Saturday, 26 April 2014

Ref: Premier Times, Lagos, Nigeria (25 April 2014), “Nigerian film board delays showing Half of a Yellow Sun”

Denial is the final stage that lasts throughout and always follows a genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide … try to cover up the evidence … They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern … with impunity … unless they are captured and a tribunal is established to try them. The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts...
(Gregory Stanton, president, Genocide Watch; professor in genocide studies and prevention, George Mason University, Virginia)
No one, no institution, none, can stop the work to inform the whole world, comprehensively, of the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. Nigeria and its allies murdered 3.1 million Igbo people, a quarter of this nation’s population, during those dreadful and devastating 44 months. Genocide is a crime against humanity. Thankfully, there are no statutes of limitations in international law for the apprehension and punishment of those responsible for this crime. Igbo seek and will achieve justice for the perpetration of this crime. Igbo seek and will achieve the restoration of their sovereignty.

One of the obvious features any student of genocide picks up quite quickly about the perpetrator of this heinous crime is how open, less subtle, and often brazenly defiant they are with respect to their programme/policy towards a prescribed or targeted people. Nigeria, indeed, typifies this prototype but even more! Nigeria’s is crude, loathsome, vindictive, remorseless: read or listen to any genocidist Nigerian on this subject – from an Obafemi Awolowo to an Ibrahim Haruna, an Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yakubu Gowon... If anything, these attributes should and do alert the people so targeted – the Igbo, in this case. In effect, in its very deeds, the Nigeria agency aids Igbo freedom markedly despite itself.

Burden of history

If one goes through the copious analyses and papers by the Biafran leadership on the mindset of Nigerian génocidaires during 1966-1970, it is fascinating to note how the former’s very advanced thinking at the time has impacted contemporary genocide studies and the mode of pronouncement by many in international relations on the nature of the “global emergency” especially since 9 September 2001. Nearly 50 years ago, the Igbo, particularly their intellectuals, clearly articulated the existential threat they faced (and still face) and responded accordingly. The Igbo, today, including their intellectuals, do have a historical precedent. No one else, howsoever their altruistic credentials, resolves someone’s burden of history except themself. Surely the Igbo couldn’t think otherwise!


Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Friday, 25 April 2014

97th birthday of Ella Fitzgerald

(Born 25 April 1917, Newport News, Virginia, US)
Celebrated vocalist with a phenomenal vocal range and an illustrious recording career spanning six decades

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Lest we forget – Intellectuals in defence of the people during the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Flora Nwapa, Louis Mbanefo, Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, Michael Echeruo, Ifeagwu Eke, SJ Cookey, Sam Mbakwe, Janet Mokelu, Obiora Udechukwu, Uche Chukwumerije, Kalu Ezera, Philip Efiong, Ignatius Kogbara, Alvan Ikoku, Celestine Okwu, Benedict Obumselu, Donatus Nwoga, NU Akpan, Adiele Afigbo, Michael Okpara, Chukwuka Okonjo, Akanu Ibiam, CC Mojekwu, Okoko Ndem, Agwu Okpanku, Tim Onwuatuegwu, Chudi Sokei, Pol Ndu, Ben Gbulie, Chuks Ihekaibeya, Conrad Nwawo, Dennis Osadebe, Osita Osadebe, Chuba Okadigbo,  Okechukwu Ikejiani, Winifred Anuku, Anthony Modebe, Alex Nwokedi, Zeal Onyia, Chukwuedo Nwokolo, Pius Okigbo, Godian Ezekwe, Felix Oragwu, Ogbogu Kalu, Kevin Echeruo, Emmanuel Obiechina, Uche Okeke, Chukwuma Azuonye, Onuora Nzekwu, Chukuemeka Ike, Eddie Okonta, Cyprian Ekwensi, Nkem Nwankwo, John Munonye, Gabriel Okara, Onwuka Dike, Eni Njoku, Okechukwu Mezu, William Achukwu

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe





77th birthday of Joe Henderson

(Born 24 April 1937, Lima, Ohio, US)
Distinguished tenor saxophonist, one of the leading lights of the instrument in the jazz repertoire underscored so classically with his The State of the Tenor: Live at the Village Vanguard, Vols. I & II (1985)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

67th birthday of Ifi Amadiume

(Born 23 April 1947, Kaduna, Nigeria)
Poet and anthropologist, one of the theorists in the early circle of scholars that embarks on the study and transformation of the epistemology of Igbo Women’s Studies inaugurated in the 1960s-1970s by novelist Flora Nwapa and sociologist Kamene Okonjo, author of Male Daughters, Female Husbands (1987), the seminal text that examines the historic dual-gender complementarity and consequential socioeconomic dynamism of pre-(European)conquest Igboland

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

“Establishing and readjusting the hierarchy of dangers”


(John Coltrane Quartet plays Mongo Santamaría’s composition, “Afro Blue” – personnel: Coltrane, soprano saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums [recorded: live, Half Note, New York, US, 26 March 1965])
Aimé Césaire once told an interviewer (Annick Thebia Melson, in Unesco Courier, 2010) during one of those illuminating discourses of his on history: “History is always dangerous, the world of history is a risky world; but it is up to us at any given moment to establish and readjust the hierarchy of dangers”. It is indeed in the very course to disrupt and “readjust” this hierarchy in this age of the “cursed” Berlin-state in favour of Africa and African peoples that the constituent Africa nation or people (Igbo, Darfuri, Gikuyu, Wolof, Ibibio, Bakongo, Akan, Bamileke, etc., etc) – so long maligned, so long impoverished, so long brutalised, so long humiliated and dehistoricised with often unprintable epithets (t****, n****, n*****, n******, p********, b******, w**, sub-*******, sub-*****, e*****, c***, c******, m*****, d******, h*******, f******-b******, b****, m***, b********, c*******, b*********…), so long massacred, is recognised, at last, as the principal actor and agency of its being and geography.

This nation, this people, can and should create its own state if it so desires. It is its inalienable right. Freedom. It does not therefore have to explain to anyone else why it has embarked on this track of freedom. It can now decide what precepts, what aspirations, what trajectory, what goals, it has set its new state to embark upon… As Césaire deftly puts it in the interview referred to, the challenges of the times become the “quest to reconquer something, our name (sic), our country … ourselves”. 

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

79th birthday of Paul Chambers

(Born 22 May 1935, Pittsburgh, US)
Virtuosic bassist, composer, member of Miles Davis First Great Quintet/Sextet (1955-1963) and subject of salutary, standard compositions by varying artistic colleagues: tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, “Mr P.C.”; tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, “Paul’s Pal”; pianist Tommy Flanagan, “Big Paul”; pianist Red Garland, “Mr P. C. Blues”; drummer Max Roach, “Five for Paul”

 Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

92nd birthday of Charles Mingus

(Born 22 April 1922, Nogales, Arizona, US)
Outstanding bassist, composer and bandleader whose music encapsulates all the critical junctures of jazz history and his Jazz Workshop a landmark conservatoire of an age

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe
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Friday, 18 April 2014

“I am because I am free; I am free because I am”

John Coltrane & Don Cherry play Ornette Coleman’s composition, “Focus on sanity” (full personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Cherry, cornet; Percy Heath, bass; Ed Blackwell, drums (recorded: Atlantic Records, New York, US, 28 June 1960)
Why and how does a state exist to dominate, exploit, and, in cases such as Nigeria, Rwanda, the Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, attempt to destroy some of its constituent nations or peoples? As every school child knows, the states that Europe created in Africa, in the aftermath of its leaders’ infamous 1884-1885 Berlin-conquest conference, cannot lead Africans to the reconstructive changes they deeply yearn for after the tragic history of centuries of conquest and occupation.

Such changes were and never are the mission of these states but instruments to expropriate and despoil Africa by the conquest in perpetuity. This is the “curse” of Berlin. But, thankfully, just as in Berlin, states are not a gift from the gods but relationships painstakingly formulated and constructed by groups of human beings on planet Earth to pursue aspirations and interests envisioned and articulated by these same human beings. For the Igbo, Darfuri, and all other peoples presently besieged by the haematophagous genocide state, the message on the unfurled banner for their freedom march couldn’t be more confident and focused: “I am because I am free; I am free because I am”. Create your own state today. Now is the time!

The flourishing age of organically constituted African-own states to radically transform depressing African fortunes in the contemporary world has already begun.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 17 April 2014

85th birthday of Mariama Bâ

(Born 17 April 1929, Dakar, Sénégal)
Novelist and influential intellectual, author of the seminal So Long a Letter (1981)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

93rd birthday of Chike Obi

(Born 17 April 1921, Onicha, Igboland)
First mathematics doctorate in Igboland/southwestcentral Africa, rigorous academic, aptly described by theoretical physicist Alexander Obiefoka Animalu as the “foremost African mathematical genius of the 20th century”

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Thoughts on Africa in these times… Contract with the state

(New York Contemporary Five plays “Consequences” – personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone; Don Cherry, pocket trumpet; John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Don Moore, bass; JC Moses, drums [recorded: live, Jazzhus Montmarte, Copenhagen, 15 November 1963])
The most salient contract a state has with its citizen(s)/constituent people(s) is to safeguard the latter’s security. This role is indeed the state’s raison d’être! If the state or its agent (designated or clandestinely) embarks on the murder of the citizen(s)/people(s) or is unable to protect the citizen(s)/people(s) from being murdered by other agents (domestic or extra-domestic), the state has clearly failed to uphold this cardinal contractual tenet. It is indeed extraordinary to observe that the citizens/peoples haven’t walked away from this relationship, consequently…

What are they waiting for? That the state would, perhaps, dissolve itself? But do they equally contemplate, quite clearly a graver, much more catastrophic possibility, that the state, all along, may also wish to annihilate the people(s)?

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Programme (Final) for Universidade de Aveiro 4th International Congress in Cultural Studies – Colonialisms, Post-Colonialisms, Lusophonies


http://www.estudosculturais.com/congressos/ocs-2.3.5/public/conferences/1/schedConfs/1/program-en_US.pdf
 Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

84th birthday of Richard Davis

(Born 15 April 1930, Chicago, US)
Perceptive bassist and academic, enjoys an expansive recording portfolio as leader and with other artists including, pointedly, collaborative work with multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy on the latter’s Out to Lunch (1964) and Iron Man (1963) and the duo’s classic interpretation of “Alone Together” (1963)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Igbo Genocide Day of Remembrance on 29 May

Thursday 29 May 2014, seven weeks away, is the 48th anniversary of the beginning of the Igbo genocide. Starting from that fateful mid-morning of Sunday 29 May 1966 and through the course of 44 months of indescribable barbarity and carnage not seen in Africa for 60 years, the composite institutions of the Nigeria state, civilian and military, murdered 3.1 million Igbo people or one-quarter of this nation’s population. The Igbo genocide is the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. It inaugurated Africa’s current age of pestilence.

This year’s commemoration will, as in the past, be a day of meditation and remembrance in every Igbo household in Igboland and the 10-million Igbo diaspora  for the 3.1 million murdered, gratitude and thanksgiving for those who survived, and the collective Igbo rededication to achieve the urgent goal of the restoration of Igbo sovereignty and justice. There will also be lectures, discussions and exhibitions on varying features and phases of the genocide organised by individuals, students, the youth, women, family unions, village, town, district, regional and professional associations. This is now time to begin to prepare for the elaborate and expansive worldwide jubilee commemoration on 29 May 2016 – 50th anniversary of the genocide.

The 50 million Igbo people heartily welcome all peoples of goodwill across the world to join them in commemorating the 48th anniversary of the launch of the genocide.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe


74th birthday of Herbie Hancock

(Born 12 April 1940, Chicago, US)
Child prodigy, very distinguished pianist, composer and bandleader, member of the Miles Davis Second Great Quintet of the 1960s (full personnel: Davis, trumpet; Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone; Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Presaging the Igbo genocide

In his Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British (London: Viking, 2011), Jeremy Paxman allocates just 12 lines of the total 368-page study to British-occupied Nigeria. But the pithy commentary undoubtedly speaks volumes of the mindset of the occupation regime on the very eve of its presumed departure from Nigeria in October 1960. This is clearly a regime that is not prepared or willing to abandon the bounty harvest or lucre that is its Nigeria. Instead, it is exploring across a spectrum of strategies to subvert the goal of the restoration-of-independence movement for the peoples which the Igbo had led since the 1930s.

Using archival material, Paxman presents the crux of the panoramic conversation on the subject in Lagos, in January 1960, between James Robertson, the outgoing occupation governor, and visiting Prime Minister Harold Macmillan:

MACMILLAN: Are the people fit for self-government?

ROBERTSON: No, of course not.

According to Paxman, James Robertson reckons that it would take “another 20 or 25 years” for Nigeria to be “fit for self-government” (Paxman, 2011: 272). Interestingly, this is the same Robertson who had by the time of his Lagos meeting with Macmillan “concluded” the “terms” of the British “exit” from Nigeria in “negotiations” with the country’s restoration-of-independence movement – begun 15 years earlier and had been successively chaired by two previous occupation governors including sessions scheduled and held in England. This is the same Robertson who had just rigged the December 1959 countrywide elections in Nigeria (part of the restoration-of-independence “package”) in favour of the Hausa-Fulani north region (see the irrepressible Harold Smith, member of the occupation regime in Lagos at the time – http://www.thefreelibrary.com/A+squalid+end+to+empire.-a0189071322, accessed 27 November 2011)), Britain’s local clients, vehemently opposed to African independence – and, therefore, the British exit! (This north Nigeria region has the unenviable accolade across the entire Southern World of being home to one of the few peoples who wanted the occupation of their lands indefinitely by one of the pan-European powers of global conquest since the 15th century CE.) Furthermore, this is the same Robertson whose predecessor, in Lagos, had earlier rigged the countrywide census results – again, in favour of Britain’s Hausa-Fulani north regional clients (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/A+squalid+end+to+empire.-a0189071322accessed 27 November 2011).

Macmillan then asks Robertson for his advice on the way forward for the British continuing occupation of Nigeria: “What do you recommend me to do?”

ROBERTSON: I recommend you give it to them at once.

Really?! What? Why? Doesn’t Roberston’s suggestion to his boss sound wholly contradictory to the tract that this conclave had trodden so far? Well, no, not really… Both prime minister and governor have no disagreement, whatsoever, on holding onto British “interests” in Nigeria in perpetuity; they do not believe that they are necessarily bound by the “terms” of the envisaged British “exit” from Nigeria “negotiated” since 1945 even though, ironically, these had largely preserved British “interests”, thanks to the veto-power that its Hausa-Fulani north region subalterns would exercise in the “new” dispensation; most crucially, both men do not subscribe to the inalienable rights of Africans to recover their conquered lands.

It is the case, though, that if the British officials were to renege on their “exit” from Nigeria at this 11th hour, they would have to contend with a serious crisis – at least in the short/medium term – right there on the ground in Nigeria: “The alternative [is] that most talented people [read: the Igbo and those others elsewhere in south Nigeria who demanded and supported the drive towards unfettered restoration-of-independence for the peoples] would become rebels and the British would spend the next two decades fighting to stave off what [is] inevitable, while incurring the opprobrium of the world” (Paxman: 272).

As the Lagos deliberations end, nine months before the designated British departure date, both prime minister and governor needn’t agonise, too much, over the future prospects of their country’s Nigeria stanglehold. After all, despite the “talented people”, Britain is aware that it holds the trump card to defend this stranglehold via its Hausa-Fulani clients. Twice in the previous 15 years (significantly, it should be noted, during the very years of British “negotiations” of its “exit” from Nigeria with the “talented people”), the clients organised and unleashed pogroms against Igbo people in northcentral town of Jos (1945) and north city of Kano (1953). Hundreds of Igbo were murdered during these massacres and tens of thousands of pounds sterling worth of their property looted or destroyed. No perpetrators of these murders were ever apprehended or punished by the occupation regime.

Six and one-half years hence, from 29 May 1966, these same British clients would unleash the genocide against the Igbo people. During the course of 44 months, 3.1 million Igbo children, women and men are murdered in this foundational and most gruesome genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. The Igbo and the world suddenly realise that those anti-Igbo pogroms carried out during the years of the Anglo--“talented people”-in-Nigeria doubtful restoration-of-independence negotiations were indeed “dress rehearsals” for the 29 May 1966-12 January 1970 Igbo genocide.

Reexamination and restitution

Britain plays an instrumental role in the perpetration of the genocide – politically, diplomatically, militarily. Now, a new Harold-the-prime minister, this time Harold Wilson, has no qualms about the “opprobrium of the world” considered by the other Harold during those January 1960 talks with occupation governor Robertson. Wilson’s reasons are obvious: the architecture of control and execution of mass violence in Nigeria have altered, somehow, since January 1960, and the forces on the ground spearheading the Igbo genocide are the trusted Hausa-Fulani subalterns of old and their since locally expanded allies in west Nigeria – not Britain, directly; precisely, what Macmillan and Robertson had sought to avoid! So, as the slaughter of the Igbo intensifies, particularly in the catastrophic months of 1968-1969, Harold Wilson is totally unfazed as he informs Clyde Ferguson (United States State Department special coordinator for relief to Biafra) that he, Harold Wilson, “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took” Nigeria to destroy the Igbo resistance to the genocide (Roger Morris, Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy [London and New York: Quartet Books, 1977]: 122). Such is the grotesquely expressed diminution of African life made by a supposedly leading politician of the world of the 1960s – barely 20 years after the deplorable perpetration of the Jewish genocide. As the final tally of the murder of the Igbo demonstrates, Harold Wilson probably had the perverted satisfaction of having his Nigerian subalterns perform far in excess of the prime minister’s grim target.

Jeremy Paxman, a senior journalist at the British Broadcasting Corporation who anchors the BBC2 “Newsnight” programme, has a 3-minute follow-up video where he explains why he has written Empire. Two reasons are quite striking: (1) “Why did the British go out (sic) to conquer the world?” (2) “What did it do to them [the British, that is]?” For the Igbo of southwestcentral Africa, the double jeopardy of conquest and occupation and genocide is palpably incalculable. It is now clear that the contemporary British state cannot continue to ignore its responsibilities in embarking on a comprehensive reexamination of the history of its relationship with the Igbo people and make the long-overdue restitution.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 7 April 2014

99th birthday of Billie Holiday

(Born 7 April 1915, Philadelphia, US)
One of the most outstanding singers of the 20th century with a unique voice, “uncoverable”, a critic intones, and composer/co-composer of especially the following classics: “Lady Sings the Blues”, “God Bless the Child”, “Fine and Mellow”

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

76th birthday of Freddie Hubbard

(Born 7 April 1938, Indianapolis, US)
Versatile trumpeter, composer, bandleader, occupies the trumpet chair of the influential Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers for most of the first-half of the 1960s, and plays in a number of seminal sessions in bands led by tenor saxophonists John Coltrane (especially Africa/Brass, Olé Coltrane, Ascension), Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson and Tina Brooks, alto saxophonists Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy, pianists Andrew Hill and Herbie Hancock, and trombonist JJ Johnson

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwanda genocide

(Genocide launch date: 7 April 1994)
Rwanda central government in Kigali and allies embark on the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda in which 800, 000, one-fifth of the population, are murdered – this genocide would probably have been prevented if Africa, particularly, and the rest of the world had stopped the Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, which was carried out by Nigeria and its allies 28 years earlier, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, resulting in the murder of 3.1 million Igbo or one-quarter of this nation’s population; a total of 15.1 million Africans have been murdered in all the genocides in Africa (Igbo, Rwanda, the Sudan [Darfur/Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan], Zaïre/Democratic Republic of the Congo) and in other wars across the continent since 29 May 1966

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Lest we forget – April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month: Did Igbo people “lose a war”?

No, Igbo did not “lose a war”. The Igbo did not “lose a war” between 29 May 1966-12 January 1970. No such “war” was waged in Igboland during this period. And this is not a case of semantics. On the contrary, what went on during those 44 months was a campaign of genocide against Igbo people by Nigeria and its allies, particularly Britain. 3.1 million Igbo, a quarter of this nation’s population, were murdered. This figure is about the total fatality of the Vietnam War (both sides – including all civilians, US combat troops, the Vietcong, North Vietnam troops, South Vietnam troops) between 1959 and 1975. 

The clearly stated goal of the Nigeria campaign is (note tense of operative verb) to annihilate the Igbo, as a people: see anthem of the campaign in Hausa, broadcast throughout the duration of the slaughter on Kaduna radio (shortwave) and television (http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.com.br/2010/05/29-may-1966.html); see also key statements made on radio and/or tv broadcasts, interviews/press conference, essays, memoirs, etc., etc, by leading figures involved in the campaign – Awolowo, Harold Wilson, Gowon, Danjuma, Useni, Muhammed, Adekunle, Rotimi, Katsina, Obasanjo, Haruna, Taiwo... 

To embark on a research of the genocide, it is indeed staggering to discover what a treasure trove for the researcher just watching or reading a clipping of statements/commentaries on this crime against humanity by an Obasanjo or an Adekunle or an Useni or an Awolowo or a Wilson or a Haruna or a Rotimi… This genocide is ongoing. Those who carried out the genocide do not, at all, deny their involvement in the crime... It is astonishing.

Survived

The Igbo survived the genocide. At the apogee of the genocide, 1968/69, few expected the Igbo to survive. Igbo survival is one of the most extraordinary human developments of recent history. Some people don’t often appreciate the resilient spirit and drive that ensured this survival outcome. This capacity cannot be exaggerated. Provided they survive, no peoples targeted for genocide lose except, of course, they are obliterated. Those who survive genocide such as the Herero or Armenians or Jews or Igbo or Tutsi or Darfuri, for instance, are indeed victors – because they survived. I am pleased to share the following link where I elaborate on this subject in a presentation at the historic Harvard University international conference on Christopher Okigbo, Africa’s leading poet:



Friday, 4 April 2014

State promise

The state is a relationship painstakingly formulated and constructed by groups of human beings here on earth to pursue aspirations and interests envisioned by these same human beings within a shared historical and geographical articulation. Consequently, African peoples, themselves, must decide on the issue of sovereignty in this post-“Berlin-state” era even if the outcome were to lead to the creation of 1001 states in Africa– or more.  This is the epoch of freedom. Any African peoples who, for instance, wishes to chart a future based on the precepts of their forebears in the 12th century Contemporary Era (CE) or even way back to, say, 8th century Before Contemporary Era (BCE), have the right to pursue this goal. Equally, any African peoples who believes that their aspirations lie in working through challenges of the 21st century CE and projecting targets of creativity and transformations subsequently, must exercise this right.  To achieve the goal(s) of any of the stipulated paths does not require anyone embarking on murdering someone else or having themselves murdered.  The new state envisioned, we mustn’t forget, is for the living; not the dead.

Celebration

For the future survival of the African humanity, let no more die for the path to the civilisation a people chooses howsoever this civilisation is construed. The post-“Berlin-state” of Africa is a life and life opportunity, a creative passage of celebration, not a life-and-death affair. It surely can be attained and sustained without committing a crime, particularly a crime against humanity. 

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

86th birthday of Maya Angelou

(Born 4 April 1928, St Louis, Mo, US)
Poet, historian, actress, playwright, academic, human rights activist
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Can’t be overstressed: What “civil war” is not

The oxymoron “civil war” is a strange beast indeed. It neither describes what, by any imagination, is “civil” about it nor does it elucidate on the salient features of the nature or character and range of its being. All that “civil war” connotes is that it is an “internal war” – occurring within a seemingly sovereign state, which, in the Africa case, would be a reference to its “Berlin state(s)”. Its opposite, supposedly, is the “inter-state war”.

Since the beginning of the presumed restoration-of-African independence epoch in the Sudan in January 1956, “inter-state wars” in Africa are in fact an exception – just a handful, not more than five! Even here, the genesis of the Ethiopia-Eritrea War (May 1998-June 2000), one of the five, is located in the “internal” wars of old Ethiopia. If one were therefore to follow this “internal war”/“external war” dichotomy-characterisation of armed conflicts in Africa during this epoch, the overwhelming majority of the 15 million Africans who have lost their lives, since the 1966-1970 Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, would be designated as having died in “internal wars”.

Recognisable

Scholars and others who promote the “civil war” tag particularly in Africa have often done so merely to privilege the extant  “Berlin-state” configuration and its principal or “dominant” protagonist in the conflict (“state”, “government”, “central government”, “federal government”, etc., etc.) over oppositional or insurgent protagonists often cast as “regionalists”, “secessionists”, “rebels” or worse. The trend is to be restricted or trapped in a quaint juridical fidelity of discourse under the overarching, essentially sanitising banner of “civil war” without confronting the much more expansive turbulence of underlying history emplaced. 

If most of the 15 million Africans already referred to died in “internal wars”, then “civil war” proponents’ primary quest to preserve the “Berlin-state” status quo ironically problematises the latter’s existence as this “Berlin-state”, in Africa, is a murder-machine… The salutary lesson from this is obvious:  Rather than try to obfuscate or sanitise a human-made catastrophe, call it by its instantly, recognisable name!

Besides a reference to a territoriality and its constituent peoples in Africa, there is nothing else internal about “internal wars” in Africa. As the Igbo genocide demonstrates, this crime against humanity would probably not have occurred without the central role played by Britain, an external power – right from its conceptualisation to execution (http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.com.br/2013/07/britain-aburi-and-igbo-genocide_14.html).

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe



On this first day of April – Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month: Genocidist generals, Genocidist “theorists”

Phase-I – Sunday 29 May 1966-30 March 1967: Igbo genocide killing fields of generalling and “theorising”…

The following north and west Nigerian cities and towns, where 100,000 Igbo are murdered so gruesomely between May 1966 and March 1967, bear the stamp of perpetual shame as dominant sites of the perpetration of this crime against humanity: Sokoto, Katsina, Zaria, Kaduna, Kano, Kaura-Namoda, Nguru, Bauchi, Gombe, Saminaka, Yola, Kafanchan, Damaturu, Ningi, Darazo, Gusau, Birnin-Kebbi, Bukuru, Numan, Jos, Yola, Keffi, Wase, Langtang, Takum, Mangu, Jebba, Shendam, Kantangora, Minna, Gudi, Mada, Mokwa, Ayaragu, Wukari, Makurdi, Ilorin, Zungeru, Otukpo, Gboko, Ilorin, Lafia, Tanglawaja, Lagos (especially Ikeja suburb), Ibadan, Abeokuta, Osogbo, Oyo, Auchi, Agenebode, Benin, Sapele, Warri…

Phase-II – 31 March 1967-5 July 1967: Igbo genocide killing fields of generalling and “theorising”…

The genocidist high command imposes a land, aerial and sea blockade of Igboland, Africa’s highest population density landmass outside the Nile Delta, as prelude to the invasion of Igboland, Biafra, which begins on 6 July 1967. To ensure that the 12 million Igbo people are indeed bottled-up in their homeland, the genocidists excise Biafra’s southeast peninsular of Bakassi, contiguous to Cameroon, and “award” this territory to the regime in Yaoundé, headed by Ahmadou Ahidjo. The conditions on the ground are now in place for chief genocidist “theorist” Obafemi Awolowo, a lawyer, a “senior advocate” of the Nigeria bar, who is also vice-chair of the genocide-prosecuting junta (prime minister) and head of finance ministry, to formulate his “starvation”-weapon strategy on Igbo people which begins to have its devastating direct effect and concomitant impact as from mid-1968. Unlike the experience of tens of thousands of Yoruba people who thronged across the west Nigeria-Benin Republic frontiers, seeking refuge in Benin and elsewhere in west Africa during the intra-Yoruba conflicts of 1963-1965, Awolowo “reckons” that the Igbo must be denied similar access to a destination of refuge (outside their homeland) through the only other contiguous land border they have besides Nigeria, namely Cameroon. This restricted space for Igbo domicility to negotiate, in the wake of the planned, soon to be launched total genocidist onslaught on Igboland, would guarantee the optimum range or outcome of the Igbo slaughter so envisaged in the Awolowoist projection…  

Phase-III – 6 July 1967-12 January 1970: Igbo genocide killing fields of generalling and “theorising”…

Nigeria expands the territorial range of the genocide, begun 14 months earlier, 29 May 1966, by launching a land and sea-borne attack on Igboland, Biafra, on 6 July 1967. Right from the outset of the invasion, the genocidists establish on the ground and employ rape of Igbo girls and women and public execution of Igbo boys and men as pivotal instruments in waging this campaign. Every Igbo town or village overrun by the Nigerians becomes a haunting milestone in an inexorable march of rape, death, and destruction: Obollo Afo ... Obollo Eke ... Enuugwu-Ezike ... Opi ... Ukehe ... Nkalagu ... Owgwu ... Abakaleke … Eha Amuufu ... Nsukka ... Enuugwu ... Agbaani ... Asaba ... Ogwashi-Ukwu ... Isele-Ukwu ... Onicha-Ugbo …Agbo …Umunede ... Onicha ... Oka ... Aba ... Udi ... Ehuugbo ... Ehuugbo Road ... Okigwe ... Umuahia ... Owere ... Abagana ... Igwe Ocha/Port Harcourt ... Ahaoda ... Obiigbo ... Azumini ... Umu Ubani/Bonny ... Igwe Nga/Opobo ... Ugwuta ... Amasiri ... Akaeze ... Uzuakoli ... Invoking Nazi-style “search through population-round off-isolate-and-destroy” tactics in overrun non-Igbo towns and cities such as Calabar, Oron, Ikot Ekpene, Uyo, Ogoja, Obubara, Obudu, Nkarasi and Eket, the genocidists meticulously profile Igbo nationals. Thousands of such profiled Igbo are shot at sight or marched off and later executed at city limits, forest firing-range sites, river banks, or at specifically dedicated genocidist-occupied barrack venues.

Nigerian genocidists have indeed become some haematophagous monster let loose in Igboland, slaughtering away to the hilt… And just in case anyone doubts the endgame of this mission, three shrilling, chilling proclamations, scripted with unmistakeable Stheno-precepts of obliterating intent, punctuate the scene as the following shows:

1. The ghoulish anthem of the genocide, broadcast uninterruptedly on state-owned Kaduna radio (shortwave transmission) and television and with editorial comments on the theme, regularly published in both state-owned New Nigerian (daily) newspaper and (Hausa) weekly Gaskiya Ta fi Kwabo during the period, has these lyrics in Hausa:

Mu je mu kashe nyamiri
Mu kashe maza su da yan maza su
Mu chi mata su da yan mata su
Mu kwashe kaya su 
(English translation: Let’s go kill the damned Igbo/Kill off their men and boys/Rape their wives and daughters/Cart off their property)

2. Benjamin Adekunle, one of the most notorious of the genocidist commanders in southern Igboland, makes the following statement to the media, including foreign representatives, in an August 1968 press conference: “I want to prevent even one I[g]bo having even one piece to eat before their capitulation. We shoot at everything that moves, and when our forces march into the centre of I[g]bo territory, we shoot at everything, even at things that don’t move” (The Economist [London], 24 August 1968)

3. Harold Wilson, prime minister of Britain, the key “centre”-world power that crucially supports the Igbo genocide militarily, diplomatically and politically right from conceptualisation to actualisation (http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.com.br/2013/07/britain-and-igbo-genocide-now-for_19.html), is totally unfazed when he informs Clyde Ferguson (United States State Department special coordinator for relief to Biafra) that he, Harold Wilson, “would accept half a million dead Biafrans if that was what it took” the Nigeria genocidists to destroy the Igbo resistance to the genocide (Roger Morris, Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy [London and New York: Quartet Books, 1977]: 122).

These declarations to murder/destroy the Igbo people are brazenly made, without any ambiguity, by representatives of Nigeria and Britain and by a publicly-funded Nigeria broadcaster, barely 20 years after the deplorable perpetration of the Jewish genocide by Nazi Germany in which 6 million Jews were murdered. These two states, Nigeria and Britain, it should be stressed, are signatories to the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide. Importantly, Britain is one of the key victor-states of the anti-Nazi German war alliance that worked on the drafting of this convention. It therefore requires a brief examination of yet another proclamation made on the Igbo genocide – this time by Olusegun Obasanjo, the third Gorgon stalking Igboland as the slaughtering intensifies, to understand what accounts for this extraordinarily blatant Anglo-Nigerian propagation of the mass murder of the Igbo of southwestcentral Africa in the mid-1960s/early 1970s, despite the cataclysm of the Jewish experience in Europe just two decades earlier.

In May 1969, Obasanjo, who had recently taken over the command of the Benjamin Adekunle-death squad, orders his air force to shoot down any Red Cross planes flying in urgently-needed relief supplies to the millions of surviving but encircled, blockaded and bombarded Igbo. Within a week of his infamous order, 5 June 1969, Obasanjo recalls, nostalgically, in his memoirs, unambiguously titled My Command (London and Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books, 1981), genocidist air force pilot Gbadomosi King “redeem[s] his promise”, as Obasanjo puts it (Obasanjo, 1981: 79). Gbadomosi King shoots down a clearly marked, incoming relief-bearing International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) DC-7 aircraft near Eket, south Biafra, with the loss of its 3-person crew.  Obasanjo’s perverse satisfaction over the aftermath of this crime is fiendish, grotesquely revolting. He writes: “The effect of [this] singular achievement of the Air Force especially on 3 Marine Commando Division [name of the death squad Obasanjo, who subsequently becomes head of Nigeria regime for 11 years, commands] was profound. It raised morale of all service personnel, especially of the Air Force detachment concerned and the troops they supported in [my] 3 Marine Commando Division” (Obasanjo, 1981: 79). The consequence of this act of terror across the world is, of course, the expression of revulsion. What does Obasanjo do in response? This is hugely revelatory. Olusegun Obasanjo appeals to Harold Wilson, the British prime minister (Obasanjo, 1981: 165), as Obasanjo, himself, scripts in his My Command, to “sort out” the raging international outcry generated by the destruction of the ICRC plane. For the Nigerian genocidists, the fact that, at the end, they have Britain’s back is critical in their pursuit of this gruesome campaign
(http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.com.br/2013/07/britain-and-igbo-genocide-now-for_19.html).

There does not therefore appear to be any limits scored or placed on the nature of the outrage committed in the pursuit of the final mission and the publicity generated thereof, even if this is unabashedly reckless. After all, Harold Wilson says that he “would accept half a million dead Biafrans” or 4.2 per cent of the Igbo population for the set goal. But the genocidists on the ground end up murdering 3 million Igbo people – 2.5 million more... Added to the 100,000 already murdered, during phase-I of the genocide, the total number of Igbo murdered is 3.1 million. This represents 25 per cent of the Igbo population at the time – murdered within 44 dreadful months.

Phase-IV – 13 January 1970-Present day: Igbo genocide killing fields of generalling and “theorising”…

By 12 January 1970, genocidist Nigeria, aided principally by its British ally, overruns and occupies Igboland. What follows on the morrow, 13 January (1970), is hardly a truce. The genocide goes on... The genocidists embark on the implementation of the most dehumanising raft of socioeconomic package of deprivation in occupied Igboland, not seen anywhere else in Africa. Each and all the measures (see 1-9 below) constitute one of the five acts of genocide explicitly defined in article 2 of the December 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:  “deliberately inflicting upon the group conditions of life designed to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”
(http://www.oas.org/dil/1948_Convention_on_the_Prevention_and_Punishment_of_the_Crime_of_Ge
nocide.pdf). Chief genocidist “theorist” (and vice-chair of the genocide-prosecuting junta [prime minister] and head of finance ministry) Obafemi Awolowo and a team of Awolowoist/Awolowoid lawyers and economists and financiers and entrepreneurs from the Yoruba and Edo west Nigeria take full charge in the formulation of this package. This brigandage of terror includes the following nine distinct features to date:

1. Comprehensive sequestration of all Igbo liquid assets in Biafra and Nigeria (as of January 1970), bar the £20.00 (twenty pounds sterling) doled out only to the male surviving head of an Igbo family – in effect, hundreds of thousands of Igbo families whose “male heads” have been murdered in the genocide 
do not receive this dole payment

2. Seizure and looting of the multibillion-(US)dollar Igbo capital assets across Biafra including particularly those at Port Harcourt/Igwe Ocha conurbations and elsewhere and in Nigeria

3. Exponential expropriation of the rich Igbo oil resources from the Abia, Delta, Imo and Rivers administrative regions

4. Blanket policy of non-development of Igboland

5. Non-restoration of destroyed Igbo communication and power infrastructure, including, pointedly, those inflicted by the savage Adekunle-things-that-don’t-move firebombing

6. Aggressive degradation of socioeconomic life of Igboland as critical occupation policy

7. Ignoring ever-expanding soil erosion/landslides and other pressing ecological emergencies, especially in northwest Igboland

8. Continuing reinforcement of the overall state of siege of Igboland …

9. Deportations of resident Igbo people in Lagos to Igboland

What about the killings during this phase-IV of the genocide whose accent appears, as the nine measures above indicate, to be more economic/financial? One would perhaps be forgiven if they thought that, after such a frenzied indulgence in indescribable depravity in mass slaughtering and a trail of destruction for 44 uninterrupted months, and then capped by its current occupation of Biafra, Nigeria would tire out of its appetite to continue the murder of Igbo people. No, not really.  The murder goes on… The genocide, in its totality, goes on… This obligatory haematophagous creature continues its murder of the Igbo, unabated – almost routinely and ritualistically during the course of subsequent years, signposted here by the eerie columns that chart the contours of 21 fresh pogrom outrages with the murder of thousands of Igbo people and the destruction and/or looting of millions of US dollars worth of their property during the course of the last 34 years: 

1980 ... 1982 ... 1985 ... 1991 ... 1993 ... 1994 ... 1999 ... 2000 ... 2001 ... 2002 ... 2004 ... 2005 ... 2006 ... 
2007 ... 2008 ... 2009 ... 2010 ... 2011 ... 2012 ... 2013... 2014

According to the December 2011 research by the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, a human rights organisation based in Onicha, Igboland, 90 per cent of the 54,000 people murdered in Nigeria by the state/quasi-state operatives and agents since 1999 are Igbo people. Since Christmas Day, December 2011, the Boko Haram islamist insurgent group spearheads these murders. At least 80 per cent of people murdered by the Boko Haram across swathes of lands in north/northcentral Nigeria since then are Igbo. Hundreds of thousands of Igbo families have abandoned homes and businesses in the affected region and have returned to Igboland.

Arguably, the Igbo are the world’s most brutally targeted and most viciously murdered of peoples presently. Not since 29 May 1966-12 January 1970 has Igbo life in Nigeria acquired such a gripping existential emergency… Media coverage of Nigerian occupation police murdering-escapades within Igboland itself and Amnesty International’s wider canvass of investigation on the same police barbarities in Igboland and Nigeria (see links below) further underscore the grave characterisation of this ongoing genocide:





(John Coltrane Quartet, “Dusk Dawn” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, NJ, US, 16 June 1965])
Freedom
There can be no other solution to this longest genocide of the contemporary era but the freedom of the Igbo people from Nigerian subjugation and occupation. Freedom is inalienable. One does not ask for it; one takes it! The 50 million Igbo know they have to take their freedom. The 5 million Scots are presently reminding the world, a stress on this inalienability, that a people don’t necessarily have to have a genocidal history as the Igbo, for instance, to wish to exercise their freedom
(http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.com.br/2012/01/rights-for-scots-rights-for-igbo.html). And reflecting, finally, on genocidal history, it is no coincidence, at all, that this genocide of the Igbo 
occurs in and by Nigeria, the epitome of the “Berlin-state” in Africathat congenital bane of African 
socioeconomic existence, with its befuddling, paradoxical functionality that I have discussed elsewhere
(http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.com.br/2013/05/africa-today-reflections-on-resilience_22.html). 

The freedom of the Igbo, one of the most peaceful and very hardworking of peoples, is therefore one of the eagerly awaited news from Africa currently. It will open up unlimited stretches and stream of possibilities for Igbo state and societal transformations, as well as enhanced Igbo contributions to global relations, attributes and opportunities currently entombed in the artificiality, arbitrariness, incoherence, disarticulated and exogenic architecture of the “Berlin-state”. Igbo freedom will surely herald the much sought after process across Africa for the dismantling of this state.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe