Individuals return to the previous for various causes. For some, it’s to get well an thought of a wonderful previous, a reminiscence which can be pertinent for current and future reconstructive tasks. For others, it’s to hunt the origins of a trauma to be able to heal a wounded current.
Communities typically bear in mind atrocity by way of practices like rendering of apology, acknowledgement of previous wrongs, fact and reconciliation commissions, or Remembrance Day actions.
One instance is the carrying of poppies as a global image of remembering the fallen troopers of World Battle 1. There may be additionally the institution of the Kigali Genocide Memorial as a web site of remembrance and therapeutic. One other instance is South Africa’s Reality and Reconciliation that was set as much as assist take care of apartheid associated trauma.
Nigeria, within the early 2000s, tried to deploy the transitional and restorative justice mechanisms following the mannequin of South Africa’s Reality and Reconciliation Fee. However this hardly had any impression on reparations for pre and put up Nigeria-Biafra warfare wounds and different atrocities dedicated throughout the navy period.
The ethnic politics that pervaded Nigeria after independence led to the coup of 1966 and the anti-Igbo pogrom in Northern Nigeria. Additionally, the navy leaders of the Japanese Area (led by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu) and the Nigerian navy authorities (led by Yakubu Gowon) did not agree on tips on how to resolve the disaster of governance within the nation. This triggered the federal government of the Japanese Area to declare its independence from Nigeria in Could 1967. The area known as itself the sovereign state of Biafra.
These occasions had been the catalyst for the warfare through which about 1 million to three million folks, largely Igbo civilians, are believed to have died. Civilian areas had been bombed and folks starved, typically to loss of life, primarily based on the navy’s authorities warfare coverage of meals blockade. The warfare ended with Biafra’s give up on January 15 1970.
Following the top of warfare in 1970, the federal government started implementing what it known as a coverage of Three Rs: reconstruction, rehabilitation and reintegration. It additionally constructed a moribund warfare museum in Abia state displaying a number of the armoury utilized by the Biafran and Nigerian militaries throughout the warfare. The state inaugurated no official commemoration of the warfare, save for an annual navy occasion each January 15.
There’s a latest development amongst students to assist the usage of reminiscence or memorial practices as a treatment to the Nigeria-Biafra Battle previous. We reviewed these scholarly works and made two observations. First, they body the character of the violence in a deceptive manner. Second, they lack a imaginative and prescient of justice.
We argue that resorting to reminiscence apply to treatment injustices related to the Nigeria-Biafra Battle is a symptom of a nationwide (and worldwide) unwillingness to take care of the political preconditions that made the warfare potential. It’s merely a symbolic train that fails to confront a violent system. What must occur is a few type of political justice to confront the pre-conditions of warfare.
An underlying assumption of reminiscence research has been to think about the previous as a repository of repressed traumas that return in numerous types to hang-out the current.
The final assumption is that the treatment needs to be a reckoning with the traumas, traditions or glories of the previous. For reminiscence students like Tzvetan Todorov, the enchantment to reminiscence as a treatment rests on the concept collective remembering may heal group traumas and that if folks bear in mind the evil dedicated previously, they will attempt to keep away from it within the current and the longer term.
Some students, like creator and coverage analyst David Rieff, have rejected the notion that remembering holds the potential for therapeutic. As he would have it, remembrance usually sows the seeds of future conflicts.
For us, it’s the method through which remembering is completed that holds the potential for violence, not remembering per se. Our inclination within the context of coping with the traumatic previous of warfare in Nigeria is to argue each towards reminiscence and towards forgetting. We advise that speaking about reminiscence is a distraction from the query of justice. Solely a resort to political justice can maintain some promise for occupied with political redress in conditions of violence spurred by political actions.
What would justice entail within the aftermath of the Nigeria-Biafra warfare? We’ve thought of three notions of justice: legal, reconciliatory and political.
The purpose of legal justice is principally to punish. The Nigerian navy authorities defeated Biafra militarily and couldn’t prosecute itself for crimes it dedicated earlier than and throughout the warfare. Therefore, this imaginative and prescient of justice appears unrealistic.
Reconciliatory justice goals for a type of truthful relation between people or teams and their society. On this occasion, it will imply acknowledging the angle of all sufferer pretty within the official nationwide reminiscence. This concept of justice assumes that Nigeria’s persevering with issues are a matter of unfair acknowledgement of sufferer reminiscences. And it assumes that these issues could be solved by way of socio-cultural actions of memorialisation and formal acknowledgement.
Historical past of divisive ethnic identities exhibits it is time Nigeria admits its function in imposing them
Political justice goals for political reforms that recognise the political nature of the disaster within the postcolonial state. The objective is to rethink or reform the political constructions of colonially imposed governance. The identical exclusionary political constructions that led to the political crises and massacres throughout Nigeria within the 1960s have remained firmly in place.
This political construction – which hinges on a colonial imaginative and prescient of nationhood that refuses to devolve governing powers to its composite territories – has failed. It has continued to breed the sorts of ethnic politics and violence witnessed since Nigeria’s “independence” from Britain.
Thus, solely dedicated pondering and motion round political justice can probably deal with the disaster of statehood and citizenship nonetheless confronting Nigeria at the moment. This sort of pondering and motion should supply a negotiated political reform primarily based on recreating a state that’s accountable, acceptable, reputable to its members, and the place energy is devolved and decentralised to all constituencies.