Opinion

Book Review: Blood At Noon

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It is not often that ordinary people get to tell their own war stories to the world. The rich, the educated can choose to write a personal account of their experiences during the war. But what about the ordinary man? Most times, their stories end up condensed, aggregated into lives of fictional characters. Nnaemeka has made sure that this is not the case for survivors of Afor-Umuohiagu market bombing. He boldly declares, “in the face of attempts to undermine the human and environmental catastrophe occasioned by the ugly event, this book endeavors to give the matter the seriousness it deserves by giving voice to some of those who were present at the scene at the time it happened, to their entire tale. This is so that posterity does not continue to wonder about the truth”.

Blood at Noon is a historical documentary of the Afor-Umuohiagu market bombing that took place during the Nigerian civil war in 1969. 47 years after the ill-fated war for the unity of Nigeria, Nnaemeka gives an account of an event that could be described as a war crime. The event described by Nnaemeka in Blood at Noon definitely shows the endangerment of protected people in a rural market and hospital. The book is arranged in six chapters. All inter-woven to the major theme of; the injustice of the bombing of a “safe haven” or “protected persons” by the Nigerian troops during the civil war.

The Geneva Convention, Article 51 (1945) states that “any civilian enjoys general protection against dangers arising from military operations and forbids direct attacks on them as well as so-called indiscriminate attacks, which do not distinguish between civilians and combatants.” Chapter one is essentially a socio-cultural historic description of Umuohiagu community. The author talks about the life of the people but does not give concrete details of the socio-economic activities that take place in the community. The descriptions are intended to give readers an insight what the community life was before the war but does not do much justice to that.

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