Remembering Differently: The Ethical Challenges of a Memorial Ritual by Martin-Edward Ohajunwa (Scholars’ Press
2018-07-15 14:41:23 -
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Book Review by Laurel B Lujan

 

There is finally a book that addresses the political and social effects, and spiritual awareness, of people who are attempting to move forward but not forget what they’ve gone through.

 

With Remembering Differently, Martin-Edward Ohajunwa dissects a way to help others to heal from the trauma of grief, and remember those lost with honour. He writes in such an insightful way that the reader can thoroughly understand how to heal, even in the most harrowing of circumstances.

 

Ohajunwa focuses on the Igbo ethnic group in south-eastern Nigeria, victims of a devastating pogrom in 1966 that led to the further disaster of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war. The author is careful to make sure that the reader understands the history of the Igbo in Nigeria, and why this event happened.

He also makes it clear that his intentions are to help the reader learn how to help others or themselves, as he studies the Igbo and Christian forms of healing through rituals and traditions.

 

Ohajunwa is currently a chaplain with the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, and is also a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Owerri in Nigeria. He applies his years of research and expertise in ministry, religion and culture to weigh in on the matters at hand, and help the reader understand why and how the Igbo have their particular traditions. He examines such practices using what he calls the ‘pastoral hermeneutics method’, emphasising the significance of traditional Igbo memorial practice.

 

The reason it holds utmost importance for the Igbo and other groups who went through similar experiences is because their communal beliefs imbue their memorials and healing with qualities no other party can bring, particularly from a different religious perspective.

 

 

What stands out most in this book is the theme of traditions bringing comfort and familiarity which in turn lead to cultural solidarity, particularly in remembrance of a difficult event that left victims, both many dead and living.

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