By Chika Odua; [Nigerian-American journalist].
For many years, I have been compelled to learn more about this war, because it is linked to my identity. My mother was displaced by it and lived in a camp. My father has his own memories. Please share widely.
They say those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it.
I am raising money for a project that will, hopefully, encourage understanding and discourage repeating a nasty era of human history.
Just 50 years ago, a terrible conflict broke out in Africa’s most populated country- Nigeria- and that conflict forever changed the course of Africa and beyond.
From 1967-1970, more than a million people died in the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War. Citing persecution and discrimination, the people of the southeastern region of Nigeria- the Igbo, and other ethnic groups- had decided to break away from Nigeria and form the Republic of Biafra.
The war was brutal, hundreds and thousands of children starved to death.
I am a Nigerian-American journalist. For many years, I have been compelled to learn more about this war, because it is linked to my identity. My mother was displaced by it and lived in a camp. My father has his own memories.
In the process of trying to learn about this crucial time in Nigeria’s past, I have observed that the history of the war has been repressed. It’s been tucked away in the recesses of people’s minds, brushed over in the history curriculums in many Nigerian schools, dismissed as something that needs to be forgotten.
But we must understand history, not forget it. (Read this to learn more about why we must never forget the Biafran War. )
In 2016, I decided to begin talking to people who remember the war. I have already started. I’ve met some amazing people, I’ve interviewed them and they told me fascinating true stories about death and survival during the war.
I am accumulating these interviews for a digital archive that I created. The archive is a space to preserve first-hand accounts of the war. My archive is called Biafran War Memories. This is an ongoing passion project that I imagine I will continue for the rest of my life. (Please watch this video to learn more about what inspired the project. )
It requires just a little money because it involves me traveling to meet and interview people who remember the war. I film them on my camera and I upload the interviews to the archive . Since I began this project in 2016, I have been funding the expenses, but now, I am asking anyone who believes in the profound, transformative power of storytelling…anyone who believes in the need for history to be told and documented….who believes in the potential for Africa to rise….believes in the potential for Nigeria to overcome tribalism….to help me.
I am doing what I can to preserve history. As Africans, we should…we must strive to document our history. If you don’t document your history, someone will document it for you. Every year, elderly people who have vivid memories of the Nigerian Civil War (Biafran War) are dying and they are dying without their stories being documented!
Can you help me to document their stories? We can do it!
I hope 100 people can donate $100 for my Biafran War Memories project. It will really help. This project is not just for me. It is for us.
You can learn more about me here: http://www.chika-oduah.com/
Daalu. Thank you.