UNDERSTANDING BIAFRA: FAILED EXTERMINATION, RESURRECTION, AND THE FIGHT FOR ITS INDEPENDENCE.
In the year 2023, it has become more important than ever for us to delve into a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between history, knowledge, and memory that defines the Biafran identity.
Undoubtedly, a wealth of resources, including real-life experiences, testimonies, and documented accounts, expose the attempted extermination of our people, the Biafrans, from 1967 to 1970, with all its horrifying tendencies.
Numerous studies also examine the strategic approaches employed by the British enemy during the Biafran genocide. These include land and sea blockades, indiscriminate destruction of lives and properties, and the involvement of mercenaries and Egyptian pilots who carried out systematic bombardments targeting our civilian population—particularly women and children—even when they sought refuge under the responsibility and protection of the Red Cross Society.
These books are available, and we are acutely aware of their existence. They form an integral part of our motivation and commitment to the struggle for Biafran Liberation and Restoration. Most importantly, these books should serve as a foundation for educating every Biafran child in this generation, ensuring that this awareness becomes deeply ingrained in future generations of Biafra, even when it achieves independence as a sovereign state.
Indeed, many authors have extensively examined specific aspects of the immense genocide and attempted extermination of the Biafrans that occurred between 1967 and 1970. However, they have yet to provide satisfactory answers to numerous pressing questions that continue to linger. These questions primarily revolve around the profound impact of the ongoing war on our people:
What are the actual effects of war on the collective mindset of our people?
In what ways does the war exhibit distinct genocidal characteristics, persisting from 1967 to the present day?
How have the survivors of Biafra experienced dehumanization, exclusion, and marginalization within Nigerian society?
What does it signify philosophically, and how does it emotionally affect a people to be displaced within their homeland?
Considering the abhorrent and unspeakable experiences endured by us Biafrans, is it not conceivable for today’s Biafran artists, authors, novelists, and poets to depict the potential planned extermination of our people in their works? Or does it imply that the monstrous nature of the suffering inflicted upon us by heartless and malevolent British forces cannot be adequately expressed through words?
Attempting to answer, or even just explore, these question is a crucial task that is essential to our existence and the reclamation of our devastated land. These answers could not only open our eyes to the truth but also provide innovative solutions to the Biafran cause!
As Biafran philosophers, artists, filmmakers, historians, sociologists, and others, it is our responsibility to shape the future of a fully self-aware Biafra and Biafrans.
Through various academic and artistic disciplines, we must gather the fragments of our national memories, unite them, and comprehensively transmit them to our sons and daughters.
To illustrate this point, we can draw inspiration from the Jewish people and Israel. When the Jewish state was proclaimed in May 1948, the Israelis embarked on a collective effort to commemorate the destruction of European Judaism (1933-1945). This ongoing endeavor has provided the rejuvenated Jewish nation in their ancestral homeland with strong internal unity, newfound resilience, and determination to withstand neighbouring countries who envy and threaten their existence.
In their pursuit to understand their history, the Israelis mobilized various forms of knowledge. Notably, they developed a distinct Israeli historiography—an achievement that, despite the commendable efforts of Biafran historians in a similar direction, has yet to be fully realized.
The genocidal event is a defining aspect that shapes the Israeli identity. Philosophers, historians of ideas, and anthropologists have made efforts to understand the circumstances that led to the plan of exterminating the Jews, the profound meanings, and the far-reaching implications of such a plan. Their exploration extends beyond Jewish history, encompassing universal significance.
Numerous artists, writers, poets, and thinkers have contributed to this reflective process. Through this reflection, Israelis have gained a deeper understanding of their past and present, enabling them to make informed choices for their future. They analyze the significance of their return to the land of Israel and the moral, historical, philosophical, and spiritual justifications for their presence in the land of Zion.
In the context of this article, it is essential to emphasize a well-known truth: the more people are self-aware, and recognize their role on the historical stage, the better equipped they are to face present challenges and prepare for the future.
Vibrant collective memory serves as a wellspring of creativity and a promise of rejuvenation. This truth holds particular relevance in the case of Biafra, as we share a spiritual connection to the ancient Hebrew tradition, and there is currently a substantial Jewish community among the Igbo people.
Moreover, we are delighted and excited about the dialogue taking place between Israeli and Biafran activists. It represents a united front and a joint effort in confronting a common adversary.
We, the Biafrans, firmly believe that by following the example of the resurrection of the Israeli state, we can pave the way for a truly free Biafra. We understand the importance of prioritizing cultural initiatives, academic research, and self-awareness in bringing about this authentic liberation.
We acknowledge that the liberation of Biafran land cannot be fully realized without a genuine cultural struggle on all fronts. This entails reclaiming our history, culture, and traditions.
Just as the modern Hebrew intellectuals took action early on within the Zionist movement, we recognize that we must mobilize and unite all our intellectual resources without delay. We must prepare for the Biafra of tomorrow, without wasting a single day.
Our people have already shown their remarkable resilience, a strong desire for freedom, and creativity in the ongoing battle. Today, it is crucial and urgent to channel these qualities into cultural initiatives and knowledge dissemination, particularly among the younger generations.
Therefore, let every one of us organize ourselves to the best of our abilities. Let us establish study circles to delve into the Biafran condition and situations, spark public debates, and organize seminars, even with limited resources. The key is to foster a thirst for a deeper understanding of who we are as a people.
Let us lay the foundation for the future universities of an independent Biafra.
Those who hold academic positions or engage in artistic activities should come together and form autonomous groups. They can offer courses in their respective fields of expertise and, most importantly, establish a cultural counter-force. We must recognize that oppressive regimes, like the Nigerian entity, fear their victims’ awakening and the realization of our Biafran identity.
The war we are fighting is not one of physical weapons but of ideas, knowledge, culture, conscience, books, and arts. This war terrifies the repressive powers more than any other initiative because it exposes the lies upon which they rely.
The oppressor dreads the inner freedom of the oppressed, and we must keep this truth engraved in our hearts. They understand that knowledge, study, and intelligence hold the key to our liberation. That is why they prefer ignorance over enlightenment.
We have no choice but to win this spiritual battle. By doing so, we connect our ancestors with future generations, demonstrating that nothing and no one can hinder the march of the Igbo nation toward freedom.