Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Holocaust is a Holocaust is a Holocaust: Laura's Story from Biafra War Memories

The story below is so similar to my mother's and her family's in the Holocaust in Europe. At the end Laura tries to discourage Biafra from trying for their independence from Nigeria again. It is unimaginable for her that it will happen again. The killings, the starvation, the Death Marches, rape, pillage... more than we can imagine although all of that visits us in our nightmares from our parents' stories. My mother used to say, "If there is a G-d in heaven, WHY?" The reason Biafra must try again is because the genocidal butchers are bottomless in their thirst for blood; they will revisit you whether you agitate or not. Eventually they will come for you. You must go. And if they don't want you to? Then the horror will visit them, and their families.

"My father…they butchered him"
"My name is Laura Nwando Onwualu.  I was born 1954 in northern Nigeria, Plateau State, Kura Falls"
I don’t remember much about the Nigerian Biafran War but I remember then I was in primary 6, 1967 or 66. Yes, 66 -67 No, then, there was a time – they started teaching us a song, you know, it says it is going to be our new anthem for our new country, Biafra. So we were learning the song. What we are going to do with it we don’t know but then we started noticing people in the north – because then I was staying with my grandmother in Onitsha [in the Southeast] – we started noticing our family members in the North coming home [to the Southeast] you know. We don’t know they came back telling us stories of killing in the North about how they will come to the house. The Hausas will come to the houses, kill them you know especially the men and my father came home with my mother because they were in the North. My family came home. Though my father wasn’t killed. He was on leave [from work]. He came home and they were telling me stories. One afternoon my mother was in the market. We were home and people started running and I was very young then. I didn’t know why they were running. They said the Hausas have crossed the bridge and that they are coming into Onitsha.
We were hearing gun shots and bomb blasts and all that so I gathered my brothers and started running with the neighbors. We didn’t know where we were going. We left the house and we were just trekking and people were falling and people were crying you know because they couldn’t see their loved ones. My mother came home looking for us you know. Eventually she found us. Then my father had gone back to the North because after his leave he had to go back and we didn’t see him again so.
“We were hearing gun shots and bomb blasts”
Yes, after his leave, he decided to go back because then he was working with the white men. He was persuaded not to go back because of the killings [there in the North] but he said no. He just wants to get there, take permission from his work place and come back [to join us in the Southeast in Onitsha] so he left one morning and then we never see him again and that was it. So eventually somebody came to tell us that he was killed. He was killed actually with some people that, they were to board the train, that was September 29, 1966, they were to board the train coming back to the Southeast from Jos, Bukuru precisely. They were waiting for the train at the station that night to come to the Southeast so these Hausas, they came and killed all of them there. That was how we never saw him, my father, again till date.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Judith Bergman: writer, lawyer, political analyst on Biafra

Why Don’t All Black Lives Matter?

Western social justice warriors couldn't care less about Biafra

gettyimages 690026530 Why Don’t All Black Lives Matter?
A man points at a Biafran flag painted on a wall on Old Market road in Onitsha on May 30, 2017, during a shutdown in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian civil war. Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty Images
Fifty years ago, on May 30, 1967, Biafrans seceded from Nigeria, and declared their own state. The Nigerian government refused to accept the secession and responded by launching a war on Biafra in July 1967. The assault included a blockade of the nascent state, and resulted in the genocide of more than two million Biafrans, many of whom were children who starved to death because of the blockade. After three years of war, the nascent state of Biafra ceased to exist. 
Biafrans are an indigenous African people, who are ethnically predominantly Igbo. The territories that constitute present-day Nigeria became a British colony in 1914, merging a number of different indigenous African peoples in the artificial construct of Nigeria, among them the Biafrans. In 1960, Nigeria became independent, retaining the artificial shape left over from British colonization. 
Most likely, you will have heard nothing about this Biafran anniversary, nor about the peaceful efforts of Biafrans today to bring about an independent Biafra and the Nigerian government’s brutal suppression of those efforts. The media is not covering it, universities and think tanks are not hosting conferences about it, the United Nations Human Rights Council is not passing resolutions about it, and human rights activists and social justice warriors are not marching in the streets for Biafra. The world community is universally and shamefully silent on the plight of the Biafrans. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" And if a letter goes to AJC unanswered?

Image result for jack rosen ajc
Jack Rosen, Chairman, AJC
I wrote a heartfelt letter to Jack Rosen, Chairman of the American Jewish Congress in New York City. My expectation as to his response was low, as I had already blogged about what I wanted from him and then tweeted to him several times with no response. I did think however that since he had reciprocated my following him on Twitter  (albeit with no dialogue) that I might at least get a polite acknowledgment for my emotional missive regarding my Biafran friends and their plight for self-determination. There was a time when the American Jewish Committee cared about Biafra. I don't think I asked too much of Jack Rosen but you can judge for yourself by reading my letter to him. A month has gone by and he has not responded so I've decided to make this an "open letter." (Prior to writing to Jack, I did receive a nice response from Eliseo Neuman, director of AJC's Africa Institute.) 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Biafra: Nnamdi Kanu exits Kuje Prison: Meets bail conditions crafted by Buhari in Islamic Nigeria

It is with great joy that I can write that  Nnamdi Kanu, leader of seventy million Biafran people, has left Kuje prison in Abuja, Nigeria on bail granted on health grounds. Although the bail conditions initially seemed insurmountable, and are purported to be written by none other than Islamic Hausa President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the Indigenous People of Biafra found the wherewithal to meet all requirements including flying in an esteemed Rabbi to vouch for Nnamdi. The three other pro-Biafra prisoners, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, and David Nwawuisi were not granted bail on the charges of treasonable felony and criminal defamations.
"The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has condemned the bail conditions granted its incarcerated leader, Nnamdi Kanu by Justice Binta Nyako of an Abuja Federal High Court. IPOB, in a statement signed and  sent to DAILY POST by its spokespersons claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari wrote the bail conditions and handed them over to Justice Nyako who read them in court."
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had to meet the following bail terms: 
  • “Produce three sureties and two of whom must be; (a) highly respected and recognized Jewish leader and (b) highly placed Igbo person such as a Senator. The third surety must be resident in Abuja with a landed property in the same Abuja. Above all, the three sureties must deposit one hundred million naira (N100 Million) each.
  • “Barred from attending any rally and granting any form of interview.
  • “Must not be in a crowd exceeding 10 persons.
  • “Must surrender his British and Nigerian passports even when these passports are still in the custody of the DSS.
  • “Must sign an undertaking to avail himself for trial at all times.”
I can only imagine Nnamdi Kanu's first evening free to be with his family!


Nnamdi Kanu at Radio Biafra

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Calling on American Jewish Congress to update Report on status of Biafra

The following Memorandum from the American Jewish Congress was written 49 years ago. Today, the Leader of the Biafran people, Nnamdi Kanu, after being falsely imprisoned in Kuje Prison by the Federal Government of Nigeria, for crimes which have not yet been articulated, was again denied his lawful constitutional rights (yes, Nigeria has a constitution.) That is because this British/Nigerian dual citizen held since October of 2015 along with and many others, advocate freedom for Biafra from Nigeria. At the previous court hearing, the judge proclaimed that Kanu would be tried in a secret, masked trial according to Sharia Law. 70 million Biafrans, comprised of Igbo, Ijaw and many other tribes of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) seek only their freedom from ongoing slaughter by President Muhammadu Buhari, a war criminal and Hausa Islamist. Please tune in to Radio Biafra for up to date news on this fluid breaking news and reaction to the stalling of Nnamdi Kanu's court case. Today, on twitter, I have called upon the Chairman of the American Jewish Congress, Jack Rosen, a fellow Child of Holocaust Survivors, as Biafrans are, to update the Memorandum from 1968. I have also offered to act as an American/Israeli liaison to the Biafran people.  

Nnamdi Kanu appears in court wearing Jewish Star, Tallit, Kippah 
despite Judge's call for Sharia Law proceedings 

       15 East 84th St. New York , N. Y. 10028 TR 9-4500
December 27, 1968

To:                   Chapter and Division Presidents
                        Chapter and Division CIA Chairmen
Field Staff

From: Phil Baum  Director
                              Commission on International Affairs

     I am pleased to enclose a comprehensive memorandum outlining the background and present status in Nigeria/Biafra. This memorandum was prepared by the staff of the Commission on International Affairs because of numerous requests for information about the origin, extent and implications of the Biafran conflict.
     We hope this document will provide some insight both into the beginnings of the present war and of the feasibility of community action to help bring about its resolution. Jewish community relations councils have participated in some measure in various relief activities designed to provide food and medical supplies to Biafra despite the fact that such relief activities are not usually within the purview of community relations councils.
     However, private relief endeavors by themselves are proving woefully inadequate and of diminishing value in effectively preserving life. New initiatives including some going beyond relief may now be necessary. Our memorandum is intended to help clarify the propriety of Jewish communal participation in these activities. The scope of Jewish community relations work is always difficult to define. A tragedy of this scale requires us to reconsider our opportunities and obligations in the midst of vast human travail.


15 East 84th Street
New York, N. Y.  
December 15, 1968