The Nigerian-Biafran War

May 30 2017 marks the 50th birthday of the declaration of independence of the republic of Biafra, leading up to a 30-month civil war between federal Nigerian troops and the (Igbo) secessionists. On the occasion of this anniversary, the Library, Documentation and Information Department at the African Studies Centre in Leiden (ASCL) has compiled a web dossier on the Nigerian Civil War (1967–1970), also known as the Biafran War.

Far from being an exhaustive or even representative overview of the record of scholarship that has appeared on this topic, this dossier is an attempt to highlight different discourses reflected in the ASCL Library’s collection. After the introduction, section 2 presents a selection of publications on the war, ranging from a 1967 propaganda leaflet by the Nigerian government of information (Unity in Diversity) to a 2016 article on ‘the tensions in Nigeria-Biafra war discourses’.  A highlight of this section is a collection of student essays on the civil war written in 1971 at the Toro teacher’s college. The cahiers were donated by their teacher, Aart Rietveld. Noteworthy is also the civil war chapters in the textbook series on civics and history for primary schools.

The third section deals with fictional accounts, personal narratives and poetry on the Biafran conflict, illustrating how much more literature there is than the (rightly famous) writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Adichie and Achebe.

Sections 4,5 and 6 capture the conflict through the biographical lenses of key actors. Writings by and about the two political protagonists, General Gowon (Nigerian head of state 1966–1975) and General Ojukwu (president of Biafra 1967–1971), give an insight into the federal and Igbo perspectives of the conflict. The third person chosen for this biographical section is the Yoruba nationalist Obafemi Awolowo, who was active as Federal Commissioner for  Finance in Gowon’s cabinet during the war. Chinua Achebe portrays Awolowo as the architect of the starvation policy meant to crush the Igbo defence: “It is my impression that Chief Obafemi Awolowo was driven by an overriding ambition for power, for himself in particular and for the advancement of his Yoruba people in general. […] In the Biafran case it meant hatching up a diabolical policy to reduce the numbers of his enemies significantly through starvation […].”(There was a country, p. 233). This view contrasts strongly with the almost hagiographic accounts of “the man of courage , wisdom, reason and vision” (according to Moses Makinde).

The dossier is concluded with a selection of  web resources and is introduced by former LeidenASA fellow Jays Julius-Adeoye, who recently published ‘The Nigeria-Biafra war, popular culture and agitation for sovereignty of Biafra nation’ in the ASCL working paper series.

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Omrop Fryslân ~ Niet geknecht ~ It ferhaal fan it Friesch Dagblad yn de Twadde Wrâldoarloch

Wat soesto as nijsmedium dwaan yn tiden fan oarloch? Hoe hâldst dy steande en hoe fier giest mei yn wat de besetter wol, sûnder datst dyn prinsipen los litst? It is wêr’t it Friesch Dagblad yn de Twadde Wrâldoarloch mei wraksele, lykas alle kranten yn Nederlân yn dy tiid. As iennige deiblêd hie it Friesch Dagblad de moed om de krante stop te setten yn 1941.

Ien fan de ferslachjouwers en plakferfangend haadredakteur by it Friesch Dagblad út dy tiid, Jan de Haan, hat as in deiboekferslach de ûntwikkelingen stap foar stap beskreaun. Hoe’t de krante hieltyd mear ûnder druk fan de Dútsers setten wurdt en hoe’t de meiwurkers dêr nachts wekker fan lizze. De dilemma’s dêr’t se mei te krijen hawwe en hoe’t dêr oer diskusjearre wurdt. Hoe’t der drige wurdt mei in ferbod op it útbringen fan de krante en it gefaar dat se op in stuit rinne om arrestearre te wurden. En dan hoe’t de krante him ‘niet geknecht’ wurde lit en de ear oan himsels hâldt troch de krante stop te setten.

De oantekeningen waarden nei de oarloch oardene en as brosjuere útbrocht: ‘Niet geknecht’. It Friesch Dagblad en Omrop Fryslân hawwe yn oparbeidzjen mei-inoar in film makke fan it ferhaal. De taal en wurden dy’t De Haan brûkt hat yn syn ferhaal, binne tekenjend foar de tiid en it grifformearde karakter fan it Friesch Dagblad fan doe, en hawwe liedend west foar it meitsjen fan de film. De orizjinele tekst is ynsprutsen troch Thijs Feenstra, dy’t we noch kenne as feedokter yn Baas Boppe Baas. De sênen binne tekene troch yllustrator Laurens Bontes fan Ljouwert. Dêrneist is der in nije útjefte makke fan de brosjuere, mei tekeningen út de film en in neiwurd fan Lútsen Kooistra, útsprutsen op syn ôfskied as haadredakteur fan it Friesch Dagblad op freed 21 april.

Sjoch: http://www.omropfryslan.nl/programma/niet-geknecht
Sjoch ek: http://interviewsdehaan.blogspot.nl/2015/04/niet-geknecht-van-jan-de-haan.html

Het verhaal van het Friesch Dagblad in de Tweede Wereldoorlog

Wat zou jij als nieuwsmedium doen in tijden van oorlog? Hoe houd je je staande en hoe ver ga je mee in wat de bezetter wil, zonder dat je je principes loslaat? Daarmee worstelde het Friesch Dagblad in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, net als alle kranten in Nederland in die tijd. Als enige dagblad had het Friesch Dagblad de moed om de krant stop te zetten in 1941. Omrop Fryslân maakte een film bij het verhaal, die zaterdag 22 april is uitgezonden.

Een van de verslaggevers en plaatsvervangend hoofdredacteur van het Friesch Dagblad uit die tijd, Jan de Haan, heeft als een dagboekverslag de ontwikkelingen stap voor stap beschreven. Hoe de krant steeds meer onder druk van de Duitsers wordt gezet en hoe de medewerkers daar ’s nachts wakker van liggen. De dilemma’s waar ze mee te maken hebben en hoe daar over gediscussieerd wordt. Hoe er gedreigd wordt met een verbod op het uitbrengen van de krant en het gevaar dat ze op een gegeven moment lopen om gearresteerd te worden. En dan hoe de krant zich ‘niet geknecht’ laat worden en de eer aan zichzelf houdt door de krant stop te zetten.

De aantekeningen werden na de oorlog geordend en als brochure uitgegeven: ‘Niet geknecht’. Het Friesch Dagblad en Omrop Fryslân hebben samen een film gemaakt van het verhaal. De taal en woorden die De Haan gebruikt heeft in zijn verhaal, zijn tekenend voor de tijd en het gereformeerde karakter van het Friesch Dagblad van toen, en zijn leidend geweest voor het maken van de film. De originele tekst is ingesproken door Thijs Feenstra, die we nog kennen als veearts in Baas Boppe Baas. De scènes zijn getekend door illustrator Laurens Bontes uit Leeuwarden. Tevens is er een heruitgave gemaakt van de brochure, met tekeningen uit de film en een nawoord van Lútsen Kooistra, dat ook wordt uitgesproken tijdens zijn afscheid als hoofdredacteur van het Friesch Dagblad op vrijdag 21 april.

http://www.omropfryslan.nl/persbericht/niet-geknecht

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The Vrije Universiteit And South Africa, From 1880 To The Present And Towards The Future: Images, Practice And Policies ~ Contents

SAVUSA POEM Proceedings, Volume 1 – Rozenberg Publishers 2005 – ISBN 90 5170 587 5 – Soon complete online

Contents

Part I: – The history of the relationship between the Vrije Universiteit and South Africa
* Introduction – Gerrit Schutte & Harry Wels
* The Vrije Universiteit & South Africa: 125 years of sentiments and good faith – Gerrit Schutte
* The Vrije Universiteit and South Africa since 1972: Political and organisational developments – Harry Brinkman
* Can ‘new’ meet ‘old’? VU-South Africa, 1976-present: Development cooperation in Southern Africa – Kees van Dongen & Leo de Feiter

Part II: A ‘new’ science for a ‘new’ South Africa: four current academic projects
* A ‘new’ history for a ‘new’ South Africa – Gerrit Schutte
* ANNA and a ‘new’ lexicography for South Africa – Willy Martin
* A ‘new’ literature – Ena Jansen
* A new size of theology for a new South Africa – Bram van de Beek

Part III: A ‘new’ science for a ‘new’ South Africa: Reflections
* South Africa-VU: The meaning of traditions for future VU-policy in South Africa? – Carools Reineke
* Some trends in South African academic history: Changing contexts and challenges – Albert Grundlingh
* Political studies in South Africa. A personal perspective – Tom Lodge
* Stimulating research futures – Tessa Marcus
* International R&D cooperation with South Africa – Selected policy perspectives – Hendrik C. Marais’
* ‘New’ scientific practice in South Africa with special reference to land reform – Flip Smit
* The changing Higher Education landscape in South Africa – Daniel Ncayiyana
* Good neighbours and far friends; The Netherlands, Europe and South Africa – Peter Nijkamp

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Marijke Gijswijt‐Hofstra (Ed.& transl.) ~ Among The Mende In Sierra Leone: The Letters From Sjoerd Hofstra (1934-36)

This book offers a unique look behind the scenes of anthropological fieldwork amongst the Mende in Sierra Leone in the mid-1930s. The Dutch anthropologist and sociologist Sjoerd Hofstra (1898-1983), Rockefeller research fellow of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures and one of Bronislaw Malinowski’s three ‘Mandarins’ (as were also Meyer Fortes and S. Frederick Nadel), reports in long, bi-weekly letters to his adoptive mother about his experiences with the Mende. During his first stay in Sierra Leone (January 1934 – March 1935), Hofstra got blackwater fever, a complication of malaria tropica. His second stay (May – September 1936) came to an untimely end because he again developed symptoms of blackwater fever and was advised to return to Europe. Because of this his fieldwork remained unfinished, and Hofstra never got round to publishing the planned book on the Mende. However, Hofstra published four articles on the Mende in English, photocopies of which are included in this book. Next to these articles Hofstra’s letters to his adoptive mother contain valuable first-hand information about his fieldwork. His daughter, cultural and social historian Marijke Gijswijt-Hofstra, has edited and translated these letters, while also including contextual information.

ASC Occasional Publication 19 – ISBN: 978‐90‐5448‐138‐6 – 2014

Download book (PDF): https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/24890

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Michael Weldeghiorghis Tedla ~ The Eritrean Liberation Front: Social And Political Factors Shaping Its Emergence, Development And Demise, 1960-1981

Young female soldier of the Eritrean Liberation Front Eritrea 1975 – Photo: eritrea-chat.com

Introduction
In the second half of the twentieth century, Eritrea was an arena of uninterrupted armed conflict that went on for about three decades. The conflict was basically rooted in history and geography. But it was also aggravated by outside intervention for many years. Ethiopia being supported first by the US, Israel, and latter on by the USSR, and the Eritrean nationalists by socialist oriented Middle Eastern and Asian countries and organizations turned Eritrea into a proxy battle field between opposing forces during the Cold War era.

The protracted Eritrean war of independence started in 1961 under the auspices of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). The ELF (1960-1981) was the first, and largely Muslim-based, armed resistance movement that emerged to contest Ethiopian rule over Eritrea. Formed in 1960, the ELF carried out political and military activities for the subsequent twenty years in an attempt to gain independence. This armed resistance movement was, however, unable to accomplish its stated goals of achieving independence. Rather, the task of achieving de facto independence was realized by its offspring organization in 1991. This study is, therefore, an attempt to reconstruct the history of a socio-political movement that has been important in the recent history of Eritrea: the Eritrean Liberation Front. In the following sections an attempt is made to outline the fundamental research problem and the motivation for my interest in undertaking the intended study, research questions, scope of the study, theoretical framework, methodology, relevance of the study, and organization of the thesis.

Problem Statement and Rationale
In 1950, the UN passed a resolution that federated Eritrea with Ethiopia, without any form of plebiscite. Within few years, Ethiopia dismantled the pillars of the federation that guaranteed Eritrea’s limited autonomy one by one without hesitation. Throughout the federal period, Eritreans protested against Ethiopia’s violations of the Eritrean autonomy. As it became quite difficult to organize and agitate inside Eritrea, the task of organizing a movement to promote the Eritrean cause fell on the Diaspora. Frustrated with the system, a new breed of Eritrean nationalists founded the underground Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM)[i] in Port Sudan in 1958. The ELM sought to terminate Ethiopian rule through a coup d’état. But before the ELM could attempt a coup, the war for independence was launched in 1961 under the auspices of the ELF.[ii] After that the country lapsed into a cycle of political disorder, violent conflict and human suffering in the three decades that followed.

The founders of the ELF were Eritrean political exiles and students in Cairo, Egypt, who drew inspiration from the Algerian revolution.[iii] The initial ELF leaders, who were living abroad, came mainly from Muslim backgrounds and this had a profound impact on the membership and mobilization of the ELF. Consequently, during the early years of the first decade of its history, the movement favoured Muslims over Christians.[iv]

In the 1960s, the movement nevertheless grew steadily as it started to attract support from diverse segments of the population and from the Diasporas. The fighters (also called Tegadelti in Tigrinya, one of the most widely spoken languages in Eritrea) were individuals who came from diverse economic, social, educational, gender, and age backgrounds and came to be marked by their devotion to the success of the struggle. Some of the early fighters received training in Syria, China, Cuba, and Iraq; whilst the rest were trained in the liberated areas. Within the next ten years, the ELF became a serious threat to the Ethiopian rule in Eritrea. The impact of its existence was felt beyond the boundaries of Ethiopia, especially when Ethiopian planes were subjected to subversive activities. In 1970, there was a major breakaway from the initial movement. Three splinter groups emerged and latter coalesced to form the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), which became a strong rival to the parent Front. The ELF remained a viable organization for the next ten years, but in the 1970s a series of armed clashes between the two dominant movements occurred. These clashes were typically exemplified by a struggle for dominance. Finally, in 1982, the EPLF superseded the ELF and other smaller groups as the most effective armed resistance to the Ethiopian forces, and defeated the ELF in the process. The ELF fighters fled to Sudan, and many went on to Europe and North America, while some members opted to return to Eritrea and join the rival nationalist movement, the EPLF.
In May 1991, the EPLF took control of the whole country from Ethiopia and Eritrea achieved its de jure independence in 1993 after holding a UN observed referendum, in which 99.8 percent of Eritreans voted for sovereignty. The EPLF transformed itself into the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) in 1994 and has been leading the country since its independence.

The ELF, emerging years before its rival the EPLF, and having been in a position of prominence in military terms with regard to the latter, nevertheless was superseded and destroyed in a relatively short period of time. This calls for investigation into the reasons why one movement, from the outside looking stronger, so spectacularly failed not only to achieve its aims but even to maintain itself as an organization, while a seemingly weaker front, the EPLF, not only managed to outflank and supersede its rival but also went on to occupy the whole of Eritrea. The Eritrean example, in this manner, offers a unique comparative example of two movements with different strategies and with very different fortunes. Although it is beyond the scope of the study to address the ELF from a comparative dimension, it is important to at least note that the Eritrean example may hold general lessons on the variables that affect the viability and strength of national-revolutionary movements.

In my previous career as a junior researcher and archivist at the Research and Documentation Centre (RDC), the acting national archive of Eritrea, from 2004 to 2012, I was confronted with a large amount of archival materials concerning the movement in question. Despite the availability of such bulky serviceable source materials, the history of the Eritrean struggle for independence remained by and large incomplete and undeveloped.[v]
This absence of well researched publications and analysis poses a challenge in developing a broader understanding of the dynamics of the Eritrean politics prior to the independence of the country. This experience instilled in me the desire to study the nature and development of the ELF using the idea of writing history from the stand point of those former ELF fighters. In this study,special attention has been given to its origin, development, and demise of the movement, and the how and why questions have also been investigated thoroughly.

Download book (PDF): https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/ASC-075287668-3671-01.pdf?

Notes
[i] Ruth Iyob, The Eritrean Struggle for Independence: Domination, Resistance, Nationalism, 1941-1993 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 98-101; see also Dan Connel and Tom Killion. Historical Dictionary of Eritrea (2nd ed.) (Lanham, Toronto and Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2011), Connel and Killion, 218-20.
[ii] Ruth, 103; see also Redie Bereketeab, “Eritrea: The Making of a Nation 1890-1991” (PhD. diss., Uppsala University, 2000), 183-184.
[iii] John Markakis, National and Class Conflict in the Horn of Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 113.
[iv] Redie, 185
[v] Bairu Tafla, “Interdependence through Independence: The Challenges of Eritrean Historiography,” in New Trends in Ethiopian Studies, ed. Harold G. Marcus. (Lawrenceville: Red Sea Press, 1994), 500.

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Where Global Contradictions Are Sharpest ~ Research Stories From The Kalahari ~ Contents

The ‘Bushmen’ or ‘San’ of the Kalahari could well be called an iconographic people. Partly as a result of this, over the years abundant social research has been carried out among the San. Keyan Tomaselli and his research team from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa form part of that tradition; however, in this book Tomaselli is also able to reflect critically, and not without a touch of irony, on the way the San have been represented over the years. Hardly ever has there been a researcher who so uncompromisingly and aptly illustrates the many ethical contradictions in doing fieldwork among the San, and at the same time manages to reconstruct and represent the actual fieldwork experience and the San people so vividly that you almost taste the dust of the Kalahari and smell the raucous world that is depicted.

Note on the Author
Keyan G. Tomaselli is Professor in Culture, Communication and Media Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. He is a Fellow of the University and serves on the advisory board of !Kwa ttu – The San Cultural and Educational Centre. He is Old World book review editor of Visual Anthropology, and has published on visual anthropology in this and other publications such as Appropriating images: The semiotics of visual representation (Intervention Press, 1999). Other journals in which Tomaselli has published include: Visual Studies, Cultural Studies, Journal of Film and Video, Research in African Literatures, etc. He is published in translation in Italian, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic, amongst others. Tomaselli is editor-in-chief of Critical Arts: A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies.

Contents
Acknowledgements, Acronyms, A Note on Pronunciation
Starting Off – Different people, different communities – Specifically, what are we doing?
Chapter 1. Negotiating Research with First Peoples
Chapter 2. Reverse Cultural Studies: Field Methods, Power Relations and 4X4s … 
Chapter 3. ‘Dit is die Here se Asem’: The Wind, its Messages, and Issues of Autoethnographic Methodology in the Kalahari
Chapter 4. ‘Op die Grond’: Writing in the San/d, Surviving Crime 
Chapter 5. Psychospiritual Ecoscience: The Ju/’hoansi and Cultural Tourism
Chapter 6. Textualising the San ‘Past’: Dancing With Development
Chapter 7. Stories to Tell, Stories to Sell: Hidden transcripts, negotiating texts
References

© Keyan G. Tomaselli, 2005
Cover photograph: Frederik J Lange (Jnr). Taken between Witdraai and Welkom, Northern Cape, June 2005.
Coverdesign: Ingrid Bouws, Amsterdam
Editing: Saskia Stehouwer

Published by Rozenberg Publishers, Amsterdam, 2005, ISBN 90 5170 481 X

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