Wednesday, 26 June 2019

106th birthday of Aimé Césaire

(Born 26 June 1913, Basse-Pointe, Martinique)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

POET, playwright, essayist, cofounder, with Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon-Gontram Damas, of the “negritude” movement in Paris in the 1930s-1940s; of Igbo descent,***** one of the preeminent intellectuals of African World affirmation in the wake of 500 years of pan-European enslavement of African peoples, conquest and occupation of Africa; author of classics Cahier d’un retour au pays natal, 1939 (English: Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, 1956), 
Discours sur le colonialisme, 1950 (English: Discourse on Colonialism, 1953), Toussaint Louverture: La Révolution française et le problème colonial, 1960 (study on Toussaint L’Ouverturethe Haitian restoration-of-independence revolutionary), Une Saison au Congo, 1966 (English: A Season in the Congo, 1968 – play on life and times of Patrice Lumumba, 1950s/early 1960s’ leader of the restoration-of-independence movement in the Congo, then occupied by Belgium where the king, Leopold II, and the Belgian state, had committed an expansive genocide against constituent African peoples therein between 1878 and 1908 murdering 13 million Africans) and Une Tempête, 1969 (English: A Tempest, 1986 – a play, African peoples-centred rereading of Shakespeare’s The Tempest); The Tragedy of King Christoph (2015) – a play on Henri Christoph, general in Toussaint’s Haitian restoration-of-independence army who later declares himself king in north Haiti and exercises an oppressive rule on the peopleteacher of and major influence on Frantz Fanon, fellow Martinican and celebrated freedom scholar and author of The Wretched of the Earth.

(*****Chukwuma AzuonyeIgbo Names in the Nominal Roll of Amelié, An Early 19th Century Slave Ship from Martinique: Reconstructions, Interpretations and Inferences”, Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series, Paper 8, 1990, p. 1. {Thanks to Chidi Osuagwu for kindly citing this reference in his communication with me, Wednesday 26 June 2019 [HE-E].})
(John Coltrane Septet, “Dahomey dance” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone, Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Reggie Workman, bass; Art Davis, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: A&R Studios, New York, US, 25 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

Thursday, 20 June 2019

91st birthday of Eric Dolphy

(Born 20 June 1928, Los Angeles, US)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

MULTIINTRUMENTALIST genius whose compositions, recordings and evocative soloing with any of his chosen instruments (alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, bassoon, oboe...) in his multicombo-led settings and across a range of collaborative ensembles (especially those headed by drummers Chico Hamilton and Max Roach, alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman, pianists George Russell and Andrew Hillalto and tenor saxophonist Oliver Nelson, tenor and soprano saxophonist John Coltrane, and bassist Charles Mingus) have a distinctly recognisable Dolphyian signature that has impacted the jazz repertoire most profoundly
(Eric Dolphy Quartet, “Softly as in a morning sunrise” [personnel: Dolphy, bass clarinet; Herbie Hancock, piano; Eddie Khan, bass; JC Moses, drums; recorded: live, University of Illinoi, Champaign, Illinoi, 10 March 1963])
(John Coltrane Quintet, “Brasilia” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Reggie Workman, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: live, at The Village Vanguard, New York, US, 1 November 1961])
(Charles Mingus Sextet – with Eric Dolphy, Cornell University 1964, “Meditations” [personnel: Mingus, bass; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Dolphy, flute, bass clarinet; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Jaki Byard, piano; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: live, Cornell University, 18 March 1964]) 

******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, 18 June 2019

“If Siberia had been darkness and cold and marked by death and deprivation, Africa was heat and color and life”: How the same continent of Africa demonised in the Polish-British Joseph Conrad’s raving racist Heart of Darkness novella just 40 years earlier (1902) saves the lives of over 30,000 desperate Polish refugees forced from their homeland in east Europe during the 1939-1945 war

(Polish refugees fleeing the 1939-1945 war from their homeland in Europe safe in Tengeru, Tanzania, 1946 ... photo credit: Jonathan Duranddirector, Memory is our Homeland documentary on the history of these over 30,000 refugees from Poland in east/southern Africa, 1942-1952)

1. Abdi Latif Dahir, “The little known story of the Polish refugees who fled to East Africa during World War II”, Quartz Africa, 16 May 2019, (accessed 17 May 2019)

2. On Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, see Chinua Achebe’s incomparable exposition,
“An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’” Massachusetts Review. 18. 1977. Rpt. in Heart of Darkness, An Authoritative Text, background and Sources Criticism. 1961. 3rd ed. Ed. Robert Kimbrough, London: W. W Norton and Co., 1988, pp.251-261:
(Wayne Shorter Septet, “The all seeing eye” [personnel: Shorter, tenor saxophone; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Grachan Moncur III, trombone, James Spaulding, alto saxophone; Herbie Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Joe Chambers, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood CliffNJ,US, 15 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

Saturday, 15 June 2019

97th birthday of Jaki Byard

(Born 15 June 1922, Worcester, Mass, US)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

PIANIST, pianists’ pianist whose “encyclopaedic knowledge”to quote the recurring phrase from many a critic of the jazz piano repertoire, ensures he ranges effortlessly in his solo take from the stride traditions of the 1920s-1930s (James Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith, Fats Waller) to the late 1940s/early 1950s revolutionary breakthroughs of Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols and the later flights of Cecil Taylor but still sounding Jaki Byard; academic; indelible footprints on the Charles Mingus jazz workshop – particularly the classic sextet: Mingus, bass; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Byard, piano; Dannie Richmond, drums
(Jaki Byard Trio, “Trendsition zildjian” [personnel: Byard, piano; David Izenzon, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Prestige, New York, US, 31 October 1967])
(Charles Mingus Sextet – featuring Eric Dolphy, Live in Oslo 1964, “So long Eric” [personnel: Mingus, bass; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Dolphy, alto saxophone; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Jaki Byard, piano; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: live, University Aula, 12 April 1964]) 

Friday, 7 June 2019

Biafra’s voice will prevail in these two antithetical worldviews at play in contemporary Africa

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

TWO voices in the southwestcentral region of Africa with such contrasting worldviews are in contestation presently:

1. For the first voice, from the Fulani islamist/jihadists in the north of the region, it is to threaten and threaten to murder, and indeed murder and murder and murder under the overarching, marching flaming banner of the herd as it and  parents and grandparents have done during the course of the gruesome Igbo genocide these past 53 years (29 May 1966-7 June 2019) and the Igbo pogroms in Kano (1953) and Jos (1945) and the dreadful legacy of foreparents’ trail of murders and subjugations of indigenous African populations across the entire north stretches of the region since they left their Futa Djallon highlands home of northwest Africa, 1500 miles away, just over 200 years ago to the day. The country that has unfailingly enhanced the monstrosity of this “voice” and its death mission throughout the trajectory is Britain, principally its creator. 

2. For the other voice, in the south of the geography, in Biafra, Land of the Rising Sun, it is engaged, uncompromisingly, in an assured, resilient quest for freedom that views life, yes, African life, as sacrosanct and is eager to employ its incredible talent of creativity and enterprise to transform the lives of its people, an outcome with epochal consequences for the region and all the continent and the rest of the African World – including, especially, in the Americas and Europe.
(Jackie McLean Quintet, “Love and hate” [personnel: McLean, alto saxophone; Grachan Moncur III, trombone; Bobby Hutcherson, vipraphone; Larry Ridley, bass; Roy Haynes, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 20 September 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, 5 June 2019

50th anniversary of genocidist Nigeria military’s gruesome shooting down of an international Red Cross aircraft over south Biafra

(O Obusonjo... day of beastly monstrosity: “... [c]hallenged ... Gbadomosi King [genocidist Nigeria air force pilot] to produce results ... He [Gbadomosi King] redeemed his promise...”)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

THERE WAS HARDLY any day during the entire 44-month duration of phases I-III of the Igbo genocide (29 May 1966-12 January 1970) that the Nigerian assault on Biafra did not register some dreadful mark of infamy, such was the sheer savagery of this murder mission – the most gruesome in Africa since the first decade of the 1900s when Germany carried out the devastating stretch of genocide against the Herero, Nama and Berg Damara peoples of contemporary Namibia.

5 JUNE 1969, exactly 50 years ago, today, was not different. Genocidist commander Olusegun Obasanjo had, on this day of beastly monstrosity ordered his air force to shoot down an international Red Cross aircraft carrying relief supplies to the encircled, blockaded and bombarded Igbo.

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO clearly, unambiguously, records this horrendous crime in his memoirs, appropriately entitled My Command, published in 1981 by the reputable Heinemann London publishers. Obasanjo had “challenged”, to quote his words, Captain Gbadomosi King, genocidist air force pilot in south Biafra (the region that the genocidist high command in Lagos had assigned specifically to Yoruba, Edo, Urhobo and other west Nigerian genocidist troopers 
“to ravage, to slaughter, to steal), who he had known since the launch of the genocide in 1966, to “produce results” in stopping further international relief flight deliveries to the Igbo. Within a week of his infamous challenge, 5 June 1969, Olusegun Obasanjo recalls, most nostalgically, Gbadomosi King “redeemed his promise”. Gbadomosi King had shot down a clearly marked, in coming relief-bearing International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) DC-7 plane near Eket, south Biafra, with the loss of its 3-person crew.
(DC-7 aircraft similar to the ICRC relief-carrying plane shot down over south Biafra by genocidist Nigeria air force on the orders of commander O Obusonjo)
OLUSEGUN OBASANJO’s perverse satisfaction over the aftermath of this horrendous crime is fiendish, chillingly revolting. He writes: “The effect of [this] singular achievement of the Air Force especially on 3 Marine Commando Division [the notorious slaughtering unit Obasanjo, who later becomes Nigeria’s head of regime for 11 years, commanded] 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, My Command: 79).

Caliban and his “massa” Prospero

Yet despite the huffing and puffing, the raving commanding brute is essentially a coward who lacks the courage to face up to a world totally outraged by his gruesome crime. Instead, Obasanjo, the quintessential Caliban, cringes into a stupor and beacons to his “massa” Prospero, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson (as he, “boy boy” Obansanjo, indeed acknowledges unashamedly in his My Command), to “sort out” the raging international outcry generated by the destruction of the ICRC plane... This request once again underscores Harold Wilson’s coordinating role in the prosecution of the Igbo genocide from the comfort of his offices and residence at 10 Downing Street, London, 3000 miles away. Anglo-Nigeria duo genocidists murdered 3.1 million Igbo people or 25 per cent of this nation’s population during these three phases of this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. In 2012, forty-three years after the downing of the relief aircraft, Olusegun Obasanjo was duly proclaimed “godfather of modern Nigeria” by the London Financial Times (14 April 2012) in further acknowledgement for his services of evil.

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO must now make the most honourable move over this crime and surrender himself, voluntarily, with his 1981-published memoirs, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Holland, and explain to the world what happened over the skies of south Biafra on that Thursday 5 June 1969. Failing to do this, it is incumbent on the ICC to declare this man “wanted” at once – to tell the world why he had ordered the destruction of the ICRC DC-7 aircraft with the death of its 3-person crew and who else in his genocidist high command is culpable of this crime. How/What exactly did Harold Wilson do to “sort out” this crime, as requested by Obasanjo, 50 years ago?
(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

184th birthday of James Beale Africanus Horton

(Born 1 June 1835, Gloucester, Sierra Leone)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

PHYSICIAN, first Igbo and African graduate of University of Edinburgh Medical School (August 1859), prolific author of the sciences and history, distinguished officer of the British army medical corps, visionary of freedom and restoration-of-African-independence and transformation of African fortunes in the world after centuries of European World enslavement, conquest, occupation and expropriation; entrepreneur and banker
(Wynton Kelly Trio with George Coleman, “Mr P.C.” {composer: John Coltrane} [Kelly, piano; Coleman, tenor saxophone; Paul McLure, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums; recorded, live, Left Bank Jazz Society, Baltimore, Maryland, US, 22 September 1968])
*****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