Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Who is my friend with my history?
Last night friends, colleagues and families converged on the picturesque market town of Henley-on-Thames, west of London, to celebrate Chinua Achebe’s incomparable and irrepressible There was a Country. A spontaneous rendering by all gathered of a popular Igbo chorus on a variation on the theme of “Happy Survival”, appropriately the Igbo post-genocide survival anthem, launched the party.
There was a Country is an indefatigable reminder to an oft-complacent world of the gruesome and devastating Igbo genocide of 29 May 1966-12 January 1970 and the incredible survival of Igbo people. 3.1 million Igbo or a quarter of this nation’s population were murdered by the Nigeria state and its domestic and foreign allies during these 44 months of the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. It is precisely this dual-track mission of There was a Country that has been most troubling to those fanged assailants of Achebe’s memoirs. Any reminder of the Igbo genocide and, particularly, the Igbo survival therefrom, riles the sensibilities of assailants whose life’s quest is to continue to dart around the crumbling edifice of a doubtful sage, more demonstrably a genocidist “theorist” who insensately advocated and co-supervised the murder of 3.1 million children, women and men. This marks the beginning of Africa’s current age of pestilence. What a burden of a legacy for anyone to wish to prop up; truly, a dreadfully punishing ordeal.
It is instantly recognisable by everyone that the Igbo survival from the genocide is a monumental repudiation of this legacy whatsoever guises it appears to be recycled. This is pointedly what the assailants of There was a Country are struggling to come to terms with.
Igbo will never forget. Happy Survival! Land of the Rising Sun.