Of Sanctions, "Honorable Men" and Morality
By James Torh
February 15, 2001
I was shocked but not surprised by the defensive position taken by people who called themselves international figures regarding sanctions on Liberia. The remarks from France Ambassador to Liberia, Francis Lott, that "The discussion of sanctions is still going on and that the position of France is that the punitive approach is negative", is not surprising. Decent people of substance should not expect any sound and charitable comment from France, a country that contributed to derisive sobriquet of today's Liberia.
France's involvement in the Liberian civil war is no hidden secret. From the genesis of the seven years of brutal civil war, France has opened up its market for the sale of Liberian timber from Taylor's Greater Liberia (territory). Taylor used the funds generated from the sales to purchase arms, and prosecute a war that left over 250,000 people dead, displaced countless others from their homes to refugees and displaced centers, and committed millions of US dollars worth of damage to property. The statement from the honorable ambassador is dangerous - failing to realize the blatant brushing aside of reality that Taylor is the center of chilling horrors in the Sub-region. The Ambassador needs to know as well as understand that the terrible role played by his country during the Liberian civil war have injured Liberians and the memories are still fresh on their minds. He should therefore keep quiet if he can not help the situation.
Furthermore, statements made by both the OAU boss Salim Salim and the Secretary-General of ECOWAS Lassana Kouyateh need similar examination. Having held secret meetings behind closed doors with Taylor both men turned logic upside down by saying that sanctions will hurt the ordinary people. This is a reflection of abysmal ignorance and an error on their part.
Since Mr. Taylor launched his armed struggle in 1989, the once peaceful country Liberia and its people have been reduced to nothing less than paupers. He looted the country, killed thousands and many more fled for their lives. When will African leaders begin to think and behave like adults? We have had enough feedback regarding the manner in which they have proceeded to stand in the defensive path and to rally behind a man who has been classed as a notorious criminal by the international community. This brings to question whether these honorable men of Africa have been used as conduit to parrot Taylor's crimes against humanity.
What moral justification does Taylor have to continue butchering the children of Sierra Leone? What rights does Charles Taylor, the ultimate monster have to make Liberia a center of destabilization in the sub-region? Why is Taylor that wicked and vicious to his own people? These honorable men should apologize to the Liberian people and the Sub-region for the smear campaign against humanity.
I hope that these honorable men will take note of the situation and learn accordingly. I also pray that the honorable body, the UN Security Council, not listen to Taylor's tricks and the manipulation from him and his disciples. Finally, I join host of Liberians and friends of Liberia in askingthat the Security Council GO AHEAD and IMPOSE SANCTIONS on LIBERIA to save our PEOPLE and the entire sub-region.