More than 50 years after the devastation of the Nigerian Civil War, a new anthology is setting out to share the harrowing tale of indelible damage from a previously unseen perspective: from the viewpoint of the war’s forgotten victims. Through the Eyes of the Child, published by Scribblecity Publications, brings together a collection of stories from the children of Biafra, who recount their experiences of 1967 in this first-of-its-kind retelling of the deadly event.
Across the 452 pages, readers are invited to experience the impact of the Nigerian Civil War through the personal and unique tales told by 25 of its youngest survivors. Aged between just four and 15 years old at the time, the contributors – now aged between 58 and 69 years old – share their memories and lay bare their thoughts and feelings through this compendium of stories.
Among the contributors stepping forward to tell their personal tales are Charles Spiropoulos and Edozie Ezeife, along with writer and poet John Mozie who is certainly no stranger to the publishing world. Having grown up in Eastern Nigeria, Mozie has long been keen to bring Biafran history to life, and is known for his magical adventure story The Enchanted Gift, telling the story of 15-year old Siyonna growing up amongst the dynamics of lgbo culture. Like Mozie, all contributors to Through the Eyes of the Child are accomplished members of society, today living in strong communities all around the world.
John Mozie, Author, Through the Eyes of the Child said, “We put out a call for papers and surprisingly, got a number of responses back. The responses were from people who believed like we did, that the stories they carried with them needed to be told, and that the history of lives in Biafra was far bigger than the political precepts that overshadow any purposeful discussions about why Biafra, and what next? Our contributors came across the spectrum of Eastern Nigeria. They were Biafran children, not Igbo children, and they lived the pain of that war. They saw deprivation, pain, untold hardship and scenes of war-torn savagery that will stay with them, with all of us, for the rest of our lives.”
Nigeria’s civil war, fought between General Yakubu Gowon’s Government and the state of Biafra, lasted from 6 July 1967 to 15 January 1970, becoming the second most deadly conflict to occur on African soil. Over the span of three years, more than 100,000 soldiers lost their lives, along with upwards of two million civilians. Through the Eyes of the Child looks at this devastation from a different angle, exploring the impact of the invisible victims – the children – many of whom were almost destroyed by their experiences.
Through this new anthology, the authors hope to raise awareness of the effects of war on children and young people who have no vote, and no voice. Through the Eyes of the Child gives Biafran’s survivors their voice back, providing a platform for them to speak out, to share their fear and their scarring, and force today’s Governments to prioritise peace, not war.
Ed Emeka Keazor BL FRSA, Alto Historical Media, says, “The historiography of the Nigerian Civil War has suffered a major gap in the rendering of prominence to first-hand accounts of the ‘ordinary people’ that witnessed the events of the 30-month conflict. More specifically, the accounts of the children of the war have received even less prominence. Through the Eyes of the Child earns the description, ‘ground-breaking’, for uniquely giving voice to that demographic. The encapsulations of their experience in a powerful collection of vivid accounts are invaluable not just for Civil War historians, but for any student of the human experience. I am confident that this work will be referenced by scholars, and I cannot commend the book highly enough.”
Through the Eyes of the Child is scheduled for launch at 6pm on Saturday 5th June, celebrated with a virtual event to be held on Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook Live available https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/through-the-eyes-of-the-children-book-launch-tickets-156495140177 The launch could not be more timely, coming following the ultimatum from the Arewa Youth for Yoruba to leave the 19 northern states, fears about the #EndSARS campaign, and the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping, all of which threaten greater unrest, and the risk of history repeating itself.
Advance limited editions of Through the Eyes of the Child are on sale now, including hardback covers, signed author copies, and gifts. Copies are available at https://www.throughtheeyesofthechild.com/ or https://scribblecitypublications.com/tec.html