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Raymond Challinor

‘Made in Britain’ means
death for the Biafrans

(21 September 1968)

From Socialist Worker, No. 89, 21 September 1968, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT tries to justify its sale of arms to Nigeria by saying that it provides a lever with which Britain can bring pressure to bear on the Nigerian Federal Government to moderate its policy. But so far it appears to have been highly unsuccessful in achieving this. The millions of starving people, whose food supplies are blockaded by British weapons, and the piles of corpses testify to what “Made in Britain” means to the Biafrans.

The Nigerian general Adekunle – “the Black Scorpion” – does not know the meaning of “moderation”. It is about as sensible to supply him with arms in hope that he will be less brutal to the Biafrans as it would have been to have supplied Adolf Hitler with poison gas in the fond belief this might make him more tolerant towards the Jews.

If the British government was sincere, if it genuinely believed that by supplying weapons it could moderate the Nigerian government’s policy, then it should be consistent and apply the principle universally.

Why does it not send tanks to the Red Army to moderate Russia’s policy in Czechoslovakia?


And why isn’t Britain sending much-needed arms to the National Liberation Front in Vietnam if this would make the NLF more moderate, more likely to accept the American terms?

British policy has been based on the desire to preserve the unity of Nigeria. Originally, that part of West Africa consisted of a number of tribes with little in common. They were forcibly brought together, the British colony of Nigeria was created, merely to serve colonial convenience.

Today Britain wishes to see unity preserved to make it more easy for British financial interests to exploit the region. For that reason, secessionist Biafra, with its oil fields, must be crushed.

So Harold Wilson becomes an accomplice to mass murder to defend the interests of capitalism in that part of West Africa. As Biafrans fall at the front, the British arms manufacturers’ profits rise here at home.

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Last updated: 26 October 2020