Film: The Biafra Airlift and Nordic Humanitarianism

Watch a film about the Nordic responses to the famine following the Biafra region in Nigeria claiming independence in 1967.

In films for the New Nordic Lexicon, students ask researchers to talk about an object, event or place that represents their research. 

Norbert Götz from Södertörn University chose the Biafra Airlift, an humanitarian action in 1968-1970 initiated by 'NordChurchAid'. The Biafra Crisis started when a province of Nigeria declared its independence. Nigeria responded by sending its army in and stopping food and supplies to what would soon become a land-locked region. This led to the first televised famine.  

Norbert is joined by two other researchers from the project ‘Civil Society without Boundaries: Nordic Humanitarianism Facing the Biafra Crisis’, Carl Marklund and Susan Lindholm. The students interviewing are Agata Pyka from Aarhus University, and Gaëtan Gamba from the University of Helsinki. 

Gaetan Gamba and Agata Pyka have also been involved in other materials for the New Nordic Lexicon in  locations across the Nordics.

All three researchers - Norbert, Carl and Susan - are part of the research project 'Civil Society without Boundaries: Nordic Humanitarianism Facing the Biafra Crisis' funded by the Swedish Research Council.


Further reading:

  • Arua Oko Omaka, The Biafran Humanitarian Crisis, 1967–1970: International Human Rights and Joint Church Aid. (Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2016).
  • Lasse Heerten, The Biafran War and Postcolonial Humanitarianism: Spectacles of Suffering. (Cambridge: University Press, 2017).
  • Norbert Götz, “Towards Expressive Humanitarianism: The Formative Experience of Biafra.” An Era of Value Change: The Seventies in Europe. Fiammetta Balestracci, Christina von Hodenberg, and Isabel Richter, eds., Oxford: University Press, 2024 (forthcoming). pp. 207–232.
  • Norbert Götz and Carl Marklund, eds., Biafra and the Nordic Media: Witness Seminar with Uno Grönkvist, Lasse Jensen, Pierre Mens, and Pekka Peltola, (Huddinge: Södertörn University, 2024).