Emma Okocha, Author, Blood on the Niger and member of the Committee hosting the 50th Anniversary program of the Asaba Massacre was recently in Lagos and he talked to our Correspondent on the controversies and positions taken by some members following the pronouncements of the Chairman of that Committee.
You were absent at the Press Conference in the Palace, when you are a member of the Committee and also a veteran of the fourth estate?
Some of us in the Committee do not share the views of the Chairman and his band, especially his unwarranted outbursts and pronouncement on the Asaba Genocide. Without any mandate and lacking in the understanding of what our community went through, the gentleman said Asaba has forgiven the genocide. That was undermining our strenuous thirty years cliff mountain climb to establish Asaba as world recognized genocide victimized community.
He said that Asaba had forgiven….and that was the new feeling and as Christians….?
Genocide is a crime against humanity. The crime, because of its savagery is unforgivable and unforgettable. What is happening today in the Korean peninsula in many ways can be traced to World War 11. Korea has not forgiven the Japanese atrocities including the rape of their women.
Christian Armenia is not contemplating forgiveness for the Turks that decimated their population. Ditto for the Jews….the Israeli intelligence would haunt you even if you are about to die until you answer for your holocaust extremities. In Africa, Rwanda will retain the Tutsi President forever as the Hutsi Genocide that took out thousands of people is never going to be forgotten or forgiven.
If you are not going to forgive like good Christians then what’s the way forward and what do you gain not turning the other cheek?
As interpreted to you…. Asaba, if we go by that aberration would be registered as probably the first Genocide community in the world to wake up from a long slumber and without even the dropping of any crocodile tears or any apologies, from the perpetrators of the genocide say they have forgiven.
But some of the Committee members advance that South Africa under Mandela forgave the enemy, and there was peace?
The South African par-allel is a distortion for in the first place, the South African conflict which sparked unto steep level conflagration in the 80s with the bloody and brutal decapitation of the Soweto uprising never registered any case of Genocide. I was later to do my field work in An-gola on arrival of the Cu-b-ans. It was a liber-ation war with visible interventions from the super powers and middle powers like Cuba and then China. There was no proven case of Genocide.
What is the underlying difference……?
Genocide as I said is a crime against humanity. The Prosecution is not status barred and the dead or buried perpetrators are usually exhumed and offered the same hemlock they visited on their hapless victims. It is usually defined as a cold deliberate plan by a group to wipe out another group. Humanity, after the holocaust decreed that for such calamity never to happen anywhere again, victims must never forget or forgive the perpetrators.
The Chairman has without any authorization and with that pronouncement of forgiveness attempted to destroy our over thirty years struggle establishing Asaba as a genocide victimized community.