Thursday, 25 April 2019

The archives project! Igbo people of Biafra: “The stink of genocide is everywhere...”

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

EXCERPTS ... from the gripping and indelible lines on the Igbo genocide (phases I-III, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970), the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, during which Britain and client-state Nigeria led by Fulani islamist/jihadists and the coterie of pan-African constituent nations including, especially, Yoruba, Edo, Hausa, Urhobo, Jawara, Gwari, Nupe, Bachama, Tiv, Jukun, Kanuri, all in this southwestcentral region of Africa, murder 3.1 million Igbo people of Biafra, beginning 21 years after end of the Jewish genocide, in Leon Uri’s classic, QB VII (London: Bantam Books, 1970), pp. 392-393:
ABE studied them all, his worn-out little band of idealists. 
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” Abe said in a voice that literally moaned with sorrow, “I would like to make a statement by quoting in effect the words of Thomas Bannister, Q.C., when he said that no one in their wildest imaginations would have believed Hitler’s Germany before it actually happened. And he said, if the civilized world knew what Hitler intended to do then they would have stopped him. Well, here we are in 1967, and the Arabs vow daily to finish Hitler’s work. Certainly the world will not stand for another chapter of this holocaust. There is a right and a wrong. It is right for a people to want to survive. It is wrong to want to destroy them. But alas, the kingdom of heaven is concerned with righteousness alone. The kingdoms of the earth run on oil. 
“WELL now, certainly the world should be appalled by what is happening in Biafra. The stink of genocide is everywhere. Certainly, after Hitler’s Germany, the world should step in and stop genocide in Biafra. However, that becomes impractical when one considers England’s investments in Nigeria conflict with France’s interests in Biafra. After all, members of the jury, it is only [African] people[s] killing other [African] people.  
“We should like to think,” Abe said, “that Thomas Bannister was right, when he said more people, including the German people, should have risked punishment and death by refusing orders. We should like to believe there would have been a protest and ask why didn’t the Germans protest? Well today, young people march in the streets to protest Biafra and Vietnam and the principle of murdering their fellow man through the medium of war. And we say to them … why are you protesting so much? Why don’t you go there and kill like your father killed?…” (added emphasis)
(Eric Dolphy Duo, “Alone together” [personnel: Dolphy, bass clarinet; Richard Davis, double bass; recorded: Fuel Records, New York, US, {May?June?July?} 1963]) 

******Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of The longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (2019) and co-author, with Lakeson Okwuonicha, of Why #DonaldTrump is #great for #Africa (2018)
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

82nd birthday of Joe Henderson

(Born 24 April 1937, Lima, Ohio, US)
PRODIGIOUSLY INFLUENTIAL 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)
(Joe Henderson Trio, “Beatrice” {composer: Sam Rivers} [personnel: Henderson, tenor saxophone; Ron Crter, bass; Al Foster, drums; recorded: live, Village Vanguard, New York, US, 14-16 November 1985])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

91st birthday of Johnny Griffin

(Born 24 April 1928, Chicago, US)
VERY DISTINGUISHED tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader
(Thelonious Monk Quartet, “In walked Bud” [personnel: Monk, piano; Griffin, tenor saxophone; Ahmed Abdul-Malik, bass; Roy Haynes, drums; recorded: live, Five Spot Café, New York, US, 7 August 1958])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 22 April 2019

84th birthday of Paul Chambers

(Born 22 May 1935, Pittsburgh, US)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

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”
(John Coltrane Quartet featuring Paul Chambers“Walkin’” and “The theme” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone, Wynton Kelly, piano; Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums; recorded: live, German television, Düsseldorf, Germany, 28 March 1960]) 

*****Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of The longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (2019) and co-author, with Lakeson Okwuonicha, of Why #DonaldTrump is #great for #Africa (2018)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

97th birthday of Charles Mingus

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

IN SEPTEMBER 1996, I published an essay on the work of Charles Mingus in the African Peoples Review (Vol. V, No. 3, September-December 1996, p. 22) entitled “Wednesday night prayer meeting” under the signature of Nnamdi Nzegwu. The essay is reissued here (below), in the original, in commemoration of the iconic bassist/composer’s 97th birthday: 

*****IT is no mean achievement that Charles Mingus’s music encapsulates all the critical junctures of jazz. His work with the pioneering geniuses of Charlie ParkerDuke EllingtonLouis ArmstrongLionel Hampton and Art Tatum in New York of the early 1950s gives Mingus the compositional and arranging insights that would soon be the bassist’s forté.

Few jazz scholars would now disagree that the success of that much discussed May 1953 concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall featuring the Parker Quintet (Parker, alto; Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet; Bud Powell, piano; Mingus, bass; Max Roach, drums) is not just a Parkerian triumph but equally that of the iconoclastic bassist from Los Angeles.

BEGINNING with Mingus, the bass ceases to be merely an “accompanying” time-keeping, harmonic instrument in jazz. It still has to contend with “time-keeping”, but it has entered into the interplay as a polyphonic participant. The work of subsequent bassists particularly Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Jimmy Garrison, Scott La Faro, Gary Peacock, Eddie Khan, Charles Haden and Dave Holland attest to this Mingusian redesignation

In 1954, Mingus launched his Jazz Workshop experimentation which was to emphasise more of “group” or “collective” improvisation in jazz, away from what was then increasingly becoming the tedious and formularised “theme-solo-theme” structures of the bebop revolution that had been launched in the 1940s by the Parker-Gillespie-Thelonious Monk troika. As a critic once observed, it was not that Mingus was “avoiding Bebop, he straddled it”. He still had to absorb the great jazz heritage to move the music forward to wrestle with the new possibilities.

Creativity and rehearsals and creativity

It is therefore the case of Mingus trying to return jazz to the “group feeling” of those years of its early development in the closing decades of the 1800s. The soloist still has a great deal of space in Mingus’s thinking but their musical concepts has to develop in anticipation and in response to the polyphony of collective interaction; there are now multisided and multiple centres of creativity soon after that infectious bass intro! The act of creativity is no longer dependent on some space and time limitation. The workshops could not distinguish between rehearsals, for instance, and real performances! Creativity during rehearsals becomes rehearsals of creativity occurring at bandstands with or without an audience (for the latter, listen to the ethereal 1962 album Mingus Presents Mingus, featuring multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy). The music is always in a state of flux: evolving, developing, maturing, breaking up, only to form the nucleus of another centre of activity, itself interacting with other centres of the medley.

WITH THE CLASSIC Pithecanthropus Erectus album (1956), Mingus gives notice to this sense of continuous creativity – after all, this composition is his portrait of the formulaic development of a cataclysmic human form and the (predictable?) resultant chaos that this produces in the world by the end of the 20th century. Using distinct but unusual forms of squeals, grunts, duets and harmony, the composition exacts a coherent understanding of this tragic travelogue that a 1996 earth inhabitant would perhaps be familiar with (exhaustion/appropriation/destruction of the world’s limited resources, rupture of the ozone layer) than their counterpart 40 years before. The impassioned crystalline-striking lyricism of altoist Jackie McLean, the Rollinsesque rebuttals of tenorist J R Monterose and the plodding, haunting echoes of pianist Mal Waldron strokes keep the narrative of the age on course and there is relief, at the final movement, when the pulverising destroyer falls, is destroyed.

In Blues and Roots album that follows suit, Mingus pays homage to the sacred music of his roots. The rhythmic tension at play by soloists McLean, Booker Ervin (tenor), John Handy (alto) and Jimmy Knepper (trombone) over such compositions as “Tensions”, “Moanin’”, “Cryin’ Blues” and “E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too” always calls for new insights, ever more challenging interpretations on replays. “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting” is predictably such a joy and by the time this composition is confronted yet again by a new Mingus personnel line up live in Antibes, Juan-Les-Pins (France) in 1960, detailing Mingus (bass and piano), Ted Curson (trumpet), Dolphy (alto), Ervin (tenor) and Dannie Richmond (drums), it has become the launching pad for intuitive flights and virtuosity.


Mingus’s vivid commentaries on contemporary American life and worldwide developments are prolific. These samples range from ballads (“Sue’s Changes”, “1 X-Love”, “Bemoanable Lady”, “Celia”) to the very humorous (“Eat that Chicken”, “Hog Callin Blues”, “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am”, “Old’ Blues for Walt’s Torin”, “My Jelly Roll Soul”), sentimental/sensuous (“Portrait of Jackie”, “Love Chant”, “Orange was the Color of her Dress, then Blue Silk”, “Peggy’s Blue Skylight”) to outright, politically serious (“Pithecanthropus Erectus”, “Ecclusiastics”, “Passions of a Man”, “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting”,“Letter to Duke”, “MDM – Monk, Duke, Mingus”, “Oh Lord Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me”, “Meditations on Integration”, “All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother”, “Fables of Faubus”, “Haitian Fight Song”, “Weird Nightmare”, “So Long Eric”) and dirge – “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, Mingus’s salute to tenorist Lester Young, and of course Epitaph, his 127-minute long composition which was performed posthumously by a 30-piece orchestra at the New York’s Lincoln Center in 1989.

NEARLY A DECADE before critics would use the term “free jazz” to describe the music of revolutionaries such as Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, etc., etc., the Mingus workshops were already redefining and laying the foundation of new points of departure for jazz. Names of workshops’ alumni read like the priority core zone of the restless and most adventurous innovators of the jazz directory of the era: drummers Willie Jones and Dannie Richmond; trumpeters Clarence Shaw, Richard Williams, Ted Curson and Johnny Coles; altoists Jackie McLean, Charlie Mariano, John Handy, Eric Dolphy (also flute and bass clarinet virtuoso), Charles McPherson; tenorists Teo Marcero, J R Monterose, Roland Kirk, Booker Ervin and Clifford Jordan; trombonist Jimmy Knepper; pianists Mal Waldron, Jaki Byard, Horace Parlan, Roland Hanna.
(Charles Mingus at Antibes, “Wednesday night prayer meeting” [personnel: Mingus, bass, piano; Ted Curson, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; Booker Ervin, tenor saxophone; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: live, Jazz à Juan festival, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, France, 13 July 1960]) 

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

April is genocide awareness and prevention month: Snapshot of the Anglo-Fulani alliance that prosecutes the Igbo genocide

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

BRITAIN and FULANI alliance, this genocidist transcontinental dual-headed power configuration that has executed the Igbo genocide with such abiding ruthlessness and monstrosity these past 53 years, has ensured that Igbo people’s history of the past century challenges, quite dramatically, a range of key assumptions in “post-colonial” discourses that centres on race, history and geography.

In 1945, about 50 years after the beginning of the British conquest and occupation of Igboland, Biafra, the Fulani islamist jihadists in occupied north Nigeria, whose home is the Futa Djallon highlands of northwest Africa, 1500 miles away, embarked on the invasion of Igbo territorial spaces emplaced in the overarching architecture of the British occupation (in Jos, northcentral Nigeria) with the latter’s tactical if not strategic connivance. In effect, this attack, in which the Fulani unleashed a pogrom on the Igbo as the mode of invasion, formally inaugurated the dual-headed genocidist cabal that would oversee the perpetration of yet another season of pogrom on the Igbo in 1953 (Kano, north Nigeria), and then launched the horrendously full-blown, extended and expansive Igbo genocide, beginning on 29 May 1966. During phases I-III of the genocide in the 44 subsequent months, the duo genocidists murdered 3.1 million Igbo or 25 per cent of the Igbo population. Tens of thousands of additional Igbo have been murdered in phase IV of the genocide, 13 January 1970-present day. The latter tally includes the 3000 Igbo murdered since November 2015 by the Muhammadu Buhari regime, installed in power in March 2015 by ex-US President Barack Hussein Obama, the first African-descent president of the United States in 233 years of the founding of this republic, and ex-British Prime Minister David Cameron.

What disparity?

IT IS precisely because of the very genocidist terror that undergirds the Anglo-Fulani alliance, in the wake of the 1945 Fulani invasion of Igbo homes and other interests in Jos, that the Igbo resistance to this catastrophe does not categorise any of these two invaders as either “primary” or “secondary” despite the sequence of the timeframe of the invasions, despite the nature of the contributing resources that each of the co-operative executioners of this crime against humanity deploys, and despite the predictable array of data readily deployed to project the presumed disparity of the comparative “statuses” of the two complementary genocidist states in world affairs.

For the Igbo, the grave existential challenges from both the British and Fulani, in these past 74 years, have occurred almost invariably in more fluid or composite frames...
(John Coltrane Quintet, “Stardust [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Wilbur Harden, fluegelhorn; Red Garland, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobbsdrums;  recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, US, 11 July 1958])

*****Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of The longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (2019) and co-author, with Lakeson Okwuonicha, of Why #DonaldTrump is #great for #Africa (2018)
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

98th birthday of Chike Obi

(Born 17 April 1921, Onicha, Biafra)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

FIRST mathematics doctorate in Biafra/countries in southwestcentral Africa, rigorous academic and public intellectual, aptly described by Biafran theoretical physicist Alexander Obiefoka Animalu as the “foremost African mathematical genius of the 20th century”
(McCoy Tyner Quartet,  “Contemplation” [personnel: Tyner, piano; Joe Henderson, tenor saxophoneRon Carter, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 21 April 1967])

*****Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of The longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (2019) and co-author, with Lakeson Okwuonicha, of Why #DonaldTrump is #great for #Africa (2018)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

90th birthday of Mariama Bâ

(Born 17 April 1929, Dakar, Sénégal)
NOVELIST and influential intellectual, author of the seminal Une si longue lettre (1979)/So Long a Letter (1981)
(Red Garland Quintet, “All mornin’ long [personnel: Garland, piano; Donald Bryd, trumpet; John Coltrane, tenor saxophone; George Joyner, bass; Art Taylordrums;  recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, US, 15 November 1957]) 
*****Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of African Literature in Defence of History: An essay on Chinua Achebe (2001) and co-author, with Lakeson Okwuonicha, of Why #DonaldTrump is #great for #Africa (2018)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 13 April 2019

97th birthday of Julius Nyerere

(Born 13 April 1922, Butiama, Tanzania)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

MWALIMU!  Arguably, the African World’s most principled leader of the 20th century... 

Head of Tanganyika African National Union, beginning 1954, which spearheads the restoration-of-independence movement in Tanzania that successfully frees the country in 1961 from 80 years of dual German and British conquests and occupations... Such is Britainraging greed to gobble up every slice of this magnificent African cake”, as génocidaire Belgian King Leopold II once ravenously described the gargantuan riches of Africa, that it seizes Tanganyika in 1918 after the defeat of Germany in the 1914-18 war to prevent the consequential freedom of the constituent African peoples in this state.

Southern Africa freedom

MWALIMU: president of the freed Tanzania republic, October 1964-November 1985, provides rearguard bases for education, medical care and military training (in Tanzania) for numerous southern African restoration-of-independence movements especially from Mozambique,  Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa (1960s-1990s) – focussing on the latter, South Africa, students and scholars of this conjunctural epoch of African history, 30-40 years ago, have watched, in recent years, usually incredulously as one can imagine, as hundreds of African émigrés in South Africa from Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Biafra and elsewhere from Africa are murdered in premeditated campaigns clearly organised by groupings in the country with tacit and at times active support from personages within the South Africa state ... additionally, in this vicious campaign, African émigrés’ residents and businesses have been destroyed and thousands of survivors sent into horrid South Africa refugee camps or forced to return to their various countries.

WE mustn’t ever forget that no restoration-of-independence project in any region of the vast African world in history attracted such captivating support and goodwill from African peoples across this universe as the South Africa liberation. Given this history, it is indeed a catastrophic irony that South Africa that now appears compulsorily to hunt down and murder African peoples from elsewhere domiciled within its frontiers is a monstrous shame and tragedy of contemporary Africa. 

Biafra freedom

MWALIMU: one of the very few leaders in Africa who unequivocally condemns the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970 (phases I-III), during which an assemblage of pan-African nations in Nigeria including, especially, FulaniKanuri, HausaTivBachamaNupeJukunYorubaEdo and Urhobo in league with Britain murder 3.1 million Igbo people, 25 per cent of this nation’s population, in this gruesome, foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, worst genocide in Africa since génocidaire King Leopold II slaughtered 13 Million Africans in the Congo basin of central Africa, 1878-1908; supports the Biafra freedom movement.

East Africa freedom

MWALIMU: plays a key role in the 1978 termination of the Idi Amin Dada (who had earlier on in the 1950s/60s served the British military across the border in Kenya in savage expansive operations to suppress the Mau Mau freedom movement) murderous islamist military junta in neighbouring Uganda, in the same eviscerating squad as genocidists Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Omar al-Bashier of the Sudan, which the British government in January 1971, under Prime Minister Edward Heath, participated centrally in installing to power principally over Uganda’s democratically elected government Milton Obote’s insistent opposition to the Heath administration’s impending arms sales to the European-minority occupation regime in South Africa, expressly contrary to the existing UN comprehensive arms embargo on the regime to which British is a signatory – another consequence on rest of Africa of these “close encounters” with this country South Africa manifesting so dramatically (and brutally) yet again...
(George Russell Sextet, “Honesty” [personnel: Russell, piano; Don Ellis, trumpet; Dave Baker, trombone; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; Steve Swallow, bass; Joe Hunt, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 8 May 1961])

*****Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of The longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (2019) and co-author, with Lakeson Okwuonicha, of Why #DonaldTrump is #great for #Africa (2018)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Compelling lessons for African peoples in this April month of genocide awareness and prevention ... The European World conquest of Africa is at once a genocide campaign and brigandage – Belgium, Germany and Britain’s relay-genocides-race of first half of 20th century Africa: Herero, Nama, Derg Damara, Igbo

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

THE state in Africa, as presently constituted, can only lead Africans to perdition. 

The European World “abandoned” toxic waste that goes by the name “state” in Africa and Africans, themselves, must get rid of it to survive. African peoples, just as others across the world, are in the position to construct organic state forms that are responsive to their worldviews and progress. 

The state is a transient relationship that exists at the behest of the goodwill and aspirations of its constituent people or peoples. If the logic of its existence is to murder and pulverise, it is impossible to see any prospect for its future. Does a Nigeria, for instance, realistically see any future of meaningful development in the wake of the Igbo genocide, in these past 53 years? After murdering 3.1 million Igbo people and tens of thousands additional Igbo since 29 May 1966? Definitely, definitively, no.

It is therefore a dreadful proposition to conceptualise any progress of human or other lives in a genocide state – the likes of Nigeriathe Sudanthe Congo … or whatever their ghastly signatures denote. These are contraptions of murder and murdering; nothing else, as the salient features of this history demonstrate:

EuroConqueror genocidist state

IN OCTOBER 1904, Lother von Trotha (pictured above), the general officer commanding the genocidist German military forces engaged in the genocide of the HereroNama and Derg Damara peoples of southwest Africa (contemporary Namibia) issued the following proclamation which he unambiguously captioned an “Extermination Order”: “The Herero people will have to leave the country. Otherwise I shall force them to do so by means of guns … [E]very Herero, whether found armed or unarmed, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall not accept any more women and children. I shall drive them back to their people – otherwise I shall order shots to be fired at them. These are my orders to the Herero people” (Horst Drechsler“Let Us Die Fighting”: The Struggle of the Herero and Nama against German Imperialism, 1884-1915, London: Zed, 1980: 156-157).

A. Consequences: Haunting milestones

(1)  1904-1907: In this German state-organised genocide of Herero people, supervised by Lother von Trotha, the Germans murdered 65,000 out of 80,000 Herero during the period – i.e., 80 per cent of the total Herero population was wiped out

(2)  1904-1907: In this German state-organised genocide of Nama people, supervised by Lother von Trotha, the Germans murdered 10,000 Nama during the period  – i.e., 50 per cent of the total Nama population was wiped out

(3)  1904-1907: In this German state-organised genocide of Berg Damara people, supervised by Lother von Trotha, the Germans do not have the original population figure for the Berg Damara at the onset of the genocide, but, according to their own estimates, the genocidists may have wiped out 30 per cent of the total Berg Damara population by 1907
LEST WE FORGET, Germany had duly received the lead European-World powers’ instituted relay-genocides-in-Africa race baton from none other than Leopold II (pictured above), first cousin of Queen Victoria of England, grandson of  King Louis Philippe of France, and second king of the Belgians. It was now evident, if ever there were any doubts, that the European World-conqueror/conquest state in Africa, the “Berlin-state”right from the outset, in the wake of the infamous November 1884-February 1885 Berlin conference, was at once an occupying and genocide state. During the course of 30 years, 1878-1908, genocidist Leopold II-led Belgian monarchy/state carried out the genocide of a host of constituent peoples in the Congo River basin of central Africa (2,442,240 sq km landmass, 80 times the size of Belgium). Leopold II and the Belgian state murdered 13 million African constituent peoples (Isidore Ndaywel  è Nziem, Histoire générale du Congo: De l'héritage ancien à la République Démocratique, Paris: Duculot, 1998: 344). The génocidaire Belgian king was adamant why he supervised this long-stretched genocide, equally obsessed, as his other European league of conquerors,  with Belgium’s own share of the conquest and occupation of Africa: “I do not want to risk … losing a fine chance to secure for ourselves a slice of this magnificent African cake” (Adam HochschildKing Leopold’s Ghost, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999: 58).

B. Consequences: Haunting milestones
JUST OVER 60 YEARS to the day after German genocidist general von Throta’s “Extermination Order” to destroy the Herero, Nama and Berg Damara peoples of southwest Africa, Britain, occupying the prized lands of southwestcentral Africa 2200 miles away in the wake of the Berlin conference, took over the baton of the European World relay-genocides-race in Africa from Germany. In May 1966, Britain, under the prime ministership of Harold Wilson (pictured above), embarked on the genocide of Igbo people. Beginning in the mid-1930s, the Igbo had spearheaded the restoration-of-independence movement for the constituent peoples in British-occupied Nigeria – an agglomeration of states that are a hefty slice indeed of the scrumptious African cake à la Leopold II. Harold Wilson sought to “punish” the Igbo for their historic role. 

Instructively, unlike the Belgians and Germans earlier, the British were able to construct a panoply of pan-African nations from north Nigeria (especially Fulani, Kanuri, Nupe, Hausa, Jukun, Bachama, Jawara) and west Nigeria (particularly Yoruba, Urhobo, Edo) to directly execute this genocide against an African people on the ground, on its behalf. But the actual operationalising mission itself could easily have been taken directly from von Throta’s “Extermination Order”. 

FOR Britain, its eminent position in Africa (and the rest of the world) during this epoch could not be overstated. Having remained the lead beneficiary of 400 years of the pan-European World enslavement of African peoples since the latter part of the 17th century (Herbert Ekwe-EkweReadings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature, Reading and Dakar: African Renaissance, 2011: 1-6), it had now become the European World premier power in Africa after being part of the victorious US-led alliance that defeated its German global-domination rivals twice in the essentially intra-European wars of 1914-1918 (so-called World War I) and 1939-1945 (so-called World War II).

Such was the sheer impudence of Harold Wilson as he oversaw the slaughter of the Igbo from his 10 Downing Street London official residence,  particularly in the catastrophic months of 1968-1969, that he went on record to inform Clyde Ferguson, the 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 MorrisUncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy, London & New York: Quartet Books, 1977: 122). Few would fail to note 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 in Europe. Besides, Britain was a key participant in the drafting of the crucial 1948 UN convention on the crime of genocide, 18 years before it launched the Igbo genocide, and one of its early signatories. Britain and its pan-African allies eventually murdered 3.1 million Igbo, 25 per cent of this nation’s population, during phases I-III of the genocide, 29 May-12 January 1970, and an additional count of tens of thousands of Igbo murdered in phase-IV of the genocide, 13 January 1970-present day. 

AS THE final tally of the murder of the Igbo people demonstrates, Harold Wilson probably had the perverted satisfaction of having his Nigerian co-genocidists perform far in excess of the prime minister’s grim target, a subject coldly stated in Wilson’s own memoirs where he notes that the Nigerian military, equipped zealously by Britain, expended more small arms ammunition in its campaign to achieve its annhilative mission in the Igbo genocide than the amount used by the British armed forces  “during the whole” of  the 1939-1945 war or “World War II” (Harold WilsonLabour Government, 1964-1970: A Personal Record, London: Wiedenfeld & Nicolson, 1971: 630, added emphasis). On this feature, Robert Scott, military advisor in the British diplomatic mission in Nigeria during the Igbo genocide acknowledges, equally gravely, that as genocidist Nigeria military forces unleashed their attacks on Igbo cities, towns and villages, they were the “best defoliant agent known” (Daily Telegraph, London, 11 January 1970).

Survivors’ commitment

SOMEONE or a people who survives genocide is simultaneously survivor and victor, hence that stunning incantation of the triumph of life itself on the morrow of overcoming the slaughter, the dehumanisation, the immiseration: “Happy Survival”!

The Derg DamaraHereroIgbo and Nama are great survivors and victors  and precisely because of these outcomes, these peoples will play a critical role in charting the very nature of the future relationship of Africa and Belgium, Africa and Germany, Africa and Britain, and Africa and the rest of the European World. 

The perpetrators of these genocides, Belgium, Britain and Germany, must acknowledge and atone, fully, for executing these crimes against humanity. Belgium, Germany and Britain must each pay comprehensive reparations at once to the host of constituent African peoples in the Congo River basin, Derg DamaraHerero, Nama and Igbo peoples, respectively, for committing this stretch of genocides between 1878 and 2018. 

THESE crimes will never be forgotten by the survivors and the rest of the world. This is the proclamation that surely endures and not General von Trotha’s “Extermination Order”.
(John Coltrane Duo, “Mars” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone, bells; Rashied Ali, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood, Cliff, NJ, US, 22 February 1967])
Drechsler, Horst. “Let Us Die Fighting”: The Struggle of the Herero and Nama against German Imperialism, 1884-1915. London: Zed, 1980.

Ekwe-Ekwe, Herbert. Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, LiteratureDakar and Reading: African Renaissance, 2011.

Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999.

Isidore Ndaywel  è Nziem. Histoire générale du Congo: De l'héritage ancien à la République Démocratique. Paris: Duculot, 1998.

John Coltrane Duo. “Mars”. Van Gelder Studio, Englewood, Cliff, NJ, US, 22 February 1967.

Morris, Roger. Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy, London & New York: Quartet Books, 1977.

Wilson, Harold. Labour Government, 1964-1970: A Personal Record. London: Wiedenfeld & Nicolson, 1971.

*****Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of The longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (2019) and co-author, with Lakeson Okwuonicha, of Why #DonaldTrump is #great for #Africa (2018)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 6 April 2019

4th anniversary of oba or king of Lagos’s proclamation to murder Igbo people in Lagos, genocidist Nigeria

(Rilwan Akiolu)
(commentary published soon after news of Akiolu’s Igbo murder-proclamation became public, 6 April 2015)

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

RILWAN AKIOLU, the oba or king of Lagos, genocidist Nigeria, has issued a proclamation to murder Igbo people domiciled in Lagos if they, the Igbo, do not vote for the king’s “preferred candidate” in the forthcoming Lagos region head of regime’s election. The king’s proclamation is published widely in the Nigeria media including Premium Times (Lagos), Vanguard (Lagos) and (New York).

According to (6 April 2015), the “Oba of Lagos threatened Igbo during a meeting in his palace in downtown Lagos. The traditional king of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, told representatives of the Igbo during the meeting that if they refuse to vote for his preferred candidate Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressive Congress [the party the overwhelming majority of the Igbo electorate voted against in the Saturday 28 March 2015 ‘poll’ for ‘president’ in Nigeria:] they will die in the Lagos lagoon in 7 days”.’s report, on its website, includes an audio clip of Akiolu’s murder threats with haunting “cheers” and chants by courtiers in Yoruba: kabiyesikabiyesi – “the unquestionable one”, “the unquestionable one”…

Outrage, clinical precision, no agency

AKIOLU is a lawyer and was an assistant chief of the genocidist Nigeria police before his accession to the Lagos throne in 2003. He is respected if not revered by his Yoruba subjects. The world can and must stop Akiolu from carrying through his proclamation. 

Akiolu’s proclamation is a grim alert to the world, just coming a few days after islamist insurgents operating in a university college in Kenya murdered 147 African christian students, initially separated from their muslim counterparts. The world’s heads of state, heads of government, even heads of regime, the United Nations, statespersons, non-state/civil organisations, scholars, students, men and women of freedom and goodwill should today, now, register their unqualified outrage in response to this call by the Lagos hereditary monarch to murder the Igbo, based on the latter’s exercise of their choice in a seemingly democratic contest. Phone calls of protest should be made or emails sent at once to one’s nearest Nigeria consulate/embassy. Nigerian genocidist officials/operatives who not too unroutinely call openly for the mass murder of Igbo people over the decades have been so emboldened in their stock-in-trade especially since Nigeria secured unflinching backing from the British government at the onset of the Igbo genocide in 1966. To underscore the point, we should recall that it was to British Prime Minister Harold Wilson that Nigeria’s genocidist trooper Olusegun Obasanjo turned to in June 1969 to “sort out” the world-wide revulsion that followed Obasanjo’s orders to his air force to shoot down over south Biafra the International Committee of the Red Cross DC-7, clearly marked, relief-carrying aircraft to the encircled, blockaded and bombarded Igbo, resulting in the catastrophic loss of the plane’s 3-person crew (Olusegun ObasanjoMy Command, Ibadan and London: Heinemann, 1980: 165).
(Olusegun Obasanjo)
FINALLY, back to the Igbo in Lagos and genocidist Akiolu... Millions of Igbo live in Lagos. Igbo experience in Nigeria since the 1945 Igbo pogrom in Jos (central region) has been that calls for the “murder of Igbo” by officials (religious, monarchial, other state operatives) have usually been carried out with almost clinical precision in orchestrated mass actions. Akiolu’s reference to the Lagos lagoon is therefore ominous because this is the bight where hundreds of Igbo slaughtered during phase-I of the Igbo genocide, especially after 29 July 1966, were dumped by their assailants. 

Pointedly, Akiolu’s murder-proclamation comes in the wake of the expulsions of Igbo citizens from Lagos in recent years by Raji Fashola, the region’s head of regime, another lawyer, indeed a senior advocate of the Nigerian bar. 

AS I INDICATED during the Fashola expulsion (“Igbo deportation from Lagos”  see link below), the Igbo must leave Lagos and relocate to Biafra. No agency in Lagos nor in the wider Nigeria virulent political space can or is willing to safeguard Igbo security and wellbeing: (Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe“Igbo deportation from Lagos”,
(Andrew Hill Septet, “Premonition” [personnel: Hill, piano; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; John Gilmore, bass clarinet; Richard Davis, bass; Joe Chambers, drums; Renaud Simmons, conga, percussion; Nadi Qamar, percussion, African drums, thumb piano; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 8 October 1965])
*****Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of The longest genocide – since 29 May 1966 (2019) and co-author, with Lakeson Okwuonicha, of Why #DonaldTrump is #great for #Africa (2018)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe