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Saturday 21 November 2015

Biafra and Britain: The only acceptable APOLOGY

Biafra and Britain: The only acceptable APOLOGY

A lot of calls are going on today for Britain and other countries such as Russia, Egypt and even the United States of America to finally own up to the roles they played in the Biafra Genocide of 1966 to 1970. People of conscience of this world are calling for these countries to formally tender official and unreserved apology for their criminal acts of commission or criminal negligence in that sordid and shameful part of our (the world's) collective past.
Biafran kids

It was a time in the history of the world when the big peoples of the world came together in criminal connivance and senselessly murdered 3.1 million Igbo/Biafrans. It was a time when all the responsible powers of the world chose to do everything wrong either by being baselessly too angry against a weak part of the human race or inexcusably too unperturbed about the sufferings of others and would not inconvenience themselves to act in an appropriate response. It was a period in the world's collective time when all people of the world with conscience would wish never existed in the annals of our world history. The world was shamed by its own acts and inactions.

The period between 1966 and 1970 stands out as one of the darkest time in our world's history. In that space of time the world got divided into five clear groups. In the first group was the Victim: Biafra. Then those that actively supported and directly murdered the Victim: Nigeria, Britain, Russia, Egypt, Cameroun and others. Then there were those that did not care about the fate of the Victim, they were indifferent: USA, United Nations, African Union and others. And there were those who actively supported and helped the Victim; Tanzania, Zambia, Haiti, Gabon, Ivory Coast, World Council of Churches, Caritas, some individuals and others. And finally there were those who were either too self-conscious to openly and completely identify with the Victim, they were just undecided or only halfheartedly concerned about what happened to the Victim: France, Israel, Ghana and others. Everyone in the world then fell into one of these groups and it becomes necessary today as we review that time of history that each group should honestly and soberly acknowledge the role they played and say sorry and be remorseful or just say; thank God we did the right thing.

Looking back at the images of that time in history, the Victim; Biafra's children and their mothers became the worst spectacle example of the human race. The image created became an eternal scathing accusation and haunting specter on humanity's conscience. Humanity at that point in time came to judgment and fell short completely, it failed itself. Between 1966 and 1970, our collective humanity could not live up to that thing that makes us humans. From 1966 to 1970 almost the entire humanity displayed a level of callousness and insensitivity that reduced it to the level of the beast. The world was given a chance to choose at a critical moment and it made one of its worst choices ever. And between 1966 and 1970 much of the human race chose to kill off a significant portion of itself. From 1966 to 1970 humanity committed in Biafra one of the worst human disasters of all time and for no good reason continues to maintain the most unprecedented level of remorseless stance about it. In these countries which played central roles in perpetrating this crime the silence or forgetfulness has reached a deafening pitch that one cannot help asking what hope has the world got if it could forget or sweep such open and heinous atrocity under its carpet indefinitely.

Because of the special position that Great Britain occupies in Nigeria's history, Britain was Nigeria's colonial rulers; when Biafra Nigeria War happened between 1966 and 1970, the role that was expected of Britain to play was that of the impartial arbiter. They should not have taken sides. But they actually took sides. They took the side of Nigeria against Biafra even when they saw clearly the unjustness and the arrogant aggression of the Nigerian state. Britain knew clearly what they were getting into. No one on the side of Britain can plead partial knowledge of the details of the various aspects of the problem that was taking place. Neither would Britain claim imperfect comprehension of the implications nor the various ramifications of the far reaches of the effects of the decisions they took at the time. So the British Government of Harold Wilson and by extension that of today's Cameron accepted the burden of guilt of their decision before even taking it. To them it was a matter of; we will go ahead and do what we got to do and we can deal with the mess later on.

Although Britain had just officially left Nigeria on independence in 1960 but as at the time Biafra's situation was developing, only five, six years into independence, they were still very well entrenched in almost all the daily running of the new country.  So Britain understood completely what was going on and was expected to have acted differently. Unfortunately they did not. They made a mistake, a huge mistake; they helped, as a very major partner, to kill 3.1 million Igbo/Biafrans. Some people are asking; could it be that Britain did not expect such a huge mess of so many deaths and destruction? That is very doubtful because, for the first time humanity was confronted with television images of starving and skeletal kwashiorkor children and their mothers. But as the horrifying images assaulted the sensibilities of the decent part of humanity, the British government insisted that the horrendous genocide must go on even at the price of total annihilation of a race of human beings. For Britain then, extermination of Igbo/Biafrans was okay.

Even when a bewildered world unanimously named kwashiorkor sickness that was ravaging Biafra's children and their mothers after the Prime Minister Harold Wilson as Harold Wilson Disease, the Biafra Pogrom was expedient for Great Britain and must go on. Britain understood the extreme humanitarian crisis they were about to create before getting into it. Every decision and action of the British was deliberate and well calculated ahead of time. With the fore knowledge of all the implications, Great Britain went ahead and provided the logistics, men and equipment with which to murder unarmed children, women and men of Biafra – 3.1 million of them. Think about it.

We have now established the fact that the British Government, Russia, Egypt and others were aware of what would be the repercussion of their actions ahead of the time of their actual involvement in the Genocide in Biafra but they went ahead and did it anyway. Let us try to look at it from the point of view of history. Can the hinder sight find somewhere in the mix, which we have overlooked, that exonerates and justifies these nations' actions in Biafra? Let the reader be the judge here. Be honest about it. In your mind try to place yourself in the position of the Victim, if in honesty the oppressors are justified then let it be. But if crime has been committed then let the guilty pay.

Due to very many complexities involved in human relationship, sometimes it is difficult to carry on actual contact with one another without offences. So it can almost be argued that as long as humans remain social animals they are bound to offend each other at one time or the other. This of course is the main reason why most human social systems devise ways to redress or deal with offences that must occur as we interact with each other. In dealing with such things the redresses are devised to reflect the gravity of the offence. This is proper because we can only expect that heinous crime of premeditated murder should not attract the same punishment as stealing a colleague's lunch out of the common fridge at work.

For the sake of the survival of our human race we cannot afford to take the issue of crime and punishment lightly. Even accidental crimes must not be overlooked and more so deliberate ones. When inadvertent crimes are properly redressed in societies people tend to be less negligent and more conscious of the impact of their actions on their neighbors. In the overall, crime punishment works well for the good health of the human society. The next question we would want to ask is who should be punished and should there be different parameter with which to measure crime punishment in accordance with who is involved? For example, should the rich and powerful members of the human society never get punished for crimes or if they ever get punished at all, should they receive less punishment for the same crime as the poor and less privileged members?

Why this question is necessary here is because today Britain, Russia (both are active and direct criminals in the matter under discussion) and United States (a negligent criminal in the matter) are rich, powerful and are all members of the Security Council of the United Nations. It will almost be said that they will be judges in their own case. But we know that this may not be so after all. In today's world everyone is anxious to promote equity, justice and probity and that includes these three nations. It becomes inconceivable therefore that they will compromise this opportunity to prove to the rest of the world that they are an active part of a changed and now forward-looking world. So we are very confident that these countries will now do the right thing about the Biafra Genocide. The three nations are world leaders and it is expected of them to lead by example; the example of humility and the championing of fairness for all, even for the weak and poor ones like Biafra.

After forty something years the people and nation of Biafra deserve a sincere and unreserved apology from the triune countries, Egypt and others and we know they, all of them, shall do the right thing. But since we know that the apology is coming, we are now bound to ask what kind of apology should we expect or deserve from these countries? Is it merely a public statement expressing regrets at what they did or did not do during the time to Biafra and her people? Maybe if some conditions were different that would have been adequate. But in this circumstance and for several reasons, such an apology is grossly inadequate. So in addition to such public pronouncement, Biafra and her people are saying that the acceptable and near adequate kind of apology that is expected from these erring nations is the reinstatement of the Biafran nation as an independent and sovereign state free from the Nigerian state. That is what the 3.1 million people died for and that is the only apology that Biafra's dead and the living ask from a repentant world.

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