Salim's Blurred Eyes
By Tom Kamara
Jan 8, 2001
Remarks attributed to OAU Secretary-General, Salim Ahmed Salim, announcing that President Charles Taylor has "positive contributions" to make for West African peace, and that UN threatened sanctions should not be imposed since they will hurt ordinary people, are saddening. More saddening is Mr. Salim diagnosis that Taylor's fears against sanctions are "legitimate". Just why the OAU is getting involved in Liberia's and therefore West Africa's decay at this time when it has been a spectator, is baffling and annoying.
Salim, who called for Taylor's undisclosed "concerns" to be addressed if regional peace is the desire, should have tried to learn from dozens of world political actors and leaders who have fallen under Taylor blanket of deception and lies. He should have also used as his gage Taylor's "positive contributions" to Liberia (where hospitals are closing down as the president takes periodic visits to Paris for medical checkups) before trying to convince the civilized world that this prison escapee is capable of making "positive contributions" to a region he and his criminal collaborators are determined to wreck for their own pockets.
Mr. Salim would have done justice for himself and his dormant organization, which wants to create the illusive "United States of Africa" tied to Libyan petro dollars, had they remained silent just as they did when tens of thousands of Liberians and Sierra Leoneans, now Guineans, were (are) being butchered by Libyan supplied and Burkinabe shipped guns. But just as the conscientious world has noted West Africa's plight and decided to take firm actions against further horrors, Salim is determined to ensure that killers and thieves are saved from imminent collapse, even if their collapse means the salvation of their people.
Salim is an African, but perhaps an Arab first. And when one realizes the role Libya is playing in the decay of West Africa by financing and backing men like Taylor and Blaise Compaore, it is not difficult to understand why he is singing the songs of salvation for Libyan point man Charles Taylor, the man who has sent West Africa centuries back in terms of human, political and socioeconomic development.
That Salim can see Taylor as having "positive contributions" to halt West Africa's disintegration where the rest of the civilized world see him as a pillar of doom, death and anarchy, means that the Tanzanian believes he has better lenses than other world leaders who have been dealing with this plague for over a decade. He does not! His are lenses blurred and tarnished in dubious geopolitical alliances bringing doom for millions of Africans.
Recently, 11 UN ambassadors met Taylor and emerged from his deceiving clutches with optimism that he would allow the RUF to give up Sierra Leone diamond fields. Soon thereafter, Guinea came under waves of attacks by terrorists trained and armed by the man Salim wants to sell as a "positive" contributor to West African peace. One must pity President Lansana Conte for coming to full grip with the horrors that await him. He is now convinced that a "syndicate of states", led by Liberia and Burkina Faso, wants his country for its mineral wealth just as they have captured Sierra Leone for its diamonds.
In Sierra Leone, the RUF, after signing a cease-fire agreement, put forth more demands, which indicate a surrender of power to their butchering and limb-amputating organisation. Just as the UN is getting ready to punish their sponsor, the RUF is making "positive" moves, ( temporarily opening roads, etc.) to buy time so that the heat can be reduced on their master for a new strategy of mayhem.
Salim's strange and bizarre politics must make him realize that if he cannot help West Africans, he must not quicken our destruction. That he could delude himself into believing the same Liberia, which he recalls is an original founder of the dysfunctional Organization (and must therefore be encouraged though it is now an international terrorist orbit), paying his bills, is the same Liberia he visited, tells us the quality and priority of today's African political leadership.
But it was in Monrovia, at an OAU Conference in 1979, that the whole of deceptive and naïve Africa condemned the Mwalimu (teacher) Julius K. Nyerere for challenging the buffoon and butcher of Uganda, Idi Amin. Nyerere, who was wise enough to buy the politics of deception within the international community, dismissed the simpletons and butchers at the conference and walked out after he was rebuked by lesser men than himself because he handled Amin on the killer's own terms. Nyerere was determined to save his country and people from the madness that was consuming Uganda and he did. Today, Tanzania, one of the few pioneers of smooth democratic transitions in Africa, is at peace, pursuing its development agenda with envy. That Salim can wish West Africa the opposite by selling an agenda, Charles Taylor's, that will prolong its decay is inhumane and wicked.
From hindsight, there are no regrets that Salim did not become the UN Secretary-General, never mind the fact that he was promoted by a selfless African called Julius Nyerere and others. That Salim can see Taylor, a man who has butchered 250,000 of his own people and is determined to continue butchering tens of thousands of Sierra Leoneans, and now Guineans in the advancement of his personal agenda of wealth in poverty, as a "positive contributor" to peace, tells us more about his priorities and mind.
The worst catastrophe would be for the humane world to listen to men like Salim. West Africans do not expect US Marines to storm West Africa for the restoration of their dignity. But in the absence of this, the least the humane world can do is not to listen to Salim. He already has a lot of others with opposite priorities, others such as Gaddafi, Compaore, and Taylor, listening to him. He needs no other ears. Save West Africa by punishing those who are destroying it. Do not listen to Salim, for his lenses are terribly blurred.