The recent inhuman murder of the American journalist James Foley by the Islamic terrorists in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL (they are also called ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is just too revulsive to all human sensibilities. It is altogether bestial and condemnable. Such acts should never have been contemplated by real human beings anywhere in the world in the name of whatever religion or other convictions.
Foley’s murder reaches a frightening height in this mounting wave of horrific acts of unbelievable violence by the Islamic fundamentalists. Of course that is the original intention of those engaged in these beastly acts – to terrify, terrorize and frighten other people into doing their bidding and abiding by the dictates of their delusions. But the world community must not be cowed. In this 21st century world the people must find a way to balance faith and reason.
This single murder meets all the accepted definition of the odious and internationally prohibited crime of genocide and crime against humanity. It is one murder that is too many and should not be allowed to go unpunished. All decent human beings everywhere should see Foley as their collective responsibility and make sure that all those involved in the murder are punished to the fullest extent of the law.
One reason why the world community should collectively seek to get justice in Foley’s death is for the sake of restoring faith in our common humanity, in the universal moral standards and our belief in the sanctity of human life, no matter whose. This world belongs to all things in it equally and we should for good reasons accept to accommodate each other’s unique differences, opinions and mental/spiritual inclinations. No one has the right to force on others, against the others’ will, the purported will and mandates of their concept of the divine.
From the speech accent of Foley’s killer in the gory video it was clear that he is British which makes it particularly more painful and embarrassing for the British people and their government.
It is for this reason that the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond called this brutal murder; "an utter betrayal of our country, our values and everything the British people stand for."
Hammond goes further to write that "It is horrifying to think that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been brought up in Britain."
Hammond’s statement captures the general mood and feelings of most people around the world about this act of wickedness. It does not just betray and embarrass the country of Britain; it betrays and embarrasses our common humanity. It is this betrayal that should compel all people everywhere to work hard in concert with others to stop this Islamic madness. And as the world struggles to deal with this murder it should not be treated in isolation. The same embarrassing Islamic jihadist murders taking place in the Middle East are also going on in many other places around the world; on British soil and in Nigeria.
Increasingly the world is witnessing an uncomfortable surge in the involvement of some British and American citizens in this monstrous global scourge of Islamic terror around the world. The jihadists are on a deluded quest to establish a global Islamic caliphate and believe they can achieve this by beheading the innocent, including children and women, and terrorizing and frightening everyone into submission.
The world cannot afford to be too quick to forget the fact that the two Nigerian men who are also British citizens; Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale only recently in May, 2013 killed a serving British soldier Lee Rigby on a street of London in the broad daylight.
Adebolajo and Adebowale the Nigerian Islamic terrorists also killed Rigby in a similar gory manner with meat cleaver and knife as Foley’s killer, but this time the heinous crime took place on British soil. And also as Foley’s killer claimed, in the name of the Islamic jihad.
Though the incidents happened in different places and at different times, yet they are fundamentally linked with each other. And for this reason it may be wise to look at them in a sort of holistic light with the view of devising comprehensive solutions that are radically different from what are obtainable right now.
Currently, it seems that the two solutions-that-fix-all for most of the policy makers in countries like Britain and the United States are going for regime change and stubbornly fighting to preserve the old unworkable social and national boundary maps in these troubled spots like in the Biafra and Boko Haram of Nigeria and the ISIL, Kurds and Yazidis of Iraq.
For several decades now these two “solutions” seem to be the aces or trump cards being tossed around by the political gladiators in these powerful countries but they seem to have stopped being effective in solving the crises in these hot spots around the world. And it is this seemingly insensitivity on the side of the decision makers in these countries that probably worry and embarrass more some of the close watchers of these outdated political maneuverings. It is this worry that is convincing the observers the more in their opinion that there is now need for some radically different approach to this problem.
This radically different approach as recommended by the close analysts of the events is the redrawing of the maps of these troubled places.
If we are seeking for real solution to this problem then we must be willing to try different approaches. Redrawing of the map of Nigeria along the old Biafran lines and more, and the Kurdish and Yazidish lines in Iraq will be the real and lasting solution to the jihadist scourge of Boko Haram and ISIL.
Boko Haram and all its attendant problems of today would have been avoided if Britain of Harold Wilson had been forward looking in its policies and allowed Biafra to separate from Nigeria when it was forced out by the same Islamic jihad in the nineteen sixties. The same argument can be used about the Kurds, the Yazidis and ISIL in Iraq.
Biafra of 1967 to 1970 stands for Self Determination, Independence and Multi-state Solution. Biafra offered the solution that can still be applied to solve Boko Haram of Nigeria, to the Kurds and Yazidis in Iraq, Ivory Coast crisis, and South of Cameroun agitation and in a few other places.
The remapping of these places will reduce the unnecessary social, cultural, religious and political frictions in these insensitive-border-induced conflict flashpoints.
The nineteen sixties Biafran solution of self-determination, independence and multi-state solution for peoples with similarities of aspirations and world views to stay separate from those who are radically opposed to their views and values continues to echo down the years and generations. And we can only continue to ignore it to our collective human pain such as witnessed in Foley and Rigby.
Biafrans were murdered in the same sordid way that James Foley and Lee Rigby were murdered and for the same reason. Only that in the case of Biafrans they were killed in multiple thousands and later in millions by the same Islamic fundamentalists. The other major difference in the Biafran case is that some British politicians and the British government of Prime Minister Harold Wilson supported and fought alongside the Islamic terrorists of the Nigerian state to further humiliate and completely destroy the already traumatized and victimized Biafrans. But this time Britain must not repeat the same mistake of Biafra.
Biafrans fought a war of Self Determination and independence; to free themselves and land once and for all from the oppressive Islamic state of a united Nigeria. But the Britain of Harold Wilson would rather side with the Islamic state of Nigeria to defeat the democratic state of Biafra. Today, after nearly fifty years, that British decision of the sixties is directly responsible in birthing the deadly and monstrous Islamic group, Boko Haram of Nigeria and contributed substantially in sowing the seed that caused the murders of Foley and Rigby.
The genocide in Biafra would not have happened if Britain had decided differently in Biafra and in the same vein the world must be spared anymore horrors of Foley and Rigby. Let the British and the US governments consciously choose to recognize the dangers of Islamic extremism and decide to take actions that are radically different from the current ones being applied.
What it all comes down to is that to defeat this scourge the collective will of the world community must be strengthened through the avoidance of doublespeak and political correctness. The leaders in the world community must choose to tackle these troubled spots one at a time and with the resolve to applying real and lasting solutions to each and every one of them.
In Nigeria particularly, to defeat the Boko Haram jihadists the permanent solution is to divide the country along the existing ethnic/religious lines and this will weaken the Islamists there and initiate the process of establishing a lasting peace, social security and eliminating the seemingly endemic political corruption, instability and poverty.
Osita Ebiem is an advocate for the division of Nigeria and the author of the book “Nigeria, Biafra and Boko Haram: Ending the Genocides through Multistate Solution.”