“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Time and distance have a way of playing tricks on the mind, lulling us into a comfortable sense of false security as the seconds tick by and the road rolls away behind us. Everything becomes a blur, streaking into the past and forever behind us, until the passage of hours and miles seem to us an impenetrable wall, shielding us from what was behind. As an illusion of normalcy slowly begins to form about us, we may find ourselves looking into the passenger rear view mirror. As if to warn us, the words on the sticker shock us back to reality: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.“
Fifteen years ago today, what it meant to be an American changed forever, in the flaming chaos that began in a distant land and a far off time. In a wild and untamed land, a warrior culture gave birth to a fierce and uneducated man who claimed to be a messenger of God. From the time of the birth of Islam, till this Patriot Day, it has been spread by blood and force. No day goes by without reports of blood and death on the wind, as Islamists carry out the hallmark murder and mayhem of the religion since its inception.
The man behind the attacks, who paid for his crimes with his miserable life, had been waging Jihad for most of his adult life. The nineteen cowards, who were not men enough to face real soldiers trained for war, had been raised in that venomous shadow of death since before they could even walk. When the sun set over the still burning rubble of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, it marked only another day in forty years of Jihad.
As the sun rose on Wednesday morning, America awoke from a night of troubled sleep to find another day, eerily like the day before, and the day before that. We held our breathe, waiting for more violence that never came. Blessed as we are by a culture of Liberty, the minutes and the miles soon began to pass behind us. We began the process of restoring our lives in the calm that dawned after the storm. How different would our world be today if that calm morning had not come? How different would we be if we still lived in the shadow of Tuesday, September 11th, 2001?
“Peace, Unity, and Freedom.”
-State Motto of Republic of Biafra-
As a colony of the British Empire, what would become Nigeria was, like most African colonies, a territory that contained several distinct ethnic groups, each with their own languages, culture, and heritage. Under British rule, they were thrust together into an uncomfortable whole. The predominant tribe was Muslim, and it was through them that the British maintained order in the territory. While dominant, this tribe resisted the western modern culture of the British. It was an ethnic minority that most assimilated the western culture of the British, converting to Christianity as well as adopting western norms and professions.
The ethnic Igbo tribe pursued careers as doctors, lawyers, and teachers within the British colonial structure, embracing the Liberal principles of freedom, speech, and basic human rights. When the British and French began to abandon their colonial claims in Africa, having drawn straight, neat, and utterly meaningless borders around their colonial territories, the Igbo found themselves at the mercy of the dominant Islamist regime. Asserting their natural right to self determination, these brave men and women tried to break away from Nigeria, establishing the Republic of Biafra.
From May 30th, 1967 until January 1970, this tiny African Republic existed as an oasis of western Liberal values of equality among men, civil society, and common rights in a desert of authoritarian Islamist states and atheist socialist dictatorships. As they raised their flags on a hopeful dawn, their survival depended on crucial support from the west. Support that never came. Only five nations, Gabon, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, and Zambia, even recognized this nascent, flickering beacon of freedom in a sea of tyranny. Not a single western power acknowledged their right to exist.
France, Portugal, Spain, and Norway were the only established western powers to send aid to Biafra. Israel, fresh from its own fight for independence also sent aid to the Biafrans. The Biafran patriots fought bravely for their independence and won several decisive battles in the defense of their country. It was not, however, lack of military courage or ingenuity that defeated the Igbo people. It was starvation. While the Nigerian military was unable to break the spirit of the Biafran patriots, they were able to impose a brutalizing blockade of Biafran ports.
As the war continued, the Nigerian government denied access to the Red Cross and other aid agencies. Starvation and disease took the lives of two million Biafran lives, including women and children. The suffering of the people did what the Nigerian army couldn’t do in a hundred years and broke the patriot heart of Biafra. On January 12th, 1970, unable to fight on, the Biafrans surrendered. Three days later, the Republic of Biafra ceased to be. Even after winning, the Islamist government gave no quarter to the Igbo people, starving another million men, women, and children out of existence.
“Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me..”
-Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”-
Don’t think of these people as just some faceless people in Africa. This was an English speaking nation, founded on western laws, born of a Christian culture, fought for by patriots whose hearts beat with the same fire of Liberty as Samuel Adams, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson. They yearned only to breathe free in a country of their own. Though their Republic is lost, they live on, with hearts still aflame with the “spirit of resistance“, of justice, and of Liberty.
This September 11th, please take a moment to remember all those who live in the shadow of Islamism, whose every day is a front row seat to bloody oppression, where many have been forced to flee for their lives, whose leader, Nnamdi Kanu, remains unjustly imprisoned as a “traitor” to the most malevolent of tyrannical states masquerading as a civil state while oppressing millions. Nnamdi Kanu’s only crime was speaking out for freedom, with the same passion as our own Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry.
This Patriot Day stand with all patriots of Liberty everywhere. It is our duty as fellow patriots to honor the Igbo people and raise awareness of their plight. Put political pressure on our senators and congressmen to stand for Liberty both domestically and abroad. After all, if a two state solution is good for the people of Palestine, certainly it is good for the people of Biafra. Let us help our brothers and sisters find the calm morning they’ve never had.
Let freedom reign!
Liberty is For The Win!