Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Failing to see the forest for the trees

I was listening to the Network Africa program on the BBC World Service. The program interviewed a man imprisoned by the regime of Hissène Habré. The former Chadian dictator is in exile in Senegal and there's heavy international pressure on the Senegalese authorities to extradite him to Belgium where he's been indicted on crimes against humanity under that country's universal jurisdiction law.

Several Network listeners objected to Habré being tried in Belgium, opining that the Belgian justice system should be more occupied with eludicating the mystery of the murder of (DR) Congo's first leader Patrice Lumumba. The assassination of Lumumba, which is universally recognized to have involved at least Belgium and the United States, is certainly one of the more despicable incidents of foreign meddling in post-colonial Africa.

But if one is going to get outraged at Belgian hypocrisy regarding crimes against humanity, isn't it more compelling to invoke one of the worst crimes against humanity of all time? Specifically the horror of Belgian King Leopold's Congo Free State, a genocide which some estimate cost as many as 10 million lives.


At 5:42 AM, Blogger Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

hear, HEAR!!


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