In a recent article published in the influential Washington, D.C., journal, "Foreign Affairs," Dr. Stephen Ellis claimed, among other things, that:
Sierra Leone started out as colony under British auspices in 1787, serving as a refuge for homeless black people from the streets of London (many of them veterans of the wrong side of the American War of Independence). After the British departed in 1961, the new country quickly succumbed to corruption and misrule under the long reign of Siaka Stevens (1968-85). War broke out in 1991 and began to taper off only after British troops arrived in May 2000.
To state, as the author does, that "Sierra Leone started out as colony under British auspices in 1787, serving as a refuge for homeless black people from the streets of London (many of them veterans of the wrong side of the American War of Independence)," begs the following questions:
Was the territory called SL uninhabited before the arrival there of alleged American fugitives?"
If so, where did the rest of the population come from in the immediate aftermath of the founding of SL?
If not, how could SL have "started out" as "a refuge for homeless black people from the streets of London," when, in fact, there were people already living there who were not refugees?
It is plain that anyone who is familiar with Africa's history, in general, and SL's, in particular, already knows the answer to the above questions. Therefore, one could ascribe the author's above-quoted misstatements to a lack of familiarity with the subject of his article -- the history of SL. However, the facts evident in the rest of his article are more persuasive of a different, and far more troubling, conclusion, namely: That, unfortunately, he was indulging in a deliberate distortion of the truth about the history of SL in order to distort the truth about the future of our country.
Significantly, the author's real goal, as stated in the summary of his article, is to justify the external imposition, by force of arms, if necessary, of "trusteeship," (another euphemism for recolonization) upon SL and Liberia, among other countries he referred to as "failed states in Africa." However, he seeks to shield his goal from the stigma of another European usurpation of the sovereign rights of Africans, more than 200 hundred years after Europeans invaded Africa to start another plunder and pillage that only ended nominally with the advent of independent African countries 50 years ago. So, the author helpfully suggests that the Western former slave masters and colonialists return to the scene of their serial crime spree under the respectable cover of the United Nations, since "since it alone can confer the kind of legitimacy critical to such projects," viz.
What is called for now are multilateral joint ventures in which certain countries and institutions share control over key operations. In such missions, the UN should still play a fundamental role (although not an administrative one), since it alone can confer the kind of legitimacy critical to such projects.
Predictably, the author carefully omits in his consequently fraudulent evaluation of Africa's current problems, the fact that it was those same Western countries that now brazenly seek to promote themselves as Africa's only savior, which are, in fact, the preponderant source of Africa's current problems.
Instead of duly admitting that fact, which is now universally acknowledged among independent knowledgeable circles, even in Western countries, the author, regrettably, brazenly and repeatedly implies that the only time SL has run into grave economic, political and social problems is when the British were not around to preside over the fate of S/Leoneans, viz.
After the British departed in 1961, the new country quickly succumbed to corruption and misrule under the long reign of Siaka Stevens (1968-85). War broke out in 1991 and began to taper off only after British troops arrived in May 2000.
Alas, if only the British and/or British troops had stayed in SL, or returned there, to stop the IMF from foisting upon poor S/Leoneans the serial devaluation of SL's currency, the Leone, by nearly 200,0000 (two hundred THOUSAND) percent, during the even longer reign of the IMF (1971 - the present), the average S/Leonean would not today be 200,000 times POORER than the average American or British!
Or, if only the British and/or British troops had marched upon Washington, D.C., to drag their own representatives from the IMF and World Bank board meetings where the decisions were being made to grant foreign "aid" to SL, the average S/Leonean would not be dying today before s/he reaches age 42 because the clueless SL government repeatedly worshipped at the altar of unquenchable Western greed during the continuing lengthy reign of those two Bretton Woods institutions in the destruction of SL's future (1971 to the present)!
Clearly, it is rank hypocrisy of biblical proportions which underlies the patent posturing of the author and those like-minded Westerners who brazenly continue to hold themselves and/or their Western entities out to the world as Africa's only salvation from the very problems that their own infinitely more corrupt governments preponderantly created in unwitting alliance with the clueless despots otherwise known as African leaders.
The sad truth is that it is the misrule of those unpatriotic African politicians which is a legitimate blot on Africa's reputation. However, that does not -- and can not -- hide the distinguished record of Africa's current bright generation whose accomplished members living and working successfully in Western countries give the lie to the racist myth that all Africans, and only Africans, are uniformly incompetent and corrupt.
That is simply not true. As I have stated here before, incompetence and corruption can be found in any and every race, and not just among Africans.
Unless, or course, these latter-day Western "saviors" of Africa would have us believe that the most notorious bunglers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina here in the U.S. -- Michael Brown, the recently departed head of FEMA (the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency), and George W. Bush, President of the U.S. -- are Africans!
Mohamed A. Jalloh (Moh'm J)
© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.