“Laurent Gbagbo must understand violence will get him nowhere,” said French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet while French attack helicopters and troops attacked Abidjan.
There is a new Euphemism: “protecting civilians”. This is the catch word used to provide air to ground support to rebels in the Libyan desert and it now used to justify France’s destruction of the Ivorian Army while pro-Ouattara rebels conduct the ground offensive.
Monday, Bus 47, between Censier and Gobelins: The woman in the wheel chair. Her left leg was amputated above the knee, her old clothes much too big and the beige woolen bonnet meant I could not tell her age. Her worldly belongings were in three plastic bags hanging off the the back of the wheel chair. Two of the bags caught my eye because of the bright blue and the bright yellow which clashed with the Gray of an early Spring day. The homeless woman used her two hands and one foot to try to advance but was making little headway. Pedestrians passed by without notice. Where was this homeless amputee going? Where did she come from?
First I want to make it clear: Qaddafi does not like me and I don’t like him. He refused me a visa to report there more than once.
But I have to voice my opinion against this war on Libya because it is wrong and risks creating a disaster and turmoil which will last for years.
French courts on Friday, February 18, struck another serious blow at Freedom of Speech in the country when they found conservative reporter and pundit, Eric Zemmour, guilty of “inciting racial hatred”.
I have deicded to post again on the crisis in the Cote d’Ivoire. I removed my previous post after having it called ill advised (by a friend) or rubbish (by a pro-Ouattara) because it was not substantiated enough. Althoug this post has more f*** references, I don’t think right now Africans need intellectual masterbation on the intricasies of international law. What they need is Justice!
Although I maintain my position on the idea there has been an international effort to get rid of Gbagbo and that double standards have been applied to the country since the 2002 failed coup and French military intervention, it has been pointed out to me by several sources (some hostile, some friendly) that my arguments were not sufficiently researched and I was undermining my position. I am sure we will see in the weeks to come that the International Community misjudged their hand. If I have the time (I am no academic or State Deparmment official with lots of access and aid) I will try to develop my arguments further. But I cannot promise I will find the time.
In the meantime, to get a balanced approach to the Ivory Coast, which you are not getting in most of the Western Press, check out what those African politicians and academics who back Gbagbo are saying.
I am enclosing below a statement from former Ghanaen President Jerry J. Rawlings which I feel strongly reflects the position of many Africans.
I was standing outside the metro station when I heard a loud bang and a scraping roar. Another bang and the medium sized black-lacquered guitar came scraping out onto the sidewalk and banged into the foot of a Bangali-looking man waiting there.
Without any apology, without even looking at the man, the nine-year-old Gypsy kid runs up to his guitar, tosses it and gives it another kick. He is followed by his father in blue jeans, a denim jacket and a military cap. Both have short black hair and the dark Eastern European Gypsy complexion.
The boy takes another kick, misses and his foot lands on top of the guitar. So the father gives it a kick – bang, roar – showing his son how to have fun destroying a work of art made to create beauty.
I wonder what this kid will be doing for fun in five years? But above all, I understand French anger.
There is something wrong when 50 people on the margins make the headlines around the planet and threaten world peace for simply exercising their First Amendment Right to freedom of expression. There is something wrong when they are pressured not to do it because it will spark violence among people who reject our notions of freedom. There is something fundamentally wrong when we are willing to sacrifice our freedoms for fear of attack from those who don’t like our ‘civilization’.
Open space offices are a nightmare. I am forced to live in intimacy the greater part of my day in a newsroom with people I would not even go to the café with. There are some things one should only have to put up with one’s chosen partner.
In his 2004 book, Colossus, Niall Ferguson argues the United States is an empire and should assume its rightful place as the inheritor of Britain’s 19th century ‘White Man’s Burden’. He decries the American schizophrenia of being an empire in denial, sending troops abroad without the intention of staying and being squeamish when GIs die. Ferguson says we should go, stay and impose our will for world order and to prevent chaos.
This may seem easy to say for a man comfortable in the Ivory Towers of Oxford and Harvard who never did military service, much less saw the harsh realities of war but he does have a point. Americans need to back their wars or not fight them and that is why I say we need to bring back the draft.