On May 14, the International Red Cross announced it was organized relief for the starving Biafrans. For a year Nigeria had been torn by a civil war, its Eastern Region having proclaimed itself the Republic of Biafra. By this time its Ibo tribes, their spears and even rifles ineffective against Russian MiGs and Czech Delfins, had been squeezed into a remnant one-third the size of their original homelands; 200,000 Ibo refugees were crowded into 300 camps. Many were dying of hunger.
Biafra became a "clean" cause for large numbers of young Americans who were confused by SDS, by campus demonstrations, by the cross-currents of Vietnams, and by racial violence. They fasted to save money to save Biafrans.
But this cause, too, had its enigmas. Few Americans had the faintest idea where Biafra was, to say nothing of the rights and wrongs of the Nigerian strife. The campaign didn't seem to do much good; by September 8,000 to 10,000 Biafrans were dying every day. A citizens' group report, Hunger USA, and a TV documentary, "Hunger in America," told that 10 million people were suffering from malnutrition in Appalachia and elsewhere much closer at hand than Africa. Paul McCartney, one of the Beatles, scoffed at displacement of guilts. Starvation, he said for publication, "doesn't worry me one bit. Not one iota it doesn't, man. And it doesn't worry you, if you're honest. You just pose. You don't even know it exists. You've just seen the charity ads. You can't pretend to me that an ad reached down into the depths of your soul and actually makes you feel more for these people than, for instance, you feel about getting a new car."
Beef was being consumed in the U.S. that year at a rate of 10.5 million tons per annum. At a meeting in London, in July, a new organization was launched with branches in the U.S., called Weightwatchers International.
Led by the brothers Berrigan, the Catonsville Nine burns draft files . . . McCarthy beats Kennedy in Oregon . . . Bobby Unser wins the Indianapolis 500 . . . Catfish Hunter pitches the first perfect game in the American League in 46 years . . . Andy Warhol, the pop artist (portrait of a Campbell's Soup can), is shot, but not fatally, by a testy lady, the founder of SCUM - the Society for Cutting Up Men . . . Israeli-Jordanian skirmishes . . .