What is Biafra?

A place? An ideal? A struggle? A people? A hope? A war?
Yes, but it’s bigger.
My father said it took him years to stop ducking when he heard the sound of airplanes. As a child whenever a plane flew past, it was almost certain it was a bomber and everyone would scream “duck for your lives!” They dug holes in the ground to hide in. THAT is Biafra.
Two years ago, I met a man who earns so much money he could make a bed out of one thousand naira notes. This man, while we were eating, finished his food and ate my leftovers. He said “If you’ve ever been in a war, you’ll never waste food.” THAT is Biafra.
The lacuna in the curriculum when it comes to History, the reason why it’s not a subject to teach Primary and Secondary school pupils and students? THAT is Biafra.
The war in defence of liberty.
The spirit that wrestles against (as David Astor says) the fatal, fearful process of thought which makes people feel not only justified in injustice, but that they have a duty to destroy others.
The rape, both literally and metaphorically. The butchering and brutality. The population shift. The deliberate subversion of equity and justice by the historical vomits in power.
The blood of 2 million civilians. That’s like the size of Luxembourg. That’s like the entire population of the Gambia. Everybody in Cyprus, not up to that number.
The devilishness.
We will not pretend it didn’t happen. We will not pretend it can’t still happen.
The 30th prepares us to defeat future symptoms of the devilishness in whatever forms they may appear, the perversions of moral sense…
The hand still rises. Against all odds.
And no matter how hard you try to distract us, we remember.
Our children too will remember.

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