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Opinions of Sunday, 24 April 2011

Columnist: Asher, Bernard

Rejoinder -Today Libya and Ivory Coast, Tomorrow Ghana- for sure!

The article to which this article is written in riposte is fascinating not only in its nihilism but also its antiquated arguments (See: Today Libya and Ivory Coast Tomorrow Ghana, Ghanaweb Feature 23/04/11). Without wishing to sound hubristic, I can deduce that the author, the so-called Transient Justice, is neither abreast with the vicissitudes of contemporary international politics nor the sweeping changes across the world today. His arguments are patently simplistic and verifiably parochial, and that is to say the very least. The following paragraphs seek to analyse the fallacy-laden article in a bid to school the author on the realities of international politics today.
In the first paragraph, the author postulates that “Alassane Ouattra’s army …and the French untied [sic] and decided to Bomb President Gbagbo out of his bunker”. The induced amnesia of the author is amazing! Where was he when representatives of the AU and a host of other intermediaries visited Gbagbo in a bid to talk him out of power? As far as can be verified Gbagbo was only attacked because he refused to honour the democratic will of the Ivorian populace! In response to this selfish attitude the United Nations extended the mandate of UNOCI, extant in the country at the time, in order to protect civilians who had been subjected to gross human rights abuses as a direct result of Gbagbo’s intransigence. Now I have heard from a few unconfirmed sources that Mrs Gbagbo (who refused to talk some sense into her husband’s head) was manhandled. If this is indeed true then it is clearly regrettable but I dare say that the stupidity and cowardice of her husband caused it!
The author goes on to claim that “in this new neo-colonial [sic] age with the UN(United Neocolonialist) leading the way it is perfectly normal to massacre shoot people in the face, and leave them for dead”. To the writer I stress that in this day and age it is not permissible for dastardly African leaders to hide behind the curtain of sovereignty in order to bully their citizenry. The idea of sovereignty, to the discomfiture of many an African leader, has changed from ‘sovereignty with impunity’ to ‘sovereignty with responsibility’. The writer goes on to ask the clearly sophomoric question: “how come Quattara’s forces and the French can massacre 1000-3000 people and, there is no talk of taking them before the ICC(International Colonial Court) but, they are talking about Gbagbo and Gaddafi”. This question is akin to asking why the allied forces in WW2 were not arraigned in court for the many casualties that resulted in their bid to remove Hitler? - an obviously duncical question undeserving of an answer, I am sorry to say!
The writer again asserts that, “since this racist ICC Court started only Africans have been put before it! Is that not a form of colonialism? Are they so racist to perpetuate the myth that only Africans are criminals? Why are more Africans not talking about this?” To the author I ask: how about Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic? Perhaps in the somewhat hazy eyes of the author the preceding duo are Africans! The haste with which the author plays the race card is testament to his demagoguery. It reminds me of one black British student I taught in a juvenile correctional institute some time ago. This student, in a bid to gain my support and sympathy, levelled accusations at the so-called white man for possessing a grand plan to sequester all blacks in these British Isles. In reply I asked him the following question that quickly sent him packing: “if what you say is true why am I not in prison like you are”? Offended by my lack of support he accused me of conniving with the white man. I could only laugh at his obvious naiveté.
The reason why Africans have been arraigned before the ICC- Mr. Transient Justice- is that it is Africans who massacred 800,000 in Rwanda; it is Africans who destroyed Liberia, Zimbabwe, Angola, DRC, the Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan and countless other African states. It is African leaders like, Jonas Savimbi, Mobutu, Mugabe, John Rawlings, Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor, Colonel-King of Kings- el Qaddafi, Bokassa, Haile Selassie, Gnasingbe Eyadema, Yuweri Museveni, Mubarak etc who placed their selfish ambitions and their insatiable lust for power ahead of the will of their peoples. It is these thugs who, in their unsurpassed idiocy and thirst for blood, killed, maimed and massacred their peoples without mercy. Before you start asking the rather ignorant question of “who gave them the weapons or who put them in power” let me ask you this question: “if someone gives you a gun to go kill your brother do you do so”? If the leader accepts the guns and uses them to kill his people do you accuse the seller of the guns or the shooter of the guns? Oh please, spare us the two-facedness!
To the author I say: the neo-colonial argument is a bit stale now. The reason being that other countries who also suffered from the so called North-South divide and colonialism have been able to improve on their economies and governance-witness Botswana, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil etc. This is a new world order or shall I say new African order that can be summarised thusly: NO LONGER WILL AFRICAN LEADERS BE ALLOWED TO ABUSE THE RIGHTS OF THEIR CITIZENS BEHIND THE UNBREACHABLE WALLS OF SOVEREINGTY. The world is fed up with this nonsense and will intervene in any African state where such foolishness takes place! The AU is emasculated because it lacks the moral authority to intervene since a sizeable chunk of its leaders are themselves tyrants. How can an organisation have members such as Mugabe, Qaddaffi and Museveni and then turn around and try to intervene in another country? How can the AU try to persuade the Libyan rebels to accept a man they have never voted for to continue to be in power after 40 years of thievery, abuse and rape!?

The writer goes on to praise southern Africa because according to him that region did not kowtow to the West in the pitiful Zimbabwean situation. The fact that this writer is happy about the lack of intervention in Zimbabwe and the continued rule of Mugabe is evidence of his need for redemption and enlightenment! It is this attitude that keeps Africa firmly entrenched under the rather dehumanizing label: the Dark Continent! Does the writer really think that it hurts the British for Mugabe to be in power or that the prime minister loses sleep over Zimbabwe? If Zimbabwe was all hale and hearty how come countless refugees are fleeing across the border to South Africa- with the latter country (who would not countenance intervention)actively throwing them out? Was it not shameful for African leaders to support Mugabe-that ogre of a man whose sadism can only be matched by his dexterity at dyeing his hair? If the southern Africans wish for such a tyrant to remain in power they can keep him, after all Zimbabwe is hardly in the national interest of anybody else but them! We on the west coast, however, beg to choose the modern, common sense and democratic way!
The era where tyrants such as Nkrumah, Kenneth Kaunda, Houphouët-Boigny etc could entrench themselves in power, pass prevention detention Acts and proclaim themselves life-long leaders because they think they single-handedly brought freedom to their peoples is long gone! This is a new African era and it is only the tyrannical, nihilistic and patently ignorant who will wish to return to the dark days of tyranny where the supposed divine right of leaders was the norm.
If anyone or any party in Ghana even thinks about refusing to give in to the will of the Ghanaian population in any elections, the Ghanaian people will fight and the international community will intervene militarily to remove them and arraign them before the courts! Thankfully Ghana is bordered on the South by the Gulf of Guinea and so intervening forces will not need the go-ahead from any neighbouring state. Missiles can be launched from aircraft carriers stationed off shore. Therefore be warned!

Bernard Asher Lecturer @ Guildford College of Higher Education & External Tutor, University of Reading, College of Estate Management. Basher@guildford.ac.uk