"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." - Albert Einstein
“An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.” Buddha
“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” - Socrates
In the course of producing my TV interview programme – Focus on Africans ((FOA) which currently runs on the CineAfrik channel of Ghana’s MultiTV station), I have been privileged to meet an incredible array of truly great, talented and outstanding Africans from diverse backgrounds.
Producing FOA has been a revelation; it has revealed to me the depth of passion Africans have for our beautiful continent.
One endearing thing I have found out is that irrespective of national origins, almost African I’ve met outside of Africa is a passionate Pan-Africanist who wishes the continent well.
Our sociologists in Africa should try and find out why we make so good Africans outside of Africa, only to resort to tribal and ethnic prejudices when we live inside of Africa.
The main theme of the FOA programme, apart from sharing with viewers the experiences of the guests, is also to pose the question as to why our great continent, Africa, continue to lag behind others.
The recurring answer we get is the type of poor leadership leaders in Africa provide.
Almost all the people we have spoken to agree with the great novelist, Chinua Achebe, that poor leadership is at the bane of Africa’s chronic under-development.
Our guests cite lack of vision as the single issue bedeviling governance in Africa; they all bemoan the paucity of quality leaders with transformational ideas and visions.
They cite the abundant mineral resources of Africa and the huge pool of young, enterprising and (now) highly educated pool of human resources they believe could propel the continent to super-power status in few years, if properly channeled by leaders with visions.
None of our guest can mention a single sitting leader in Africa who has any vision to lift the people up.
Our guests contrast this sad state with the enthusiastic post-independence periods, when the continent was suffused with leaders with big dreams/ideas and who could rub shoulders with statesmen across the world. Mention is made of Kwame Nkrumah, Kenneth Kaunda, Nnamdi Azikwe, Julius Nyerere, Obafemi Awolowo as example of leaders with clear visions about what they wanted to do.
Almost all our participants have also been very merciless with the perceived greediness, selfishness and the traits of primitive acquisitiveness exhibited by current leaders in Africa.
Many of them feel shamed that Africa’s current crops of leaders tend to lend credence to the racist stereo-types of Africans as happy-go-lucky, mindless consumers who give little thought for tomorrow.
Many also opined that African leaders appear to be people who allow the allure of offices to woo them over principles.
Sadly, our leaders in Africa themselves continue to give value to the perception that they will hold tenaciously to any position however untenable the situation.
Even were the offices to be bereft of any authority, Africans will still be found to occupy it, as long as they can continue to draw salaries and other appurtenances.
“Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” - Jerry Garcia.
It is in this light that recent pronouncements by Mr. Kofi Annan, ex-Secretary General of the United Nations become quite problematic and very difficult to swallow.
“Apathy and evil. The two work hand in hand. They are the same, really.... Evil wills it. Apathy allows it. Evil hates the innocent and the defenseless most of all.
Apathy doesn't care as long as it's not personally inconvenienced.” Jake Thoene
I don’t know who Mr. Annan advisers were, but methinks that they very wrongly advised him to come out of his retirement, with pronouncements that could only provoke outrage from those who did not allow their memories to be short.
The tragedies that happened under Mr. Annan’s watch are just too vast, and they are far too recent for him to embark on any stupid PR stunt.
According to a recent BBC Outlook programme: “Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has revealed one of his greatest regrets was the fact he was not able to prevent the Rwandan massacre of 1994, in which nearly a million people were killed.
About 800 thousand people were killed in the ethnic war in 1994 in the East African country.
Mr. Annan, who was then the Head of the UN Department for Peace keeping, however explained why the body had some difficulties in stopping the killings.
The former UN Secretary General who was speaking on the BBC’s OUTLOOK programme said “we knew we will not get the mandate to do a more assertive action in Rwanda which would also imply additional resources- men and women” however there was just about 600 troops available for his office to work with.
Mr. Annan described the situation as “very frustrating and we withdrew some of those who were on the ground because the governments didn’t want to take the risk”.
“And it is frustrating because of as Head of Peace keeping or even as Secretary General, you are as strong as the member states. If they don’t give me the troops and the resources, there is nothing much you can do,” Mr. Annan told host of the programme Matthew Bannister.
Kofi Annan who felt sorry over the situation recalled making a statement that “if genocide cannot make us move, then what could move us?” in expressing disgust at the low level of commitment member states showed to the Rwandan situation which eventually resulted in the killings.”
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Haba, Mr. Annan! If the killing of 800,000 human beings did not spur you to resign your position in protest, what exactly do you mean when you said: “if genocide cannot make us move, then what could move us?”
What movement exactly are you talking about, Sir?
If the Rwandan genocide (perpetrated on Africans) did not move you, an African, sufficiently, why do you expect it to move non-Africans, Mr. Annan?
I found Mr. Annan’s assertion: “And it is frustrating because of as Head of Peace keeping or even as Secretary General, you are as strong as the member states. If they don’t give me the troops and the resources, there is nothing much you can do,” just pathetic.
“The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.” – Any Rand
You could have resign, Mr. Annan; you could have resigned!
If those that employed you refused to give you the means to do your job (in this case troops), it means only one thing viz: that ‘THEY’ did not want you to do the job. The only honourable thing left for you is to resign your vacuous office!
There is a thing call honour, Mr. Annan.
African tradition put great value on honour, hence the Yoruba saying “Iku ya ju esin / Death is preferable to ignominy/public ridicule.”
By denying you the troops to forestall a massacre, the powers that be clearly wanted you to fail, thereby exposing you to public ridicule.
You had the choice then to redeem your name\image simply by resigning, thereby refusing to be part of the massacre.
Since you elected instead to stay on, you become an accomplice\accessory to the crime.
“Those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters, for without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves we collude with it through our apathy.” - J. K. Rowling
Sorry, Mr. Annan, it is a choice you made and it is a choice with which you have to live.
However hard you might try, there is no way history can absolve you from the Rwandan massacre, Mr. Annan – you are simply just too complicit.
In your position, Sir, a honourable person position would have resigned and stormed out of the UN Building in protest.
You didn’t resign and, for reasons best known to you, you went along with the charade that led to the massacre in Rwanda and the wholesale destruction of Iraq.
This is an unconscionable act and one that is quite unpardonable. But it was a choice you made and it a choice you just have to live with.
By clinging to your untenable and quite ridiculous position as an impotent Peace Keeping Chief, totally bereft of any power or authority, you did grievous damage to your own personal reputation, and also to the entire Black Race that look up to you.
History is replete with men and women who honourably chose to step down from their high positions, rather than blemish their character and reputations.
To refresh your memory, Mr. Annan, your immediate predecessor, Bhouros Bhouros Ghali, elected to lose his re-election bid rather than play the lackey of the imperialists.
That most principled stand made Mr. Ghali an eternal hero to many people.
Alas, you gladly stepped into the position so honourably vacated by that illustrious son of Africa.
Mr. Annan, no one forced you; you chose, of your own volition, to be the puppet dog of the imperialists, so kindly spare us any crocodile lamentations!
Your cries of regrets are pathetically inadequate, Mr. Annan; they are just too late and they help none.
It would simply have been best had you chosen not to open your mouth and re-open those painful and perfidious and truly dark chapters of history we still try to come to terms with.
Would your regrets, whatever they are worth, bring back the close to million lives lost in Rwanda?
Would your apology of an apology bring back the Iraqis killed under your watch, Mr. Annan?
It is difficult for some of us to think how people like you can look at themselves in the mirror and like what they see.
How do you sleep well at night, Mr. Annan, knowing full well that on your conscience lies the death of million or so of human beings?
Since no one has questioned your sanity, we have to think that you partook in the charade that led to the destruction of Iraq and the death of uncountable number of Iraqis on your own volition.
Not only did you sit on your filthy throne at the UN and partake in the perpetration of vast and evil crimes, your own son benefited from your callous participation in one of the tragedies that ever befell the world.
And you want us to take serious your dirges of regrets!
Close to a MILLION souls perished under YOUR watch and all you could render was an apology of an apology!
It is said that the hottest part of hell is reserved for those that kept silent in the times of moral crises.
However hard you try to whitewash your connivance with the perpetrators of evil, history will judge you very harshly, Mr Annan, for:
1. Heading an ineffectual Peace-Keeping operation under whose nose close to a million human beings were massacred;
2. for heading the UN, the body that authorized the criminal invasion and destruction of Iraq.
Yes, you had no army and you didn’t give an order for anyone to be killed, but you had in abundance a moral authority you could have used when the occasion called for it.
Your resignation and very public loud condemnation of the conspiracy against the Rwandan and Iraqi people may or may not have stopped the imperialist aggressions and conspiracies, but you would have written your name in pure gold had you done just that.
Rather than engage today in silly and contemptible ratiocination, millions of Africans (myself included) would have celebrated you as a genuine hero and I am sure that millions of men and women of goodwill\conscience would have happily join us.
I say that no amount of stupid rationalization or ratiocination can whitewash your wish-washy acquiescence with the imperialists, which led to destruction of so many million lives.
Mr. Annan, I rest my case by commending to you these words of Any Rand: “There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.”