Saturday, August 25, 2012

When hard work loses its appeal…

“When hard work loses its appeal
When doing things right is no longer popular
When following due process is not the ‘in’ thing anymore
Shouldn’t we fear the worst?”

I wasn’t around then. But I go into my special world. I go into my big world of imagination. Into my special place that makes neverland look like ‘unspecial’. And there I get to travel back in time. I travel back to the time when our fathers were boy and mothers were girls. And I see a society that works. I saw a place where there was pride in wearing old fashioned shoes as long as you bought them yourself. I saw a place where owning a vespa motorcycle would attract girls because you were no longer daddy’s little boy. I saw a place where girls who weren’t the partying crazy type were respected for their disciplined lifestyles. I saw a place where young employees were willing to wait their turns in climbing the ladder.

Well.. then I get jolted back into reality. And I’m back in this world. A ‘microwave’ world. A world where it’s just ‘me, myself and I’. Where only riches matter, how it’s achieved is not important. Where only fun is important, at what expense doesn’t matter.

Ambition can’t be questioned, the problem however is motive and methodology.

In life, what feels good feels good. Simple. And that is a simple fact moralists and religious leaders fail to see. So I won’t buy into the whole ‘why’re you doing it’ thing. But my opinion is that in obtaining what feels good, in doing what comes naturally, shouldn’t the long run somehow be considered? It’s understandable that a man wants to fool around with his scantily clad secretary but what about the consequences on his wife and children? What about the falls it will bring to his finances? What about the spiritual implications - if he has any spiritual reality that is?

There’s financial misappropriation and graft in high levels of government and important organisations. And it’s become the norm. But if bad has become the norm, does that mean we have simply given up on good?

The truth is there’s no one to bell the cat. No one to take the first step in tackling the seeming rot in the moral fabric of the world we live in. Because the first to act often swims against the tide and I can assure you that’s not an easy feat. The sacrifices abound. The hits and body slams for being different. However, as hard and difficult as it might seem, it is necessary. If we keep exploiting things at face value and taking advantage of every seeming avenue to have instant fun and gratification, what world would be left to those who are to come? What would be left of this planet when our children arrive? And would they curse or bless our memory?

Amilcar Cabral

Amilcar Cabral was born in what is now Guinea-Bissau (then Portuguese guinea) on the 12th of September, 1924. Though he was born in Guinea-Bissau, his parents were from Cape Verde. This, in my opinion, gave him genuine concern for the well being of both nations. He studied in both Cape Verde and Portugal. In Portugal, he must have experienced what real development was like in the western world obviously with a view of the way these colonial masters were running the affair of his home countires.

He returned to Africa after his studies abroad. His quest to see the African Portuguese colonised countries led him to led him to create the African Party for the independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Been a citizen of both countries. Amilcar then proceeded to lead a guerrilla warfare against the Portuguese with the PAIGC.

Amilcar set up base in what is now Guinea-Bissau. And from there he waged a guerrilla-type warfare against the Portuguese colonialists from the early 60’s until his death. He was focused on increasing the standard of living of the local populace.

Amilcar Cabral
(source:  )

Cabral was well liked across Africa. A deduction I come to due to the fact that the Ghanaian leader, Kwame Nkrumah let him set up base in his country. From there, he trained his troops.

 One of the many policies he put in place was to teach the local farmers how best to utilise their land. Even the soldiers, when they were not fighting had to help in the cultivation of the land. He also had a bazaar system in place to make needed commodities available to the countryside dwellers and people who would normally not be able two afford them. The bazaar went around the country.

Well, Amilcar Cabral, by wanting the betterment of the standard of living of his people had commited a crime against the powers that be. He had stepped on toes of those who had the interest in keeping the cape-verdeans shackled. He had croosed the invisible line by wanting to break the citizens of Guinea Bissau out of the metaphorical and, to some, even literal prisons they were in. Like Lumumba, Cabral had to go.

He was assassinated by a fellow lieutenant in his guerrilla army in 1973. Inocêncio Kani with the help of the Portuguese secret police killed him. It was actually a botched plan to arrest him and leave him under house arrest.

Yet again, another brilliant mind was snuffed out by the colonial powers. Amilcar was no more and the country was neocolonially in the control of the imperialists. His Other people took over from where he left, as is the case with most African countries, I think its safe to say the both countries never lived to their potentials. At least not the potential Amilcar Cabral saw in them.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Africa’s type of governance

 “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”
Genesis 11:6

Why do Africans not have a highly developed democratic system like the western states? Why is it always one coup or another? Why are elections so flawed?

These are questions that are prevalent around us. Simple answer, in my opinion, is the states were not created by us Africans, they were made by slave masters. Forcing us to live together in colonies they felt made sense to them. Or maybe was easy for them to deal with. The border lines of most, if not all of these countries were drawn on a centre table in a room in western capitals surrounded by politicians and western aristocrats without any input from the subjects.

Take for instance, the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria in 1914 by Lord Frederick Lugard. It was done for business! Nothing more. Port Harcourt was named after British politician Lewis Vernon Harcourt by the guy who was in charge of Nigeria as at then. Truth is Africa was an extension of their way of life. And the human ‘things’ in Africa were not important to them. We either lived the way they did or not live at all!

In this world, I don’t know of any country as diverse as Nigeria is. The Fulanis up north and the Yorubas down south couldn’t be more different. They are so different, it’s unreal. How can the British then expect the Emirs of the Caliphate in the north to overnight form a long lasting relationship with the Awujales in the south? How can the Sardauna suddenly become friends with Jaja in the Delta region? A group that knows nothing but desert and sandstorms is supposed to, all of a sudden foster a long lasting friendship with a group that basically lives in water. All because the slave master said so?

How can the level of unity be the same in a country of over 250 indigenous languages as it is where they have only one language? In the bible, when God wanted to cause disharmony among men, He made them speak different languages. If God did it, would I be suggesting something out of scope to think the colonial masters encouraged the same? – Don’t quote me on that though. The UK has been a country since God knows when, they speak only one language, how can the differing groups of the nation not have a better understanding than a country like Nigeria? You only need to move around Africa to know what I mean.

When a person from a certain ethnic group is in a position in Africa, no matter how good he/she performs, other ethnicities want a shot. “Do they think they’re the only ones who can rule?” You’ll hear. And these are not even underground mutterings, I’m talking about what you see on national TV or in national dailies attributed to our ‘political minds’.

Ethnicity is a big part of our culture in Africa. Whether we like it or not, it exists. And it does not exist in the western states. Though there might have different races living in the community, they take a back seat when like ideas are on the table. Ideas are the lines along which cliques are formed in a true democracy and sadly, this is not so in Africa. How then does democracy work?

Please don’t get me wrong, I see nothing but strength and beauty in our diversity. But how long are we going to keep trying to achieve the same thing in the same way as a set of people who are so blatantly different from us? Do you know the feeling of being approached as Yoruba boy by, say an Italian asking you what the meaning of an Ibibio word is and you are as confused as he is? Especially as we both know if I were to ask him of the meaning of any Italian word, whether originating from the north or south, he will know it.

The US has been a mainly two party system for scores of years. The UK has only about three main political parties. But here in Africa, every aggrieved politician forms a party and we have political parties spring up every few weeks, who are we fooling?

In the midst of untold hardship on the citizenry in Nigeria, you have some clamouring for creation of new states. Seriously? New states? What type of democracy are we running?

When we will get it right, I don’t know. But I’m sure this generation of leaders and politicians have to somehow vacate the scene. I know we need the younger ones to step up to the plate. And I know we somehow need to break the mould and correct the error of our colonial masters by hopefully working together or at worst (and hopefully not) break up the countries in Africa into true components that reflect the identity of the citizens of every state on the continent. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Neocolonialism: Control behind the curtains.

For Nigeria, it was 1960. For Kenya, it was 1963. For Uganda, 1962. That time in every nation in the developing world when independence was granted from the colonial powers. The time in a nation’s history when the country thought it was now time to achieve to face the future and take a seat in the comity of nations. That point when the nation breathed a sigh of relief that it could now run its own affairs on its own. A premature sigh it turned out to be..

Independence is supposed to be independent. Sounds tautological but I’m just trying to show the seeming obviousness of what independence is meant to be. This however is far from the case. Things are simply not what they’re supposed to be.

It is no secret that the developed world sends aid to Africa. They do so almost religiously. Even at a time of turbulent economic outlook, they still do. The question is why? Are they that nice? Does anyone really mean to tell me, the reason they pump in so much money into African and Latin American coffers is because they love the continent? Could be, but if they loved the continent so much that they give so much aid, why not just cancel the overriding debt of these countries? If they care so much, why don’t they import health experts and give free healthcare services? Simple truth is, they give the said ‘aid’ to control the people.

Kwame Nkrumah, who coined the term ’neocolonialism’ put it this way:

“…The result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment under neo-colonialism increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world…”

Kwame Nkrumah: Coined the word 'Neocolonialism'

Foreign aid as it is being disseminated these days inevitably finds its way into the hands of economic powers who in turn reinvest it into the originating country in the first place. It’s a cycle people. It’s a cycle. And since the money has been given to these less disadvantaged countries in the first place, there exists a form of unwritten IOU between the giving and receiving countries. It’s like burning a candle at both ends for the receiving countries of these bond fees called aid.

Then there is the UN. The UN is a lameduck organization created to serve as a platform for international cooperation being controlled by the governments of the most powerful countries on earth. The security council of the United Nations has five permanent members. How can it then be said that all countries are uniquely independent. Five countries have permanent membership of the most powerful council on earth and the remaining countries share ten seats among themselves on a rota basis. You be the judge and tell me the will of the powerful nations will not be imposed on the less powerful ones.

 Only a fool will not admit there are internal problems in Africa. Leadership problems. But let me ask a simple question; is there any African leader scarier than Saddam Hussein? And didn’t ‘they’ get him out? And of course part of the excuses was that they were doing it for the good of the Iraqi’s. Muammar Kaddafi ditto. Here is my opinion, which could obviously be wrong; the leaders of the developing world do the bidding of the leaders of the developed countries. And the developed counties’ leaders in turn do the bidding of powerful economic and social forces behind the curtains. Like I said, I might be wrong; it’s just what I think. 

Africa might be free from the nomenclature of being called colonies of powerful countries, but are we really totally free from their control? And are our resources really ours to enjoy independently?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Thomas Sankara: Our own Che.

Thomas Sankara: Our own Che.
December 21, 1949 – October 15, 1987 

It’s no secret to say the word ‘hero’ is very much over used in the society we live in today. A corrupt politician or a prima donna celebrity or sports person manages to visit an orphanage after a long night of drinking and smoking and he or she is hailed a hero.

Well, the good news is heroes do exist. And in many cases, they pay the ultimate price for their beliefs. Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral; these are heroes. And so is Thomas Sankara.

Thomas Isidore Noel Sankara was born on the 21st of December, 1949. He was born a half caste between the Mossi and Fulani people of French Upper Volta. Some of the most disadvantaged people of the region. Biblically, Gideon comes to mind. A powerful and revolutionary leader rising out of the midst of some of the least influential people in the country. Thomas watched his father fight in the French army during the second world war. And captured by the Nazi’s! I wasn’t there, but this event must have shaped his thinking. He must have thought, “are we really free from these people?” “Why can’t we just live our lives without their interference?”

Sankara: Our own Che Guevara

Thomas, while serving in Madagascar, saw uprisings against the government of Philibert Tsiranana. And read writings by Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. He held a couple of government positions on his return to his country and his popularity grew. Sankara resigned his position as secretary of state for information in protest to the government’s shabby treatment of labour unions. A coup overcame that government and Thomas became Prime Minister. Again, he was place under house arrest along with some of his friends. This move, due to the popularity of Sankara, caused an uprising.

Thomas Sankara became the president of Upper Volta in 1983 through a coup at the age of 33. It was time for this young leader to put everything he had learnt to use. He had been influenced by Che Guevera, Fidel Castro, Vladimir Lenin, Kwame Nkurmah and so on. And in my opinion, he had learnt well!

Sankara had an anti-imperialist agenda. He wanted Africa to be African. If we had independence, then he wanted us to be truly independent. Wear African. Think African. Act African. Be African. He had seen his father arrested by the Nazis fighting for a foreign country, and it probably just didn’t sit well with him. Why should we be free, but still take commands from our colonial masters? 

And Thomas got to work!

And some job he did!

He was the one of the first world leaders to actively promote women’s rights. He was also the first African leader to appoint women to key positions in the cabinet. Thomas sold all the Mercedes cars that belonged to the government. All! And replaced them with the cheapest cars available in the country. He refused to take foreign aid. He was fully aware that this was the most effective way to be controlled. He gave land to the peasants rather than rich land owners. This made food production increase and the country achieved food sufficiency in a relatively short while. Sankara went around the country without the fanfare that seems to accompany most African leaders. He even changed the name of the country to Burkinafaso (a land of upright men).

And wait for this… it was even reported that he lowered his salary to $450 a month and limited his official possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a freezer!

He even composed the national anthem of the country.

Listen, Carlsberg don’t make presidents, but if they did, they’ll make Thomas Sankaras!

But by not ‘playing ball’ and keeping it business as usual, Thomas had stepped on toes. And like Lumumba, he had it coming.

Thomas Sankara had in the year 1976 met Blaise Compaore in Morocco. They had become best friends. Compaore had even master minded the coup that brought Sankara to power. Well, there is an African saying that says “If the internal death doesn’t kill, the external one can’t”. Compaore through the backing of the French and American powers was to later assassinate Sankara in a 1987 coup. He said it was a coup necessary to correct the faults of Sankara’s government. A fault only he saw big enough to necessitate the killing of one of the best leaders the continent has ever seen.

Sankara has always been compared to Che Guevara. They are both seen as associates of Fidel Castro. The berets are similar. And both are also keen motorcyclists. But more importantly, they were revolutionaries. People we need more of in Africa. Thomas even said “…we say that Che Guevara is also African and Burkinabe.” And above all, they both paid the ultimate price for what they believed in.

Comapore (left) betrayed his friend Sankara (right) with the backing western powers.

On the 15th of October 1987. A week after he had rendered the now famous words “…while revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas”, Sankara was murdered in a coup led by Blaise Compaore (who is still the country’s leader today!). Flimsy excuses were given, but the main reason is simply to silent another leading spark of light on the dark continent. To muzzle another voice that had dared to speak and act up against colonialism. To keep control of the continent by the imperial authorities.

And they succeeded! They have succeeded so far. And all we’re left to do is pray and hope that another comes. But will the other coming be allowed to be himself? Will he be allowed to live?

Sankara has come and gone. Played his part and left us. He will be remembered for standing tall for what he believed and being strong enough to fight when he had to.  His legacy will live on. The question is will his dream ever see the light of day?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Being Nigerian.

First things first, I’m Nigerian. No apologies offered. No explanations offered!

Not exactly sure why I said that, guess it’s just the pride I have in the green-white-green. Boy, am I excited or what when I think of my home country. Especially when I manage not to think of what the politicians have made of it.

I’ve been based in this beautiful country of Ireland for a while, and I feel privileged. I count it as nothing but a privilege to have lived in the same land as Michael Collins, Saint Patrick, James Connolly and a host of other remarkable heroes. I’ve been to almost all the counties in Ireland and the beautiful fusion of history and modernity is simply perplexing. A visit to Kilmainham gaol in Dublin or the Muckross farms in Killarney will tell you this country is special. Maybe I’m being biased, but it’s being my home for the past while, no one can really blame me. But much as I love the place, truth is I’m not Irish-born!

Every human being should have an identity. The focus, I believe should not be in changing it, it should be in improving it – except you’re a serial killer or some other type of  ill being of course.

See, if you grew up with traffic noise and cars honking for no sensible reason, you are Nigerian! If you were forced to call every older person ‘daddy’ or ‘mummy’, kid yourself not, you are Nigerian. If you grew up watching ‘new masquerade’ or ‘super story’, you are from Nigerian. If you were more familiar with pap than custard, you are a Nigeria. If a teacher random has ever burst into your class like a ninja and beat you all for ‘noise making’ you are Nigerian. If you have ever had a stare down with the conductor of a ‘danfo’ over how much your change is supposed to be, you are Nigerian!

Our idea of traffic.

I appreciate the fact we all look the same now. But your American-born friend beside you has no clue what ‘akara’ tastes like and will not understand why you have a smile on your face when chicken nuggets at McDonalds remind you of akara. Your British friend beside you could have been your room mate for seven years, but ‘up nepa’ means nothing to him. Your Australian friends might support the same rugby team as you, but they has no clue who Rashidi Yekini is. You can be married to Chin Lee but pretty Chin has no idea what the sweet relief of ‘fan yogo’ in the scorching sun feels like.

I see the world as a global village. Interaction is being enhanced and many of us have been beneficiaries. I, for one can and will defend the dignity of Ireland to a fault. I have friends who have defended the US in battle. The love and affection, the sense of belonging and ownership we all feel for our foster countries should and will not be over ridden. But we are who we are.
If your grandparents were from Nigeria. Your parents are from Nigeria. Your family lineage can be traced up to the tenth generation on Nigerian soil. You were born in Nigeria. My dear, kid not thyself, you are Nigerian!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Charles Taylor: Justice served?

As much as the word ‘rain’ brings to mind ‘water’, his name has been synonymous with terror for a long time. Charles Taylor had been a scourge to the people of Liberia and environ for years.

Charles Taylor was born in Arthington, Liberia in 1948. He earned a degree at Bentley College in the US before returning to Liberia to work in the government of Samuel Doe. He had been instrumental in the coup that brought Samuel Doe to power in the first place. Killing the ex-president in the process. Well, what goes around comes around, as he, after being removed for embezzlement from the cabinet, led a mutiny that led to the now infamous coup against Doe.

During his time in office, Taylor ran down the Armed Forces of Liberia, dismissing thousands of former personnel, many of whom were ethnic Krahn brought in by former President Doe. In its place, he installed the Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU), the Special Operations Division of the Liberian National Police (LNP), which he used as his own private army.

I grew up in Africa and even as a child, I knew the atrocities he performed were horrible to say the very least. Children were killed. Women were raped and killed. Families were separated. The country was in ruins. In the house, a quick way to scare me into doing something was to mention the word ‘Liberia’ and I literarily froze. Put simply, Taylor was not the nicest of people and public figures.

The most important decision to modern Liberians probably came in July 2003 when Taylor agreed to resign. He had been under pressure from foreign governments and from rebels in his own country. In all fairness, there wasn’t much of a sensible choice other than the Gaddafi option which was to die standing his ground – which people like Taylor are not very likely to take. He left the country and fled to Nigeria where the president had offered him a safe haven provided he stay out of Liberian politics. He went to live in Calabar, Nigeria where he lived peacefully until his extradition was demanded by the Liberian president, Sirleaf-Johnson.

Taylor: Justice Served?

Under murky circumstances that include an alleged get-away attempt, he was apprehended and handed over to the Liberian authorities. Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian president breaking a promise (where have I seen that before).He was taken into custody on arrival in Liberia.

After a long legal to-and-fro, he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sierra Leone!
Personally, I’ll say a ‘duh’ sentence!

But the question is ‘is that all?’ What about his main atrocities, the ones in Liberia? Has he gotten away with them? I certainly hope not. What example would that be setting for others like Bobby Mugabe and the Equatorial Guinea leader both of whom are responsible for untold suffering on their unfortunate subjects?

Taylor is yet to be sentenced. And there’s not likely to be any sentence meted on him that is deserving of the untold atrocities he has committed against innocent victims. But the bigger concern here is that he is being punished for his lesser crime. And that begs the question, has he gotten away with his biggest crime of all?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rwandan Genocide

Rwandan Genocide.

“I was deep in prayer when the killers came to search the house a second time.”

“During that second search, the killers’ racket reached the edge of my prayers like an angry voice waking me from a dream. Then I heard four or five loud bangs next to my head, and they had my full attention. I realized that they were right there in the pastor’s bedroom! They were rummaging through his belongings, ripping things from the wall, lifting up the bed, and overturning chairs.

“I covered my mouth with my hands, fearing that they’d hear me breathing. They were only inches from my head . . . the floor was creaking in front of the wardrobe—the wardrobe! I thanked God again for it, but my heart still thumped against my chest.”

Can you imagine being this close to death?

The italicized paragraphs above are an excerpt from Imaculee Ilibagiza’s book ‘Left to tell’. One of the most compelling books I’ve ever come across. ‘Left to tell’ tells a young woman’s view of the Rwandan genocide.

Hotel Rwanda is a Hollywood re-construction of a hotel manager’s perspective on the genocice. Paul Rusesabagina had been the manager of the Hôtel des Diplomates. He saved about 1268 people from sure death during the genocide. A true hero in my opinion.

Both stories have one thing in common, horror!

The sheer horror and spate of destruction meted out on the Tutsis of Rwanda is almost unprecedented in the history of the planet. About 20% of the country’s population was wiped out within two to three months. That is the same as saying at the end of about three months; one in every five human beings in the country was dead. Just because they were Tutsis.

A good question to ask is ‘how did all these come about’?

For centuries there had been under boiling tensions between the Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority. The Tutsis had held control for centuries through a monarchy and the Hutus had come to power in a rebellion in 1962 and had overthrown the monarchy.

The resulting government was led by Grégoire Kayibanda. Kayibanda was then overthrown by his own minister for defence, Major Juvénal Habyarimana. Habyarimana held on to power for a long time. Longest time frame in the history of Rwandan presidents as a matter of fact. His government leaned towards favouring the Hutu majority. His government was obviously not as extreme as most Hutu extremists would expect. Also seeing as he was not entirely favouring the Tutsis, he was caught in no-man’s land.  His plane was shot down on the evening of 6 April 1994. Obviously the blame was shifted from camp to camp but seeing as the majority of the government was run by Hutus, the Tutsis had to go. They had always wanted it anyway and now here was an excuse.

Théodore Sindikubwabo was installed as the head of government. British intelligence report that Sindikubwabo and Hutu hardliners organized Habyarimana's assassination due to concerns over the Arusha Accords (which would have given Tutsis more say in the government). The Sindikubwabo administration came to power and under the control of Colonel Théoneste Bagosora carried out probably the greatest massacre in our time!

How did the world let this happen? How?!

The media was highly utilized to propagate propaganda to the Rwandan populace. Especially the radio (due to the high level of illiteracy). The Hutu majority of the country was turned overnight into one big, angry, violent, blood-thirsty set of demons. And the Hutus that refused to be turned were treated like the Tutsis they refused to kill. They were butchered! And mercilessly so too!

It was sheer horror. Dead bodies littered the streets. There was no hiding place for the helpless souls who had been left to fend for themselves. Even churches were not spared. Orphanages were rampaged. I remember Imaculee saying his brother’s head was split open because the Hutu militia guys wanted to see what his brain looked like seeing he had a master’s degree! I also saw a girl’s story of living in a pile of dead people for about 43 days! Horror cannot even describe what it was like.
But in all these, what flips me out the most is the reaction of the international community. Shameful will be a ridiculous understatement. Ridiculous would be flattering to the absolutely shocking response of the major players in the international community. They simply watched people get slaughtered. There can be an argument that they did not know what was going on but there’s no way I’m buying that. If they did not know what was going on, why did they all pull their citizens and expatriates out of the country? If they were not sure what was going on, why did they shut their embassies? If they were not aware what was going on, why did they keep shutting down the African voices in the UN assembly? They knew what was happening, they just chose to do nothing. The truth is, a little while earlier, the US had been faced with a similar situation in Somalia and it had not gone well and they did not want a repeat in Rwanda. So rather than approach the situation differently, they chose to do nothing.

I really am not making that up, they chose to do absolutely nothing and watch the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives!

However, as is any story, where there are villains, there are also heroes. The UN commander in Rwanda at the time was a man named Romeo Dallaire. Some hero he was. He defied the orders to pull out all his soldiers and stayed in the country. Obviously he wasn’t able so save all the lives, but he saved as many as possible. There was Henry Anyidoho, his Ghanaian deputy. When all or at least most of the other countries pulled out their troops from the United Nations mission, Anyidoho kept his Ghanaian troops. Phillipe Gillard of the Red Cross also stayed in the country. He was backed by the Red Cross international community. And what a job he did. There was a moment he was said to have physically stood up to Colonel Bagosora. If that doesn’t say ‘BRAVE’ I’m not sure what does. Carl Wilkens was also the only American remaining in the country. He didn’t have to stay, but he did. Paul Rusesebagina whose heroics are documented in the Hollywood flick ‘Hotel Rwanda’ was also worth his weight in gold. These are heroes. But I don’t think any hero holds a candle to Captain Mbaye Diagne. He held no gun. He used no force. He confronted the killers harmed with nothing but his charm and smile. He saved many lives driving and ferrying Tutsis to safety. And unfortunately he paid the ultimate price. I ask myself, if Diagne was a Canadian or a British soldier, how much mention and coverage would he get?

Mbaye Diagne: True hero

The genocide is gone and somehow the country has survived. Fortunately with a Tutsi currently in power. Justice is still being sought in some quarters I can imagine but can there really be justice for such a wide scale of destruction of human lives and souls?