Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Igbo genocide remembrance month (DAY 1)

This month marks the 46th anniversary of the start of the Igbo genocide. Beginning on 29 May 1966 to 12 January 1970, the composite aggregation of the Nigeria state – military officers, the police, Hausa-Fulani emirs, muslim clerics and intellectuals, students, civil servants, alimajiri, journalists, politicians, other public figures – planned and carried out the Igbo genocide. This is the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. It is also Africa’s most expansive and devastating genocide of the 20th century. A total of 3.1 million Igbo people, a quarter of this nation’s population at the time, were murdered during those harrowing 44 months. Most Igbo were slaughtered in their homes, offices, businesses, schools, colleges, hospitals, markets, churches, shrines, farmlands, factories/industrial enterprises, children’s playground, town halls, refugee centres, cars, lorries, and at bus stations, railway stations, airports and on buses, trains and planes and on foot, or starved to death – the openly propagated regime-“weapon” to achieve its heinous goal more speedily. In the end, the Igbo genocide was enforced, devastatingly, by Nigeria’s simultaneously pursued land, aerial and naval blockade and bombardment of Igboland, Africa’s highest population density region outside the Nile Delta. The genocidists also destroyed, sequestrated or looted the multibillion-dollar Igbo economy, one of the most advanced and enterprising conurbations in Africa of the era. Africa and the rest of the world largely stood by and watched as the perpetrators enacted this horror most relentlessly and ruthlessly. Africa and the world could have stopped this genocide; Africa and the world should have stopped this genocide. This genocide inaugurated Africa’s current age of pestilence. During the period, i.e., since January 1970, 12 million additional Africans have been murdered in further genocide in Rwanda (1994), Zaïre/Democratic Republic of the Congo (variously, since the late 1990s) and Darfur – west of the Sudan – (since 2004) and in other killings in Liberia, Ethiopia, Congo Republic, Somalia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, south Sudan, Burundi, Mali.

In memory of the murdered 3.1 million Igbo, this blog will re-issue this notice each day throughout May until 29th of the month, the day commemorating the launch of the genocide, when an essay captioned “Igbo people 29 May 1966 – Genocide, survival, remembrance” will be published.

Ozoemena, Never again.

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