OWERRI, 1968

[A story told by my mother]

“What is truly shameful is that this was not done by savages but aided and assisted at every stage by Oxbridge-educated British mandarins….”- Frederick Forsyth

This city will again be a beautiful landscape
From war’s wreckage rent and riven
Our son’s massacre, our daughter’s rape
We’ll ne’er forget nor will our will give in.

Their spiteful raids – Haruna’s* mayhem,
The ravages his gang of barbarians wrought
Like Herod did in Bethlehem
Without remorse, without a second thought

This savage reminiscent of the Nazi –
Federal troops shooting at the innocent
In the holy name of PEACE n’ UNITY was haughty –
a verdict of hate n’ resentment yet impotent.

Two scores and a decade this homeland still
chants in glory from the burial pits of the past
we commemorate our dead, we bear their murderers ill will
We’ll ne’er cower – this is the heartland of the East.

*Major General Ibrahim Haruna commanding officer of troops that massacred men, women and children in Asaba, Owerri and Ameke-Item.

© Ugo Nkwoala. SpilledWoords, 2020 All rights reserved.

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