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And Achebe Wrote,They Trembled(The War Of Hate Against The Ndi Igbo) - Politics - Nairaland

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And Achebe Wrote,They Trembled(The War Of Hate Against The Ndi Igbo) by Chidi4u(m): 11:43am On Oct 14, 2012
Publication, this past week, of
Chinua Achebe’s memoir of
Biafra, There Was A Country,
had the Awoist camp up in
arms. The Awoists – followers
and defenders of the legacy of Chief Awolowo- have
expended a lot of verbal
grapes on the person of Chinua
Achebe. It felt like a dangerous
mob unleashed on one of the
world’s most important cultural icons. All Achebe did
was tell the truth about Awo. In his new book, Achebe
writes about many things. His
memoir is a deeply reflective
tour de force into the events
that shaped the Achebean era
– an era of great promise that slipped into great infamy.
Chinua Achebe has given shape
and form to the truths of this
era. But truth, particularly if it is
uncomfortable and
disconcerting is also
dangerous. It unsettles too
many comfortable myths.Awo
is a great industry for mythmakers. Among the
provocative truths that Achebe
tells in his book is Obafemi
Awolowo’s war crime of
genocide by the “diabolical
policy” of starvation against Biafrans. I should say here, that it is a
bit sad that out of the very
many important issues that
Achebe raises and explores in
his new book, the one that has
gained so much attention is his comment on Awolowo
because Awoists do not want
such dirty linens aired. It
makes them nervous and
uncomfortable. It drives them
to tears and to rage. Achebe calls out other
important members of the
Gowon administration like
Anthony Enahoro and Allison
Ayida, including Gowon
himself, on the same issue of genocide against Biafrans. The
clear evidence of Achebe’s
allegation is based on Awo’s
own statement: “All is fair in
war, and starvation is one of
the weapons of war…” But we do know that all is not fair in
war. There is something called the
“Geneva Convention” and
Awo’s war policy violated it.
You do not starve civilian
populations in war. It is called
a war crime. Awo’s storm troopers and Brownshirts have
nonetheless trooped out in
great strength and have come
only short of calling for Chinua
Achebe’s head for his exposure
of Awolowo. Calls ranging from a ban of all his books to a
“Nuremberg trial” of him and
all the Biafrans have been
made in response. An obscure two-penny actor,
who also claims to write
books by the name Femi
Robinson says Achebe’s books,
from Things Fall Apart, should
be banned. Ayo Opadokun has made innuendos of ethnic
cleansing by reminding the
Igbo that much of their
property is in Lagos, and
presumably the Igbo, like
Achebe, should be circumspect about the war. Chinua Achebe It is a great wonder what Igbo
property in Lagos and Yoruba
magnanimity“permitting” the
Igbo to reside and thrive in
Lagos has to do with Achebe’s
book, except to draw, as did many of such fierce and
ignorant diatribes, Achebe as
somehow voicing an “Igbo
agenda.” I think Ayo
Opadokun exhibits not only
pitiable small-mindedness but ought to be censored and
warned. Meanwhile, the Igbo do not
seek his permission or
anybody’s permission for that
matter to live and thrive in
Lagos. Igbo who came to
Lagos, and who reside everywhere in Nigeria do so
because they can. They are
Nigerians and have a right to
live and prosper anywhere in
Nigeria and be protected under
the laws of Nigeria. They do not need the
magnanimity or permission of
Ayo Opadokun who himself is
a settler in Lagos much like the
Igbo residents. Ayo Adebanjo,
Femi Fani-Kayode, Biyi Durojaiye, and Ebenezer
Babatope all threw their hats
in the ring in challenge of
Chinua Achebe’s view of their
idol. But it seems as though against
Achebe’s articulate and
textured views, these are
Calibans learning their first
curse-words against their
master! They “cuss out” the writer, Achebe, but they are
yet to contradict him. It is not
just enough to defend
Awolowo. It is important to
defend him with facts; to
show that Achebe has lied against him. But the evidence
is too compelling. Achebe has
not lied against Awo. Even in his 1983 interview re-
published to prove and
indemnify his innocence,
Awolowo does not deny his
policy of starvation. He
accounts for how he visited the East in the heat of the
conflict, in his official capacity;
saw “Kwashiokor children”
and found out that the food
allegedly sent by the Red Cross
and Caritas was being hijacked by soldiers: “So I decided to
stop sending the food there. In the process the civilians will
suffer. But the soldiers will
suffer most.” This is illogical
and counterintuitive,and it is a
compelling evidence of
Awolowo’s deliberate policy of starvation. It is enough to
bring him before the
International Criminals Court
to face the kind of Justice
meted out to Milosevic and
Charles Taylor in whose company he belongs. But, no! his followers say. Awo
was right in using the strategy
of mass starvation to end the
war. These guys do not belong
to a civilized century and have
learnt nothing from war!The poet Odia Ofeimun for
instance has spent an entire
career on Awo, laboring to
turn him into the first modern
political saint in all of Africa.
Odia’s project of apotheosis makes him mouth, in reaction
to Achebe’s work, what I can
only describe as blasphemy. He
wants Achebe and those in
Biafra who defended
themselves against the Nigerian onslaught to face a
“Nuremberg-style trial.” In Mr. Ofeimun’s rather strange
and, dare I say, warped logic,
those Biafrans who knew
about starving children
without surrendering should
be put to trial for genocide. But not Awo who ordered the
starvation of children. He
blames the victim. It is not just
enough that Odia Ofeimun
continues to defend atrocities
meted against other humans, like all zealots, he is incapable
it seems of honesty in this
matter. He defends a legacy
that includes genocide. The Biafrans did not start the
war and therefore did not
prepare for a vicious war. They
were pushed to war when the
Federal Army began a two-
pronged attack and they defended themselves. The Biafrans made serious
efforts before and during the
war to avoid war and settle
the Nigerian question
amicably. At each point, they
were subverted by the Federal government. People who
come under siege defend
themselves, Mr. Ofeimun; they
do not surrender. The Biafrans
did not hide the fact of
massive starvation. In fact they made it a central
issue, and on each occasion
when it came out, Enahoro
and other Awoists in Gowon’s
government denied it and put
it down to “Biafran propaganda” until compelling
evidence pushed them in the
Niamey talks in 1968 to make
starvation a “legitimate
instrument of war.” Biafrans
always pushed for settlement, but without precondition. Awo wanted nothing less than
to “crush” Biafra by any means
as he declared during the
Commonwealth Conference of
Prime Ministers in London in
1969: “This war must be fought to the finish and the
federal government is poised
for the final push” Mr. Ofeimun
may have forgotten; the
honest accounts of that war
are available, and among the great chroniclers of the event
is a woman called Suzanne
Cronje whose book publishedm
who wish that other writers
be tried for telling the truth
Re: And Achebe Wrote,They Trembled(The War Of Hate Against The Ndi Igbo) by Callotti: 12:02pm On Oct 14, 2012
Anoda wan don come. . .
Achebe say. . . Biafra nor say. . .
Abegggi. . . carreh go!
Re: And Achebe Wrote,They Trembled(The War Of Hate Against The Ndi Igbo) by StarFist(m): 1:33pm On Oct 14, 2012
I wonder y d yorubas are stressing much on this issue. The fact still remains that Achebe said is the truth. Let's face it. I have prove

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