Who Are Col. Quadafi's "Us" and Mandela's
"Self Appointed World Policemen"?
By Tom Kamara
The much-talked about Europe-Africa summit in Cairo, Egypt, has come and gone, with a stark warning and request from of one Africa's most controversial and destabilizing agents, Libya's Col. Quadafi. "Leave us alone as your ideas and cultures differ from ours", he told European leaders recently. On the other hand, another African leader, the idolized Nelson Mandela of South Africa, accused Britain and the United States of appointing themselves the world's policemen. Thus, except in the choice of words, Quadafi and Mandela had the same message for Europe: "Leave us alone. We are different. Your ideas, values, are different from those of Africa." But who are the "us" and why are these ideas different and in what sense?
There is no doubt that the most pressing cultural challenge confronting Africans is extricating the ropes of terror and poverty tied around the necks of Africans through Col. Quadafi's sponsorship of his "us" men, visionless rebel leaders turning the continent upside down for personal greed.
This appealing and insultingly sanctimonious argument of cultural differences, aimed at justifying the current crusade of misrule and savagery in Africa, is packaged to convince Africans that some how, they are different from peoples of the rest of the world. And because they are "different", the rest of the world should accept these "differences" which are delineated by men who are in actual fact "different" from the civilized mankind due to their unending campaigns of institutionalizing poverty and anarchy while beating the "cultural" drum of leave us alone. These "cultural" differences encompass mindless rebel wars for theft and terror, laughable and destructive economic decisions that entrench poverty, and infinite dependence on the "international community " to feed Africa.
The fundamental distinction between Col. Quadafi's "us", and the rest of mankind is the hardened determination of the former in ensuring the triumph of evil in all its dimensions. Understanding these self-acclaimed cultural differences requires understanding the minds of its crusaders. And to understand their minds, one must only look at countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, etc., all swallowed in endless self-created misery. Ironically, this campaign of cultural mystification by men like Quadafi is given prominence despite the universal acceptance of one cultural aspect which today embodies all aspects of life on our globe. Article One of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (signed by all African countries except, perhaps, Libya) states that: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
Here lies the "cultural difference" which Quadafi and his "us" disciples of terror and poverty in and around Africa, in places like Burkina Faso and Liberia, are propounding. As an Arab, Quaddafi may have some justifications to lead his crusade of cultural differences against Europe because of deeply rooted historical factors, including the contest between Islam and Christianity, two of the world's leading religions. But black Africa's contemporary problems are quite distinct and must not be confused with Arab interests and Quadafi's search for his dreamy cultural hegemony. The truth is that Col. Quadafi is very much aware of this, but has sought to provide the platform and backing for the horrific misrule and human rights abuses currently waged by men trained and financed by Libya under the banner of combating Western cultural influence, while at the same time begging for Western money and help.
Simply defined, culture is just a way of life, the values and norms of a people, all variables which continue to change day by day. Western European cultures once sanctioned witchcraft, and many were slaughtered. So culture is transient, always evolving, developing. Its superiority lies in how it moves society forward for the betterment of mankind. If so, what "cultural" justifications or differences would necessitate gruesome murders, ethnic cleansing, looting, rape by men who belong to Quadaffi's "us?" Defending the horrendous human loss, the economic degradation that has engulfed black Africa in terms of "leave us alone, your ideas and culture are different" is just one of the strategies being perfected for the continued misery imposed on Africa in many cases by Quadafi's political graduates. This is so because since the end of the Cold War, Quadafi has become one of the most important players in Africa. His acrimony for the West has been turned against tiny nations which were once the bastions of Western interests, interests once tied to fears of the Soviet Communism and its expansionist ambitions.
This vacuum left by Western callousness and opportunism, now filled by men like Quadafi and international criminal gangs in search of diamonds and other valuables, has seen the rise of savagery and state disintegration beyond belief, and has exposed the inhumanity of international politics particularly when it comes to addressing African problems. Disinterest in Africa's plight played a significant role in concealing the level of atrocities (in countries like Rwanda and Liberia) committed by sponsored rebels, with world leaders such as former President Jimmy Carter sympathizing with Taylor one of the worst perpetrators of horrors and anarchy on the African continent in recent times, perhaps all times. Liberia was a classic case, and the facts behind this country's decay, the bestial, well-planned and calculated crimes against a defenseless population - crimes ignored and accepted by the international community - are coming to light in series of published works by men whose "cultures" may be different from that of Africans but are prepared to lend their voices on the continent's decay since cries from Africans are unheard and must be repeated by whites to gain some attention. In our misery, we must hide behind the voices of white liberals to be heard, since an African's voice gets lost in the wilderness of racism and rules entrenched to justify our white-imposed "inferiority."
"I was 9 months pregnant. When the fighters came, they grabbed me and my husband and tied us up. The head of my husband was cut off in front of me. I was then raped by 14 young men. I delivered my baby a day after. Now, my womb cannot stay in one place", Kenneth L. Cain quotes one of Liberia's many victims in his moving account of human rights abuses during Liberia's war, in an article, The Rape of Dinah. Yet, Arab culture is furious against abusing the sanctity of a woman's body. And yet, Col. Quadafi could train, arm, and finance a group, Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) who, Cain tells us, participated in the rape of 50,000 Liberian women and girls. And yet, men from Col. Quadafi's school of "us" are squarely responsible for such inhumanities, while Mandela self- righteously warns us against self-appointed "world policemen" who might intervene to stop our slaughter. If only Mandela could ask Sierra Leoneans to chose between British or American self-appointed policemen and Col. Quadafi's Libyan trained Foday Sankoh's amputating and marauding rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), his "us". In 1990, Liberians were fruitlessly praying for American intervention in saving them from Libyan supplied guns and drugged teenagers unleashed on the population by one of West Africa's most insane killers, Charles Taylor.
This Libyan graduate of "us", Cain narrates, led a "relentless campaign of sadistic wanton violence unimaginable to those unfamiliar with the details of man's capacity to visit the abyss." In the end, 250,000 people perished. Ethnic cleansing took demonic forms while the world looked away and treated the perpetrators with admiration and respect, finally crowning them "democratically elected leaders." Nevertheless, we are told by US Representative Cynthia Mckinney that men who degenerate to such levels of depravity can be great "continental leaders." An American former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, would see Taylor as a smart person, while another American former Assistant Secretary of State Herman Cohen, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson would be "employed" as PR men for one of the disgusting figures in contemporary African history.
When Quadafi talks about "us", there is little doubt that he is referring to these gang of mass killers he has sponsored on the African continent to wage wars that have left their nations at the mercy of the very European nations he is indicting instead of simply using Libya's oil billions to write off Africa's debt to Europe as an indication of his "love" and "concern" for Africans.
To the contrary, although Quadafi sponsored the destruction of Liberia by financing a well-known criminal, Taylor has turned to the West to rebuild what Libya helped to destroy. Not even the Libyan Holding building, built when Liberia's economy saw better organization under Doe, a sworn enemy of Quadafi, has been repaired. All eyes and minds in Liberia for reconstruction are set towards nations whose "cultures" are so different. Taylor himself continues to plead for Western help to resurrect the crippled economy, crippled through Libyan supplied arms. The story of Libyan sponsored "cultural harmonization projects", which means feeding bandits to destabilize nations and ensure economic backwardness, is the same in countries like Chad, Sierra Leone, etc.
So who are the "us" that must be left alone?" And who are the victims if, in today's global power calculations, if the world is left without the Mandela indicted "world policemen"? Denying Europe's tremendous political and historical influence on Africa is denying history. The continent's current political and indeed economic chaos is deeply rooted in savage ties with Europe. The effects of Africa's links to Europe linger in the form of imposed and inapplicable political concepts and bastardized institutions, such as conventional standing armies which have become national parasites quickening the continent's decay. But to preach outdated rhetoric of the 50s and the 60s is to encourage and entrench the level of anarchy and poverty spreading on the continent through efforts by evil men. While Quadafi and his hired destroyers beat their chests about cultural purity, Africa spreads its begging hands to feed its millions. Ethiopia is crying for food from culturally different peoples. Angola needs about US $250 million a year to feed the ever-increasing numbers of refugees created by a war sponsored by African countries such as Burkina Faso, Togo, South Africa, Cote d'Ivoire, etc., according to a recent UN report.
But the hypocrisy of today's class of "African leaders" is amazing. A cursory look at the facts and developments on the continent, and the personal contributions to men like Quadafi tells us exactly who are the "us" that must be left "alone." Moreover, the incessant pleadings and begging from the "international community", meaning the very people now accused of assuming the role of "international policemen", removes the rhetoric from the downright reality. The fact, the pure fact, is that without the help of these "self-appointed policemen", without the generosity of those whose "cultures" are so different from ours, Africa, and Africans would be worst off. This is the legacy of slavery, colonialism, the Cold War, and the current economic and political superstructures determining our fate. Men like Quadafi have only worsened our plight by sponsoring angels of terror and theft as political leaders while pointing finger at the West.
Let us take one example, the burden of peacekeeping in conflicts created by men like Quadafi in places like Sierra Leone and Liberia. A number of African countries that contributed troops did so with the encouragement and largesse of the condemned "world policemen", prime amongst them the United States. The financial bills for conferences held in Accra on the Liberian horrors were paid by the Americans while Quadafi was pumping more money into the pockets of one of the warlords, Charles Taylor. The cost of Ghanaian and Senegalese troops in Liberia, for examples, were underwritten by Washington.
It is difficult to imagine what Sierra Leone would have been like today without the role of the demonized world policemen, and thanks to God that people whose "culture" and "ideas" differ from that of the Quadafi-sponsored culture of amputations, theft and genocide intervened to save children as young as 7 years old from death. While some of the very men, whose "cultures" differ from that of Africans, men like Taylor were arming RUF rebels who would butcher over 50,000 innocent people in the quest for political power. With the exception of neighbours fearing the spread of such chaos, Africa at large stayed away. It was nations with different cultures that arrived with help.
The recent misfortune in Mozambique tells another story. While Africa is preoccupied with senseless wars, the "world policemen" and the conscientious world intervened to help save that struggling country from irrecoverable disaster. Its fate now lies with the West and its economic and financial institutions.
What African leaders should realize is that the rhetoric of the 50s, 60s and 70s are outdated, useless, and self-defeating. Those who kick against ideas of universal freedom, human rights, accountability, the equality of man, and tied them to Western values are simply telling the world that Africans deserve less, that Africans are savages whose ideas differ from the rest of civilized humanity. To argue that "Leave us alone, your ideas and culture differ", is to provide a ghastly rationale for the chaos and terror that has engulfed the African continent. It is unfortunate that Mandela, a symbol of man's inhumanity to man", can join such a deadly and genocidal chorus.
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