Tuesday, 25 December 2012 21:51

Biafra: Blowback to tidying up Israel's history

Written by Akin Ajayi
Biafra Children Biafra Children Time

Blowback to tidying up Israel's history


Hiding the controversies when we teach children about Israel's modern history is designed to promote a unified national story. But it would be better for our children to have the chance to grapple with the messy reality of their heritage now before those dormant controversies erupt again, as they have done in Nigeria, where I grew up.

Biafra children pic:Time

Once, I once went out for dinner in London with an Israeli woman. Conversation warmed, and I stopped paying attention to my meal, given my congenital inability to multitask. “Stop playing with your food,” she reproved mildly. I rolled my eyes and retorted, “You’ll remind me about the starving on Bangladesh next.” I didn’t think she’d pick up on the reference – familiar to a generation of wasteful children brought up in the wake of the 1974 Bangladeshi famine – but she grinned. “Bangladesh? In Israel, our parents talked about Biafra.” She reached across the table, scooped a spoonful from my plate. “Of course, you know all about that, being Nigerian...” She looked up expectantly. But she was wrong.