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Showing posts from November, 2007

Biafra: Killer Cessnas and Crazy Swedes

by Gary Brecher

The eXile asked me to do a special 200th column, something about old wars and new wars, so I thought I'd talk about the bush war building up right now in the Niger River delta in Nigeria. The TV's talking about how the locals are forming an army to make the Nigerian government give them a share of the income from all the oil they've found in the delta, but nobody mentions that this miserable maze of fever swamp was the focus of the biggest war in modern Africa -- the Biafra war.


Nigeria's a typical West African mess of a country, only bigger and meaner. It's divided up the usual way: the coastal tribes are Christianized from sucking up to the European colonists. The further inland you go, the drier, hungrier and more Islamic it gets. The Brits grabbed the Nigerian coastline from the Portuguese when they realized there was money to be made, and turned the two big coastal tribes, the Ibo and the Yoruba, into their overseers on the Nigerian plantations. …