Urban warfare and ethnic cleansing was causing thousands of deaths and unimaginable amount of displaced persons. Pleas and calls for help were being sent to stop the carnage. But where are those nations who pressured the incumbent president Gbagbo to step down after a disputed election gave the challenger, Alassane Ouattara the plurality of votes even though the count was disputed.
Gbagbo was still holed up in his compound and had a strong following of his backers. According to the election, the country is almost equally divided between the two men. The prime fighting at this time is occurring at the main city Ivorian city of Abidjan where mass killings are reported. But last week, Gbagbo surrendered to the forces of Ouattara.
In other parts of the country, particularly in the western city of Duékoué, where large-scale massacres have already occurred, the death toll could reach thousands within days. Ex-President Gbagbo has now called for full military mobilisation to protect his palace and other key installations as a last-stand effort. (Demands for intl action to stop Côte d’Ivoire “massacre”: Afrol News April 4, 2011)
While the U.S., NATO, and the UN are concentrating on winning a coup in Libya, they largely stood by and watched as thousands of innocent Ivory Coast citizens were being slaughtered. There are other countries in Africa who are facing similar uprisings.
Larry Elder, a black columnist for the Jewish World Review in the U.S. has recently written an article entitled, “Why Isn’t Obama ‘Racist’ for Ignoring Black Africa? ”. His points are extremely well taken. He refers to “justified military force in Libya to avert “a humanitarian crisis.” as the reason given for those international forces being involved in Libya. A humanitarian crisis? The numbers of killings in Libya did not come close to that which is happening in the Ivory Coast, the Congo and Zimbabwe. There are other ongoing ethnic cleansings which rise and fall in some of the countries.
I have to side with Elder. Are these people’s lives not worth as much as those in the other countries? Or is it oil? Or is it Muslims? Gbagbo, the beleaguered ex-president of the Côte d’Ivoire. is of the Christian faith. Ouattara is Muslim.
There has to be some reason for the international leaders to jump feet first into the fray in Libya. If they feel that any new government will be more friendly towards the West, I believe they should rethink that position. Give me a reason that will be the case. The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the strongest anti-American organizations world wide. And it is reported that they are very active in the present anti-government uprisings in the far east.
It makes little sense that suddenly the majority of the Arab nations and a number of the African nations have decided to rise up against their government of many years. The last Kenyan election brought violence and killings over much the same situation as that of the current Ivory Coast one. A pro-Muslim candidate, challenged the vote count and the refusal of the incumbent to relent, caused rioting and killings, many people were displaced and others lived in fear for weeks. Finally an international effort proposed a compromise where the Muslim candidate was given the position of Prime Minister.
But that country also faces the possibility of more of the same when the next election comes around and it is unlikely that the violence will be as readily calmed.
Meanwhile, the Ivory Coast may still embroiled in a civil war, well over half a million estimated to have been displaced, and many thousands killed. Over 80,000 Ivory Coast citizens have fled to Liberia along with several thousand more of third country residents and Liberian returnees. And according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) there are at least 20,000 more of this same mix of people who have fled to Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Niger. For an interesting video on this subject Click Here.
It remains to be see if the opposing forces will now stop their killing and help return the Ivory Coast to a safe and profitable economy.