This morning, I woke up to the horrible news of Chinua Achebe’s passing. Weird, how just yesterday I had ordered his latest book “There was a Country”, a memoir on the Biafran war. My goodness, how can Achebe be gone? I have all his books in my home library. Just yesterday, I was talking about how great his sense of humor was. My goodness, I was dreaming about reading more books from Achebe. What kind of thing is this?Chinua Achebe, you have inspired me… you have made me want to be a blogger… You have made me want to be a writer, an activist, and a truth speaker … hopefully, one day I will write books as funny as you did.
A friend’s dad went to school with Chinua Achebe, and he had this moral story to tell about Achebe: ” You can never be who you are not and never force your child to be what they were NOT meant to be. Achebe’s parents always wanted him to be a medical doctor. While in school, science was a struggle for him. But once he got back into himself and did what God had planned for him, the sky became his limit.”
So long to the Father of African literature, the inspiration to generations of writers, the maestro himself. Today, I truly felt like ‘things were falling apart.’
Here is a peace I wrote about him back at the very beginning of my blog: see… he was the first article I published in my ‘Great Literature’ section. Chinua Achebe: A Writer like No Other.
With the death of C. Odumegwu Ojukwu, the leader of the breakaway Biafra Republic, I decided to talk about another chapter of the ‘françafrique’ book, i.e. the Biafran war. At first everybody thought that it was just a Nigerian war, but it is more than that. It is also a war about France’s position in Nigeria, and their support of the Biafra military, as well as their manipulation of the media. How the word ‘genocide’ was used to influence public opinion… Jacques Foccart himself happily admitted choosing that word so as to get the attention of President de Gaulle and the French media. Sadly this war, which lasted from 1967 to 1970, cost many Nigerian lives, for the French and European oil greed. Interesting how history repeats itself as in Sudan vs. South Sudan today!
The other day, I was talking to a Nigerian friend of mine, who did not even know that the French had played a major role in that war… see how we (Africans) barely know our history? He was telling me about the Igbo, Haussa, and Yoruba, and forgot that the French were the ones supplying guns to the Biafrans for the war… He did not even know that most of the Biafran leaders who ran away sought refuge in Côte d’Ivoire… why? why not Ghana, Benin, or Cameroon? why a French-speaking country further away? Again the French influence. Somebody told me that Cameroon refused to help because then president Ahmadou Ahidjo in support of his Northern brothers refused to help supply guns… maybe, but why didn’t Ghana do it? or neighboring Benin? Why was the help coming from Gabon, who apparently had no interest in the story? well, because one of the biggest French military base in Africa was in Gabon (and Ivory Coast), and probably because a president in his right-mind would not accept that his territory be used to create war in someone else’s country, and also because someone like Kwame Nkrumahcould already see the French connection in the deal.
The Biafran war is similar to the Angolan or Mozambique wars or so many other wars in Africa, where many of the strings were pulled by external forces while the African puppets danced on the scene and got killed from the ignorance, and greed of their own leaders. Please watch this great documentary which sheds some light on the Biafran war, another chapter of the great françafrique. It is so interesting how Corsica has been wanting their independence from France for ages, but is still not independent to this day. Look at the United States of America, 50 states, as big as a continent,… but an entire country! Why not in Africa? in Africa, division rather than union is encouraged!