‘Gone Like a Meteor’: Epitaph for the Lost Youth of the Biafran War

The books published about the Biafran War, by memoirists on either side, are written from the perspective of those who survived, and can manage to speak of its horrors. The dead, voiceless, keep to themselves. And what of the unborn? When I remember my uncle, it is to grieve for a man whom I never knew, forty years after his death. Youth is a meteor, gone in a flash. The tragedy of the deaths of the poet Christopher Okigbo and the photojournalist Priya Ramrakha is outbalanced by the longevity of their words and pictures. They survive through what they managed to wrest from the terrible war. My uncle wasn’t as fortunate. The details of his life are vague and imprecise, amounting to no more than an hour of talk when I sit with any relative.

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