Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Amnesty International’s report on the Igbo genocide shatters this orchestrated silence


Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe
Denial is the final stage that lasts throughout and always follows a genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide … try to cover up the evidence … They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern … with impunity … unless they are captured and a tribunal is established to try them. The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts... (Gregory Stanton, president, Genocide Watch; professor in genocide studies and prevention, George Mason University, Virginia)

One of the cruellest tragedies of the aftermath of 400 years of pan-Europe’s enslavement, conquest, unparallelled expropriation and occupation of the African World is that concocted pedestal of “moral authority” that successive West/Euro-American leaders have erected and from which they lecture African presumed leaderships in “post”-(European)conquest Berlin-states and estates on how the latter treat their populations.

The West leaders are expressly contemptuous of these African “leaderships”, understandably, because most have been created or implanted invariably on the African scene by the extant imperium. The West is therefore untiring as it ritualistically lectures its stretch of puppets across Africa: Respect the human rights of your people”; “Stop murdering your people…”; “You are corrupt, very corrupt! You steal your peoples’ money – Stop it! You must be transparent and Accountable!”; “Institute a bill of rights, Respect the rule of law”; “Run free and fair elections! Don’t turn your presidency into a life-long estate as we really don’t want you to deal with our own next generation of leaders, our children’s”…

Hotchpotch

Even then, no truly focussed democrat should be disoriented by this astonishing irony emanating from the West. African “leaderships”, quite often in league with some of their West’s hypocritical traducers, have murdered 15 million Africans across the continent in the past 50 years in appalling spates of genocide, beginning with the Igbo genocide on 29 May 1966, and in other wars in virtually every region of Africa. Even if the devil, itself, were to lecture African “leaderships” to stop murdering their own peoples and, in the process, help prevent just one more African from being annihilated by their depraved overlords, that would be readily welcome. African populations are under siege by brutal regimes replete across Africa especially the genocidist hotchpotch in Nigeria and the Sudan. The peoples here and elsewhere require unremitting support for their right to safeguard their lives and progress from wherever in the world. Not less.

There is of course nothing in these apparent pro-African freedom/liberatory sentiments by West leaders, referred to above, to suggest that the latter really cares about the African humanity they and forebears have spent nearly half of a millennium to obliterate/dehumanise nor do they indeed look forward to the day when they will deal with a democratic Africa where its leaderships are accountable to their own, their home publics. To the contrary, if that were to occur, the West would cease to exercise the stranglehold it currently has on Africa. No responsive leadership ever plays the overseer role which these African regimes engage in.

Crucially, to the score, the West’s singular mission in castigating its African “leaderships” is to continue desperately to cover the tracks of its heinous historical crimes across Africa, to expunge these, if possible, from any form of reckoning and eventual systemised censure. But even in the pursuit of this venture, the West is often highly selective on who or what “leaderships” they wish to focus on – such decisions ultimately rest on the individual West’s state-interest(s) at the time, thus enabling it, for instance, to ignore some “misdeeds” from a client-leadership who is considered “our son of a b****” as Franklin D Roosevelt, a former US president, would colourfully describe it.

Vile genocidist operative

Very recently in London, England, in May 2016, the world witnessed in full public display a classic of this selective choice tinkering of some “misdemeanour” from one of its African “leaderships” which a West leader had wished to focus on for the occasion of a state banquet for the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron, who, in March 2015, in collaboration with US President Obama, had imposed Muhammadu Buhari, the vile genocidist operative during the Igbo genocide, as new head of regime in Nigeria, dramatically addressed the Queen in the company of some other influential guests: “[Your Majesty], We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain … Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world…”

Noticeably, during this entire apparent puppet show, Cameron didn’t mention the gravest attribute in the grim Buhari portfolio spectrum which was key in the former’s joint decision with Obama to install the genocidist operative in power in Nigeria – namely, to continue to wage the genocide against Igbo people, begun 50 years ago. Buhari was pleased with his puppet “massa” for his deft choice from the available range of cv data and the “boy” obliged, accordingly, by acknowledging, also publicly whilst walking next to Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, to a reception, that his “country is [indeed] corrupt”.

Buhari has been known to the British for 50 years – since the outbreak of the May 1966 Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, launched by its client state Nigeria with firm British military, diplomatic and political support. Harold Wilson, the British prime minister then, personally supervised and coordinated the prosecution of the genocide from his London’s No 10 Downing Street residence. During phase-III of the genocide, the invasion of Biafra, July 1967-January 1970, Buhari was commander of a genocidist brigade in north and northcentral Biafra, slaughtering Igbo children, women and men to the hilt. 3.1 million Igbo or 25 per cent of their population were murdered during the 44 months of phases I-III which ended in January 1970. Since his March 2015 Cameron-Obama imposition, Buhari has duly resumed his Igbo slaughtering mission. In response, predictably, both the Cameron administration and its successor Theresa May’s, and the Obama government have all remained deafeningly silent over this catastrophe.

The Amnesty International’s courage in publishing two major reports on this ongoing genocide, one in June 2016 
(https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/06/nigeria-killing-of-unarmed-pro-biafra-supporters-by-military-must-be-urgently-investigated/, accessed 10 June 2016) and the second just recently, 24 November 2016
(https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/11/peaceful-pro-biafra-activists-killed-in-chilling-crackdown/accessed 23 November 2016), cannot be commended enough. These reports, particularly the latest, shatter an orchestrated silence initiated at the highest levels of government in both Britain and the US to attempt to shield these states’ active involvement in the crime of genocide against Igbo people, this crime against humanity.

Breakthrough

Nigeria and its backers must now know that no force can stop the determined will of a people. No other African peoples have suffered such an extensive and gruesome genocide and incalculable impoverishment in a century as the Igbo. Yet the Igbo have written a stunning essay in the past 50 years on human survival and resilience, a beacon of the resilient spirit of human overcoming of the most desperate, unutterably brutish forces in Nigeria. Genocide, it should be reiterated, is a crime against humanity. There is therefore no statute of limitations in international law for the apprehension and punishment of those responsible for this crime. Igbo seek and will achieve justice for the perpetration of this crime.

The Igbo are primed to restore their sovereignty in their Biafran homeland. This will be one of the most outstanding breakthroughs of the freedom movement of the age.
(Alice Coltrane Quartet, “Lord, help me to be” [personnel: Coltrane, piano; Pharoah Sanders, tenor saxophone;  Jimmy Garrison, bass; Ben Riley, drums; recorded: Coltrane home studio, Dix Hills, New York, US, 29 January 1968]) 
Twitter@HerbertEkweEkwe





Tuesday, 29 November 2016

110th birthday of Akanu Ibiam

(Born 29 November 1906, Unwana, Biafra)
Affable physician, erudite theologian, principled statesperson, works for 30 years in the Church of Scotland/Presbyterian Church rural medical programme in central and east regions of Biafra and who, in 1967, returns to Queen Elizabeth II of England the three insignias of knighthood (OBEKBEKCMG) conferred on him by both her and her father, King George VI,  in protest against the central role being played by Britain in the perpetration of the Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, when it and its client state Nigeria murder 3.1 million Igbo people, 25 per cent of this nation’s population, between 29 May 1966 and 12 January 1970
(John Coltrane, “Dear Lord” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano;  Jimmy Garrison, bass; Roy Haynes, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 26 May 1965]) 
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe


101st birthday of Billy Strayhorn

(Born 29 November 1915, Dayton, Ohio, US)
Renowned composer, pianist and arranger whose near 30 years (1938-1967) of collaborative work with composer, pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington has been the focus of expansive recordings, research and publications
(Charles Mingus Sextet, featuring Eric Dolphy, plays the Billy Strayhorn classic composition, “Take the ‘A’ train” [Mingus, bass; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Dolphy, bass clarinet; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Jaki Byard, piano; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: live, University Aula, Oslo, 12 April 1964])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 27 November 2016

74th birthday of Jimi Hendrix

(Born 27 November 1942, Seattle, US)
Arguably the most creative and accomplished guitarist of all time, collaborates with fellow artist Joan Baein a historic concert at Steve Paul’s Scene, Manhattan, New York, 29 August 1968, where they both perform free in a concert of solidarity with the people of Biafra being subjected to the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa by Nigeria and its suzerain state Britain with Hendrix additionally offering a personal donation of US$500.00 to Biafra, US$3500.00 in today’s value 
(Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez in hearty conversation during intermission at the special Biafra concertNew York, 29 August 1968)
(The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Purple haze” [personnel: Hendrix, guitar; Noel Redding, bass; Mitch Mitchell, drums; recorded: De Lane Lea Studios, London, 11 January 1967/Olympic Studios, London 3-5 February 1967])

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 26 November 2016

219th birthday of Sojourner Truth

(B ?1797, Rifton, NY, US; dies 26 Nov 1883, Battle Creek, Mich, US)

Celebrated African American freedom exponent and campaigner for gender rights and equality whose historic address at the December 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, entitled “Ain’t I a Woman?”, has been anthologised copiously ever since
(Sonny Rollins Trio, “The freedom suite” [personnel: Rollins, tenor saxophone; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 7 March 1958])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe


Friday, 25 November 2016

211th birthday of Mary Seacole

(Born 23 November 1805, Kingston, Jamaica)
Nurse extraordinaire, pioneering international humanitarian care practitioner in the Caribbean/central America and during the 1854-1856 war in the Crimea, Czarist Russia, author of the classic, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands (1857)
(John Coltrane Quartet, “Chim chim cheree” [personnel: Coltrane, soprano saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 17 May 1965])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

47th anniversary of John Lennon’s decision to return MBE knighthood medal to Queen Elizabeth II over Britain’s instrumental role in the perpetration of the Igbo genocide

(Medal is sent back to Buckingham Palace, London, 25 November 1969)
ICONIC BEETLE’s John Lennon sends back the 1965 MBE knighthood medal bestowed on him by Queen Elizabeth II of England over Britain’s instrumental role in the perpetration of the Igbo genocide with its client state Nigeria in which 3.1 million Igbo people or 25 per cent  of this nation’s population are murdered between 29 May 1966 and 12 January 1970 (phases I-III) in this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 24 November 2016

82nd birthday of Zeal Onyia

(Born 24 November 1934, Asaba, Biafra)
Masterly trumpeter, composer and public intellectual whose 1958 composition, the effervescent “Egwu jazz bu egwu Igbo” (“Jazz is Igbo music”), leads him to research Igbo contribution to the development of jazz, African American classical music, in Germany and the United States, and receives the highest accolade of his career when none other than Satchmo himself, Louis Armstrong, visiting Lagos, Nigeria, in 1961, and listening to Onyia play at Surulere stadium, inquires in that unmistakeably popsian voice, “Who is that hip cat?”
(Zeal Onyia and band play “Money trouble” and  “Lumumba” latter composition is in memory of  Patrice Lumumba, leader of the the Congolese restoration-of-independence movement and prime minister,  who had been brutally murdered on 17 January 1961 by an amalgam of the forces of the notorious pro-Belgian Congolese putschist Mobutu Sese Seko, a brigade of Belgian special forces and operatives of other West espionage services [recording details of this performance, including, especially, full band personnel, are unknown except that it was sometime in 1961. Could anyone with more information on this recording please contact me and any updates will be duly acknowledged. Thank you, HE-E])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Amnesty International publishes latest report on the continuing Igbo genocide in occupied Biafra by genocidist Nigeria military, Thursday 24 November 2016, 00:01GMT

Amnesty International’s latest report on the continuing Igbo genocide in occupied Biafra by genocidist Nigeria military, Thursday 24 November 2016, 0001 GMT (accompanying still photograph and video contain very depressing images that require viewer’s discretion):

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe



87th anniversary of ogu umu nwanyi Igbo or Igbo Women’s War

(Resistance begins 23 November 1929, Aba, Biafra)
With the initial mobilisation of 10,000 women which soon expands to 25,000 and joined by women from Ibibioland, Igbo women in Aba and its contiguous provinces, including Igwe Nga/Opobo and Umu Ubani/Bonny, embark on a 2-month historic resistance against the oppressively expansive stretch of 50 years of the British conquest, paralysing the occupation regime and its institutions in much of the east, central and southern regions of Biafra consequently; the occupation troops murder  55 members of the freedom movement during the course of the resistance

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

79th birthday of Adiele Afigbo

(Born 22 November 1937, Ihube, Biafra)
Dean of Igbo Historical Studies whose seminal books and papers, particularly Warrant Chiefs (1972)Ropes of Sand (1981)Ikenga (1986), The Igbo and their Neighbours (1987) and Groundwork of Igbo History (1991), are foundational texts and references for the study of Igbo history and civilisation, and international relations
(Sam Rivers Sextet, “Helix” [personnel: Rivers, tenor saxophone; Donald Byrd, trumpet; Julian Priester, trombone; James Spaulding, alto saxophone;  Cecil McBee, bass; Steve Ellington, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood, NJ, US, 17 March 1967])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 19 November 2016

“My meeting with Nnamdi Kanu”: Femi Fani-Kayode, former senior aide in Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan regime, writes on his recent meeting with Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra and freedom broadcaster, Radio Biafra, in British-built Kuje prisons, Abuja, Nigeria, where Kanu is illegally detained by the Buhari genocidist regime

(Nnamdi Kanu: ... leader of Indigenous People of Biafra and freedom broadcaster, Radio Biafra)
Femi Fani-Kayode

IN MY ESSAY, “Head bloodied but not bowed and the ascension of President-elect Donald J Trump – part I” (The Trent, Wednesday 16 November 2016), I wrote: “When I went to visit the great and brilliant freedom fighter, Nnamdi Kanu, who is the leader of IPOB and easily the most courageous, powerful and credible Igbo leader in Nigeria today in his cell, we had a very instructive and long discussion.

“I had never met Nnamdi before and I was amazed at his depth of knowledge, his immense courage and his deep convictions.

“There is no doubt in my mind that that man is going places and in him the Igbo have an Ojukwu and a Nnamdi Azikiwe all rolled into one. He is destined for greatness...”

Apparently my words have created quite a stir amongst those who believe that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu cannot be mentioned in the same breath as Azikiwe or Ojukwu, both of whom, in my view, are also great men.

Yet despite their reservations, I believe that we must give honour to whom it is due. Consequently I have no regrets for what I have said.

Those that are upset at the fact that I spoke highly of the IPOB leader are misguided and, worse still, they lack vision, foresight and insight.

They not only lack the ability to perceive individuals and events accurately but they also lack the gift of discernment. They may see the man but they cannot assess or recognise the spirit that is in him and that motivates him.

Worst of all they are suffering from good old fashioned envy and they have been afflicted with the worst form of ignorance.

Most of them have never even met Nnamdi Kanu let alone know him. I sat next to him for three solid hours in the most challenging and difficult circumstances.

We discussed our respective views about Nigeria, our collective history, the suffering and marginalisation of our respective people, the … war, the reptilian and violent nature of the Nigerian state, the present dispensation, the Buhari government and the way forward.

I have associated with, met and worked with many men of influence and power since I entered the combustible fray of politics thirty years ago but this one was different.

This was a man that had what I would describe as a Mahatma Ghandi-like quality. That is to say he is one that is prepared to sacrifice everything and anything for his beliefs, his people and his cause.

Like the great Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace I have no doubt that if he deemed it necessary he would go as far as to sacrifice his very life in the struggle for freedom and independence for his Igbo people from the Nigerian state and from our internal colonial masters and for the establishment of his beloved Biafra.

Not all may agree with him on that course but they must respect his determination, passion and courage.
Very few Nigerian leaders have that level of selflessness and commitment to any cause and, simply put, I admire it.

I looked deeply into his eyes as we spoke and I touched and weighed his soul.

I can tell you, without any fear of contradiction, that he is a profoundly good man who loves his Igbo people deeply.

He is also well-educated and widely-read and he is a formidable intellectual.

We may not have agreed on everything but I can tell you this much: we share an aversion to the spread of radical Islam and terror in Nigeria and indeed throughout the world.

We also share deep concerns about the oppression of our people by the state, the vicious persecution and desperate attempt to silence all the voices of the opposition in our country, the marginalisation and suppression of the good people and ethnic nationalities of the south and the Middle Belt, the implementation of a plainly racist and apartheid-like agenda by our government, the regular and consistent practice of genocide by our security forces, the rise in power and increasing callousness and brutality of the Fulani militias and herdsmen in our midst, the not so hidden agenda to Islamise our nation and violate the secularity of our state, the violation of court orders, the brazen intimidation of the Judiciary and the resort to the most barbarous and hideous form of gestapo tactics, tyranny and human rights abuses by the Buhari administration.

I can also tell you that he feels and shares the pain of the Igbo and he yearns for their liberation and emancipation from an increasingly hostile and oppressive Nigerian state.

He is not a politician in the true sense of the word but rather a freedom fighter and a charismatic leader who has managed to inspire millions of Igbo youth all over the world to once again have faith in themselves and their collective cause and aspirations. In my view that is a good thing.

I can also tell you this: he is a man of great faith and conviction and his rise to prominence is not ordinary but instead prophetic.

He cannot be destroyed or silenced by any government or man born of woman because the Lord is with him and He is using him. He is using him to say and do the things that many believe but that are too scared to say or do.

Other leaders have had their time in the past and now this is his. He is paying a very heavy price right now for what God will use him for in the future.

I recognise that fact and I sincerely hope and pray that his Igbo people will come to appreciate him and do so as well.

Very few leaders can or would be willing to take the pain and make the kind of sacrifice that this man is making today.

I am a very cautious and circumspect person and it takes me a while to warm to people or for them to win my confidence. Yet this case was different.

Nnamdi and I, rather like Che Guevera and Fidel Castro at the beginning of the Cuban revolution, connected immediately and he won my trust, respect and admiration.

If there is anyone that can truly build the much needed bridge between the south-west, the south-south and the south-east it is Nnamdi Kanu.

This is because he is pragmatic and sincere. It is because he is respectful and accommodating of alternative points of view and dissenting opinions and he speaks from a position of knowledge and strength. It is because he is very proud of his Igbo heritage and he would never betray his people or prostitute his principles.

The truth is that he is not just a combination of Owelle Nnamdi Azikwe and Dim Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu: he is a combination of Azikwe, Ojukwu AND Major Kaduna Nzeogwu all rolled into one.

The fire of revolution and the yearning for fundamental and equitable change burns in his blood and resides in his bones.

He has spoken up for, defended and fought for the preservation and dignity of his people just as those other three leaders did in the past at different times in our history.

He also serves as a rallying point for Igbo nationalism, the fight for self-determination of the people of the east and the establishment of the sovereign state of Biafra.

His love, remarkable courage and sheer passion for his people and their cause is boundless and unfathomable.

The Igbo is blessed to have him as one of the most respected and revered leaders in our entire history as a nation.

They would do well to appreciate him more, pray for him, stand up for him, line up behind him and insist that the government honors the numerous court orders that have granted him bail and release him from prison.

Why? Because he bleeds and suffers for their collective cause and he is sacrificing all to … lift their pain.

What a man he is. What a mighty spirit. What a beautiful soul. What a braveheart.
(Femi Fani-Kayode:... meets Nnamdi Kanu, Kuje prisons, Abuja, Nigeria: “[Nnamdi Kanu] is ... well-educated and widely-read and ... formidable intellectual)
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe



  

Friday, 18 November 2016

67th anniversary of the Enuugwu colliery massacre

(Miners at the Enuugwu colliery, undated)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

ON 18 NOVEMBER 1949, 21 coal miners at the Iva Valley colliery, Enuugwu, Biafra, were shot dead by the British occupation police in response to the miners’ peaceful, popular protest for a pay increase, improvement in working and safety mine provisions, and support for the ongoing restoration-of-independence movement, begun in the 1930s and spearheaded by the Igbo, to terminate 64 years of Britain’s conquest of the constellation of states and peoples of this southwestcentral region of Africa. 

The Enuugwu massacre, in addition to the organised pogroms against Igbo people in June 1945 (Jos, northcentral Nigeria) and May 1953 (Kano, north Nigeria) by the Hausa-Fulani islamist political leadership of north Nigeria, strategic on the ground client of the occupation, were dreadful precursors to the Igbo genocide of 29 May 1966-12 January 1970 (phases I-III) – in which Britain and Nigeria murdered 3.1 million Igbo, 25 per cent of this nation’s population, in the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa.
(Sam Rivers Trio, “Afflatus” [personnel: Rivers, tenor saxophone; Cecil McBee, bass; Steve Ellington, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood, NJ, US, 17 March 1967])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe


80th birthday of Don Cherry

(Born 18 November 1936, Oklahoma City, US)
Innovative pocket trumpeter and multi-brass instrument player, key exponent of the Ornette Coleman school in the free jazz revolution of the 1950s/1960s
(John Coltrane & Don Cherry, “Focus on sanity” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Cherry, pocket trumpet; Percy Heath, bass; Ed Blackwell, drums; recorded: Atlantic Studios, New York, US, 28 June/8 July 1960])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Archival treat for scholars and students – University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library houses Onicha market literature collection

(University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library)

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

AS DETAILS below show (see link), this collection was initially made in 1966 by Thomas Buckman, a former Kansas University director of libraries, before the Onicha market (Biafra’s Oshimiri Delta) main repository of this historic literature was destroyed by the Nigerian vandal military during the Igbo genocide. This Kansas archive is the “first full-text digitization of the [Onicha] pamphlets”. “Just as eager readers purchased [Onicha] market literature 40-50 years ago”, the Kansas University Library aptly recalls, “this initiative makes [the] pamphlets accessible once again to a wide-ranging readership on the Internet”. 

Emmanuel Obiechina, the esteemed literary scholar and critic, researched expansively on the Onicha market literature, a focus on his doctoral thesis at Cambridge University later published as the classic, An African Popular Literature, 1973 (http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/blog-post_51.html).

*****University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s link to the Onicha market literature collection:(http://exhibits.lib.ku.edu/exhibits/show/onitsha),
accessed 17 November 2016.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

86th birthday of Chinua Achebe

(Born 16 November 1930, Ogidi, Biafra)
Father of African Literature
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

132nd anniversary of the start of the pan-European World conference on Africa subjugation in Berlin – 15 November 1884-26 February 1885

(1. infamous gathering in session)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Today marks  the 132nd anniversary of the beginning of the infamous 15 November 1884 – 26 February 1885 European leaders’ Berlin conference on Africa. The gathering was chaired by German Chancellor von Bismarck to formalise the pan-European seizure, planned occupation, and irrepressible exploitation of the gargantuan riches of the African World which Leopold II, the génocidaire king of the Belgians, described predatorily as this magnificent African cake”. It was indeed to secure for ourselves [Belgians] a slice of this magnificent African cake”, Leopold II’s own haunting words, that this monarch and his private forces and those of the Belgian state and others elsewhere in Europe carried out a catastrophic 30-year trail (1878-1908) of genocide against Africans in the Congo basin in which they annihilated 13 million constituent peoples.

The following countries attended the Berlin meeting: BelgiumHollandBritain, FrancePortugal, Ottoman empire”Germany, Italy, SpainAustria-HungaryDenmark, Czarist RussiaSweden-Norway, United States

The catastrophic aftermath of this Berlin-assembly, essentially its state’s genocidist architecture (genocide in the Congo basin by Belgian Leopold II, Herero genocide, Nama genocide, Berg Damara genocide, Igbo genocide, Rwanda genocide, Darfur genocide, genocide elsewhere in the Sudan, genocide in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ...) is the bane of contemporary Africa which the peoples, themselves, not anyone else, must dispense with to survive.
(2. infamous gathering in sessionto formalise the pan-European seizure, planned occupation, and irrepressible exploitation of the gargantuan riches of the African World – this magnificent African cake”)
(George Russell Sextet here plays “Nardis”, a composition by Miles Davis [personnel: Russell, piano; Don Ellis, trumpet; Dave Baker, trombone; Eric Dolphy, bass clarinet; Steve Swallow, bass; Joe Hunt, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 8 May 1961])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe



Monday, 14 November 2016

Professor Kalu Ogbaa, who attended the April 1980 Gainesville (Florida) conference of the African Literature Association that featured the conversation between Chinua Achebe and James Baldwin (posted on rethinkingafrica, Sunday 13 November 2016), reflects on the historic occasion…

(Kalu Ogbaa: ... fond memories of the great literary Africana Renaissance in me...)
Kalu Ogbaa, professor of English, Southern Connecticut State University, writes:

Thank you so much for publishing this 
(http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/james-baldwin-and-chinua-achebe-african.html). It conjures up fond memories of the great literary Africana Renaissance in me. I took active part in that conference and presented a provocative paper titled “The Critics of Chinua Achebe”. The late Professor John Povey of UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles] took issues with me for describing African unwritten literature (oral performance or orature) as legitimate literature; whereupon I challenged him for daring to call Homer’s and (to an extent) Milton’s works literature for they chanted their poems orally but were later on transcribed and published by their daughters as written literature. From the reactions of the audience, I thought I won the debate.

Also, during that conference, I had the opportunity to interview Achebe. The content of that interview was so seminal that Bernth Lindfors published it as a lead article in the special volume of Research in African Literature, Vol. 12, #1 (1981), 1-13, devoted entirely to the criticism of Achebe’s works, and thereafter reissued as a chapter in Conversations with Chinua Achebe, edited by Bernth Lindfors (Jackson, Miss: University Press of Mississippi, 1997: 64-75). “The Critics of Chinua Achebe” article was also published in Commonwealth Quarterly, Vol. 14, #39, 1989, 19-31). I think both works laid the foundation upon which I built my reputation as an Achebephile.

I read all the things you have been publishing in your notable rethinkingafrica. They are music to my ears and a balm to my sometimes troubled soul. Remain ever blessed!

Kalu Ogbaa

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe