Representing Biafra: Trauma, Memory, and the Making of a Genocide

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Abstract

Between 1967 and 1970 the Federal government of Nigeria waged a war against a self-declared country named Biafra. Estimates indicate that close to 3,000,000 women, children, and men were killed during that protracted struggle which Biafrans describe as a war of freedom. Biafrans had seceded from Nigeria after a series of pogroms between May and December 1966. Although several books have covered the Biafran-Nigerian (often referred to as the Nigerian Civil) war, Nigerians have yet to resolve the residual tensions memories of the war. It was a genocide, if not one in the making. More than fifty years after the war, Igbos, who are the predominant group in the geographical location identified as Biafra, continue to experience various forms of violence. In this part of my ongoing research, I read and analyze some of the speeches of C. Odumegwu, the General of the Biafran Army, through the lenses of UN documents on genocide and human rights. I explore Ojukwu’s speeches and journals as literary and historical documents that reveal his attempts to explain the terror unleashed against his people, carefully constructing a narrative representing the trauma and accompanying violence as an emerging genocide.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Mar 19 2022
EventFaces of War - London--online: https://warstudies.lcir.co.uk
Duration: Mar 19 2022Mar 19 2022

Conference

ConferenceFaces of War
Period03/19/2203/19/22

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