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They that hate us

The feeling that someone hates you is most times based on wrong assumptions. You often hear “he hates me”. When you ask why he says so he tells you “he doesn’t talk to me”. Yes, he might neglect taking notice of you. Or he may even not have time to talk to you. There may be something about you that repels him. He keep away and satys by himself. It doesn’t mean he hates you. Hate is too strong a word for that. It values the relationship wrongly. It misinterprets it. It may be an oversight that he doesn’t have the time for you. It may be an unintended carelessness that is in the character and not meant chiefly for you.
The person accused of hating you may be innocent of your charge. He may deliberately be avoiding you because talking to you may cause you offense. It may provoke your resentment. He does it to respect your privacy and preserve your peace of mind. In which case, it is in your best interest that he does so. The point is that both of you operate from assumptions that are not provable. You are unsure of each other’s friendly or kind disposition. And so you call it hatred.  The danger however is acting on this supposition. You wonder why he doesn’t manage to call your direct attention to it. He would have done that if there was not hate involved, you would suppose. Talking or complaining to others about it makes the matter worse. It comes as gossip to the attention of the other person. That’s where the feeling of hate starts. It makes you feel you’re under attack. You feel the need to defend yourself and perhaps launch a pre-emptive attack which starts a war.
This is not to say that there is nothing like hate. Hate is interpreted from hurtful action, especially when the target sees no cause for that. So, hate is first of all a feeling of the one who feels hated. This feeling should not be sustained until there is an action or actions to prove it. Even when hate is proven how do you handle it? To me anybody hating me is drinking poison, hoping it will hurt me. Why then should I bother that someone supposedly hates me? It is of consequence to the hater not me. So pity the hater.
Where I am more concerned about hate is when a group of people are hated, like the cases in Rwanda and Sudan, the case of Igbos in Nigeria, the case of blacks in the world and migrants in South Africa who are being attacked and killed. Wherever there is war in the world today, it is a matter of group hate and reaction to it. When groups feel hated, they feel and react differently from what individuals would do.
Actually the thrust of this piece is the reaction of Ndigbo or Biafrans to hate. There is no doubt that Igbos are hated in Nigeria. How have they handled it? How should they handle it? How they handled it was to offer armed resistance. Their resistance was put down, crushed. Now they sit on the fence. Their spirit was not broken. They hang around and sulk. The physical combat caused the horrific death of many. It made everybody in Nigeria to detest war and to decide never to engage in it. The war experience did something to the attitude of hate. But it was not decisive.
The haters only relented. In the face of hate the resistance to it today tries to preclude violence. The feeling of hate was suppressed. It was not totally eradicated. It could be worse today. The haters were not purged of hate. Group anger, vengeance and aggression have been difficult to manage. They burst into flames now and then, here and there. Those hated are diametrically opposed to those who hate. This is the main dilemma about unity, peace and security in the country.  If unity were just a matter of ethnic, tribal or cultural differences, it would have been much easier to handle. But hate-underling relationships have done much to make Nigeria what it is – ungovernable and a loveless place, where suspicion rules and nobody trusts the others.
As Ndigbo feel hated in Nigeria, we are advised to live as if we are loved and therefore to live, completely oblivious of the fact that we are hated. When we do so our haters take it as victory. It is good reason for them to feel unchallengeable when they go to the extreme. They have always taken advantage of that to do more grievous harm to us. A hated people must recognize the fact that they are hated and plot constantly to achieve their collective safety and security.  It is a duty they owe themselves. How to do this is again the problem.
The way Israelites did it during their exodus from Egypt is no longer feasible. If we do that today, it will be good reason for the haters to commit genocide again. It will be a mass-suicide. Hatred will rise so high that Igbo population can be reduced to nothing. Igbo land and possessions will be looted and carried away as war booty. It will be a calamity. The prospect for this is there and it is scaring enough. It will cause more trouble for us.
Perhaps Nigeria will find respite if it resorts to dealing with the origin of hatred in the land. Today the issue of what to do about Igbo haters in Nigeria is a question not of what the hated Igbo people can do, but what Nigeria can be persuaded to do about it. Can it  keep the haters in check? Can it protect the hated as a matter of state policy?
Is it better to deter the haters by law and with stiff sanctions?  It is they (haters) who will decide the way we shall go. Currently Nigeria thinks only of the military solution. The hater and the hated are being suppressed with military force. They consider only the peaceful solution, based on our past unforgettable war experiences. The two sides of Nigeria (the haters and the hated) disagree fundamentally on this. It appears Nigeria has taken sides with the haters and is looking for a chance to deal summarily with those hated, so they will not ever rear their ugly heads again. Nigeria seems to want the resistance of the hated broken. The accusation that they hate us is very, very true? Will the Igbos eventually hope to come to a point in time when they are no longer hated, and to be re-integrated completely and honestly? When will this happen? Will Nigeria drop its pugnacious bent toward us? Is our membership in Nigeria the cause of the hate? Are Igbos annoying to live with as a people?
What is it that makes them so? Can they drop it and then be acceptable for once to other Nigerians? If not, why not kick them out or quietly set them free so that lasting peace will reign? Who hated who first? Who killed who first? Is there a hate reprisal? Is peaceful co-existence possible? Is it not? What can anybody do about it? I don’t consider the international community of any use in this matter. It has never been. Our woes will only be a matter of amusement to it.
The questions are so many and they are for those that hate us to provide answers to. For us in Igbo land, I think we have made up our mind that the love of others in the same country with us is highly suspect. We are not loved; not wanted; not needed. We need to be convinced otherwise about it. We always call upon God. God will surely deliver us from the hands of they that hate us and take over and do the battle for us. God’s intervention can be seen in what is happening in the camp of those that hate us – terrorism, boko haram, suicide bombers, famine, drought, flood, epidemics, abduction of school boys and girls, child marriage, mutiny and civil disobedience and general unrest – all of pestilential proportions. These have so far spared the hated area and people as if the biblical history of Israelites and Egypt is repeating itself. There is the hand of God in it.

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