Sunday, October 23, 2005

Biafran Babies Must Not Be Afraid


By Nnorom Azuonye

Crawling the Internet in August 2005, I found information on a call for submissions to ‘Biafran Babies – Stories Signifying War’ an anthology of “memoirs, narratives, stories, and tales which represent first hand (direct), second hand (received/retold), or imaginary (fictional) accounts of childhood experiences of the Biafran War from the point of view of the Biafran child in any part of the world before, during, or after the shooting conflict.”
http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=146825

This call was made by the anthology editor, Obiwu, who is the director of the writing centre, Central State University, Wilberforce, USA. (obiwu@yahoo.com). I have known Obiwu for a while, therefore I contacted him by phone to learn more about the project, which I thought was important and ought to be encouraged.

Nearly 40 years since the declaration of Biafra, people are not speaking enough about Biafra or documenting its story for posterity. Not in any substantial way in any case. I felt compelled to place a copy of the call for submissions on my website at www.nnoromazuonye.com.

Strangely, barely two months after posting this on my site, I have received numerous e-mails from friends and family in Nigeria expressing concern that I am putting myself in a position where I may be seen as being a part of the cause for the actualisation of Biafra. Particularly, these messages express horror at my insistence in several of my profiles in giving my country of birth as Biafra.

This is quite baffling. All I have done is post a call for submission of essays, poems and short stories for an anthology edited by a friend. I have not asked anyone to go to war. I lost the first three years of my life to that bloody war between Nigeria and Biafra, as I hinted in one of my poems:

I will never know how it feels
to be born in a land not torn
by war, (1)

I should think that I would know better than to ask anyone to go to war or do anything that will encourage strife or bloodshed. As you might know, in some of my editorials I have condemned warfare in any form because;

I sing in the choir of small sane voices,
the often-deemed mad, pools of poets
like clans of cursed scribes, who record
in delightful words,harrowing deeds
that eat the world to death, and capture
the blood for blood war songs of world leaders.(2)

In addition to the well-known marginalisation of Igbo people in the country that re-assimilated them in 1970, are the Igbos really living in such a state of fear in Nigeria? There have been reports of course of the torture and execution of several members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), therefore it is understandable if MASSOB members are afraid. But for the rest of the Igbo people, those for whom Biafra was and is a part of their history, why is Biafra such a taboo word?

Now, for the record, I will never apologise for saying that I was born in Biafra. I was born on the 12th day of July, 1967, six days after the outbreak of the Nigeria-Biafra war. It is therefore not merely a romantic idea, or a desire to ferment trouble, but a historical fact that I was born in Biafra. If I claim to be born elsewhere, it would be a lie.

Other facts concerning my circumstances are, to begin with, following the apparent fall of Biafra and the re-assimilation of the country by Nigeria, I became a Nigerian citizen in 1970. Twenty years later (1990), on a wet day in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, I stood shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of other university graduates and mumbled a ‘pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest…’ I carry a Nigerian passport and the National Youth Service Corps certificate is still in one of my files. Therefore, for all practical purposes, I am a Nigerian.

However, like I have acknowledged and will continue to acknowledge the Republic of Biafra as the country of my birth, even if it exists now mainly in my mind. Mostly by stories passed down by family members, and by the few books that are out there. I encourage all Biafran babies, especially those born between June 1967 and January 1970 not to allow fear of the Nigerian government’s agents force them into denying their history. Let them remember the words of George Santayana; “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

I don’t know if Biafra will ever become again in our lifetime. But I have never stopped wondering how things might have been had Biafra survived. I doubt that both Biafrans and Nigerians from time to time don't ask themselves the same question.

There are tears for the brook from which I draw
waters of identity, sounds of my tongue
and the story of my name.

I mourn the land of light plunged into darkness
before the first gasp of my third birthday
condemning me to three decades of fugitive life –
even in the bowels of the whale
that crushed and swallowed my homeland,
entombed its banner of The Rising Sun.(3)

The fact is that there is fear in the hearts of many Biafran children, and this must not be so. These fears betray our brothers and sisters who died in Biafra. Those of them who survive till this day nourish themselves with memories of a fallen nation. But they speak, loudly still:

But we wait
we that hailed the rising sun
and saw it set at dawn

We are the initiates
seers seasoned in redseadeath
returned to the fold with old fears
forged into iron oracles
in the hailfire.(4)

I don’t know about every other Biafra-born child, but that war impacted on my life in more ways than I can count. Should I begin with my family’s material losses, or my relatives who died both as civilians and as soldiers in Biafra? I don’t remember them because I was only a baby, but their photographs talk to me still, always.

This is still our story! Time has failed to heal
wounds inflicted by pictures of spattered flesh
that grinned at us from bloodied mantelpieces.
We have yet to learn to sleep, daily reliving
mighty explosions and their afterglow
frozen in malignant memories.(5)

As recently as the year 2000, my friend Emmanuel Okwor was butchered in Kaduna by Hausa Muslims in one of those disturbances that make it all even harder to forget. Moreso, as the pogroms that happened in 1966/67 are still with us today, even if they are not of the same magnitude.

Even my northern sojourn along dusty streets
of Kaduna and Kano, butchering sites
of children of the light, tell of my fretting feet
urged on by hope that out of the ashes of war
unity may sprout. Even this sojourn of reconciliation
is determined by a flight through a crack in the wall
of another slaughtering saga…(6)

The least we could do is say our name. And we must not forget our story. If we forget, we betray every Biafran blood spilt in Biafra. We betray ourselves.

Notes:

1. Azuonye, Nnorom. “Fables” Letter To God & Other Poems (2003: Nsibidi Africana Publishers, USA) p.9
2. Azuonye, Nnorom. "Mad Songs" Sentinel Poetry (Online) December 2002 http://www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/NnoromAzuonye_MadSongs/
3,5-6. Azuonye, Nnorom. “Dead Sun” Orbis No. 130, Autumn 2004. p.19
4. Azuonye, Chukwuma. “Voices Of The Silence V” Testaments Of Thunder: Poems of Crisis and War(2002: Nsibidi Africana Publishers, USA) p.17

© 2005 Nnorom Azuonye. All rights reserved.

20 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:37 PM

    Understand, Nnorom. But na im you write references like the bibliography wey dey for di bottom of Obiwu's Achebe essay so?
    Cheeky me!
    MW

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  2. Anonymous2:56 PM

    But seriously,
    I do hope you will work through some of these issues, by contributing to the Biafran Babes' anthology, yourself. Look forward to reading it.
    MW

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  3. yeah, I had written the piece in a different format like, 'as I said in the poem Fables: "I will never know how it feels/to be born in a land not torn/by war,"... but it began to sound weird by the time, I'd done that twice. I said, better leave that info in the notes. Besides, as I plan to go back to formal education, as you too must, I want to start practicing writing acadamic style essays. Nnorom

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  4. Anonymous12:44 PM

    Nnorom,

    "Biafran Babies Must Not be Afraid" is a tour de force. Of course, I have got quite some emails and phone calls from Nigerians who actually thought that
    the call for submissions to the "Biafran Babies" anthology was an act of war. It appears, however, that some people are more concerned about the possibility
    of dredging up the ugliness of their past than the peace of Nigeria. Would they really sleep better if no one ever talked about their violent antecedent?

    I never knew what I was getting myself into when I began this project, but at this very moment,
    particularly this morning, I am suddenly aware that the "Biafran Babies" anthology is possibly the best intellectual and socio-cultural initiative that I have
    ever conceived. I have before me, this morning, the narrative of an Igbo man who as a six-year old child was forced with the threat of Nigerian soldiers' gun-barrels to identify the houses of his Igbo
    neighbors in Ogwashi-Uku, and he watches in utter disbelief as all the Nigerian soldiers, under the
    command of a "General Almed Mustapher," cut off the penis of one Igbo man, took turns to rape all the women and girls, and then commence to shooting all of
    their captives, including the children! The only question I have been asking myself even now is, why
    does he send me this story of his own innocent complicity in the genocide against his own people? I
    have been inundated by narratives of both Igbo and non-Igbo witnesses of the genocide against Biafra from all over the world, and I am now aware that most of
    them are telling their stories of horror for the first time in nearly forty years!

    The question that begs to be answered is, why do all these haunted people feel compelled to tell their stories to a total stranger, in spite of the continued
    commitment of Nigerians, the Nigerian government, and all their accomplices to suppressing the Igbo and to sweeping the memory of Biafra under their hideous carpets?

    "Biafran Babies Must Not be Afraid" has encouraged me even more now on the relevance and timeliness of the "Biafran Babies" project. I would suggest that you
    post it on your web-page, and allow me to use it as an appendix in the anthology.

    Thank you.

    Obiwu

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  5. Obiwu,

    Thanks. I think that posting it here on my blog suffices for my purposes. This blog is a part of the Nigerian blogring, therefore it penetrates the target audience better than my website. There is no need to replicate it on my website as well, I think, although there is a link from www.nnoromazuonye.com to this article. I am however modifying the write-up slightly which I intend to send to some other publications and websites that cater for Igbo interest.

    Nnorom

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  6. those pictures were some major goose bumpers... just finished reading Chimamanda Adichie's 'For Love of Biafra' and it was quite similar to stories i had been told as a kid. Indeed you are right, sometimes the only way to move on is to vent get stuff off our chest, hear the truth and reconcile, i don't think that's been allowed to happen and that's why igbo people still feel the way they do about Biafra...

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  7. "Indeed you are right, sometimes the only way to move on is to vent get stuff off our chest, hear the truth and reconcile, i don't think that's been allowed to happen and that's why igbo people still feel the way they do about Biafra..."
    - Adaure Achumba

    Thanks for stopping by Adaure. You hit the nail on the head. This is why I think Biafran Babies: Stories Signifying War which Obiwu is editing needs to be supported. Also, if more people begin now to speak up, some of the disgraceful things happening in Nigeria, including the current treason charges against Uwazirike and his men would not be there.
    Nnorom

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  8. Anonymous1:24 PM

    You and those other prebendalists will not have a place when the true history of Nigeria will be written.

    Your primitive regurgitation of Biafran myth merely serves as a futile escape from today's Nigerian reality.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "You and those other prebendalists will not have a place when the true history of Nigeria will be written."

    Whoever you are, afraid of putting your name against your comments, you bear out the cause of every Biafran Baby who wishes to say his or her name. Why are you not man or woman enough to say yours? I am not interested in any history of Nigeria that pretends Biafra was a figment of the Igbo imagination.

    Nnorom Azuonye

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  10. Anonymous7:31 PM

    Nationality? Nigerian; Biafran?

    Biafran, I presume.

    35 years after the collapse of Biafra, you talk of reliving the experiences of war with that pix taken in Asmara or somewhere in Timbuktu?

    I have trawled your blog; what experience can you relive from the heart of a three years old?

    This whole stuff Obiwu and Nnorom peddle is a myth. Pronto.

    Nigeria has since moved on; can't you tribalists see!


    Abiodun Johnson

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  11. Now who is being naive, my guy Abiodun Johnson? What pain can I relive from the heart of a three-year-old? Let me break it down for you.

    First of all, there is a now tiny scar on my forehead caused by a shrapnel from a Nigerian bomb. A Nigerian bomb nearly murdered me as a two-year-old! When I got old enough to understand, I was told how I sustained that little scar. Now close your eyes, and imagine that. Be that 2-year-old boy. How do you feel now?

    I have also spoken to a lot of Biafran babies and many of them have nightmares that can only be explained by the fact that they saw Biafra with the eyes of children. These visions are buried deep in their subconscious and need to be exorcised.

    By the way, my cousin Iheukwumere Azuonye, and my uncle Emmanuel Igbo, were killed by Nigerian soldiers in that war. Years after the war, I saw my mother weep her her kid brother on a few occasions. You judge me for the pain I feel inside? Can you show me anyone who could watch his mother weep for her younger brother and be so worried worried about being called a tribalist that he would padlock his mouth and throw his eyes over his shoulders. Call me a tribalist, my guy, I don't care. God knows I have never pretended not to be pro-Igbo - in thinking, in my way of life, in my name. I will relate with people from any other part of the world, even some Hausa Muslims, but hopefully not those of them who as late as 2000, slaughtered my friend and work colleague Emmanuel Okwor Agu like a goat in Tudun Wada, Kaduna. Do you know what it feels like to learn that people you lived among, and worked with could cold-bloodedly slaughter your friend with the same knives they use to cut suya in street corners? A friend with whom you ate and worked with? I shall never understand what any Igbo person is still or could still be doing in the North. I am yet to read Obiwu's "Igbos of Northern Nigeria", I should hope he expressed these surprise. I lived in Kaduna between 1991 and 1997, I shall not make that mistake again.

    On your question about my nationality. I carry a Nigerian passport, that is the much I feel inside as a Nigerian. You see I have got yo come from someplace, not so? People like you make me feel more and more disinterested in that place.

    In South Africa, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission allowed people to talk, to vent, to come to terms with what happened to try and move on. In Nigeria, after murdering hundreds of thousands of Igbo people, yes, hundreds and thousands of biafrans, you say just move on, don't even talk about it, are you the rock group No Doubt singing 'Don't Speak'?

    I am sorry Abiodun, I will lend my full support to Biafran Babies, and my new publishing outfit, Eastern Light EPM International will consider publishing any books or stories about Biafra. For Nigeria to become one cohesive country, the story of Biafra must be heard, and dealt with. You fool yourselves into thinking that by killing a few more Igbo people and trying MASSOB leaders for treason, you could kill the fire burning in the hearts of my people.

    Anybody who was born in Biafra who does not acknowledge and say it with pride is a disgrace to the Biafran heroes who gave their lives between 1967 and 1970. Biafra was a real republic, I say was, because now it only exists in the memories and or dreams of people. But Biafra IS a part of Nigerian history, and a million Abiodun Johnsons could not even wish her away.

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  12. obemata (Lawyer & Poet)11:16 AM

    "Nigeria has since moved on; can't you tribalists see!"

    -Johnson


    Well, where nationalities are divided by the very politics of identity, the flight into tribal cocoon becomes justified. I dare say that one cannot wish away such flight with a narrow dialectical-historical analysis.

    Nigeria is comprised of multi-ethnic nationalities; and so, the deep divisions and contradictions cannot be resolved by some romantic attachment to history that denies the existence of these divisions and contradictions.
    I have always argued that Nigeria is a colonial fiction and to the extent of its fictionality, promotes a history that is neither rooted in the cultures of the people nor in their aspirations.
    Before 1914, the Niger Area-a binary co-joined by the British tourist and scarlet, Flora Shaw-was inhabited by multi-ethnic nationalities and nations with different belief and value systems, government, milieus etc.
    Infact, 'though tribes and tongues may differ but in brotherhood we stand', sang the old Nigerian anthem, underscores this point. But,what is forgotten is the fact that the functionality of brotherhood is defined by the differences in tribes and tongues.
    And so what is wrong in identifying with the tribe?
    Is it not proper for members of ethnic-nations to first acquire(and re-acquire) their ethnic, tribal, and 'prebendal' identities before that of Nigeria?
    I have always demanded that we move away from the fiction of our colonial history right from 1989 when I joined progressive Nigerians within the National Consultative Forum(NCF)-led by the late Aka Bashorun(bless his soul) to demand the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference; and this was years before this agitation was hijacked by anti-Nigerian forces.

    There's nothing wrong in 're-living' the experiences of Biafra. A people can only recreate/rediscover the destroyed/lost identifiers to their history when they relive their experiences. When we say, 'one must know when the rain starts beating one for one to know when it ends', one need not stretch his imagination to understand the mores in Obiwu's noble effort.

    As a witness to contemporary Nigerian history, I have seen and experienced the travails of the Igbo. A people buffeted and assailed by state institutions. This is an incontrovertible fact of our history. And as a young 10 years old child, in 1978, stepping outside the shores of the Niger-Delta(infact I grew up in Warri, the heart land of the delta) to attend the Federal Government College, Ikot-Ekpene, I saw, first hand, the destruction that took place 8 years before; I saw cities of Biafra, burnt out, scarred but returning to some sort of life. The effects of the war were still quite visible: homes, ridden with bullets; tomb-stones, etched in angles other than their natural, physical state before the war and farmlands no one could farm on. And in my class, there were young Igbo boys; much older boys than the rest of the class, deprived of that early education and/or whose early education was truncated by the war. These boys were mentally scarred by the effect of the war.
    These were Biafran babies! They were tragic victims of the war.
    So, if any individual denies these facts of history he becomes a denier, like other shamed deniers of holocaust history!

    Is it just to fictionalise history? No. I read, not long ago, how young maidens were abducted in Calabar-Ogoja provinces of the old Biafra by federal forces and forcibly raped and taken to Lagos in 1968. These maidens became wives and harems of federal soldiers. Unfortunately, no contemporary historian has traced these maidens or detailed that sordid aspects of our factual history. Could the killing of innocent Igbos in Maraba in 1967 be a fiction of history? No. And could the unjustifiable slaughter of citizen x in Kano in 1992 by dastard, beastial and inhuman muslim fanatics be a fiction? No. Citizen x was beheaded and his head hung on a spike as his murderers danced through the Streets of Kano. Citizen x was murdered because he was Igbo!

    I consider the efforts of people like Obiwu and Azuonye worthy of emulation. Their efforts should represent that search towards enthroning identifiers for their history. We must know what happened before for us to understand what will happen in the after, the future.

    I have always argued that much haven't been written about our pasts. Take the mental scars of my young old classmates; in a true and responsible society, post-war psycho-analytical seminals would have detailed their experiences just like Fanon did with the Algerian war of independence. The Obiwus, Azuonyes and others should go beyond the fact of experiences; a proper historical presentations of all facets of the war should be made. I want to see, hear and read those experiences in their textual, film, music, songs 'oraltures'.

    Again, and like I have expressed in the afore-going, One's igboness cannot deny one his Nigerianess. For one to become a Nigerian, it is not a sin to become an Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba or Afemai, first.

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  13. Obiwu9:54 PM

    "Your primitive regurgitation of Biafran myth merely serves as a futile escape from today's Nigerian reality."

    "35 years after the collapse of Biafra, you talk of reliving the experiences of war with that pix taken in Asmara or somewhere in Timbuktu? ... This whole stuff Obiwu and Nnorom peddle is a myth... can't you tribalists see!" - Abiodun Johnson

    "If any individual denies these facts of history he becomes a denier, like other shamed deniers of holocaust history!" - Obemata

    In two short emails, Abiodun Johnson qualifies his fellow Nigerians with such atrocious epithets as "primitive" and "tribalists," all in his eagerness to deny the Nigerian genocide and distort the truth of history. But the triumph of life over death has been ensured by the unequivocal testimonies of such a humanist as Obemata, a Nigerian and non-Igbo. Obemata makes the irrevocable point that genocide deniers and all pseudo-Nazists bring shame to the nobility of human life.

    All genocidalists everywhere, in Germany, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, etc., exhibit the same vicious character traits. One, they all suffer from acute Hitler Complex (AKA God or Superiority Complex). Two, such a complex manifests in a nihilist discourse, of which the most obvious symptom is the compulsive branding of their potential victims with life-negating stereotypes, like "inferior," "infidel," "cockroach," "vermin," etc. The language is the same in all historical cases, as evident in the Hitlerite Aryan, Nigerian and Sudanese Islamic fundamentalists, Rwandan Hutus, and Afghan Talibans. All other mimicking pseudo-Nazists, who are copycats because they are incapable of originality, will jump on the bandwagon with circumscriptive qualifiers, like "primitive" and "tribalist." Such life-defacing markers are always deployed as buffers, like concrete dams to the force of deluge, to wall off the surge of human conscience. It is the penultimate phase to the dastard regime of darkness.

    Three, all genocidalists are genocidalists because they love to kill their victims for who they are. They love nothing more than to burn, maim, and kill even as they taunt their victims unto death for being different from them. Because the victims of genocide have always been reduced and removed from the pedestal of humanity, their killers do not feel any pangs of pain or horror in their acts of terror. The evil knows no evil because s/he is immuned from human conscience. What else is left after one has identified a "pest" but to exterminate it? Genocidalists are specialists, like all ghost-busters and witch-hunters, because only they have the "superior" capacity to know and identify "ghosts" and "witches," as well as their hiding cranies, and only they have the most effective facility for smoking them out, hounding them out, and burning them out!

    Finally, genocidalists are exterminators, erasers, and deniers. The job of the exterminator and the eraser is always to wipe the environment or board clean of all after-signs. In the old Soviet Union where the art of erasure was perfected, the genocidalist artists were painstaking in fishing out and wiping clean their victim's baptismal records, pictures, and documents. They also employed electric shocks in brainwashing all relations and friends of their victim until they are absolutely certain that history would never recall the existence of such a subject. In other words, the memory of the subject has been negated, disavowed, denied. In short, the subject is erased; he or she never happened, was never born; tabula rasa, the board is CLEAN!

    The "Biafran Babies" anthology, which Obemata has thankfully described as "Obiwu's noble effort," is an assault on the foggy memory and blurred consciousness of the likes of Abiodun Johnson and all genocide deniers. Our sympathy shall be with them, because there are truly very few courageous people who would publicly confess, though it haunts their nightly sleep and waking thoughts, that their fathers and mothers were coldblooded ethnic and religious murderers. Compulsive denial is always an act of psychotic escapism, but it is neither a cure nor a safetynet for the nightmares of the neurotic.

    The Igbo were there at the beginning of Nigeria; they will also be there at the end of Nigeria. Biafra is the crux of the inhumanity of the Nigerian nation, as well as its albatross. For any Nigerian to deny the experience of Biafra because it happened "35 years" ago, would be like denying the air that one breaths just because one does not see it. Disavowal of the existence of air has never impacted the ravagement of hurricanes and tornadoes.

    The "Biafran Babies" anthology is only the first step in righting the wrongs of Nigeria's historical aberration. Peace and love shall come to all men and women of goodwill.

    Obiwu

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  14. Thank you for speaking up. I appreciated reading this, and the discussion that followed in people’s comments. Biafra should continue to be discussed. It should be rendered over and over again in poetry, fiction, artwork, and so on. It should be remembered.

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  15. Anonymous4:12 PM

    I always marvel at the power of the bible, even the Greek and Roman classics. The classics outdate the bible, that we know. Stories of the old testament in the bible had been floating about among the Hebrews until they were collected. The result of these two works of world was a sort of imposition, a lead that helped to colonise other cultures-culturally, historically, and politically.
    Now, these old peoples achieved this imposition based on their ability to collect their memories in books so mush those others follow like zombies. But the moment some of these followers realised that the bible of foreign stories were not theirs, they revolted, like most post colonials, as Achebe noted in his Home and Exile, and began to write their own stories.
    However, what the coloniser and the colonised were doing were just one: reclaiming their memories from loss. It is this remembrance that inscribes our identities from the abyss. That is why we write-to remember; to answer present in the gathering of remembrance.
    It is based on this that I, Uduma Kalu, nwa Ohafia, born in the Republic of Biafra (Oh, how I love that name, Biafra!) salute the courage of Nnorom for daring to chart a new course for all of us Biafran babies. For what I see ravaging most of those that came after us from the area known as Biafra, and even those not included in the map(I think it was a terrible mistake not to have included them in Biafra, that is Igbo of Delta state) but were part of it, is a certain ignorance of Biafran details so much that as Abiodun would say, Nigeria has moved on. Some of my Nigerian friends wonder why we still remember Biafra, something they say belong to the past. But tell me, if Nigeria has moved on, where has it moved to?
    I like this phrase I hear in the film, Lion King, where Mufasa told his son, Simba, that he has forgotten who he is and has therefore forgotten him. All the while, Simba, chased into exile by his uncle who killed his father, Mufasa, wanted to forget his past and live a life of pleasure. But it was that encounter with his late father that made Simba decide to remember his past, launch a war and reclaim his throne, and brought peace to his people.
    This is the purpose of most narratives on exile and return. That is the state Biafran babies are now-exile. We are exile. But now, there is a stirring among us, and it will continue for a long time, until, as most exiles do, we return to our kingdom and reclaim it from the usurpers.
    For this, I am reminded of Psalm 137, http://www.cgmusic.com/cghymnal/graham/bytheriversofbabylon.htm
    For me, I have no iota of doubt that Biafra will come to be. I have read various histories of resistance and have noted that it is difficult to hold down a people who fought for freedom, got it, ruled themselves for sometime but were conquered, to remain silent under oppression. And it not an old story. What happened to Israel, after 2000 years of dispersal, the people got their homeland. The same about Eritrea, even East Timor, not to talk about those from East Europe.
    But one question that keeps nagging me is: why have we kept quiet from bringing to world attention and prosecuting at the World Court the mass killers of innocent lives in Biafra, be they Biafrans or non Biafrans? Perhaps, one day, the long arms of justice will come to them. For now, it is morning yet on creation day.

    Uduma Kalu, poet, writer and journalist.

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  16. Abiodun Johnson8:58 PM

    I shall not loose sleep over you people's adventure.

    Pray that the collected stories become an epic...but it will not.

    Anyway long live Nigeria.


    Abiodun Johnson, Ife, Nigeria.

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  17. I was born in 1968 in the middle of the always hidden first African genocide coined Nigerian civil war, when the British/Soviet backed Nigeria military government invaded the then African newest republic called Republic of Biafra.

    I was two years old when the genocide was stopped (on paper) but I grew up with it's horrific aftermaths, with fatherless babies, raped victims both young, old, married and unmarried. Children born out of rape without ever going to know their fathers. Unexploded Nigerian bombs and their victims mainly children that toyed with them out of their innocence. Elderly women and men like my grandparents naively hoping that their son (my only uncle Gabriel) will some day come back alive or dead.

    Before I starts primary school, I knew as much I can about our history and why we are under Nigerian occupation because there are fierce looking soldier everywhere you look or turn. My close friend was always reduced to tears by other cruel kids through some name callings I do not understand initially the meaning/implications until my mother grudgenly told me one day after many fruitless quest to know.
    My friend Chimnagorom's (My God will be my witness) mother was raped by the Nigerian soldiers when our town fell to the Nigeria forces. Her husband was killed on the war front and never return like thousands of others. She was a stuanch catholic, so abortion was out of the question. Even if she prefer to abort my friend, their was non available at the time and so she had the baby. She was cruelly ostracised by many ignorant people and her son was constantly cruelly called many things like "Hausa baby" or a Bastard !. My mother tried as much as she could to explain to me what this means, I hadly knew what sex was at that age let alone a rape and it's victim. But he remained my best friend and today, he is a very successful attoney in Ireland.

    I want to use this forum to encourage other Biafran babies to come out and let the world hear our stories that many Nigerians and their government never want anyone to hear. You should not be afraid or ashamed anymore to be called a Biafran because that is what we are. To some Nigerians who thinks from their noses, Biafra is a fiction but to millions of us it's reality and I hope to see a democratic sovereign Biafra state in my life time. My children though born of a British mother are more passionate than I am for actualization of a Biafran state sooner rather than later. I carry a Nigerian passport but that is where my Nigerianess ends and only travel with it just to Nigeria alone to avoid the visa fee to Nigeria.
    Long Live Democratic Republic of Biafra.

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  18. Hello Uzor,
    I am glad you have been able to share your story and your friend's story. I hope that Chimnagarom will be able to tell his story someday, either through this forum or in the follow-up events that should surround the launch of Biafran Babies. Thanks again.

    Nnorom

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  19. Anonymous4:16 PM

    While our on a lunch meeting with my boss (an ambassador of a EU nation in London). A friend of my boss joined us and while introducing ourselves, he asked me where I originally comes from.
    My reply was that I am a Biafran in west African still under Nigerian occupation.
    The man's eyes lightened up and he yelled, Yeah Biafra!! Why are they still in Nigeria? he asked me. As the discussion progressed, I cannot believe how much enthusiasm many foreigner had for Biafran nation and it's quest for freedom from Nigerian shackles especially those of our generation. My boss despite being a diplomat, told all us that, until Biafra achieve their independence we will continue follow Nigeria into the hole. I came home that day a happy man and kept looking forward to the day our aspirations will come to true. Just look at Montenegro!!!!!!!!!

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  20. Quite unfortunate I only stumbled on this material today. I was born immediately after the Civil War, I did not hear the sounds of Jet Fighters hovering over my head nor did eat the proverbial "nri kwashiokor" but the scars of the Civil are all over my body. Who would deny these facts?

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