Does Virtue or Might makes Right?
By Siahyonkron Nyanseor
July 1, 2002
It is indeed a challenge to display virtue in this morally corrupt world, because many people view any kind of virtue that denotes honesty and kindness as weakness.Virtue, which is considered "conformity to a standard of right,” has been reduced to a “matter of personal taste, emotional preference or cultural choices.” But how can choice based on enlightenment become the means by which “right” is determine from “wrong”? In order for virtue to be cultivated, we need a reliable standard of “good” and “bad” - standard by which a certain act, attitude, or quality may be judged as right or wrong; rather for it to be based on a set of standards established by a few or for that matter - the leadership of the WEST.
In view of the above, a journalist summed up how virtue can be acquired: “...Virtue cannot be learned alone. Nor can it be taught from books. Good character comes from living in communities where virtue is encouraged and rewarded.”
It is safe to say then that the lack of virtue has in some way contributed to most conflicts in the world, and to be more specific - the problem that has turned Liberia into a criminal state and in places like the Middleast and most developing nations. In the case of Liberia, it is a tragedy because prior to becoming a pariah state, we told American policy makers, more especially, key members of the Congressional Black Caucus about Mr. Taylor and what he is capable of doing. But no one took us serious!
Our aim at the time, and still is - to persuade these US policymakers that Mr. Taylor is not only a menace to the interest of those countries in the West African sub-region but also to the interest of the United States and her allies. We talked until we got blue in the face. No one listened! It was not until recently - especially, the exposure by The Washington Post article, which linked Taylor/Revolutionary United Front (RUF) to the Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda Network that has given Washington the wake-up call.
Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda Network and its supporter - the Talibans are not the only terrorist group, the US and her allies should pursue; there are others like the Taylor's socalled Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU) in Liberia. They too, should feature high on the most wanted Terrorist list. This group is responsible for numerous deaths, disappearances, and harassments of human rights advocates as well as journalists. The recent torturing of Counselor Tiawan Saye Gongloe is an example. They are also responsible for the destruction of media facilities and properties. These and other atrocities committed by “Taylor-bin” have turned the country’s media establishment in Taylor Enterprises (Radio Stations, Television and the Print media).
The idea of forming a coalition to address pressing problems confronting the world is a good one; but it becomes meaningless if the coalition is limited to addressing only terrorism, and failed to tackle other “major problems across the world.'' In this regard, a U.N.-sponsored conference is urgently needed to address among other things, the definition of terrorism, what constitute a terrorist organization, state terrorism, sponsors and supporters of terrorist activities, how to stop money that funds extremist networks, illicit arms trafficking, poverty, human rights abuses, and free and fair elections.
The United Nations should be respected and not rendered impotent by Western nations, in particular, the US. If the United Nations can not enforce its resolutions against European/American and their allies, what moral authority will it have to enforce similar resolutions against developing nations that commit the similar acts? A classic example was the defiance recently by the State of Israel with the blessing of America to occupy and destroy Palestinian territories. Has the UN become a bulldog without teeth as some analysts suggest?
In short, the UN, Western countries, the US government and her allies should use cautionary measures be aware of the fact that politics does not “always” reward the best and brightest, it has the tendency to elevate the most dishonest of men among us - who will lie and cheat without compunction.