Posts

Showing posts from October, 2019

BIAFRA: Church World Service At The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing

Image
Image: United States Senate

In his statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, MacCracken explains the position of the CWS as it relates to the conflict and humanitarian crisis occurring in Biafra and Nigeria at large. He notes that the CWS is solely concerned with the humanitarian issues in Biafra and believes they must be separated from the larger political conflict. MacCracken also quotes at length a statement from the Fourth Assembly of the World Council of Churches meeting in Sweden (July 15, 1968). In terms of domestic work, MacCracken praises members of the American Jewish Committee for bringing together Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish organizations to coordinate humanitarian assistance in Biafra. He concludes by summarizing the concerns of the CWS and what they believe must be done going forward.

STATEMENT BEFORE THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CONCERNING RELIEF ASSISTANCE IN NIGERIA AND THE FORMER EASTERN REGIONS KNOWN AS BIAFRA

 Washington, D.C.  October 4,…

Thinking Of Biafra In Inner-City Dublin

Image
Dublin, Ireland resident sell used clothes with proceeds to benefit the Children of Biafra. Date: July 25, 1968. Image: Dermot O'Shea/Irish Times

BY ARMITA WALLACE

In the late 1960s Irish people were much moved by the suffering caused by war in the breakaway Nigerian state of Biafra. So when a famine appeal was launched, there was an extraordinary outpouring of generosity.

“Workers all over the country,” this news story from the summer of 1968 reported, “are offering their overtime earnings and their first week’s salary increases.”

It added that the Joint Biafra Famine Appeal, launched by the Catholic and Anglican Bishops of Owerri, had increased in just one week from £28,820 to £46,758.

The people in the picture were running a daily jumble sale at the corner of Luke Street and Townsend Street in Dublin which, on its first day of operation, had raised eight pounds, fifteen shillings and fourpence.

The organiser, Mrs Theresa Byrne of Luke Street, told The Irish Times: “We felt so sorry f…

BIAFRA: The Irish Involvement

Image
John Horgan (centre) interviewed Odumegwu Ojukwu, then president of the secessionist state of Biafra, for ‘The Irish Times’ in 1967. Image: Irish Times

Famine and independence struggle led to Irish support for Biafran secession in 1967
BY JOHN HORGAN
...The threat of famine, combined with an independence struggle, had an almost irresistible political and emotional impact on Irish public opinion

The stage was set, effectively, not only for conflict over the national control of resources, but for a proxy war involving two former colonial powers.

The second factor was religion – not any of the African religions of the region, but Christianity, and specifically, in the case of Biafra, Catholicism. Since the early 20th century, Irish Catholic missionaries in particular had made eastern Nigeria (coterminous with the newly created Biafra) a core pays de mission.

In 1967, many of these missionaries – seeing historical parallels between Biafra and the Irish independence struggle – adopted the Biafra…