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

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