There was a Country By Chinua Achebe

A penguin profile of Chinua Achebe's personal history of Biafra, There was a Country:

Therewasacountry-UKThere was a country

The defining experience of Chinua Achebe's life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe's people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war's full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.

Achebe masterfully relates his experience, both as he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria's birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country's promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read There Was a Country is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers - they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people. Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe's place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age

AN EXCERPT FROM THERE WAS A COUNTRY (c) Penguin Publishers Fall 2012 Catalog

The Nigeria-Biafra War was arguably the first fully televised conflict in history. It was the first time scenes and pictures - blood, guts, severed limbs - from the war front flooded into homes around the world through television sets, radios, newsprint, in real time. It probably gave television evening news its first chance to come into its own and invade without mercy the sanctity of people's living rooms with horrifying scenes of children immiserated by modern war.

One of the silver linings of the conflict (if one can even call it that) was the international media's presence throughout the war. The sheer amount of media attention on the conflict led to an outpouring of international public outrage at the

war's brutality. There were also calls from various international agencies for action to address the humanitarian

disaster overwhelming the children of Biafra.

Said Baroness Asquith in the British House of Lords, "Thanks to the miracle of television we see history happening before our eyes. We see no Igbo propaganda; we see the facts." Following the blockade imposed by the Nigerian government, "Biafra" became synonymous with the tear-tugging imagery of starving babies with blown-out bellies, skulls with no subcutaneous fat harboring pale, sunken eyes in sockets that betrayed their suffering. Someone speaking in London in the House of Commons or the House of Lords would talk about history's happening all around them, but for those of us on the ground in Biafra, where this tragedy continued to unfold, we used a different language . . . the language and memory of death and despair, suffering and bitterness.

The agony was everywhere. The economic blockade put in place by Nigeria's federal government resulted in shortages of every imaginable necessity, from food and clean water to blankets and medicines. The rations had gone from one meal a day to one meal every other day - to nothing at all. Widespread starvation and disease of every kind soon

set in. The suffering of the children was the most heart-wrenching.



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There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Penguins book posted on 03-17-2012, 00:43:21 AM
A penguin profile of Chinua Achebe's personal history of Biafra, There was a Country:Â

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The defining experience of Chinua Achebe's life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War,  of 1967-1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe's people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war's full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.
Achebe masterfully relates his experience, both as he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria's birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country's promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read There Was a Country is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writersâ€"they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people. Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe's place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age


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AN EXCERPT FROM THERE WAS A COUNTRYĂ‚ © Penguin Publishers Fall 2012 Catalog
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Re: There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Ariteni posted on 03-17-2012, 00:43:21 AM

A penguin profile of Chinua Achebe's personal history of Biafra, There was a Country:










Therewasacountry-UKThere was a country



The defining experience of Chinua Achebe's life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe's people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war's full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.


Achebe masterfully relates his experience, both as he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria's birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country's promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read There Was a Country is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers - they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people. Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe's place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age


AN EXCERPT FROM THERE WAS A COUNTRY © Penguin Publishers Fall 2012 Catalog


The Nigeria-Biafra War was arguably the first fully televised conflict in history. It was the first time scenes and pictures - blood, guts, severed limbs - from the war front flooded into homes around the world through television sets, radios, newsprint, in real time. It probably gave television evening news its first chance to come into its own and invade without mercy the sanctity of people's living rooms with horrifying scenes of children immiserated by modern war.


One of the silver linings of the conflict (if one can even call it that) was the international media's presence throughout the war. The sheer amount of media attention on the conflict led to an outpouring of international public outrage at the


war's brutality. There were also calls from various international agencies for action to address the humanitarian


disaster overwhelming the children of Biafra.


Said Baroness Asquith in the British House of Lords, "Thanks to the miracle of television we see history happening before our eyes. We see no Igbo propaganda; we see the facts." Following the blockade imposed by the Nigerian government, "Biafra" became synonymous with the tear-tugging imagery of starving babies with blown-out bellies, skulls with no subcutaneous fat harboring pale, sunken eyes in sockets that betrayed their suffering. Someone speaking in London in the House of Commons or the House of Lords would talk about history's happening all around them, but for those of us on the ground in Biafra, where this tragedy continued to unfold, we used a different language . . . the language and memory of death and despair, suffering and bitterness.


The agony was everywhere. The economic blockade put in place by Nigeria's federal government resulted in shortages of every imaginable necessity, from food and clean water to blankets and medicines. The rations had gone from one meal a day to one meal every other day - to nothing at all. Widespread starvation and disease of every kind soon


set in. The suffering of the children was the most heart-wrenching.




..Read the full article
Re: There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Patcho posted on 03-17-2012, 02:29:47 AM
Truth must be told. Every writer must come to terms with truth, with a reality, whatever that may be, no matter how agonizing that may be. Without truth, events and history is clueless.
Re: There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Iyke posted on 03-17-2012, 07:40:42 AM
A(nyi)chebe Igbo, Achebe uwa, Achebe ndi mma,
Re: There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Prof penkelemess posted on 03-17-2012, 07:47:21 AM
I said:

- Ojukwu RIP

- and let''s move on to Chinua, please !

Prof-you-know ...
Re: There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Seyi olu awofeso posted on 03-17-2012, 11:54:56 AM
The book's title resonates in legally extinct Biafra although nothing suggests it is not foretelling Nigeria's future history.

Regardless of the book's factual accuracy, anyone will praise the old age efforts of Chinua Achebe at putting together a first-hand narrative of the Biafran Civil War - as he saw it - although i doubt if present-day Nigerians can use the history Chinua Achebe narrates better than to repeat the same acts which caused the war.

Some young Nigerians will, as likely as not, mis-read the book by looking for the hurtful paragraphs to hold onto as their needed inspiration to foment a repeat war of revenge.

In the philosophy of history - as opposed to the history of philosophy - the constant tension has been how to reconcile the need for more history (so as to distil the ultimate truth from the writers' different perspectives) with the risk of potential abuse of history by those who avidly read it, only to mis-interpret it.

Seyi
Re: There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Lol posted on 03-19-2012, 04:17:03 AM
There will not be a Biafra or a Yoruba free nation because the people of Nigeria are the most fearful, dormant, meek, passive and naive citizens you will find anywhere on in civil rights nationalist struggles on planet earth. Just as black people lived in slavery for 400 years with much of a struggle until white people did the fighting for them so will Nigeria. Ojukwu ran away from the battle field and so will many Nigerians if they are confronted with a revolution. It is a pathetic country and that comparison with Sudan is an insult to the south Sudanese people.
Re: There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Prof penkelemess posted on 03-19-2012, 04:28:09 AM
Chinua 'took refuge' - ???

NOT really !!!

I think he had that terrible car accident and

went to the US for treatment and stayed there

for same !!!

Prof-you-know ...
Re: There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Patcho posted on 03-19-2012, 08:38:23 AM
Penkele Prof:

You've been most clearer of this recent {notice the superlative 'this recent'}. Hope this details are not your own magnus opus.
Re: There was a Country By Chinua Achebe
Prof penkelemess posted on 03-19-2012, 09:47:58 AM
Patcho,

clearer - na how ?

recentest ??? (recent test???)

fact is:
I was there for Chinua's 6oieth birthday party at Nsukka in 1991 (???)

by the way: it was a horrible event because this idiot military governor made us all wait for hours ... usual inflated ego.

also because of water-shortage I had to share a bucket of water for my ablutions with my next-door neighboiur, one Ken Saro ...
water shortage made it fun.

such is life ...

you know a sponsor for my book:

"50 years on the road in Africa" ???

Patcho:

during those years I did NOT discover Victoria Falls !!!

Penkeleprof


but I did write a poem on this 'discoverer':


A Brit with balls claimed
he discovered those phalls (make it phalli...)

A British fellow travelled to

Rhodesia

He travelled

on and on

I think his name was

Livingstone.


He saw those rapids

And named them after

His own Victoria


He claimed those rapids

He had discovered

But the indigenes

They simply wondered


The blacks sur place

They laughed with tears

Because they had lived

with those rapids

For umpteen years.



I think I deserve the first Eurafrican poetry prize, will invest the prize money into the printing of my book !!!
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