Re: 4½ min video on blood pressure

Hi Venu,this is K.Raghavan.Post retirement you will continue to stay in Canada or moving back to Bangalore?

Sent from my iPhone

On 30-Nov-2015, at 00:11, Venu Ganesan <venuganesan@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Sridhar
Excellent forwards!!
How are you all?
Sent an e-mail to Ravi after his son's wedding. No reply yet.
Guess the wedding went off well.
Still traveling?
I am planning to retire early next year!!
Best regards to you and your family.
Venu

On Sun, Nov 29, 2015 at 9:51 AM, Kupp Sridhar <kvsridhar@verizon.net> wrote:


 4½ min video on blood pressure

 

 Too bad our physicians cannot explain it like this -- excellent and must watch video.

 

Excellent descriptive video on blood pressure. 

 

 

 

 

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Ex-Bellionaires" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to ex-bellionaires+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To post to this group, send email to ex-bellionaires@googlegroups.com.
Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/ex-bellionaires.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Ex-Bellionaires" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to ex-bellionaires+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
To post to this group, send email to ex-bellionaires@googlegroups.com.
Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/ex-bellionaires.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

G70: Human Rights and Rise of the Achaemenid Empire:,Forgotten Lessons from a Forgotten Era

This was long before Alexander, Chandra Gupta Maurya or Islam!


Human Rights and Rise of the Achaemenid Empire: Forgotten Lessons from a Forgotten Era


By: Behzad Hassani

June 2007

 

  Map.1. The Achaemenid Dynastic Empire 550-330 BCE (Click to enlarge)

 

  • Of all the great civilizations of the ancient world, that of Persia is one of the most remarkable, but least understood.  The story of the Persian Empire is truly the story of the glorious Achaemenid Dynasty.  Descended from Achaemenes, a minor ruler from mountainous district of Southwest Iran, the Achaemenids came to power in 546 BCE when Cyrus the Great, the first emperor, established the Persian Empire (Map 1). He united Persia and Media and founded an Empire that would eventually stretch from the Indian Ocean to the Aegean Sea.  Cyrus was killed in a war against the Eastern Scythians, and was succeeded by his son, Cambyses in 529 BCE  Cambyses spent most of his years as an Emperor fighting numerous revolts around his domain.  Cambyses died in 522 BCE, and after a brief period was succeeded by Darius the Great (521-486), a relative from a collateral branch of the family (Koch 1992).  Darius perfected the glorious rise of the Empire with decades of peace, prosperity, and innovation.  After Darius, the weakening and fall of the Empire was evident.  Maladministration, incapable rulers, blood letting among the nobles, and incompetence of the military leadership led to the ultimate collapse of the Empire under Alexander's thrust in 330 BCE (Olmstead 1959).  What was the secret to their success? How could they rule an Empire of 20 Satraps (Provinces) covering an area of almost two million square miles with more than 10 million inhabitants 2500 years ago (Olmstead 1959)?  These questions have fascinated archaeologists around the world for decades.  Undoubtedly, the early Achaemenid kings' competent administrations and strong military made significant contributions to their glorious rise.  Now, with the help of new evidence, it appears that the Achaemenids' perception of politics of conquest and of human rights was of crucial importance to the rise and stability of their kingdom.  Numerous examples clearly illustrate Cyrus' view of multiculturalism and religious and racial tolerance towards those he conquered.  Also, evidence suggests that Darius followed in Cyrus' footsteps in the politics of conquest and allowed the satrapies to maintain their cultural and religious values and laws.  Evidence from the Fortification Tablets give us a comprehensive view of the wages and rights of common workers, equity of man and woman, and the role of women in this ancient Persian Empire.  Many believe that such structure was influenced by the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism, which clearly advocated such rights.  The early Achaemenid kings' recognition of human rights led to the stability and impressive achievements of this period, and influenced later dynasties as well as the future Western Empires of Rome and Greece.  

Figure 1. Cyrus the Great' Cylinder 

Picture courtesy of the British Museum

 (Click to enlarge)

 

  • One of the most impressive examples of the Achaemenid politics of conquest and recognition of human rights is that of the conquest of Babylon.  Upon the conquest, Cyrus financially and politically supported the return of several ethnic groups (including the Jews), held captive in Babylon, to return to their original homelands. Furthermore, he ordered the reconstruction of the Jerusalem Temple and restored the articles of worship from the Persian imperial treasury and at his own expense.  This account was confirmed at the time of Darius the Great when the text of Cyrus's memorandum was found in the royal archives of Ecbatana and was cited in Ezra 6:2-5 (Briant 2002: 46):

In the first year of Cyrus the king, King Cyrus decreed: Temple of God in Jerusalem. The Temple will be rebuilt as a place at which sacrifices are offered and to which offerings are brought to be burnt. Its height is to be sixty cubits, its width sixty cubits. There are to be three thickness of stone blocks and one of wood. The expense is to be met by the king's household. Furthermore, the vessels of gold and silver from the Temple of God which Nebuchadnezzar took from the sanctuary in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon are to be restored so that everything may be restored to the sanctuary in Jerusalem and be put back in the Temple of God.

 

  • The relieved Jews praised him as the "Lord's anointed" and the Greeks called him "a worthy ruler and lawgiver" (Wiesehofer 1996).  This latter comment is high praise coming from a people who were often at war with him.  A Babylonian chronicle reports that Cyrus respected the religious rites of their people and even prayed to the Babylonian God, Marduk, in reverence (Olmstead 1959).  The Emperor's own verdict on his victory survives on a clay cylinder known as the "Charter of the Rights of Nations" (Figure 1) (Wiesehofer 1996: 44-45):
  • "I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, mighty king, king of Babylon, king of the land of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters, son of Cambyses, great king, king of Anshan, grandson of Cyrus, great king, king of Anshan, descendant of Teispes, great king, king of Anshan, progeny of an unending royal line, whose rule Bel and Nabu cherish, whose kingship they desire for their hearts' pleasures.
  • When I, well-disposed, entered Babylon, I established the seat of government in the royal palace amidst jubilation and rejoicing. Marduk, the great God, caused the big-hearted inhabitants of Babylon to...me. I sought daily to worship him. My numerous troops moved about undisturbed in the midst of Babylon.
  • I did not allow any to terrorize the land of Sumer and Akkad. I kept in view the needs of Babylon and all its sanctuaries to promote their well-being. The citizens of Babylon ... I lifted their unbecoming yoke. Their dilapidated dwellings I restored. I put an end to their misfortunes.
  • Later hailed as the first "Charter of Human Rights" (Suren-Pahlav 1999) and translated into all official U.N. languages in 1971 (United Nations Press Release 1971), the cylinder details some of Cyrus's civic reforms, which included abolishing the highly unpopular forced-labor plan of the previous regime:
  • I strove for peace in Babylon and in all his [other] sacred cities. As to the inhabitants of Babylon ... I abolished forced labour ... From Nineveh, Assur and Susa, Akkad, Eshnunna, Zamban, Me-Turnu and Der until the region of Gutium, I returned to these sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time, the images which [used] to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I [also] gathered all their [former] inhabitants and returned [to them] their habitations.
  • A king who abolishes slavery and respects the religious freedom and cultural rights of a nation 2500 years ago was unprecedented in the history of Mankind.  The celebrated historian of ancient Persia, Professor Richard Frye comments on Cyrus's policies: (Frye 1963: 123-4) 

"In the victories of the Persians… what was different was the new policy of reconciliation and together with this was the prime aim of Cyrus to establish a pax Achaemenica… If one were to assess the achievements of the Achaemenid Persians, surely the concept of One World,… the fusion of peoples and cultures in one 'Oecumen' was one of their important legacies."

 

Figure 2. Winged figure of Pasargadae, denoted to Cyrus the Great  (Click to enlarge)

 

  • Cyrus' view on multiculturalism and the spirit of cooperation can also be witnessed in the Achaemenid art: "In Achaemenid art it will be seen that this relationship [between the king and the subject peoples] is consistently expressed as a cooperative effort of voluntary support of the king by the subject peoples" (Root 1979: 131).  Evidence of such art is in the form of a unique Bas Relief, located at Pasargadae (Figure 2).  It shows a four winged, crowned figure, believed by some to represent Cyrus himself.  The two horns of the Crown are mentioned in the Bible in the dream of Daniel, the design has an Egyptian element, the costume is Babylonian, while the wings are Persian symbols (Olmstead 1959).  This sculpture, which is the oldest intact Achaemenid Bas Relief known, clearly illustrates Cyrus' dedication to the philosophy of multiculturalism and cooperation among the nations of the Empire.  Evidence suggests that such a lofty idea had no equal among the Near Eastern prototypes: "The Near Eastern prototypes for the Achaemenid theme consistently stress the subjugation of the peoples by the king and express the relationship between the king and his domain below as one of antagonism" (Root 1979: 131).  We will never know whether Cyrus was a true believer of what he advocated or just a great politician; nevertheless, we cannot deny his extreme capability, his modern and sublime ideas of multiculturalism, and his unique reverence for human rights.
  • As mentioned above, Darius the Great followed in his predecessor's footsteps in that he allowed the 20 components of his Empire, satrapies, to have religious and cultural freedom.  He chose governors from the highest ranks of Persian nobility as well as royal secretaries at satrapal courts.  Although, secretaries would report secretly on satraps' actions directly to the king; nevertheless, the satrapies were responsible for administration, legislation, cultural, and religious activities (Cook 1993).  "Darius also took pride in meting out justice and fair dealing for all, a policy he regarded as an essential part of the business of government" (Editors of Life-Time Books 1995: 93).  He also ordered government funding for the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem, destroyed by the Babylonians 63 years earlier (Cook 1993).  The reign of Darius was a time of stability and innovation.  "In Achaemenid Empire, local autonomy and decentralization of jurisdictions led to stabilizing rather than undermining the system, especially since both proceeded under constant and solid supervision from the centre" (Wiesehofer 1996: 59). Doubtlessly, Darius's great administrative skills, and his recognition and execution of human rights, led to the Empire's stability and well-being.
  • As for Persia, the central province of the Achaemenid Empire, extensive research and excavations have provided us with little, yet extremely valuable information about the social stratification and rights of the common people.  The major sources of information about Achaemenid Persia are the Fortification Tablets, discovered in the ancient cities of Pasargadae and Persepolis (Map 1).  Written in the form of brief administrative notes, the tablets concern the payments to workers or the supply, transfer, and distribution of the natural produce in Persia and in the south-western Iranian heartlands.  Many of such tablets were destroyed by Alexander's army, but those that remain, provide information about the maintenance of more than 15000 individuals in more than 100 localities.  They, therefore, provide us with an approximate picture of the life of the bulk of Persian society at the time (Wiesehofer 1996).  The presence of a social hierarchy dominated by an aristocracy seems undeniable; nevertheless, three functions, that of priest, warrior, and farmer are depicted as valued in the tablets (Wiesehofer 1996).  Farming seems to have been considered a holy occupation among Persians.  Such a perception appears to have been influenced by Zoroastrianism, an essentially agricultural religion popular in Ancient Persia. It also appears that Persian society was open to people with different ethnicities as Ionians, Lydians, Lycians, Egyptians and Babylonians worked in Persia on a temporary or permanent basis and had the same rights as Persians: "If they contributed to the building of Persepolis, if they worked in the royal workshops and treasuries of Persis, as well as in farming, it was not as enslaved war prisoners, but as manpower recruited and paid by the state." (Wiesehofer 1996: 38).  More can be discerned about the rights of commoners, who were distant from royalty and aristocracy, by examining the tablets detailing the wages and payments made to them by officials.  It appears that the state workers received cereals, flour, wine, figs, nuts, as well as small rations of meat as special allowances for their work.  There is also evidence that such goods were exchanged in local markets for other necessities.  Later on, payments were partially made in silver which was more convenient for the people (Wiesehofer 1996).  Workers were entitled to private exploitation of land, to keep a small number of livestock and were provided with essential clothing made in the state's clothing factories (Koch 1992).  They were also provided with seeds so that they could grow the vegetables required for their nourishment (Koch 1992).
  • What were the criteria involved in determining the amounts of the wages for different people? The answer to this question is rather revolutionary: it depended on the type of activity and worker skill, and experience (Wiesehofer 1996).  It appears that gender was not a criterion at all: "The texts reveal that men and women were represented in identical professions and that they received equal payments as skilled laborers." (Brosius 1996: 186).  Children also worked, mostly in the treasuries, copying the administrative tablets.  Older ones were paid more than the younger ones and as they aged their salaries also grew (Koch 1992).  There is strong evidence suggesting that the government assisted individuals who were paid the minimum wage with different kinds of special rations. Those who had physically challenging jobs were paid "Difficulty of Occupation" rations and those who became ill used "Illness" rations (Koch 1992).  There were also government-funded rations called "Royal Gift" and numerous other scattered government rations which were distributed throughout the year (Koch 1992). These gifts and rations were usually composed of meat and cereals, which were essential to the nourishment of the common people (Koch 1992). Perhaps one of the most distinct special rations is the gratification for mothers or "Right of the Offspring" which was paid to women workers who had recently given birth to a child (Brosius 1996).  However, the only evidence of gender based discrimination, against girls, is in the amount of this particular ration.  There was clearly a preferential treatment if a woman gave birth to a boy.  After all, a son was regarded as the child to continue the family line in the patrilineal Persian society (Brosius 1996).  One should also consider that in many work places, employees were given free lunch and clothing which also helped family finances (Koch 1992). Detailed consideration of all the clues from the Fortification Tablets regarding the wages of common people leads us to one final conclusion: the minimum wage (that of a common farmer) at the time of Achaemenids was clearly higher than the medium wage (that of a secretary) at the time of the Pre-Achaemenid dynasties of Mesopotamia (Koch 1992).  This recognition and respect for humanity and the well-being of the common people is unprecedented in the history of the Near East.  It is reasonable to say that the rise, stability, and glory of the meritocratic Achaemenid Dynasty was directly related to the kings' attention to the affairs of the common people.  Proof of such involvement is in the highly sophisticated and modern central administration of the Achaemenids, one that paid detailed attention to the treatment of common workers.
  • As briefly mentioned above, a revolutionary achievement of the Achaemenid Dynasty was the promotion of the rights of women.  Women's role in ancient Persia can be studied from the perspective of royal and non-royal characters, both of whom can be seen in the Fortification Tablets or in Greek historical documents.  It is quite possible that the matter of women's rights was directly influenced by the Zoroastrian religious beliefs (Hinnells 1981).  The Zoroastrian view of creation clearly depicts the equity of man and woman: the first human couple emerged together from a plant; each had the same height, face and features as the other and could not be distinguished (Hinnells 1981).  It is reasonable to say that such view could have influenced the relations of men and women in ancient Persia.
  • We saw earlier that men and women were considered equal in terms of job opportunity and wages.  Further evidence suggests that many factories and royal workshops were run by women (Koch 1992).  At times men worked under the supervision of women, the latter having some of the highest salaries recorded in the tablets (Koch 1992).  Women were not usually given jobs which required traveling long distances.  Such a matter can be understood in light of the fact that women also had the chores and responsibilities of the household to tend (Koch 1992).  There is also evidence that women could take part-time jobs and even take a leave of absence after pregnancy.  It is also apparent that when women with new-born babies came back to work, their children were taken care of at a day-care center at their corresponding organization (Koch 1992).  Furthermore, it seems that monogamy was the popular theme among the commoners (Koch 1992).  Further evidence suggests that the laws of inheritance treated boys and girls equally.  Such respect for the identity of women 2500 years ago in the Near East appears to be more of a miraculous cultural revolution than mere 'decadence' as some Greek historians would have us believe.  Therefore, we have seen here an example of equality between men and women in ancient Persia, a value that we strive to achieve in the modern Western world, and are not always successful at doing so.
  • More is known about noble women from the Fortification texts and this allows us to examine the reliability of the Greek sources who claim: "As a rule, the barbarian peoples are excessively jealous of their wives, and the Persians outdo all others in this respect.…  They live locked up in their room, and if they have to travel, they do so in carriages hung on all sides with draperies" (Wiesehofer 1996: 85). The tablets prove that there was no such seclusion. Numerous references to the king's wives have allowed us a unique insight into the political and economic situation of royal Persian women.  It appears that they enjoyed considerable economic independence. They were estate owners and from their use of personal seals, it seems that they could give orders to their officials in the form of letters and also be involved in the employment of work groups and in the inspection of their estates, which frequently meant having to travel long distances (Brosius 1996).  It is also evident that senior royal women participated in politics, but with some restrictions and rules set by the king himself.  However, their motives for acting always lay in their concern for the family:  "She could neither take political action independently of the king nor become actively engaged in political affairs.  Yet she had clearly established rights and responsibilities." (Brosius 1996: 187).  Furthermore, it seems that the polygamy in the court of Darius served to maintain friendly bonds and to strengthen internal politics, and was not common policy: "None of the successors of Darius I is known to have had more than one wife." (Brosius 1996: 194).  Thus monogamy was the common theme of marriage in Persia during the Achaemenid reign.  Royal women were also subject to taxation and financial inspection by the officials, similar to everyone else in the Empire (Koch 1992).  Authority and economic independence enjoyed by the royal women of Persia was not seen in previous Mesopotamian Empires or even in 'civilized' Greece (Koch 1992).  In fact, the Greeks referred to such independence as the decadence of the Persian court (Brosius 1996).  Nevertheless, the level of activity and involvement of women in the Persia's state affairs can only be considered revolutionary for its time.
  • Human rights may very well be the hottest issue of the day in modern Western or Eastern societies.  Debates go on; organizations such as Amnesty International strive to defend those whose basic rights as humans have been violated; sanctions against countries who violate such rights are imposed by the superpowers of the world; and women's rights activists fight passionately for all women around the world.  Indeed, the 20th century was the century of human rights, but we should understand that the 20th century did not mark the emergence of this lofty ideal.  The fight for the rights of minorities to follow their religion or beliefs without being persecuted, and the struggle of commoners to not be crushed by the elite have gone on throughout the history of Mankind.  Some civilizations, however, solved these problems far earlier than others.  Indeed, the Achaemenid Empire was one of the few to do so.  Cyrus' Charter of Human Rights, religious and cultural freedom of different nations, Darius' modern administration that distinguished between individuals on the basis of skill and experience rather than gender, and the rights of women in Achaemenid Persia all are examples for us to follow.  A question comes to mind: How do we perceive the Achaemenid Empire in modern societies? The answer is rather unfortunate; we do not perceive their civilization at all.  Western scholars tend to occupy themselves with Greeks and Romans, the cultural ancestors of the Western Civilization, and rarely mention any Persian Empire.  Through careful examination, one can observe numerous influences that Achaemenid art and administration have had on the civilizations of China, Rome, and Greece (Olmstead 1959).  We should realize that if such revolutionary policies led to the glorious rise and stability of the early Achaemenid Empire, they could contribute to our well-being in modernity as well.  Perhaps in the future, we learn yet more from our forefathers.

 

Bibliography

A.  T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire (Chicago, 1959)

Editors of Time-Life Books, Persians: Masters of Empire (Alexandria, 1993)

Heidemarie Koch, Es Kundet Dareios der Konig (Mainz, 1992)

J.M. Cook, The Persian Empire (New York, 1993)

John R.  Hinnells, Zoroastrianism and the Parsis (London, 1981)

Josef Wiesehofer, Ancient Persia: From 550 BC To 650 AD (New York, 1993)

Mary Boyce, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (Boston, 1979)

Margaret C. Root, The King and Kingship in Achaemenid Art (Liege, 1979)

Maria Brosius, Women in Ancient Persia (559-331 BC) (Oxford, 1996)

Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander; a History of the Persian Empire (Indiana, 2002)  

Richard Frye, The Heritage of Persia: The pre-Islamic History of One of the World's Great Civilizations(New York, 1963)

Shapour Suren-Pahlav, Cyrus the Great' Cylinder:The World's First Charter of the Human Rights (1999)   (http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/History/hakhamaneshian/Cyrus-the-great)

The United Nations Press, No. 14, Cyrus the Great Cylinder (New York, October 1971) (S/N:SG/SM/1553/HQ263) (http://www.lividius.org/a/1/inscriptions/cyrus.pdf)

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: if-saudi-arabia-isnt-fuelling-the-militant-inferno-who-is

Re- "Western governments have detailed the production of oil wells in Isis territory"

The intelligence people (their governments) and certainly some of the people fighting there know that (1) there are dozens of oil companies plundering and profiting from cheap oil in that vast, newly found kingdom of oil (2) that there are dozens of separate groups collectively being blanketed under an umbrella called IS (3) and the cynics say that what is being stage managed by media  is really a proxy "war between the generals" on behalf of the profiteers and  (4) It's Nation after nation committing themselves to "bombing IS"  - and "wanting to  get rid of Assad "

Sad. It's a bad world.

Cornelius

We Sweden


On Monday, 30 November 2015 00:49:41 UTC+1, villager wrote:

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

RE: USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Igbo Question

My brother, 
IN your posting you seemed to want to eat your cake and have it too. My only beef in this debate is that I love Nigeria from the bottom of my heart. From the day I landed at the University of I bad and as a grad student in 1975, yes, the good old days after the civil war,  to my return to Nigeria to head the Technology Planning and Development Unit of the Tech faculty at Great Ife, I have had nothing but admiration for the potential of a great African country. A giant of a country even if people choose to refer to it as a sleeping giant.
This potential is not only being delayed by the behavior of corrupt and criminally inclined politicians but also by the inability of our various tribes to work together. In my own Ghana it does not take long for most policy debates to degenerate into an Ewe-Ashanti binary. A similar situation in my beloved Nigeria ensures between the Igbos and Yorubas.
OA, if you re-read your own posting you see that your apportioning of blames is biased, and you in which direction the bias points.
I know and respect where you are going with your narrative.  As I said earlier I am no stranger on the Nigerian scene. I went to graduate school at UI with some returning civil war officers. And I served on the same faculty with some brilliant Nigerians from the 3 major tribes. I can assure you that no Yorubas or Hausa-Fulani will read your posting and believe that you are fair to them.
And this, in my opinion, will not improve the human development agenda of Nigeria and Africa. 

 




Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device


-------- Original message --------
From: "Anunoby, Ogugua" <AnunobyO@lincolnu.edu>
Date: 11/30/2015 8:14 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Igbo Question

Hello Kwaku,

 

I am sorry but you seem to me to have misread my posting. "Unhealthy Yoruba competition and healthy Igbo competition" are your thoughts and words not mine. You ignored my premise completely.

I posted among others as follows:

"The Igbo it seems to me are just pleased to be in the game with the Yoruba and others in healthy competition as Nigeria develops and grows."

If the above the case, the course of development in Nigeria will very likely be advanced in positive ways.

I wish to remind you that life many cases is a competitive sport. It is usually not competition by itself that is the challenge. It is the nature and spirit of the competition that usually is. If Nigerians like people everywhere in healthy competition with each other to contribute their utmost as they better themselves, their country, and the world, their country will the best that it can be.

Be well.

 

oa

 

From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com [mailto:usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Mensah, Edward K
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2015 5:24 PM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Igbo Question

 

Dear oa,

 

Your narrative of 'unhealthy Yoruba competition vs. healthy Igbo competition'  will not advance the course of development  in any positive way in a country all Africans wish to be proud of. The debate about the Nigerian agenda has more often than not been dominated by a scenario that pitches Yorubas and Igbos against one other.  Other Africans pray for the  day that all tribes will simply get along and realize that their  main problem is how to reform the behaviors of the political entrepreneurs  and the criminals in power  who misappropriate the wealth of our nations for personal gains.

 

Best regards

 

Kwaku ( Omo UI)

 

From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com [mailto:usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Anunoby, Ogugua
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2015 4:56 PM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Igbo Question

 

Hello Ken,

Good questions on complex relationships.

There are no simple answers. My quick but considered response is that the Igbo and Yoruba are  "competitors" not because they need to be but because the Yoruba seem to me to have an innate fear of Igbo domination even though there is little hard evidence of any desire on the part of the Igbo to do anything like that. I am confident to make this statement because prominent Yoruba leaders in the past have always alleged that the Igbo (Azikiwe, Ojukwu, and others) sought to lord it over the Yoruba even though they neither did nor have.  Some Yoruba leaders still nurse and stoke that fear today and continue to make that claim. You may recall the shameful role played by the Oba of Lagos during the 04/2015 gubernatorial elections in Lagos State. Some of that fear has been expressed in conversations in this forum.

Igbo leaders do not make the same allegations against the Yoruba and have no fear, real or imagined of Yoruba domination. They do not now and never have. The Igbo it seems to me are just pleased to be in the game with the Yoruba and others in healthy competition as Nigeria develops and grows.

The fear of Igbo domination I believe is in play in the difficulties the Igbo have had in Northern Nigeria, mostly with the Hausa/Fulani who dominate public affairs in many Northern Nigerian States. There is the added poison of religion- the mostly Wahhabi  strain of Islam. The Hausa/Fulani are generally Muslims. The Igbo are mostly Christians and will not convert to Islam as many Yoruba have done.  

Let me add respectfully that there are also other Nigerian ethnicities who come into play and have in different ways and to different degrees, shared some of the bad blood against the Igbo if I may say so, that has broadly shaped Nigeria's political landscape.

The Igbo are mostly a self-made people.  They are the most travelled Nigerians within Nigeria. They are the most settled Nigerians outside their home land. They are the most culturally adaptive Nigerians. They as a group, have benefited the least from federal government development infrastructure. All one has to do is visit any Igbo state to experience the stark federal government absence in the states. The Igbo in my opinion speak more Nigerian languages than any other Nigerians. They need to if they are to make good their lives far away from home. How any such people will desire to politically dominate their host communities away from home defies logic and reason. That remains the narrative though.

 

oa

 

From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com [mailto:usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of kenneth harrow
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2015 1:46 PM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Igbo Question

 

dear oa,
mine is a quick question. when i read about the igbo situation, and biafra, it is cast entirely around the question of a separate state, about ethnic division and conflict, with a lot of ugly things being said. but to the outsider to nigeria, it would seem that this represents some kind of exceptionalism.
for some reason, i am always pushed to ask whether, in fact, there aren't resemblances between situations. so, boko haram and the north also represents a site of difference, of all the negative things i mentioned above. and in fact, if you want to say, with the north it is religion, but with the east it is ethnicity, isn't it also a general religious difference there as well--between catholic vs evangelical or protestant--and isn't the religious difference with the north somewhat overdetermined, since there are other major differences as well?
is the conflict between igbo and yoruba or the rest of Nigeria so terribly unique, not only in nigerian germs, but also more broadly in african terms?
lastly, i take your point about the history of nigeria being central to our thinking, and that there was a strong, or too strong, northern domination of the political scene due to the british.
but beyond this particular difference--which is how history always works, that is, w particularisms--i am asking whether the divisions within the nation aren't indicative of something with a broader range than simply nigeria vs igboland?
ken

On 11/30/15 1:37 PM, Anunoby, Ogugua wrote:

The opinion expressed below would ordinarily not have mattered much if they were shared in a private conversation. There were posted in public space however. They must therefore be corrected before they assume the undeserved status intended for them by the writer.

There is really no Igbo question. There is the Nigeria Question. The Igbo are not the only group of Nigerians that are uneasy with the ethos of the Nigerian state. Other groups have been at one time or another and many still are, at this time. No one needs reminding of the enduring call from many parts of Nigeria for a sovereign national conference. The calls have not gone away. Having incorrectly defined the question, it is little surprise that an inaccurate, convoluted narrative followed.

I believe that bondage is extreme and not exactly appropriate for Nigeria's situation. Oppressed it seems to me is more appropriate. That all groups are oppressed in a country does not mean that they are for the same reasons and to the same extent. They usually are different reasons- class, ethnicity, geography, and religion for example. When oppression happens to a group because of who they are, it more unbearable because one cannot cease to be who they are. They di not choose to be who they are. They cannot un-choose who they are.  

There is broad agreement in Nigeria for example that the northern states of Nigeria are relatively less "developed" than the southern states of the country. That this is so does not make more bearable the reality that this relative regional underdevelopment is no longer the responsibility of some and not all groups of northern Nigerians, and there is little likelihood of change. All groups may be oppressed but some groups are less so than others. Privilege can be unequal within and across different oppressed groups. In such a situation the extant inequity of the situation becomes a basis for resentment and a possible driver of palpable disaffection. Pain is more bearable if the cause of your is not outside the pained body.  

History does not do things to people. It is people- self and others, and events that do. The Igbo are egalitarians. That is not to say that their society does not share with societies everywhere the co-existence of the rich and the poor. Theirs is a society in which what one gets to become does not inevitably depend on to whom or where the one was born. This is why the Igbo despite all real and imagined odds against them in Nigeria, have much of the success they have rightly been given credit for. They are fiercely competitive. All they ask for is a fair playing field. For the Igbo, privilege must be earned by enterprise and industry, not birth or circumstance. The Igbo believe for example that work pays, equal work should pay equally, and less work should not pay more that more work if personal and societal successes will not be minimized. This grain of their way of life, it seems to me, is one reason for their disappointment and frustration with Nigeria.

There is no fracture between the Igbo elite and their masses. There may be one between some of their opportunistic politicians and their masses. This is an important distinction. Is it not reasonable to expected that serious allegations against a former state Governor and Obasanjo be proved to be false before they are used to discredit the allegers. Disaffected Igbo who try to keep the Biafra issue in view are nothing like the Boko Haram insurgents who are an existential national security threat and have been for years now. It is an obnoxious false equivalence. It is shocking that anyone in good conscience is unable to discern the self-evident false equivalence of this common  characterization.  

Igbo intellectuals have developed a "coherent marginalization thesis". It is based on facts and experience. While some Nigerians may choose to deny the thesis, they cannot deny the facts- the injustices of state creation and the targeted economic policies of the immediate after war years for example. There is no denying that many of the policies were developed to hold some (Igbo) back and allow others to get ahead. Why the hurry  so soon after the war and the skewed implementation as happened to be the case?

Should there be consequences for losing a hard fought war? Not if the post war proclamation by the victor was "no victor, not vanquished". A fraudulent promissory note was apparently issued to Nigerians by that proclamation. Was the fraudulent promissory note the result of a complicity or a conspiracy of Alfa characters in the federal government at the time? Everyone must decide for themselves.

There was a war. It is a fact that starvation was publicly professed to be and used as a legitimate weapon in that war. The federal side choose it to. The disingenuity is its denial after the war. Gowon did offer aid through a land corridor but only under his government's coordination and supervision. He rejected all management of the process by independent third parties including the International Red Cross and many voluntary relief agencies.  He sought a military advantage through it.  Gowon's humanitarian aid was rightly believed to be a potential Greek gift. No adversary in any war would have accepted it. Gowon would not have if he knew what he was doing. How many non-combatant men, women, and children died in that was? Was it a million, two. More? Less? It does not matter. Too many people died. It is outrageous that anyone would make an issue of the numbers of innocent people who died because of the federal government's starvation as a weapon of war policy. A similar argument would be to argue that Boko Haram insurgents are not evil because only a few scores and not thousands of innocent people died as a result of their insurgency?

Ojukwu was Biafra's leader. There is no one anywhere who knew the man who will argue that he did not expect Nigeria to try to stop Biafra's exit from Nigeria. He was well aware of the U.K.'s position on Nigeria and her influence on and support of the Gowon government. He might have believed for some time that the West Provinces would follow. He knew that belief was forlorn before he made his move. It is denied by some today that it was Ojukwu and not Gowon that freed Awolowo from Calabar prison. Ojukwu could have kept the man in prison up until what ever happened. He chose not to. The above and other disappointments and misinformation frayed feelings, hampered trust after the war, and made moving forward together more difficult.

Nigerians who do not fear the Igbo know that the Igbo are a freedom loving, can do, competitive people. It is these qualities that are mistaken innocently or not as they being an aggressive, arrogant, and clannish people. They are a much travelled people. They marry, are married and make home anywhere and everywhere. They are personal achievement driven. They buy, sell, invest, trade, and build anywhere and everywhere. The Igbo are the most invested in fixed assets outside their homeland. You do not do all the above if you have a short-term orientation to the life and relationships that you have, and the country in which you live.

As important as the presidency is, the Igbo desire the office more for its symbolism and what an Igbo president will do for Nigeria's political/economic and other development and growth than anything else. They know that to hold the office could not mean that they would be much better off than they are as individuals or as a people. Anyone who disagrees with this fact should look to see what Igbo Governors and Ministers have done for the Igbo on one hand and non-Igbos on the other, compared with what Non-Igbo parallel political office holders have done for their "people".  The Igbo pride themselves in individual success that is achieved "in spite of" rather than "because of". They respect and value that variety of success much more highly. The Igbo language is stuffed with phraseology that esteem self-made success and denigrates the opposite. It is in this context that the Igbo case of their marginalization should be understood and appreciated. That case has never been about "give me this day my daily bread" as it seems to be for some others.

It is too soon it seems to me for anyone to gloat over the end of the Jonathan presidency and the failure of the Igbo to see it coming. The Igbo did not see the Jonathan presidency as an Igbo presidency and therefore its end as a loss to them. They had no illusion that an Igbo was going to succeed Jonathan. Their concern about the Buhari presidency was mostly to do with the man's pedigree and their real and imagined group political knowledge and experience of him. Buhari now has a chance to change any  perceptions of him he believes might be unfair and wrong. Political battles in politics are characterized by swings and turns. Things change. Quite often times one outcome directly leads to an opposite outcome. Overtime the correlation of election outcomes are negative. You win the next election because you lost the last one.  You lose the next election because you won the last one.

Chinua Achebe was grossly misunderstood by anyone who believes that he meant to "hit the Yoruba hard" when he should be building alliances.  He never considered himself to be a politician much less an Igbo one. He joined the Aminu Kano's Peoples' Redemption Party in 1978, in the full knowledge that he was expected by those who did not know him to join the Nigerian Peoples' Party. His "There Was A  Country" was his attempt to document Nigeria's history as he say and lived it. Many of his critics were falling over themselves criticizing him without research-based knowledge of that history or even reading the book. Many still may have not. They will have to buy it first. He never believed that it was for him to forge an alliance of the Igbo and any other group. What he wanted and was grossly disappointed about was Nigerians and many other colonized peoples' failure by choice not hindrance, to make life more abundant for their people, as people of European ancestry and now some Asians have done by properly and rightly taking their destiny in their own hands.

Is the Nigeria project working? Not for the largest number. Can it work better? Yes but only if mass disaffection and frustration are seen for what they truly- a cry for credible and productive change for the better.

 

oa  

 

 

From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com [mailto:usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Jibrin Ibrahim
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2015 1:44 AM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Igbo Question

 

Resolving the Igbo Question

 

Jibrin Ibrahim, Deepening Democracy Column, Daily Trust, 30th November 2015

 

In 1843, the German historian and theologian Bruno Bauer, wrote the polemical book, "The Jewish Question", following strident demands by Jews for emancipation. He argued that Jews could achieve political emancipation only if they relinquish their religious consciousness, since political emancipation requires a secular state, which he assumed did not leave any "space" for social identities such as religion. Bauer contested the assumption that a people can seek emancipation based on religious particularism, while following the French Revolution, the world was moving in the direction of equal rights for all. In his response to the debate, Karl Marx queried the notion that one group could seek emancipation while the reality was that every group was in bondage.

 

The Igbos, we are told need emancipation from an oppressive Nigeria which has been oppressing and marginalizing them since independence. Karl Marx would ask them if all groups in Nigeria have not been oppressed and marginalised as well. In addition, he would point out what history has done to the Igbos since colonisation, transforming them from an egalitarian society to one of the most unequal societies in the world in which abject poverty cohabits with the opulence of some of the richest people in the contemporary world. I fear for a Biafra in which these two groups will confront each other. Above all, I fear for a Nigeria in which similar inequalities exist and the masses from all ethnic and religious groups have been systematically oppressed and marginalised since independence.

 

The current movement for Biafra is a very serious one because it represents a complete fracture between the Igbo elite and their masses. In the Internet, former Governor Peter Obi is accused of using Nigerian soldiers to massacre an estimated 5,000 militants of MASSOB in the period 2006 to 2009 under the direction of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who was said to have given the  'Shoot-at Sight Order'. During the period, "Nigerian soldiers were said to have been on rampage at Onitsha, Nnewi, Oba, Ihiala and environs shooting, killing, and maiming anything that has a suspicion of being MASSOB." If today the disaffected and poor Igbo youth, just like the Boko Haram fighters, are defining their governors and elite as central to the problem, there is no surprise that no one has a clue in terms of responding to Lenin's question – what is to be done.

 

What the Igbo intellectual class has done is to develop a coherent marginalisation thesis, which the Igbo lumpen proletariat took and is running with. The thesis focuses on the issue of state creation, the Igbo presidency and the impact of the civil war. We recall Chinua Achebe's book – "There Was a Country", in which he made unambiguous comments of the complicity of the Nigerian state and its leaders at the time, Yakubu Gowon and Obafemi Awolowo in starving over two million Igbos to death, why should not be surprised that the Igbo youth are be furious at what was done to their grand parents. Why should they have listened to General Gowon when he responded denying the charges and claiming that it was Ojukwu who refused the offer of a humanitarian corridor? Even the number of two million starved to death, who is checking its veracity. Gowon's "no victor, no vanquished" sounded generous but maybe all it did was block debate on the issue for too long.

 

There is no doubt that the civil war of 1967 to 1970 was the most serious threat to the existence of Nigeria as a country and it led to the loss of one to two million lives, depending on whose figure you accept. It should be recalled that just before the war, Western leaders had warned that if the East goes, the West will follow. That threat was not put into action and Awolowo, the Western leader was released from jail to serve as Finance Minister and Deputy Leader of the Federal Executive Council.

 

The fact of the matter is that the Igbo elite has a strong empirical basis to read Nigerian political history as one of failure and frustration for them. It's a narrative that sees a proud and hard-working people, "the Jews of Africa", that have been forced to play second fiddle to the other for too long, especially the Hausa-Fulani ruling circles. Following the coup and the subsequent massacre of Igbos in 1966 in the Northern region, and the subsequent declaration of secession by the Eastern region in May 1967, the Igbo elite had assumed that other Nigerians would not fight to keep them in the Federation. They were wrong. Other Nigerians fought to preserve the Federation and the result was the thirty-month civil war and the heavy death toll.

 

In his book, "Igbo Leadership and the Future of Nigeria" Arthur Nwankwo argues that "Nigerians of all other ethnic groups will probably achieve consensus on no other matter than their common resentment of the Igbo". Nwankwo tells us that the Igbos are more cosmopolitan, more adopted to other cultures, more individualistic and competitive, more receptive to change and more prone to settle and work in other parts of the country than other Nigerians. This reality, he says, is overshadowed by the myth other Nigerians persist in spreading that the Igbo are aggressive, arrogant and clannish. This purported attitude of other Nigerians towards the Igbos he points out has led to the development of a "final solution" aimed at neutralising and marginalising the Igbos after the civil war. This is seen to have occurred in two ways.

 

After the civil war, there was a coordinated policy of pauperising the Igbo middle class by the offer of a twenty-pound ex gratis award to all bank account holders irrespective of the amounts they had lodged with the banks before the civil war. This was followed by routing the Igbos from the commanding heights of the economy by introducing the indigenisation decree at a time when the Igbos had no money, no patronage and no access to loans to compete for the companies. In addition, landed property owned by the Igbo was declared to be "abandoned property" particularly in Port Harcourt. In the public service, the Igbo elite were marginalised by the refusal to re-absorb most of their cadres who had attained high positions in the armed forces and the federal public service.

 

It is in this context that many within the Igbo elite have come to understand the policies of "no victor, no vanquished" and "reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation" announced after the war, as a lie. There is room to debate these issues today as they feed into persistent demands for the creation of an additional state in the South East and the clamour for an Igbo Presidency, which increasingly appears to be a mirage. Of course since the end of the civil war, there has been a remarkable Igbo economic and commercial élan. The marginalisation did not work at the economic and commercial level and the success of the Igbo come back is one of the remarkable stories of our time. It might be precisely because of this success that bitterness persists among the Igbo elite on why other Nigerians appear to believe that they should continue with the politics of second fiddle. The problem has been that as they Igbo elite became more successful, they refused to change their narrative about the Nigerian State and today the initiative is out of their hands.

 

The biggest failure of the Igbo elite is the incapacity to play the political game. To be major players in politics requires team and coalition building. If the Igbo elite really wanted to get the presidency, they should have developed a more inclusive narrative about the Nigerian State, they needed to convince and reassure the others not frighten them about a revenge mission. Chinua Achebe hit the Yorubas very hard at a time he should have been thinking about an alliance with them to confront the North. Teaming up with Goodluck Jonathan produced petty rewards for a few but it rolled back the schedule for an Igbo Presidency. With this failure of the elite, the Igbo lumpen have seized the initiative of following the path of disintegration. Its time to talk frankly.

 

 

 

Jibrin Ibrahim PhD

Senior Fellow

Centre for Democracy and Development
16 A7 Street,
CITEC Mbora Estate,
Jabi/Airport Road By-pass,
P.O.Box14345, Wuse
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel - +234 8053913837
Twitter- @jibrinibrahim17
Facebook- jibrin.ibrahim

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

 

-- 
kenneth w. harrow 
faculty excellence advocate
professor of english
michigan state university
department of english
619 red cedar road
room C-614 wells hall
east lansing, mi 48824
ph. 517 803 8839
harrow@msu.edu

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

--
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDialogue+subscribe@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialogue+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
Vida de bombeiro Recipes Informatica Humor Jokes Mensagens Curiosity Saude Video Games Car Blog Animals Diario das Mensagens Eletronica Rei Jesus News Noticias da TV Artesanato Esportes Noticias Atuais Games Pets Career Religion Recreation Business Education Autos Academics Style Television Programming Motosport Humor News The Games Home Downs World News Internet Car Design Entertaimment Celebrities 1001 Games Doctor Pets Net Downs World Enter Jesus Variedade Mensagensr Android Rub Letras Dialogue cosmetics Genexus Car net Só Humor Curiosity Gifs Medical Female American Health Madeira Designer PPS Divertidas Estate Travel Estate Writing Computer Matilde Ocultos Matilde futebolcomnoticias girassol lettheworldturn topdigitalnet Bem amado enjohnny produceideas foodasticos cronicasdoimaginario downloadsdegraca compactandoletras newcuriosidades blogdoarmario arrozinhoii sonasol