Saturday, 20 February 2016

A COMMENT on Claudia Moscovici, “The siege of Leningrad: Genocide by starvation”, HYPOCRISA, 16 February 2015


Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Twenty-six years later, beginning on 31 March 1967, genocidist Nigeria, very similar to Claudia Moscovici’s reviewed Nazi Germany’s strategy in Leningrad, the Soviet Union (http://176.223.121.197/content/siege-leningrad-genocide-starvation, accessed 17 February 2015), embarks on the comprehensive land, naval and aerial blockade of Biafra in phase-II of the Igbo genocide which it enforces through phase III (beginning 6 July 1967) till 12 January 1970 with devastating consequences in Africa’s most densely populated region outside the Nile Delta. 

Nigeria employs starvation as one of its critical weapons to prosecute the genocide, this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa formally launched earlier on 29 May 1966 (phase-I). Obafemi Awolowo (lawyer and senior advocate of the Nigerian bar), Nigeria’s chief genocidist “theorist”, deputy head of the prosecuting regime in Lagos and head of the powerful finance ministry publicly states, right from the outset, that starvation of the Igbo is a “legitimate instrument” of the campaign, a policy voiced openly and variously throughout the period by several other senior regime officials including, especially, Anthony Enaharo (head of information ministry), Allison Ayida (regime special advisor), and field commanders Benjamin Adekunle and Olusegun Obasanjo.

Adekunle-Obusonjoist amalgam

Benjamin Adekunle, one of the most notorious of the genocidist commanders in south Biafra, reminds the world of his regime’s starvation strategy in an August 1968 press conference which includes foreign correspondents: “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). 
(Adekunle: “I want to prevent even one I[g]bo having even one piece to eat ... We shoot at everything that moves in ... I[g]bo territory ... even at things that don’t move”)
It is also in pursuit of this starvation strategy that Olusegun Obasanjo, who takes over this sector’s command from Adekunle later in 1968, orders his air force, in May 1969, 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: Heinemann, 1981), genocidist air force pilot Gbadomosi King “redeem[s] his promise”, as Obasanjo clinically asserts (Obasanjo, 1981: 79) – the “promiseGbadomosi 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” (79).
(Obusonjo: “The effect of [this] singular achievement of the Air Force [shooting down of  Red Cross relief aircraft] especially on 3 Marine Commando Division was profound. It raised morale of all service personnel...”)

Harold Wilson’s “... a half million dead Biafrans ...” 

The British government under Prime Minister Harold Wilson is Nigeria’s strategic ally in this campaign – militarily, politically, diplomatically. Britain had since been riled by the Igbo vanguard role, begun in the 1930s, to terminate its conquest and occupation of Nigeria (one of the very prized lands of the British conquest of Africa). By supporting the genocide, Britain seeks to “punish” the Igbo for the latter’s historic role in the liberation of Nigeria. During the course of the 1968/69 gruesomely catastrophic apogee of the campaign when thousands of Igbo are dying daily from starvation, disease and enhanced land and aerial bombardment of survivors in ever-shrinking territory encapsulated by the siege, Harold Wilson is totally unfazed when he informs C. Clyde Ferguson, the US 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 MorrisUncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy [London and New York: Quartet Books, 1977]: 122). 

For the record, Wilson’s “a half a million dead Biafrans” represents 4.2 per cent of the Igbo population at this time; by the time that this third phase of the genocide comes to an end, 6-9 months after Wilson’s wish-declaration, 25 per cent of this nation’s population or 3.1 million Igbo people are murdered by the genocidists. Undoubtedly, the Nigerian toady “boys”  have handsomely obliged their “massa” Harold Wilson’s wish...
 (Wilson: “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took...”)
It must be stressed that Harold Wilson’s “[W]ould accept a half a million dead Biafrans”-wish is not a declaration made by some dictator, some leader of a loony party, a fascist party or anything of that ilk; on the contrary, this is a declaration made by an elected politician, a politician in an advanced western representative democracy, the leader of the British Labour party, one of Europes leading social democratic parties. “[W]ould accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took”-declaration is made by the prime minister of Britain; not the prime minister of some “peripheral”, seemingly inconsequential country but the prime minister of a “centre” state and power that was part of the victorious alliance that defeated a fascist global amalgam in a global war that ended barely 23 years earlier. This is a prime minister of a “centre” state and power (sixth to occupy this exalted position since the end of the war) that was one of the key countries that worked on the panel that drafted the historic 1948 United Nations “Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide” – in the wake of the 1930s-1940s deplorable perpetration of the Jewish genocide and other genocides in Europe. 6 million Jews were murdered then by Nazi Germany. It is to ensure that no human beings are ever subjected to what the Jews and others went through in central Europe and elsewhere that this genocide convention is rated as one of the key international documents of the new age. Britain is a signatory to the convention. Surely, Harold Wilson’s “[W]ould accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took”-declaration cannot fit into the hallowed pages of the UN “Convention on the prevention of the Crime of Genocide”.

“[L]etting the little buggers starve out”, Defoliant

Finally, a senior British foreign office official, who echoes Harold Wilson’s disposition to the Igbo slaughter, is no less chilling in their own characterisation of Britain’s strategic goal. Describing the British response to the concerted international humanitarian effort to dispatch urgently needed relief material to the blockaded and bombarded Igbo, this official notes that the British government position is designed to “show conspicuous zeal in relief while in fact letting the little buggers starve out” (Morris: 122). In a courageous and admirable public admission he makes in 1970, Colonel Robert Scott breaks ranks with his employer, the British diplomatic mission in Lagos where he works as military advisor, to acknowledge, gravely, that as the Nigerian genocidists unleash their Adekunleist campaigns across Igbo cities, towns and villages, they are the “best defoliant agent known” (Sunday Telegraph, London, 11 January 1970).

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of Longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (forthcoming, May 2016)
(John Coltrane Quartet, “Wise One” [Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 27 April 1964])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

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