"All humans are members of the same body Created from one essence"

"Human beings are members of a whole in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain."

Saturday, 21 August 2010

"Civil Peace" by Chinua Achebe

I have enjoyed re-reading this story during the summer!

The story “Civil Peace” overstresses Achebe’s awareness of catastrophic disturbances in the lives of ordinary people in war-torn Nigeria. The historical context of the Civil war in Nigeria has affected the characters and events in the short story “Civil peace.”

Living and surviving through the Nigerian Civil war has made Jonathan Iwegbu value life and it has shaped his philosophy of optimism.

During the Biafran War, the civil war in Nigeria from 1967 to 1970, Jonathan thought he would never survive this terrible war.

The Nigerian Civil war began in 1967 when the Igbo tried to form the Independent Republic of Biafra. This incident triggered thirty months of civil war. The war was the result of economic, ethnic, cultural, and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria.

was an artificial structure initiated by the British which had neglected to consider religious, linguistic, and ethnic differences. There was a confrontation between the north (Hausas) and the east (Igbos) because the Igbo tribesmen wanted to secede and to have a separate Republic of Biafra. Then, the Nigerian Federal troops, helped by the combined forces of other regions with the northern Hausa, got involved to stop the war and they hurled their final attack against the Biafrans which they won.

The Biafrans have witnessed bloody battles and they surrendered in 1970 because the population suffered a severe famine and a million of people died of starvation.

Jonathan is indeed conveying a strong message to his post-civil war generation.

With his invincible spirit of optimism, he refuses to surrender himself because he has survived the civil war and he considers himself as “extraordinarily happy.”

Nothing can be “compared to the safety of five human heads.” He has lost all his money, he works very hard for a living, and he lives in a mud house, but he is “extraordinarily” happy because the war is over.

Jonathan has chosen optimism as a philosophy and he addresses all the problems which happen to him in his daily life with this following doctrine: “Nothing puzzles God.” Jonathan is a spiritual man who has a strong optimistic view of life which has kept him from madness and it gives him the necessary strength to take care of himself and his family.

Achebe has sent a strong message of peace to his people through his main character called Jonathan. Indeed civil peace cannot happen without a total surrender to God

He does not want to resemble the man who has “collapsed into near-madness in an instant” because he has lost his money. Jonathan’s faith in God makes him physically and mentally much stronger than this man. The most important thing for Jonathan Iwegbu is to be thankful for what you have been given and especially not to forget to vocally praise the wisdom of God. Jonathan Iwegbu prefers to count his blessings and he is satisfied with things as they are. Therefore, the incident with the thieves is counting “as nothing.”

Jonathan is a symbol of hope to all the Nigerians who have survived the civil war and who are yearning for civil peace.

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