Using the Attacks for Political Purpose

The Perspective

September 18, 2001

The wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers, the epitome of American capitalism, and the Pentagon, the epicenter of U.S. military power, we are saddened by the horrific destruction of innocent lives, and the demonic assault against the freest of all nations. Words not adequate enough to express our condolences to the government of the United States and the American people, and to empathize with them as they go through this national tragedy.

But as America assembles the coalition necessary to pinpoint, rid and eviscerate the forces that perpetrated this sinister, cowardly act against the bastion of democracy, it should be mindful that there are people among us who want to use this tragedy for their own political purpose. And chief among them is Liberia's Charles Taylor, who is shedding crocodile tears.

In the midst of this horrendous human experience, we should not lose sight of meaning and content. We must be able to distinguish between empty rhetoric and reality, thereby calling into question the sincerity of people with terroristic proclivities.

The New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary defines terrorism as "A system of government by terror; intimidation." The dictionary further defines a terrorist as "one who rules by intimidation." By this definition, Charles Taylor is the biggest terrorist in West Africa.

As Charles Taylor was calling the attacks a "war on the conscience of global peace and the foundations of human morality", his security forces were shutting down a private radio station, DC101.1, for airing anti-American sentiments. The host of the show, T. Max Jlateh, was taken away by security.

During his show, a caller stated: "What is so much about America? People are dying here and America has not cared to comment."

Other caller said: "America deserves it because they were in the forefront in the imposition of [UN] sanctions which is causing severe hardship on Liberians".

DC 101.1 was reopened yesterday by the government after several hours, but T. Max Jlateh is still in detention.

In another development, Liberian police boss threatened to "arrest anyone caught selling or buying the photo of the prime suspect, Saudi exile Osama Bin Laden." This is a violation of Liberians' constitutional rights; but the Minister of Justice, who is charged to protect those rights, was standing shoulder to shoulder with the police chief while the constitution was being violated by intimidation.

Clearly a master of chicanery, Taylor is using the attacks to cast himself as a friend of the United States, who he believes in and respects American values of freedom, liberty and justice, when in fact he is opposed to these anchors of American democracy.

Over the weekend, the Liberian conman was quoted as saying:

"Your [America's] losses are our losses, your grief is our grief, where you go there we will go, where you stand there we will stand, your God shall be our God, your people shall be our people."

His chief mentor on the African Continent is Gadaffi of Libya who is listed by the U.S. State Dept as one of the sponsors of international terrorism. Some observers believe that Taylor is closer to Osama Bin Laden than to America and no empty flowery words can obscure the truth.

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