Prince accepting ‘Best International Artist’ at The Brit Awards in ‘85
The Biafra war is one of many tragic emblems of colonialism. What you had in the naming of “Nigeria” by British writer and journalist Flora Shaw was the amalgamation of British resources. If attention was given to the people of Nigeria it was to further fracture tribal relations and maintain systemic disunity and distrust. The Biafra War was born out of this systemic disunity and distrust. During the war the British government heavily armed the Nigerian Army with the objective of keeping the Nigerian Republic in tact. The French government supplied Biafra with light weapons in order to support the break up of Nigeria - whose potential dwarfed that of France’s Francophone states. The blockade imposed by the Nigerian government meant that Biafrans did not have adequate weapons to fight the war or the food to survive. Despite the many tragedies that engulfed Biafra, the Civil War endured for three years as Igbo people fought on in pursuit of independence from the Nigerian federation. Hypocritically, the British government supplied weapons to the Nigerian government to annihilate Biafra, whilst British relief organisations supplied famine relief to Biafra and British journalists branded and packaged the humanitarian crisis for foreign consumption.
Image taken from one of Judy Blame’s sketchbooks