But the painful truth as propounded by Holbrooke is that unless Africa is sanitized of the Taylors and Compaores in its political development, the seeds of death and poverty will continue to be fertilized. Relief agencies will remain de facto governments. The United Nations will be confronted with a bottomless pit in raising funds to feed the ever multiplying numbers of hungry refugees and displaced people produced by such individuals.
Africa will remain a beggar continent. This is why humane and rational voices from afar must be accepted on the basis of their truthfulness and not from which skin color they come. Of course, racism makes one a racist, just as tribalism makes one a tribalist. But the evidence given to us by Holbrooke and others must convince Africans of the disease men like Taylor and Compaore are spreading and the need to stop them. The humiliation and curse is that after bitter struggles for independence, against racism, Africa can produce the Taylors and Compaores as political leaders. This, in itself, is a testament of the political sorrows covering the Continent in recent years, negating all the gains of independence and bitter liberation struggles.2
Thus, Africa’s current catastrophe is far from being a question of race in terms of the prejudices that mar perceptions of whites regarding Africans. It is now, more than ever, a question of the very survival of the African race. With the Taylors and Compaores fomenting ties with international criminal syndicates to implant the seeds of anarchy and therefore poverty on an already poor continent, the African race is on its knee begging for salvation from anywhere, as can be seen in the thousands of peacekeeping forces sent around the Continent instead of teachers, doctors, etc., and hundreds of well-paid relief workers replacing agriculturists. This brings another dimension and question to Africa’s tragedy. What can Europe and America do about the hundreds of their citizens flocking to Africa in the service of the Savimbis, Taylors and Compaores? Should they not be treated like drug smugglers, which in many cases they are? The presence and activities of one American or European arms trafficker, illicit diamond dealer, logging merchant, his or her activities, lead to the production of hundreds of refugees and thousands of displaced people, not to mention the economic and social malaise left behind as they fly with millions of dollars back to Europe or America.
Combating men who cutoff children’s limbs for wealth, destroy schools, hospitals, water and electricity plants to gain political power, without finding ways to handle their “advisors” and “technicians” from Europe and America poses immense difficulties. But voices like Holbrooke’s provide a glimpse of hope that all is not lost, that there is a positive aspect of our global humanity as emphasized by that that great son of Africa, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who believes Good has overcome Evil in our world. Hitler was defeated. So was Apartheid, he reasoned, giving us hope for a brighter future. Humane global sons such as Holbrooke will be vindicated no matter how criminals inject the virus of race to win sympathy in their destructive schemes for crude personal wealth.
In Africa’s struggle against poverty and self-destruction, race is increasingly becoming a non-factor because money is a powerful binding and adhesive force setting many agendas and dismantling borders. After all, it is that son of African decent, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who gave the world a different and distorted picture of what is happening in West Africa, contrasting the views of men like Holbrooke. While the World concludes that Sankoh was dangerous to Sierra Leone, this Baptist preacher, a disciple of Martin Luther King, believes the man is a “positive” factor in ending the country’s nightmare even if his trademarks are theft and child amputations. Jackson believes this man, who makes his living by hacking off the limbs of children or recruiting them into his rebel army of loot and plunder, is a “Mandela”. But between Holbrooke and Jackson, victims of these atrocities have no problem deciding which voice to hear.
And yet, Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Monie Captan, contends Holbrooke has opted to champion justice because he wants to be Secretary of State in the next Democratic Administration. “Mr. Captan said Mr. Taylor was working for peace in Sierra Leone. In an interview, he accused Mr. Holbrooke of making accusations against Mr Taylor to advance his campaign to become secretary of state if Vice President Al Gore wins the presidency”, reported The New York Times. The truth is that if Africans were voters in American elections, Holbrooke would in no doubt become Secretary of State because with men like him at the top, their weak voices could be heard.