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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Being “A Jew” and “An Igbo” in Nigeria – By Ikechukwu Enyiagu



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The 80s was a period in my life with many excitement and curiosity. I had experienced so much spiritual, physical and mental curiosity that I wondered if that was all to the world. And coming from the family I was born, I did not know I could discuss issues that bother my mind with my parents and expect straight answers. It never happened because I never asked; and I never asked for clarification because I thought I wouldn’t get any answers. That may have been true then because Igbo children I my days and before did not have the luxury of asking questions. One of these questions bothering me in my young age was that of being a committed Christian, even as young as I was, and, at the same time, hearing people, most of whom are Christians, term anyone they look down upon as a “Jew.” In my young and confused mind I could not understand how the rejection of a typical Jew balances the fact that most of the people thus relegating the Jews to the background were Christians. Understanding Jesus as being a Jew and the author and finisher of the faith of all Christians made understanding these jesters impossible for me, at least, for me.

I was very small then to understand that the Jews had undergone a history of genocide and unprovoked hatred across the globe. Then, little did I even know that Israel and the history that came with it happened in the very world I lived in and that, given the necessary requirements, I could actually visit the land of Israel on earth. What wonders the hearts of children hold! What questions they have but are too afraid or uninformed on how to express! I encourage all parents of today to teach their children to, above all else, be bold to express themselves at all times. Now, in the Nigerian society of this 80s, and even in some quarters in our present society, being ‘a Jew’  was/is a reference tagged on anyone who’s considered to be helpless, hopeless, foolish, ill-informed, ignorant and a -waste-of-time. For most who had at one time or the other called another, “Jew guy” or “Jew man,” that phrase had neither been challenged or clarified in their conscience, even to date.

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It was only as I grew up, both in the flesh and in spiritual matters, that I discovered who these ridiculed Jews – ridiculed to the point that most celebrated Christians of Nigerian stock happily and playfully refer to anyone they feel superior to as a Jew – were. The Jews are a race much discussed in the Biblical times. Although the Holy book states, above all things, that this race is specially loved of God, it nevertheless is full of details of calamities that befell them. The culmination of the pains of the Jews came to bare in the days of Hitler of Germany as he championed the final push to annihilate those he referred to as “Parasites.” As a result of the many shame and pains of the Jews, especially considering that nations which disagree often agree on a common agenda which is to never allow the Jews return to/have a home State, being a Jew became a curse and a derogatory word, even amongst those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, a Jew. Lack of proper knowledge is indeed the seed of extinction. Nevertheless, it feels like a cool breeze in a sunny, hot weather to state that these very people, the much globally-hated Jewish people, have become a nation never to be played with or castigated again until the fulfillment of times. Being a Jew man in our days has become a thing of joy and pride. And even when enemies still abound, they only abound by envy.

The Igbo in the present Nigeria have not had it any different or easier. From the end of the active genocide days which Nigeria, with the help of Britain, Russia, Egypt and the Arab world carried out against Biafrans, genocide which saw to the deaths of over 3 million Igbo people, being an Igbo anywhere in the world has remained the worse nightmare in societies where justice mean little or nothing. The government of Nigeria, through its many national and foreign policies, has made it a government priority to further dehumanize, deny and mock the Igbo. Being “Igbo” was so much opposed by Nigeria until an average Igbo would have to change his name or oppose everything Igbo before he could be considered for integration into the mainstream of Nigeria polity, albeit as a servant among mates and compatriots. To further haunt these Jews of Nigeria, some Igbos in some South-South States, in every bid to integrate in the corrupting corruption, openly denied their ancestral lineage to the clapping of the Hitler of Africa and the world. The irony of it all, however, is that, if what  is good for the goose is also agreed to be good for the gander, then, Nigeria, like the old Germany, will contend with the anger of God through the world’s so-called powers and, like Germany, will be brought down in order to salvage the remnants of Biafra, the Jews in Nigeria.

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The help for Igbo people will come and not by man’s willingness but by spiritual compulsion and conspiracy. The earth has had enough of the abomination that is called Nigeria and will revolt impulsively. And just as being a Jew of the past and its shame and curses turned and became a thing of joy and pride today for the people of Israel, being Igbo is turning to be what it’s ordained unto: a thing of great joy, pride and gratitude in our days. The leaders and men of this world must again witness this heaven-orchestrated change. And they will help bring it about, not because they want to but because they must if their own survivals matter to them. Just as a piece of land can be stretched into unproductivity by callous and indifferent handling, so has the word, Nigeria, been stretched until it’s become a global shame and an abomination before the throne of God. And the Jews in Nigeria, the Igbo will rise above fear and shame to take their rightful place in creation. Then being Igbo will never again be a thing of shame, pain and sorrow anywhere in the world. The spirit of God will perfect it.

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