USAfrica: Queen Elizabeth, Prof. Uju Anya and the Genocide against Biafrans.
By Rev. Joshua Amaezechi, contributor to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica magazine (Houston) where this commentary appear, exclusively.
In her Twitter handle, hours away from the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Uju Anya, wrote:
“I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.”
I am saddened by two things about this tweet. First, the fact that she wished the dying monarch an excruciating death.
As a Christian, I really hope that her wish did not come true and that the Queen Elizabeth II rested in peace. My condolences go to the Queen’s family and the peoples of the United Kingdom.
Second, I am saddened that while the media focused on the professor’s painful wish for the Queen, they totally ignored the main issue raised by the Prof. Anya’s which was that under the watch of this late Queen and with active knowledge and participation of her government, a genocide was committed against Biafra, leading to the death of over 1 million civilians, including pregnant women, adults, children and babies (between 1967-1970 during the Nigeria-Biafra war).
As a Calvin trained theologian, I am conversant with the concept of lament. As a matter of fact, my worship professor, Dr John Witvliet taught us that worship of God cannot be complete if the church ignores to lament over evil in the world, pointing to the reality that the book of Psalms in the Bible and many other biblical texts are full of laments and words of lament.
When you read Psalm 137, for example, and also consider that the experience of Genocide in Biafra by the Igbo ethnic group can be likened to some of the experiences of the Israelites as lamented by the Psalmist, you will understand the context of Prof. Uju Anya’s anger, even as I disagree with her painful wish. She was lamenting over the deliberate starvation of children of Biafra by a surrogate government of Queen Elizabeth II in Nigeria between 1967 and 1970.
Prof. Anya was lamenting the avoidable death of millions of people of the Igbo
ethnic group under circumstances in which the Queen Elizabeth II and Harold Wilson, her Prime Minister, were fully aware and engaged. Even the US President Nixon shouted “genocide! Genocide in Biafra”. So, it was not a secret!
It is within this context that the media, the Christian community and all lovers of humanity ought to move beyond the excruciating wish of Prof. Uju Anya to discuss the starvation to death of over a million civilians in Biafra. This is the untreated moral wound of humanity that should no longer be swept under the carpet unless there is a plan to repeat it.
This is more so, considering the fact that the Igbo ethnic group who experienced genocide in Biafra is still facing threats of genocide inside Nigeria, today.
Whenever Christians share the gospel, they are bringing to moral judgement the crucifixion of an innocent man Jesus and celebrating his vindication by God through his resurrection from the dead. If Christians can place a moral judgement on the life and death of Christ and declare in confidence that he was sinless and innocent, then, Christians have a moral obligation to place a moral judgement on the acts of leaders of the world, including Queen Elizabeth — while they are alive, dying or dead.
This is in keeping with the words of Jesus in John 16:8 that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of Sin, Righteousness and of judgement. This work of the Holy Spirit is done through the disciples and the followers of Christ, and it is at the crux of the conflict between the early church and authorities of the world wherever they went.
A church that remains silent in the face of evil or becomes complicit in acts of human degradation and oppression is a church that has failed in a critical aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, while the faith of Queen Elizabeth II as a former Christian head of the Anglican church is being acknowledged, her role as the Head of State of Britain and Head of the Commonwealth must be examined and brought into the searchlight of Christ’s redemptive work.
While she ought to be commended for overseeing the process of decolonization of the British Empire, the post-colonial actions and policies of her government should as well be subject to critical examination. It is through this consistent examination and subsequent improvement in human communal relations that we make for a better world in which “captives are set free” and “justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream”
USAfrica: Nıgerıan-American Prof. Uju Anya calls Queen “chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire”