FINALLY! I have finished reading this book. This book is not the kind of book a lot of people can read in 2 or 3 days and I am one of those people. There is so much information to process. Reading this book once does not do it any justice. I’ll have to read it again but that will be some other time. He is such a great author and when I get the chance, I will order all of the Chinua Achebe books possible. I am hoping to read the remaining books of his trilogy and The Trouble With Nigeria. The next war with a book I have to conquer will be Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.
Chinua Achebe’s funeral was last week. May his soul rest in peace. Here is a link to the pictures from his funeral on the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-22646370
I am grateful that before he died, he was able to write about the civil war. I have been going to Nigeria on holiday since I was 11 and went to secondary school there but I was first made aware of Biafra when I read Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie. The funny thing is that I came across Half of a Yellow Sun by chance. It was displayed in my local Waterstones bookstore. This is an important part of Nigerian history that should be taught to the younger generations but from the opinions and comments that I have read on the internet, there are people that would rather it be swept under the rug. I’m not surprised that people don’t want to talk about it. There is already enough ethnic tension in Nigeria. This occurs mainly between Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa people. This ethnic tension is really unfortunate and is one of the main reasons why Nigeria is the way it is today. Like I have mentioned a million times before 😉 , I am Igbo and while reading this I did feel sadness for the people who lost their lives and had to move about constantly to flee from the Nigerian army’s attacks. I felt it the most for the children who starved to death. It was the children that suffered the most. However, this book did not incite in me any anger towards other tribes.
An issue some Nigerians have with this book is the fear that Professor Achebe is inciting ethnic tension. People need to recognise that ethnic tension preceded the publishing of this book and will continue after unless something is done about it. We do not need to agree on everything he has put in his book, however, it does not mean that he should be insulted. This book should promote rational discussions contrary to the insults I have read online directed at him and between people arguing. I have read people saying that they have lost respect for him and he should focus on trying to make Nigeria better. He has spoken up countless times about the state of Nigeria. At the end of the book, he writes about what needs to change in Nigeria and what she needs to progress.
Well, I think he is brave for publishing this and I thank him for doing so. It is a shame that he is no longer here. I wish my grandfather was still alive and I could ask him for his personal history of Biafra. My dad was a child when the civil war was going on. He did tell me that he lost a family member who fought in the war and he was one of those children who had kwashiorkor. Hopefully, when I am in Nigeria, I will be able to find out my extended family’s accounts on what happened.
I enjoyed reading this book. I am intrigued by Nigerian history and have researched online. I am yet to buy a history book but I definitely will. I have come across opinions and comments stating that Nigeria needs to learn from its past in order to be able to move forward and I agree. Nigeria is rich with history and I wish that I had been taught some of it in secondary school. The thing is, I don’t think I would have appreciated it like I am able to do now. This is a book that I will definitely keep for my children to read. It is battered now from the reading so I may be required to buy another one. 🙂
My next post, which hopefully will be up today, will be a review of his book. It may end up having parts as I don’t want the post to be too long.
Before I go, I will leave you with a tip to reading this book. You will need to come armed with a dictionary. As well as a piece of Nigerian history, the great author also added to my vocabulary. 🙂
Thank you for reading.