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The irony of politics in the world

The irony of politics in the world

The ‘Arab Awakening,’ as it is dubbed by political scientists, is taking no one by surprise anymore. It seems like a contagious disease, hitting all the despots and igniting the half-reformed rulers to improve on more reforms. But what is really baffling is the hilltop cries coming from some who are more autocratic than regimes under present threat.   (Photo: Ibrahim Sourie Mansaray, author)

With the Libyan interregnum gaining a nice tap from the Republicans calling on President Obama to address the legality of the Libyan invasion, one is tempted to ask the difference between President Assad of Syria and Colonel Gadaffi of Libya.

The United Nations took the 1973 Resolution to avert the Benghazi massacre. Quite positive. But why the silence in Syria? President Assad is moving in armoured tanks in villages opposed to his regime with callous impunity.   The United Nations is only issuing condemnation but falls short of instituting a charge of crimes against humanity.  Thousands are now dead and the regime is still bent on ravaging crops and killing its own people. So where is the difference with Gadaffi who swore to chase all the rats out of their houses?  Is there a difference in killing?

Quite recently, the leader of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) in Sierra Leone, Lawyer Charles Margai, debunked the action of the United Nations attack on Libya. As an opposition leader who had called for a demonstration against the visit of Gadaffi to Sierra Leone in 2007, one now sees where this learned lawyer is drawing his justification from. What is good for Peter in politics should be good for Paul. If the UN could bombard thousand times in Tripoli in the guise of regime change, why not do the same in Syria to save innocent lives?

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia issued a clarion call over the BBC recently calling on the African leaders to denounce Gadaffi and sever ties with Libya. What an excellent idea? But who is Ellen Sirleaf looking up to? Gambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Senegal and even Botswana? This is the irony in politics these days. Can you imagine Yayah Jammeh of The Gambia backing the rebels in Libya? The hullabaloo about Yayah Jammeh backing rebels is laughable. Is he in for democracy? Has he tolerated demonstration and freedom of rights in The Gambia?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran came out openly supporting the rebels in Libya and other Arab nations. Ahmadinejad has arrested all prominent opposition leaders in Iran for calling on people to demonstrate. How can you support demonstrators in another country and denounce one in your country?

I am struck with the irony of all this. The sheer condemnation from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is commendable.  Most African leaders will mute and sneak when condemning Gadaffi because of his largesse to individual countries. Ellen Sirleaf has shown how principles and status quo can be maintained with pride and dignity.

President Zuma of South Africa quickly froze the assets of Gadaffi in the wake of the first bombings in Tripoli in March. That not being enough, Zuma made two visits to Libya in a bid to sway the mind of Gadaffi to relinquish power.  Do you think Gadaffi will trust such a leader?  Can you imagine President Zuma’s remarks that supporters of African National Congress will go to heaven while opposition voters will go to hell? Does this type of leader favour free democracy?

President Wade of Senegal made a visit to the rebels and said he does not believe Gadaffi will leave power honorably. President Wade urged Gadaffi to leave so the people of Libya will enjoy peace. What a statesman’s gesture!  But by the way, was it not President Wade at the G8 summit urging his son hurriedly to meet President Obama for recognition?  Is it not rumored in Senegal that President Wade is nurturing his son to replace him?  Politics is an interesting art.

I hope some African leaders will work to save lives and speak their minds so posterity will hold them in high esteem. I look forward to the day the continent’s leaders will work together and change the status quo as it is only when the status quo is changed that collective security will be for surety.

By Ibrahim Sourie Mansaray, California, USA

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