Hugh Paxton’s blog wrote a fiction/non fiction novel about the appalling atrocities committed in Sierra Leone (West Africa) by doped up, homicidal, voodoo-fueled child soldiers motivated by sadistic leaders who wanted blood diamonds. Homunculus is the title of the book. And publisher CEO of PanMacmillan went on record as being proud to have published the most politically incorrect book of the year. It’s a very violent book but also very funny.
In truth nothing that happened was particularly funny. Unless you are the sort of person who laughs at freak shows. It was one of the most sordid cases of civilian abuse in Africa since the latest sordid abuse of civilians in Africa. Which was probably last week.
Today, former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, a key instigator and facilitator in the years long horror, has been found guilty in the Hague by an international tribune. He will be sent to prison. This will be a sort of closure for the thousands of people who had their limbs ‘chopped’ by his Revolutionary United Front bush soldiers, the women who had their wombs opened by pangas, and a generation brutalised, harried, murdered and maimed.
Watching Taylor, in his suit, looking respectable and pleading innocent reminded me of how convincing African monsters can appear.
And there are lots of them still doing it. And lots of people thinking “Hey, that chap looks OK. He cares. It’s all the fault of colonialism. Etc”
Assuming there is any sense of discomfort in Africa’s geriatric dictators about their crimes, perhaps it might cause a sleepless night.
Bottom line? I doubt it. If the Hague is serious it would have to extradite and prosecute lots of African presidents. Start with Mugabe. His hands are stained with blood and ruin.
If there was any real justice Taylor would be sent to one of his own prisons. But he won’t be. He’ll go to a nice kind European prison. There was a bit of justice in the case of Zimbabwe. The Hague had nothing to do with it.
“Hitler, I am Hitler” Humsvei, one of Mugabe’s principle torturers died of AIDS and had a rotten ending.
I don’t know. I hope this Hague thing works and expands. But I don’t think it has the guts to go for Mugabe. I can’t see it arresting George Bush or the House of Saud.