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Tuesday 5 April 2022

Biafra Liberation: Why Kanu's Nonviolent Approach Remains The Most Fitting

 Biafra Liberation: Why Kanu's Nonviolent Approach Remains The Most Fitting

As a theologian, Martin Luther King Jr. regularly thought on his notion of nonviolence. In his debut book, "Stride Toward Freedom", and other following books and articles, he detailed his own "pilgrimage to nonviolence." Luther King Jr argued that "true pacifism," or "nonviolent resistance," is "a bold confrontation of evil via the force of love". King thought that "the Christian teaching of love, acting via the Gandhian method of nonviolence, was one of the most formidable weapons available to oppressed people in their quest for freedom" because he was both "morally and practically" devoted to nonviolence. 

As a freshman at Morehouse College, King Jr studied Henry David Thoreau's Essay on Civil Disobedience, which exposed him to the concept of nonviolence. King was "fascinated by the idea of refusing to collaborate with an evil system" after growing up in Atlanta and witnessing segregation and bigotry on a daily basis. 

Dr. Mordecai Johnson, the then president of Howard University, spoke to King in 1950 while he was a student at Crozer Theological Seminary. Dr. Johnson, who had recently returned from India, spoke about Mohandas K. Gandhi's life and beliefs. According to King, "Gandhi was the first to turn Christian love into a tremendous force for social transformation. I found the means for social revolution that I had been seeking, in Gandhi's emphasis on love and nonviolence".

Despite his academic commitment to nonviolence, King did not personally see the efficacy of nonviolent direct action, until the Montgomery bus boycott began in 1955. During the boycott, King put Gandhi's ideas into practice. Despite threats to his life, King eventually decided not to deploy armed bodyguards with the help of black pacifist Bayard Rustin and Glenn Smiley of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. But he rather reacted to the violent situations, like as the bombing of his home, with compassion. King learnt how nonviolence could become a way of life that could be applied to every situation through his actual experience in organizing peaceful protests. The notion of nonviolent resistance was described by King as the "guiding light of our movement. "Gandhi provided the means, while Christ provided the spirit and drive". King would say.

Six important concepts guided King's view of nonviolence. Firstly, it is possible to resist evil without resorting to violence. Secondly, nonviolence aims to gain the opponent's "friendship and understanding," rather than shame him. Thirdly, evil should be opposed rather than the people who conduct evil deeds. Fourthly, nonviolence advocates must be willing to endure without vengeance, as suffering can be redemptive in and of itself. Fifthly, nonviolent resistance avoids both "external or physical violence" and "internal or spiritual violence": "The nonviolent resister not only refuses to kill but also refuses to detest his opponent" Love in the sense of the Greek term "agape", which means "understanding" or "redeeming good will for all mankind," should motivate the resister. The sixth principle is that nonviolent resistance requires "strong faith in the future," based on the belief that "the cosmos is on the side of justice".

Years after the bus boycott, Dr. Martin Luther King became increasingly committed to nonviolence. An India trip in 1959 helped him connect more intimately with Gandhi's legacy. King began to advocate nonviolence not just in a national sphere, but internationally as well.

Following the rejection of nonviolence by Black Power activists such as Stokely Carmichael, King lamented that some African Americans had lost hope and reaffirmed his own commitment to nonviolence: "Sometimes in life, a person develops a conviction that is so valuable and meaningful that he will stand by it to the end. This is what nonviolence has taught me ".  "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that," he concluded in his 1967 book. 

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, arguing that violent revolution was impractical in the context of a multiracial society. Only love has the power to drive out hatred. The nonviolent way of the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu led Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB), in their quest to restore Biafra remains the best way to go. We can see how possible it is to be committed to nonviolent without resorting to violence.

IPOB as a nonviolent organization has dramatically shown that Biafra restoration can be achieved without firing a gun shot. But just as it is said that "in every twelve, Judas will still exist to cause havoc", same is happening in Biafra restoration quest. Some criminal minded person has always hid in the cover of IPOB to cause troubles. But the message of IPOB leader is always clear to every ear.

Severally, you may have heard Kanu say that Biafra will be restored without a shot of a bullet. Yet, you find people that claim to be his disciples, advocating for a Biafra through war. This is a confusion believed to be the master-mind of Biafra enemies. But sincere Biafrans must continue to walk by the code, "Nonviolence".

And in all, Let Love Lead.



Written by Obulose Chidiebere.

Edited by Okechukwu Chuks.

For Family Writers Press International.

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