining and dining. Now the Igbolese have a saying that you do not go avenging your father’s murder when you are at your weakest or you will most likely fall victim to the same killer. That is an age-old time-tested wise counsel which the oppressed for the sake of his continuous survival should always heed.
That accepted (But is it true that the Igbolese are not yet men enough today to demand for justice for the murder of their father?) let us consider some other ramifications of this saying; it does not prohibit you from avenging your father’s murder, it tells you to do it only when you are sure you have all what it will take to obtain justice for your father’s murder. In the same vein it does not council you to party and feast with these murderers while you are awaiting justice and especially while the dead is still to be buried. In all decency it will be the height of irresponsibility on the side of these children to do so. In world politics you must engage both your friends and enemies but the engagement does not call for you to go cavorting with the enemy with reckless abandon rather it is supposed to be a diplomatic engagement the focus of which is on righting the wrongs that have been done. But if on the contrary you are all over the place cheering and cleaning up the acts of the murderers for them then every right-thinking observer will unmistakably see a people that are either retarded or irresponsible and have nothing to live for. For any people to earn the respect of others they must have what they stand for, the reason for their being. (Please forgive my language).
So far, to any objective observer it will appear that the victims of this heinous crime are subsisting at a very low bestial level who are incapable of feeling pain and injustice and completely bereft of any pride or human dignity. When we consider the fact that to this present time over 3.1 million Biafrans have paid the supreme price just because they were born Biafrans then one wonders what the present Biafrans are doing to obtain justice for these fallen heroes? If the present Biafrans can afford to live the way they are living today then the question is, does it mean that these heroes, men, women and children who died that we may live have died for nothing? No life is worth living if it is not lived for the good of others. But every subsequent generation must always be willing to gladly show gratitude for the legacies of the last one. Today we look back at these men, women and children and we eulogize them as the heroes they were because they fought to the end and gave their lives. They led a dignified life and died a noble death all for our sake. Tomorrow how will the next generation look back at us? Who will they see when they look back at our generation? What have we given for the sake of the coming generation? Will our own children look back and shake their head in shame at a generation that lived their lives selfishly and for little comfort and never thought about the pride of their children?
The 30th of May is the most solemn day in our modern history. It is the day that we as a people chose to live a dignified and free life instead of a life of shame and subjugation. It is the day that we chose to design our destiny ourselves and chart the way to our destination though replete with thorns and many defeats but full with pride, dignity and honor. Because we believe in this destiny we gave our lives for it. We staked our pride on this belief and gave it all we have got. This date is the essence of our being, the definition of who we are. If we gave up this date then we would have given up who we are and sold the pride and honor of our fathers and purchased with the proceeds emptiness and a seared future, filled with shame and filthiness. If we today should think that we have the right to renegotiate this mandate committed into our hands by our fathers then we are mistaken. Why? The reason is simple; the 3.1 million heroes who gave their lives did not give them for anything short of independence and freedom, a homeland where they can live in peace and safety and raise their children as honorable and responsible members of the human race.
If today we think we can in cowardice or for whatever reason compromise and obtain for them anything less then the question is with what sort of face are we going to meet with them when we would have concluded our life’s journey and go to give them the account of how we handled the fire they left for us to tend? It is too late now for us to continue to deceive ourselves into erroneously thinking that we have the liberty to manipulate and alter the terms we bring to the negotiating table as it will suite us because we are only delegates who are armed with a mandate that is written in blood. The blood of 3.1 million people. We are merely their emissaries and the terms with which we negotiate are the final writ dripping of their most sacred blood and we cannot go to them now to rewrite these things. The truth is that we have limited choice options and for us to be able to answer the true children of our fathers we have to honor them by obtaining for them what they sort for and gave their lives in the process. 30th May is a day of reassessment of our stewardship, rededication, recommitment, renewal and determination. It is the day of sober reflection, how have we fared as a people? Where are we headed? Are we on the right road? What is the state of the fire left for us to tend? Have we been religiously stoking this sacred fire and making it burn brighter or is the wind about to blow away the last embers and ashes into the cauldron of history? Brothers and sisters that is the meaning of the 30th May. These questions must be answered on the 30th of May or we are doomed as a people. Finding answers to these questions is a collective as well as an individual’s responsibility of every Biafran. As a person, a human being, what have you done in the past one year to pacify the ghosts of these 3.1 million heroes in winning for them a befitting final rite?
The genocide was declared to have been stopped forty years ago but we are all witnesses to the truth that it has not abated at all. For all these while many people have said and written much on the issue but definitely not enough. How could anybody think that enough has been said or written when the matter is so enormous and so has been hardly scratched? Both the victims and the world have not made any conscious effort to positively address the issue. Wrong has been done and still is continuing and nobody has come out boldly to find a way to stop, condemn it and execute justice for the evils already committed. Because of this the oppressor has been emboldened to continue with impunity to destroy his victim. After all nobody is complaining, not even his victim.
The law of outward projection has always worked because people find it easy to blame others other than themselves for their problems. The Biafrans fought and failed once but it is not any excuse at all to believe that they can now throw up their hands and let anyone, be it Islamic fanatics or anybody in any gab to continue to subjugate their women and children and let them become fodders to these foraging beasts whose culture is murder, darkness and enslavement. The die is indeed cast and the Biafrans of today will either take it upon themselves to liberate themselves, their women, children and men and their homeland or continue to be raped and desecrated without end. 30th May is our Day of Atonement and redemption.
For further readings please see: Republic of Biafra in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2008, The Ahiara Declaration in Biafra 1969, various articles in U. S. Newswire ie one of March 23, 2002, Some groups are actively involved today in the struggle for Biafra liberation such as Biafraland.com, Ekwenche.org, Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), massob.com. Also available on the Google search engine