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Waltz after the Biafran war death Symphony (Lillian Ekwosi-Egbulem)
January 17, 1970 was not an ordinary day in Orsu-Ihete...
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Waltz after the Biafran war death symphony (Lillian Ekwosi-Egbulem)


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Waltz after the Biafran war death symphony (Lillian Ekwosi-Egbulem)

  1. 1. Waltz after the Biafran war death Symphony (Lillian Ekwosi-Egbulem) January 17, 1970 was not an ordinary day in Orsu-Iheteukwa, a then Biafrian village. It was a day that villagers woke up full of expectancy. The evening before this unforgettable day, unconfirmed rumors that the civil war that ravaged Nigeria for three years had come to an end, filtered in from all sides. The war was between the poor petroleum producing states and the rich petroleum merchant states. The rich merchant states fought with sophisticated weapons purchased with resources derived from the poor oil producing states, while their counterpart fought with crude weapons such as “Ogbunigbe” (a home-made bomb). So, the next morning when the rumors were confirmed, there was an uneasy calmness at first followed immediately by a rapture of excitement. The calmness was an aftermath of the sudden absence of the sound of machine guns, bombs and the wailing of wounded soldiers and civilians, as well as those who lost their relatives. Prior to this memorable day, there used to be frequent air raids that filled the air with loud sound of death tunes and symphony. In fact, the only music people were accustomed to was that of the enemy’s bullets zipping through the air and creating death orchestra. The music usually changed to a faster tune when the bombs started coming down. There was never a quiet moment. The only serene moment was at night but even then, the silence of the night was occasionally broken by the sobbing of the bereaved who were too scared to mourn their loved ones by day. The overwhelming reality of this day came as a great shock. The war was over! The fact that the Biafrians lost the battle did not matter. At that point, what really mattered was the peace and calmness that filled the air and made it look like the air was going to burst. Suddenly, the calmness became so frightening that people started whispering to each other to ensure that they were still alive. In between came the questioning session. “Was the war really over”…., Orsu- Ihiteukwa villagers wondered. At this particular juncture everyone seemed to have an answer to this unusual situation and was eager to proffer it. Villagers started talking, gathering together in groups and discussing the unfolding event. Then came the realization that there had not been a single gunshot or bombing throughout the day. Teenagers and fearless young men who could no longer contain themselves filled the air with their spontaneous songs full of meanings, stories and emotions. Unexpectedly, the whole village was agog with singing, shouting and jubilation and no one, not even the bereaved and the wounded could contain their excitement. The irony of this day was that everyone woke up and tried to find a meaning to the unusual calmness which eventually culminated into a day full of excitement. They had no idea that after the excitement and exhaustion, they would have to deal with a more meaningful reality. Finally, they could only lie down and dream of a new day, where wounded Biafrans would waltz back to life dancing to a real musical symphony instead of death orchestra played by bombs and zipping bullets; …………..a new dawn. Watch the dawn at: