There is indeed ‘no place to hide’ in the
African continent for war criminals, except you are a white one resident in
CHARLES TAYLOR’S ARREST: RECONCILIATION FOR WHITE WAR CRIMINALS,
‘JUSTICE‘ FOR BLACK ONES
Nigeria’s recent handover of the ex Liberian warlord and President, Charles
Taylor, to the International war crimes court, after intense pressure from the
United States has been greeted with the usual lazy banalities about there being
‘no place to hide’ for people guilty of crimes against humanity.
More especially in Africa, the main stop for liberals out to burnish their consciences
and conservatives eager for a bit of hypocritical bullying.
There is indeed ‘no place to hide’ in the African continent for
war criminals, except you are a white one resident in South Africa.
Charles Taylor was a brute, but compared to the ex leaders of Apartheid, now
enjoying a sunny retirement by beaches of Durban and Cape Town, true descendants
of the Nazi’s who lined the dock at Nuremberg, he was small beer.
In scale, duration and the sheer arrogance of their crimes, West African
warlords shrink into nothingness besides the white mass murderers who were forgiven
for limitless war crimes in Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and inside
South Africa itself.
The main charge against the former Liberian warlord, that he sponsored an undoubtedly
brutal rebellion in neighbouring Sierra Leone, pales before the murderous subversion
which for 25 years the Nazi leaders of South Africa imposed on its neighbours.
Through the countless bloody invasions it staged of Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe
and other former frontline states. Hundreds of villages, refugee camps and towns
were razed, tens of thousands killed and thousands of children and women were
gang raped by the dreaded racist South African army. The deliberate terror carpet
bombing of civilian targets was indiscriminate and relentless.
Just as Taylor sponsored Foday Sankoh’s vicious rebels in neighbouring
Sierra-Leone, so did South Africa’s white leaders sponsor, for two decades,
perhaps some of the most chillingly barbarous rebel groups the continent has
ever seen - in Angola and Mozambique.
In Angola, the late Jonas Savimbi, perhaps the most hated man on the continent
when he lived, was armed and funded by the apartheid regime to devastate and
destroy that country. Land mines were sowed like rice; on farms, around schools,
clinics and towns, making Angola the amputee capital of the world (disfiguring
far more people than the ‘hand choppers’ of Sierra Leone ever did).
In Mozambique an even more frenziedly savage gang, the MNR, was sponsored by
South Africa to subvert the country. The MNR didn’t’ waste time
with land mines, they simply herded whole villages together and either hacked
them to death or burnt them alive. They are reputed to have killed more than
When apartheid collapsed, the cry from the western media, human rights groups
and NGO’s was not for justice (this is never the case when white mass
murderers are guilty of killing dark skinned people) but for ‘reconciliation’
avoiding a ‘divisive’ trial, it was to let ‘bygones be bygones’
to resist the primordial urge for ‘revenge’.
Nelson Mandela happily obliged, letting these unrepentant mass murderers off
the hook, free to enjoy their ill gotten wealth, insult their victims and travel
round the world in peace without even a visa ban in sight. For this he was canonized
by the same western liberals who were recently girdling their loins to demonise
Obasanjo, the Nigerian president, before he capitulated, for attempting the
same ‘matured approach’ with Charles Taylor.
One war criminal, a black African leader, has been rewarded with an international
show trial for stepping down from power to prevent further bloodshed in his
country. The last war criminal that did same, the white Frederick De Klerk was
given the Nobel peace price. The hypocrisy stinks out the highest reaches of
If justice can be sacrificed for peace to save white lives, why can’t
the same apply to black lives?
The argument that a democratic regime in South Africa granted the former leaders
amnesty is specious. The war crimes committed by the former political and military
leaders of South Africa were carried out beyond its borders where its legal
jurisdiction and thus amnesty cannot reach.
The aim of the staggering double standards of war crimes trials in Africa is
quite clear. By focusing on black war criminals it perpetuates and reinforces
the old myth that black brutality in Africa is endemic and ingrained in its
culture, but that its historically more genocidal white brutality is due to
‘complex reasons' or ‘difficult ancient problems' deserving of a
more nuanced and sensitive approach, thus, the potential for western control
of the continent is maintained and assured.
Thus in Africa, four decades after colonialism, we are still told to punish
our black tormentors, but forgive our white ones. This cannot be justice.