The Rising Yellow Sun Biafra Poem

The Rising Yellow Sun is Dedicated to the Biafran Struggle and the Victims of the Nigerian Civil War

The Rising Yellow Sun

We all saw the lousy fearful storm,
Up the sky of our Newborn Town,
Everyone thought it's a summer’s dawn,
Where there couldn’t be heavy rain or storm;

We closed our ears to the weeping sky,
Even when the cloud was right in our eyes,
The suffering sky kept yelling in pain,
But all its calls were left in vain;

The cloud was just above us all,
East and South to West and North,
The West didn’t care because it's against the east,
No one knew we would all lose our peace;

The darkness reached its thickest depth,
The Northern sky had turned to red,
The Eastern soil mourned its thousand loss's,
The onset of the great exodus;

Back to the East, everyone cried,
What a journey of thousand miles,
Some on feet both day and night,
Losing every sense of hope and smile;

The South East begged for a glimpse of light,
South-South joined the awful cry,
Everyone needed a rising sun,
To bring the hope that had just gone;

Then rose a Rising Yellow Sun,
From the shore of the roaring sea,
Everyone knew it was too bloody deep,
But its light was enough that all could see;

Amidst the celebration of the new sunrise,
The day was still as dark as night,
A mix of light and darkness strife,
The roaring sea reached its highest tide;

A controversial friendship between North and West,
To deem the light of The Rising Sun,
The whole world watched the brutal game,
The media streamed the awful scene;

Millions of lives both young and old,
Forced to face the shameful woe,
Bloodshed and famine showered like rain,
Millions forced to die in pain;

The stormy cloud had taken its rest,
May be waiting for another lucky day,
'No victor no vanquish' was all they claimed,
But that for sure wouldn’t raise the dead;

“Unity and peace” was all they hailed,
What an illusory unity of heaven and hell?
Would East and North ever become friends?
That’s a story for another day;

Yes, we’ve all claimed to have won the game,
Forgetting the extreme loss and aimless pain,
A million ghosts still haunt to and fro,
Now the fate of our town is still unknown;

The rising yellow sun was forced to set,
But its red bloodstain still shows its trail,
Its red-yellow light may never glare,
But it may forever be our nightmare;

Oh, you Rising Yellow Sun hear me now,
When shall thy true light come to stay,
That the souls of thy 'slain' may find their rests,
Perhaps this thy wrath may have an end?

When shall thy children come back home,
From where they were scattered long ago,
When shall the great hope come to live,
So thy glory might fill the sky?

Yellow Sun Poem

Creative Commons License for The Rising Yellow Sun
The Rising Yellow Sun by Abas Obot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

About The Rising Yellow Sun Poem

Nigeria had independence On October 1, 1960, from the British. In the early years of her independence, the country was ruled by corrupt leaders who encouraged nepotism and corruption, ("We all saw the lousy fearful storm, up the sky of our newborn town"). This bad leadership led to a bloody coup that took place in 1966 claiming the lives of several Nigerian elites.

Nigeria is a country of over 500 ethnic groups and over 300 languages. The Nigerian people are mainly categorized under three major ethnic groups which include The Hausa/Fulani (in the North), The Yoruba (In the West), and the Igbos (in the east).

The majority of those who took part in the 1966 coup were Igbos even when it was a coup planned by people of different ethnicities. Besides, some of the Nigerian elites from the Igbo ethnic group were able to escape the coup. This led to speculations that the Igbos deliberately initiated the coup to exterminate leaders from other tribes to secure a dominant position in the country. The coup was therefore labeled "Igbo coup" by the North and West.

In wake of the 1966 coup, Gen. Aguyi-Ironsi (from Igbo extraction) took over as the first Nigerian military head of state. He was not quick in prosecuting the perpetrators of the coup, and that built great tension in the country and ignited tribal sentiments.

On 29 July 1966, Gen. Danjuma of (Northern extraction) led a retaliatory coup that killed Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi followed by the massacre of an estimated 30,000 Igbos in Northern Nigeria ("The northern sky had turned to red"). Tens of thousands of Igbos ran away from Northern Nigeria to the East, their homeland, ("Journey of a thousand miles, some on feet both day and night").

After a series of events, Eastern Nigeria declared itself as an independent state from Nigeria, The Republic of Biafra ("The Rising Yellow Sun"). The then Nigerian head of state Gen. Gowon declared war against Biafra. Backed by different countries including the UK, the war led to the death of over 5 million Biafrans mostly children by hunger in what is until this day one of the worst humanitarian crises in human history, Igbos and pro-Igbos consider it a genocide. One can easily see the horror of the event by googling "The Biafran war" and viewing the images.

The Biafra war began in 1967 ended in 1969. The Nigerian government declared "No Victor no vanquish" to calm the rage of defeated Biafra. Unfortunately, until this day, Nigeria had never been the same again. There are ethnic divisions, hatred, bitterness, destruction, and bloodshed mostly connected with the wars that happened years ago. Until this day the hatred between Igbos and other Nigerian tribes had increased and year by year the young ones rise to restore the Republic of Biafra and in the process of confronting the Nigerian Government, they get killed.

The Biafra struggle had continued and there is not a glimpse of hope that defunct Biafra would give up on their agitation. An example of a Biafran activist is Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, A Nigerian-British citizen, the leader of the "proscribed" indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), and CEO of Radio Biafra who is currently in the Nigerian detention facility and undergoing trial for suspected offenses including treasonable felony, terrorism, and other serious charges.

The Rising Yellow is dedicated to the Biafra war and how it had haunted my country, Nigeria, to this very day. The Biafran flag which has a half rising sun logo had featured in several international books, novels, and movies. Examples are Half of a Yellow Sun by the International writer, Chimamanda Adichie and There was a Country by Chinua Achebe, the writer of Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, etc.

Disclaimer: The Rising Yellow Sun is not in support of or against the Biafra movement. It is just a poetic piece in memory of the war victims and an expression of how it is still plaguing Nigeria as a country to this day resulting in inter-tribal hostility, regional deprivation, and sociopolitical inequality.
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