2023 National Conference of American Veterans of Igbo Descent, AVID, Speech. Dallas, Texas, USA; 19 August 2023.
Theme: Onye Aghala Nwanne Ya!
Nwa-okoro na Nwanyiriuwa, mma-mma!
Epekele n’Edime, Ekele m!
Igbowuigbo, Mma-mma nu!
Uwawuwa, Ekelem unu o!
I thank AVID for the opportunity to address our people who have had the opportunity to serve in the mighty American Military and, like Henry Turner long before them, still think of their Homeland. Going to School in America shortly after service in the Biafra War gave one a certain confidence and cadence that made young members of the Reserved Officers Training Corps, ROTC, on campus, particularly African Americans, gravitate towards us as friends.
Therefore, reading of a young generation Igbo ROTC members presenting the Flag and Pledging Allegiance makes one think, nostalgically, of those far off youthful days. However, keep in mind that the presence of the Igbo in the American military is old indeed. The Black American soldiers that fought in the Union Army to end Slavery were, proportionately, predominantly Igbo. Their chief recruiter; Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, proud Igbo Slavery abolitionist and founder of Liberia, was first Black Chaplain in the American Army. You should know him well as Ancestral Patron Spirit who believed in Onye Aghala Nwanne (hence, the movement to return Africans to freedom in Africa…founding Liberia as a result. He, famously, spoke in Thunder as classic Igbo are wont. They styled him Incendiary Speaker, as English language renders Igbo hoo!haa!. Seems that Henry McNeal Turner spoke, in the Igbo warrior mode, of “O nuru ube nwanne agbala oso!” in place of the peacetime equivalent “Onye aghala nwanne ya!” you now invoke. I salute you!
It is the primary duty of any people to understand themselves, and to explain themselves to a baffled World. The Igbo are one people whose Ancients and Diaspora (The autochthons of Igbomokun/Ile-Ife, Olaudah Equiano, Haitian Revolutionists, Igbo-landing Martyrs, JAB Horton, Edward Blyden, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, Aime Cesaire, Alexander Egom, Jacob Caruthers, etc.) made efforts to characterize themselves and educate the World about their ‘imponderable’ people. In addition, so did European imperialists or enslaving traducers of the Igbo (Trans-Atlantic Slavers, Napoleon Bonaparte, Willie Lynch, Slave Planters of America, Frederick Lugard, Meyer Fortes, Robert Stapledon and other Colonial Officers, etc.) make special efforts to characterize the ‘light baggage’ Igbo by words or actions.
Everywhere, and at all times, the Igbo have stood for the Freedom and Upliftment of All. Everywhere, and at all times, oppressors fashion extra-chaining for the Igbo and extra-weights to weigh the Igbo down. This was true four hundred ago, as slavers invaded Igboland and the Igbo fought them off. This is true today, 2023, as seen in the Three Geopolitical Spaces of the World where the Igbo people predominate in the modern World. These are Igbo Homeland (Neocolonial Nigeria Government hires private armies to hunt down agitators for self-determination and sundry others), Haiti (Western-powers imposed Slave-freedom-indemnity Poverty ravages the land) and United States of America (A State-fashioned Prison-industrial complex simulates modern slavery and wrecks the Black family).
However, Ibo Granmoun; The Great Igbo Nation has Gran Ibo; The Great Igbo Spirit raring to save her embattled scions with Their Own Hands. Freedom Deferred and Upliftment Deferred await the Global Igbo! Please God, let True Humanity and referee Time cooperate for dreamed outcomes, before they explode!
In October 1960, Nigeria had flag, unfree, independence from Britain. A short while later, November 1960, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, prime nationalist leader for Nigerian independence struggle, was sworn-in as Governor-general of Nigeria. Two prominent African Americans, with ethnic affinity and empathy for the Igbo; actor-singer Paul Robeson and Harlem Renascence poet Langston Hughes attended (both Robeson and Hughes have buildings named after them at the Zik founded University of Nigeria, Nsukka).
They brought along a younger man, Civil-rights leader Martin Luther King junior. In other words, the core leadership of African America, whose people we now know are of predominantly Igbo ancestry, were in Nigeria in 1960 as Azikiwe was sworn-in as Governor-general of Nigeria.
Zik, and his African American guests that day, represented an Igbo-African leadership for the Black Race that Anglo-Saxon imperialists astride the Atlantic, later, subverted their Vision of Redeemed Africa and destroyed their African freedom Mission. The gathering that day mirrored African ‘Dream-of-freedom’ deferred, and waiting to explode.
DEFERRED IGBO DREAM OF FREEDOM
Many have heard or heard of Martin Luther King Jr’s famous I have a Dream speech. Not many know that King just adapted the ‘Dream’ theme of famous poet, and his mentor, Langston Hughes. Hughes took out time to characterize the Igbo as, in effect, ‘A free-spirited, proud and egalitarian people who would not put others down and would rather give than take from others’. Langston Hughes wrote a prophetic poem ‘Harlem or A Dream Deferred’.
This poem presaged the, belated, realization in blood, that the independence for which ceremony they were in Nigeria, in 1960, was in fact a Farce. A farce that exposes Nigeria as a neocolonial state as the Global South expands BRICS with Nigeria in the shadows.
The British never intended independence for Nigeria, not to talk of the ‘rebellious’ Igbo. For example, the British had made the Internal Colonization of the Middlebelt region of Nigeria by the Fulani Caliphate an imperative condition for Nigerian ‘independence’. Secondly, the ongoing struggle in francophone Africa (coups in Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Tchad, and now Niger in the Sahel) for authentic independence shows the deceit of fake independence in the 1960s across Africa. It was fake independence given to Africans, in addition to the British, by the French and other pillaging European colonial powers.
It was a dream deferred, waiting to explode. Predictably, the deferred Dream exploded in freedom-loving Eastern Nigeria in 1967, as the British themselves poured the gunpowder and pulled the fuse to ignite the Biafra War. The Big-one is currently exploding across the African Sahel, fused by relentless French plunder and ignited by NATO destruction of Libya. Care not taken, it will engulf Africa and the World. Scions of the beast are aprowl across the land, pressing disrespected Africa to choose Masters!
Below is Langston Hughes’ Harlem/A Dream Deferred:
HARLEM (A DREAM DEFERRED)
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
What happens to the freedom dreams of the Haitian Revolutionaries if two hundred and twenty years later their dream turns out fake? What happens to the blood of the Martyrs of Dunbar Creek of two hundred and twenty years after Igbo Landing, their martyrdom is mocked as fake Woke tale? What happens to the Blood afloat the Niger if the corpses that poured it are fake? What happens now that we know that Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King, Jr, attended fake ‘independence’ ceremonies in Africa during the 1960s, thinking them real? When it is realized that those African countries that supposed won their freedom then are in 2023, including the Igbo Homeland, struggling for true independence?
What happens to benighted giant Africa if She does not wake up and stay woke, while her world burns and her children drown? Her favorite daughter, Gran Ibo, must wake Mother Africa up before she chokes asleep! The anti-woke movement sweeping America and the Western world; aiming to falsify the Haitian revolution, Lynch mobs and Martyrdom at Dunbar Creek or Blood on the Niger into victims’ sins against Property must be pushed back, and disabled, in their tracks:
WAKE UP AFRICA, IMPERIALISM IS IDENTITY STRIPPER!
Owumowu, wake up and stay woke!
Isumisu, wake up and stay woke!
Igbowuigbo, wake up and stay woke!
Uwafrika, wake up and stay woke!
Uwawuwa, wake up and stay woke!
Sleep not Humanity, our World drowns!
Imperial colonialism is an identity-stripper! It strips people of their clothes, strips them of their food, strips people of their style, strips them of their minds, strips people of their tongue, strips them of their will.
Imperial colonialism is an identity-stripper! It strips people of their Spirit, strips them of their purpose; strips people of their name and strips them of their land, strips people of their ancestry and strips them of their history.
Murderers of Truth want Guardians of Truth asleep or dead!
Rapers of Justice want Chaperons of Justice asleep or dead!
Oh, Spirits of Truth and sister Justice wake up, and stay woke!
Imperial colonialism is an identity-stripper! It strips people of their rites of passage; rites of birth and rites to adulthood, rites of marriage and rites of death; strips people of their worlds and strips them of their Lives.
Imperial colonialism is an identity-stripper! It strips people of their games and strips them of their dance; strips people of their friends and strips them of their loves; strips people of their dreams and strips them of their songs.
Imperial colonialism nobodies a people; so, they be ‘born again’, as child, easier to spin. When stripping-machine is heaven-made, as religions are, identity stripping is most effective; a holy Zombie is born! Imperial colonialism is an identity-stripper! Identity-stripped is personality-warped!
Owumowu, wake up and stay woke!
Isumisu, wake up and stay woke!
Igbowuigbo, wake up and stay woke!
Uwafrika, wake up and stay woke!
Uwawuwa, wake up and stay woke!
Sleep not Humanity, our World drowns!
IGBO AND THE IGBO WORLD
To appreciate the Nature of the Igbo and his dreams deferred, one notes his world and his lived Nature:
- “Deep in the damp mystery of the sacred swamp lies a powerful and strong Lwa (Spirit), Gran Ibo. Revered as the Great Mother of the Ibo people she teaches how to free yourself from your chains and rise again…This is a deity that comes from Africa originally, but who has taken her rightful place in the universe of Haitian…and New Orleans Vodou (Pantheon of Spirits)” (https://www.patheos.com/blogs/voodoouniverse/2018/03/gran-ibo-the-wise-woman-of-the-swamp/).
The Great Igbo Spirit, Gran Ibo, is alive at home and abroad in the Americas…ready to Liberate and Uplift Her Own Scions and all Humanity. The Great Igbo Spirit; Gran Ibo is venerated. by Homeland Igbo people, through the annual Ike Ebo/Egbo ritual of Cleansing, Renewal and Preemption-of-evil. This event accompanies the New Yam Festival, Iriji. Gran Ibo is the Patron Spirit of the Great Igbo Nation. The Great Igbo Spirit defines the Igbo People and Greater Igbo Nation, as hypothesized by Jacob Caruthers.
- “The Ibo were a proud nation of Africans who chose to die free rather than live as slaves” (August is Gran Ibo; http://sosyetedumarche.blogspot.com/).
The Igbo believe that ‘a Slaver is a Slave’; an Oppressor is unfree’. One holding another down cannot stand up! The Igbo are one of the major African Nations that never allowed the organized enslavement of their people, but rather fought against Slavery up to leading the major Slave Rebellions in the Americas. Forces from outside Igboland, Europeans in alliance with marauding Africans originating mostly from outside, were responsible for Trans-Atlantic slave catching in Igboland.
- For Igbo resistance to European enslavement of Africans, the grateful Africans and enraged Europeans formulated opposed, conflicting, views of the Igbo. The Africans declared the Igbo patron spirit Gran Ibo/Great Igbo Spirit, which they adopted as the Mother-of-Nations. They also declared the Igbo people Granmoun/Great People whose ways they adopted as the Highway to African freedom. On the other hand, the European slavers hated the Igbo who, because of their capital role in the Haitian Revolution, they stigmatized as ‘Dangerous French Negroes’ whose uppity way they saw as the sure highway to ‘Rebellion’.
Practical consequence of the fear of Igbo rebellion is ‘Igbo Exclusion and Containment’ policies that range from i. Non-recognition of Haitian independence by Western powers and extortive indemnity imposed by France and supported by the Western world ii. Jim Crow laws, and lynching, against predominantly Igbo African Americans and iii. Exclusion of Igbo and Southern Nigerians from the 1863 formation of British Colonial, Glover-Hausa, Armed Forces in West Africa. At the foundation of Nigeria, the British enunciated the policy that “Though industrious and religious, Igbo must never be entrusted with power” for their rebelliousness. Frederick Lugard wrote that, still active, policy down in his 1918 handover note, to his successor, as Governor-general of Nigeria.
The fate of the Homeland Igbo could not, reasonably, be separated from the fate of the Diaspora Igbo. The same Great Igbo Spirit that animates them is the source of their adulation by freedom and human upliftment lovers, as well as their hatred by the malicious and wicked enslavers. The Predominantly Igbo Geopolitical Tripod (PIGT) of Homeland Igbo, Haiti and African America must form the stand on which the Divine Cauldron to brew the future of the Global Igbo will rest.
- AVID’S DUTY TO IGBO HOMELAND AND IGBO WORLD
“What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or does it explode?”
The dream of the Haitian revolution and independence, 1791-1804, turned into a nightmare. A conspiracy of Western Powers led by French Napoleon Bonaparte who fought to ensure “The Blacks never march on the Earth again” and United States Thomas Jefferson who articulated “Fear of the French Negroes” into a nightmare for the Haitians as well as Blacks in the United States. At the end, Haiti was pillage and looted of what New York Times recently estimated at a hundred and fifteen billion dollars ($115 billion) equivalent unto hyper-poverty. The current societal chaos in Haiti could not be due to the innate stupidity of Haitians. Not when the present President of Harvard University, Claudine Gay, is a Haitian American. Haiti suffers industrially manufactured chaos, made in France and USA. The ‘Wall’ in Wall Street walled off the New York Slave-market of Africans, original stock of the New York Stock exchange. Wall Street has remained, by the manipulation of Mammon’s money, industrial enslaver of the Black Race worldwide with Haiti as the number one serial victim.
The dream of Igbo Homeland independence, 1960, exploded shortly after. It turned out to be a British contrived Farce. That has allowed Anglosphere (particularly Britain and the United States) to pump Nigerian petroleum, mostly from Eastern Nigeria, without meters and turn Nigeria into a chaotic neocolonial State. Meanwhile ‘bad-eyeing’ the ‘rebellious Igbo. As, recently, revealed by Asari Dokubo the tribalistic regime of Muhammed Buhari raised a private army to levy war on Igbo and demarket Igboland before the World. The Nigerian President, openly, mocked Igboland as “Dot-in-a-circle”. A nomad with no known ancestral address mocking The Great Igbo Nation as Philistines mocked ‘Sampson-at-Gaza’. All thanks to a Dream Deferred by fake independence from Britain.
Though materially best off, the predominantly Igbo African America are the most psychologically worsted of all the predominantly Igbo Communities in the World. This state of affairs is due, critically, to the deliberate ‘Lynch’ miseducation to which they are subject. Their attempt at self-correction has been met with the backlash of the racist anti-woke movement of White supremacists who pump up their own brittle ego with the Falsification-of-History.
If Africa America knew their ancestors ended in North America, where European colonization started much later, because the Igbo hardly collaborated in the enslavement of their people and rather fought against Slavery everywhere, they would relate better with their recent immigrant kinsmen. African Kingdoms that transformed into slave empires saw off lots of their peoples to South America, where Portugal and Spain started the Slave trade. If they knew the quality of Igbo civilization that made American Slave Farmers require only Igbo men to impregnate all African women that created their current predominance in the African American population, they would not be looking for their Ancestral Spirits in the Nile Valley rather than the Niger Valley.
The mournfully expressed disappointments at the ‘State of Black America’, as they died recently, of two African American leaders, Randall Robinson and Harry Delafonte, summarize the state of Martin Luther King junior’s dream that has turned into mass-incarceration nightmare. Harry Belafonte lamented that he could no longer see that Freedom-fire that burned through the thicket of oppression, lightening the road to freedom, in the eyes of the Black American youth. Randal Robison had despaired when his attempts to keep the dimming light of the Dream aglow faltered. He, in protest, went to self-exile in the West Indies, long before he died.
The Congressional Black Caucus is populated by Mammon-sponsored Lynch Negroes, who fall over each other to find how best to hold Africa down for Slave-wall Street rapists. They care not that Africa bleeds. Then, what happens to ‘A Dream Deferred’?
AVID is an organization of physically active, intellectually alert, people as well-trained Military people are wont to be. The remarkable success of the innovative AVID tourist visit to heroic Haiti in 2022 and the choice of August; Month of Gran Ibo; The Great Igbo Spirit for your Annual Conference make the point of your alertness to circumstance and the needed-to-do. Yes, the Haitians did not lunch their Revolution in August by chance. They chose the Month of Gran Ibo, Patron of their Revolution. No, Odogwu Nat Turner, self-identified Igbo anti-slavery revolutionist, did not launch his revolt in in August by chance. He cited the guidance of ancestors, pointing at his Ahumarachi/Birth mark and chose August. African America celebrates Black August, many not knowing its taproot. We, all, will soon realize, on a mass scale that we are linked to August by way of Gran Ibo, Mother-of-Nations, whose month it is. AVID has started well at the right place and the right time. The great American education you have, as I do, prepares one to learn and think wide and deep. You know the wide world and where the Igbo is located in it. Then?
You have A DUTY! Your most important, natural, duty to your embattled Homeland still awaits. That work is to educate your adopted Nation, USA, that the Global Igbo have had enough of the World’s troubles over the years and need urgent relief now. In addition, that they should excuse themselves from among those who make troubles for the Igbo ‘Sampson-at-Gaza’. This is particularly true with respect to the debilitating Anglo-Fulani co-imperialist alliance in Nigeria, which Britain created at the expense of indigenous peoples, particularly freedom-loving Igbo. America has worked too closely with them in recent times at the manifest Igbo expense and pain.
You are Americans! You put your lives on the line for America. The US of A is a country to which you have pledged loyalty. Be loyal to The Ideals of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for a Great America. Americans are mostly reasonable people who will listen. Talk to them. Tell them your Igbo people are no troublemakers, but unchainers of the enslaved and uplifters of the downtrodden. Tell them our Hooha speech-way, which some might find severe, inheres in an Ancient Republicanism and Democracy that bloomed long before the rest of the world heard of the concepts. Tell them most African Americans are Igbo and our friendship with America will bloom if America treats our relatives better, with fewer incarcerations. Tell them Haitians are mostly Igbo and America should repair some of the historic harm they did to Haiti in ‘Fear of the French Negroes’. Tell them true Igbo can nowhere be intimidated, as Thomas Jefferson feared, but do embrace reason.
Tell them Britain designed Nigeria to destroy the Igbo in vengeance for their defeat in Haiti, 1793-1796, their defeat with their Confederate allies in the American Civil war in which Igbo slaves and freedmen backed the Union Army with vengeance, as well as furious Igbo opposition to their illicit colonization of Nigeria did. British malice, actionized in their social engineering of Nigeria, incorporating internal colonialism and Roman ‘divide and rule’, is the source of the tribulations in Igbo homeland today. Tell them America should not align with or condone British malice towards the Igbo in the name of Anglosphere Solidarity. That would disrespect predominantly Igbo African America, who should treated as other foundational ethnic groups. Tell them we are neither a forgetful people nor ungrateful people. Tell them we remember they built the Igbo Village, Stauton, Virginia to honor the Igbo cultural contribution. Tell them we remember when General Benjamin Freakley, 2009, announced concession to Igbo to join the mighty American Military. Tell them, and tell them more, that we are a woke people who think well and remember. That is your duty to your American compatriots and your great Igbo people as the ‘Onye Aghala Nwanne Ya!’; ‘Let none ever forsake their kinsmen!’ philosophy you chose as theme for your 2023 Conference prescribes, referencing an ancestral injunction.
Finally, get close to our African American relatives. Help instruct their young and stabilize their families. Tell them of the sacred Erima bond that holds people and community as one, and promotes Life. Invite them to your homes and visit their homes. Join their Churches, Clubs and Professional groups and invite them to join yours as kinsmen are wont. That is Onye Aghala Nwanne Ya in action. Those of us carried off or left behind were, significantly, works of chance. Ijeuwa! That they no longer think and act towards family like the Igbo, their genes show they are, resulted, significantly, from the racist Lynch Mind Engineering racist slavers subjected to them. Oppressors aimed to destroy and replace their ancient Great Igbo Worldview and Great Igbo Mind that Slavers feared and linked to the Haitian Revolution and Nat Turner’s Revolt. They are victims of what Carter G Woodson termed The Miseducation of the Negro, which now infects us, too. Read the book by that name and know yourself. Tell them and tell them who they are and who we, their kinsmen, are. Tell them their Igbo kinsmen never organized to enslave our people. Europeans imported or manufactured their cartels of slave-catchers of our people. Tell them their Igbo people fought slavery everywhere, and mostly won. Tell them Haitians are predominantly Igbo as they, themselves, are predominantly Igbo. Tell them to work together with Haitians for their common good, and the good of our people around the world and not in chaotic competition. Tell them bad things learned can be unlearned! Tell them their urgent assignment is to defeat and exorcise the Willie Lynch Mind from their heads. Tell them to wake up, and stay woke, as true Igbo are wont everywhere! Tell them the woke must wake up sleeping relatives, Onye teta ya kpotee Ibe ya, as our ancestors commanded.
You and they, Igbo, should look up to the Washington Monument, the African Obelisk as symbol of your American Dream for Nature’s knowledge-driven life-for-all-life in Truth-justice and freedom for all. Adore not Slaver Jefferson Memorial to Roman laws of might-is-right and licentious pursuit of happiness at the expense of who knows? You should be proud of George Washington, founder of the USA military you belong to, who frees his Slaves. Thomas Jefferson had his own wife, Sally Hemings, and own children as slaves in his own home. Meanwhile he was pontificating on freedoms to America, and pretending that only, a piece of paper certifies one who had children with a woman husband or father. Always listen to God Almighty and Mother Nature, as our ancestors did, above clever men and their clever sayings to impress.
Igboland bleeds, as Africa burns for independence, because it is the Centre of Dreamed African Freedom Deferred. May the Igbo Dream of Freedom for all in a Life-enhancing World, best articulated by Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative as return to ‘Indigo-coloured Igbo Homeland’, where grateful Libation of Virgin Palmwine would be poured to guiding and guarding Ancestors and God Almighty, Chukwu Okike Abiama, be an inheritance we bequeath our children and their children’s children in incipient Ugaazi! Ugaazi, the promised World age of enlightenment and Renascence.
Ogu wu Ike! Ndu mmiri, Ndu Azu! Ihaaa!