The Asaba Massacre: Trauma, Memory, and the Nigerian Civil War

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 31, 2017 - History - 254 pages
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In October 1967, early in the Nigerian Civil War, government troops entered Asaba in pursuit of the retreating Biafran army, slaughtering thousands of civilians and leaving the town in ruins. News of the atrocity was suppressed by the Nigerian government, with the complicity of Britain, and its significance in the subsequent progress of that conflict was misunderstood. Drawing on archival sources on both sides of the Atlantic and interviews with survivors of the killing, pillaging and rape, as well as with high-ranking Nigerian military and political leaders, S. Elizabeth Bird and Fraser M. Ottanelli offer an interdisciplinary reconstruction of the history of the Asaba Massacre, redefining it as a pivotal point in the history of the war. Through this, they also explore the long afterlife of trauma, the reconstruction of memory and how it intersects with justice, and the task of reconciliation in a nation where a legacy of ethnic suspicion continues to reverberate.
 

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Contents

What Happened at Asaba?
21
Causes and Consequences
62
Surviving the Occupation
114
Reclaiming Memory in an Age of New Media
148
Trauma Identity Memorialization and Justice
179
Sources Consulted
218
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About the author (2017)

S. Elizabeth Bird is Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Florida. She has published over eighty articles and chapters on popular culture, media, heritage, and memory, as well as five books, one of which won an Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, while another was awarded the International Communication Association's Outstanding Book Award.

Fraser M. Ottanelli is Professor of History at the University of South Florida. He has authored and co-authored four books and several articles and essays on radical movements, ethnic history and comparative migration in the twentieth century. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting social activism and the defense of human rights.

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