That the state is inferior to its peoples, irrespective of race, continent, region, religion/ belief system, is irrefutable. As a result, and graciously for that matter, Premier John Major of Britain, back in 1992, did not utter some obscenity during the period, à la his predecessor 25 years before, of willing to “accept” the death of “one half million” Serb or Albanian or Croat to keep Yugoslavia “intact”; neither did Major dabble into some nonsense of the “inviolability” or “indivisibility” of the Yugoslav state, an artificial assemblage concocted at the same time in 1918 as the equally inchoate Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union. Pointedly, these two oft-repeated vulgarities just quoted were a favourite of James Harold Wilson’s on Nigeria in the 1960s as well as by Nigerian genocidists whose state, cobbled together by Britain in 1914, also shares the same non-organic kinship as the central/east European examples.

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe (February 26, 2008)

Today, the great nations of the Gikuyu and Luo of east Africa have been bludgeoned into that dreadful circle of murder and immiseration, which signposts the seemingly inexorable march of the African genocide state. Yesterday, the Dafuri were whipped into that circle by the ruthless punch of the Arab regime in Khartoum and its Janjaweed subalterns. The previous day, it was the harrowing turn of the Tutsi, some Hutu, Kongo, Mongo and Luba and Muonjang, Azande, Nuer, Bari, Ndebele … All these African constituent nations have become solemnly codified in the eerie grouping of slaughter that maps Africa’s (European) post-conquest sociopolitical landscape.

As everybody knows, this tragic story that emblematises contemporary Africa’s age of pestilence began catastrophically with the organised mass murder of the Igbo of west Africa by the Nigerian state and its myriad institutions – military, police, academia, press, religio-cultural. The years were 1966-1970. A total of 3.1 million Igbo people were slaughtered. But the dress rehearsals of this genocide had in fact been staged twice in the previous two decades: 1945 and 1953. In both occasions, the Hausa-Fulani perpetrators, viscerally opposed to the liberation of Nigeria led predominantly by the Igbo, carried out their murderous attacks on the Igbo domiciled in north Nigeria. Igbo property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were looted or destroyed during these pogroms. Both episodes were carried out with impunity under the close watch of the British occupation regime, which regarded and still regards the perpetrators as its strategic ally in this southeast region of west Africa. To underscore this disposition, Britain would emerge as a central operative in the planning and execution of the Igbo genocide right from its outset in 1966 to its concluding phases in 1969/1970. James Harold Wilson, the British premier at the time, was adamant that he “would accept” the death of “a half a million” Igbo “if that was what it took” the Nigerian genocidists to accomplish their ghastly mission. Such was the grotesquely expressed diminution of African life made by a supposedly leading politician of the world of the 1960s – barely 20 years after the deplorable perpetration of the Jewish genocide. As the final tally of its murder of the Igbo demonstrates, Nigeria probably had the perverse satisfaction of having performed far in excess of Wilson’s grim target …

Ozoemena

Alas, James Harold Wilson had apparently set the tone and benchmark against which African life would be “valued” in Africa itself (particularly by the continent’s genocidist troopers, “theorists” – for example, the infamous Awolowoists and neo-Awolowoists – and allied officials) and across the world in the wake of the Igbo genocide: dispensability. Forty years on, 12 million more Africans would be slaughtered in the ever-expanding killing fields of the continent. Not to the European World, though, does the Wilson malevolent logic apply. On the contrary. For the European World, following the Jewish genocide of the 1930s/1940s, the purposeful resolve struck for the future course of societal direction and progress, rightly so, was ozoemena – “never again”. Never again, European World leaders affirmed, would any people of European descent anywhere and at anytime on earth be murdered so malefically and callously for any reason(s) whatsoever.

In 1992, I published a satirical essay entitled “Is Bosnia-Herzogovina in Africa?” in which I meditated on the ongoing robust intervention by the leaders of the European World of the age (Bush, Major, Mitterrand, Kohl) to halt the gestating multipronged genocide in the then Yugoslavia. For days, I was overwhelmed by this laudable intervention to uphold a key fundamental right of human beings – the right to life. The irony of this move was of course not lost on anyone. Since 1966 some political leaderships of the same European World have in complicity with their African clients on the ground waged or abetted campaigns of genocide against African peoples. Pertinently, the unfolding genocide in the Balkans that had elicited this intervention was very similar to what the Igbo and some other Africans had been subjected to during the course of the previous 30 years. I couldn’t stop imagining what effect a similar intervention would have had on Biafra, the Congos, Liberia and elsewhere in Africa … If the peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina were indeed Africans, I wondered, would there have been this high-powered intervention to stop genocide?

In the spirit of ozoemena, the Europeans successfully blocked the simmering genocide in the Balkans. Again, in the spirit of ozoemena, the Europeans worked assiduously to break up the immanently fractured states in the region (Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia) which they knew could not guarantee the rights and aspirations of constituent nations and peoples – a recipe for the perpetration of genocide. Since then, in the spirit of ozoemena, at least 35 new sovereign states, including recently declared Kosovo, have emerged in Europe. This is a figure that is more than one-half of the total number of so-called sovereign states in Africa, the latter’s much larger size and population notwithstanding. On this score, is it not ironical that in the same week in February 2008 that US President Bush ecstatically recognised Kosova rights to exercise their sovereign rights to declare themselves independent from Serbia, US Secretary of State Rice was busy pressurising Africans in Kenya to forego their own sovereign rights – demonstrated, in this case, by electing a government of their choice in December 2007. So, as far as the European World is concerned, in the spirit of ozoemena, European nations or peoples, in contrast to Africans, are deemed superior to the state: the former is enduring, the latter is transient.

That the state is inferior to its peoples, irrespective of race, continent, region, religion/ belief system, is irrefutable. As a result, and graciously for that matter, Premier John Major of Britain, back in 1992, did not utter some obscenity during the period, à la his predecessor 25 years before, of willing to “accept” the death of “one half million” Serb or Albanian or Croat to keep Yugoslavia “intact”; neither did Major dabble into some nonsense of the “inviolability” or “indivisibility” of the Yugoslav state, an artificial assemblage concocted at the same time in 1918 as the equally inchoate Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union. Pointedly, these two oft-repeated vulgarities just quoted were a favourite of James Harold Wilson’s on Nigeria in the 1960s as well as by Nigerian genocidists whose state, cobbled together by Britain in 1914, also shares the same non-organic kinship as the central/east European examples.

In 1990, I published The Biafra War, Nigeria and the Aftermath, a study of the Igbo genocide. In the concluding pages of the book, in the spirit of ozoemena, I wrote: “Either in peace or war, the existence of the European post-colonial state is inimical to the interests of African peoples. It is a state that cannot provide the fundamental needs of Africans … The African humanity is presently gripped in a grave crisis for survival. It is now time that it abandoned the contrived post-colonial state in order to survive … African nations, [namely] Igbo, Wolof, Yoruba, Asante, Baganda, Bakongo, Bambara, etc., etc … remain the basis for the regeneration of Africa’s development … [and] the sites of the continent’s intellectual and other cultural creativity … What is being stressed here is that African peoples, themselves, must decide on the … issue of sovereignty … even if the outcome were to lead to 1000 states … For the future survival of the African humanity, let no more Africans have to die for the defence of, or for upholding the territorial frontier of any post-colonial state. No precious life should be wasted for its preservation.”

Eighteen years later, these words remain crucially pivotal in focusing our minds on the very survival of Africans. The wellbeing of African peoples has indeed worsened since. Africa’s genocide states have expanded catastrophically. No region of the continent is spared presently. The daily toll on African lives is appalling. Africa’s genocide states, which go by the names Nigeria, the Sudan, the Congos, Burundi, whatever, murder Africans as a matter of course; this is their ontological mission. If the European progenitors of these states find them in anyway “useful”, they are welcome to transport the knots and bolts of these states’ structures and processes back home – and institutionalise them for the benefit of Europeans. Africans, who have lived through the terror of these states, must abandon them at once to survive and advance towards the construction of higher levels of civilisation. They have no other choice. Each and every constituent African nation can build this civilisation outside the existing genocide state. Let Africa’s constituent nations and peoples unleash a dazzling contest of creativity and progress, akin to what the world has seen in Asia in the past 40 years; not mass murder, pillage and nihilism. Now is the time. The Igbo were studiously on course to construct the Taiwan/China/South Korea/India of Africa, out of the extant Nigeria genocide state, but for the genocide of 1966-1970. The Igbo will surely resume this march soon as no force can block the human quest for freedom.

Today, the murderous thrust of the African genocide state is tragically focused on the Luo and Gikuyu. But let Kenya be the very last state in which any African peoples are murdered with impunity. Africans must now insist that no more of their peoples should ever be subjected to this sentence of murder. Ozoemena.

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is the author of Biafra Revisited (African Renaissance, 2006).


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