If we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.
That was President Obama March 28 explaining why NATO forces had to intercede so quickly in Libya.
Meanwhile, a city in Ivory Coast was left to suffer a similar massacre with almost no one worried about the conscience of the world.
According to Catholic missionaries – the only ones still brave enough to stay there and help – some 1,000 people were recently slaughtered in the town of Duekoue. The United Nations insisted that “peacekeeping forces” were stationed in the area – but had no official comment as to how the massacre happened despite them being there.
Since the American media have done nothing to educate you on this story, allow me to provide a primer.
A guy named Laurent Gbagbo (pronounced guh-BAG-bo) has been the president of Ivory Coast since 2000. Like most privileged leaders in that region, Gbagbo is not a very nice guy. His term was supposed to end in 2005, but he didn’t feel like leaving so he canceled the election.
The United Nations wanted regime change without a military intervention.
Enter one Alassane Ouattara (pronounced WHAT-arah). Ouattara insisted that an election be held in 2010 so he could challenge Gbagbo. He was the UN’s darling from the start.
But locals were not entirely enthusiastic about him being their only option for reform. Outtara has very thin ties to Ivory Coast. He was born there, but only through immigrant parents, and promptly left the country to attend college elsewhere. He was educated at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Then he lived inside the beltway so he could work for the International Monetary Fund. In 1988 he was put in charge of the IMF’s presence in Africa. In 1990 he returned to Ivory Coast to serve as an economic advisor for the government.
Now you know why he’s the UN’s darling. Gbagbo’s party said in 2010 that it was willing to hold an election, but not with Outtara on the ballot.
Outtara won a general election last December. Gbagbo’s government declared him illegitimate to hold the office and accused the UN of running a dog and pony show. The UN declared their man the winner and refused to work with Gbagbo as the acting president anymore.
This brand of regime change worked about as well as expected. That is, both sides now have armed supporters forcibly wrenching control one city at a time.
The massacre in Duekoue was allegedly done by Outtara supporters. That would explain why the UN doesn’t want to talk about it. Investigations are going on right now, mostly done by charity workers and the press, to see if the massacre can indeed be traced back to Outtara’s friends.
If that turns out to be true, the UN will be in a tough spot. It will have three options:
1) Turn against its own darling and punish Outtara’s forces for the genocide.
2) Pretend the evidence just doesn’t exist.
3) Show how Gbagbo is equally bad, hold up evidence of another massacre carried out by his guys, and insist that civil war is a messy affair.
Now you know why the press is so slow to cover this story and why Obama is so reluctant to get involved. France’s president Sarkozy has promised to step up his country’s efforts in Ivory Coast. Time will tell if he does any good there.
Meanwhile, citizens in Ivory Coast – used to the sight of women being massacred by the army – are hunkered down in their homes, too afraid to even walk out on the street to buy groceries. Charity workers claim they are running out of food and medicine.
Please say a prayer for the people in this troubled country whose destinies have no influence on the price of oil.