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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Drowning out the Silence: Nigerian Civil War Literature and the Politics of Gender-Based Violence

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 3.0 license

The Nigerian Civil War began on May 30, 1967 when the southeastern provinces declared their independence and Nigeria initiated an unrelenting military campaign to reverse the Biafran secession. The world watched as millions of Biafrans and Nigerians were displaced, starved, raped, slaughtered, and pushed to the very edges of human suffering. Because the conflict officially ended in 1970, too little attention has been paid to addressing and treating the deep macro (social, political) ad micro (local, personal) traumas inflicted by the war. This omission is particularly striking in light of Nigeria’s ethnically, regionally, and religiously divided population which remains fraught with the same tensions that triggered the war. The message seems to be that Nigeria has neither forgotten Biafra, nor forgiven.

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