Many countries around the world have had civil wars or armed conflicts, for want of a better term, as the conflict in Sierra Leone was not so much a civil war as an exercise in depravity and a display of how horrible the human being can be if there were no laws to govern their behavior. When I was an Economics examiner for the West African Examinations Council many years ago, my chief examiner who happened to be a Ghanian, Ayisi I believe his name was if I can still remember correctly (I have this uncanny ability to remember people's names, I can still remember the names of all my teachers from class 1 to upper 6th in Grammar School; weird!) asked me a question that haunts me to this day. Sheriff, he asked "why are Sierra Leoneans so wicked?" At the time I was a little offended by the question, as I thought that there was nothing different between the Sierra Leonean and any other African. Many human beings were wicked, in my opinion, if given the chance to exercise their true nature without fear of a legal consequence. Mr. Ayisi seemed to be unconvinced, but out of sensitivity to my reaction and demeanor at the time, he did not continue the subject further.
|Golden Globe winner Mia Farrow|
Then yesterday as I was browsing the Internet reading contemporary and historical world news, I came across two different reactions to the verdict of guilt against former Liberian Warlord turned president Charles G.Taylor whose eldest son, Charles Taylor Junior (Chucky) is languishing in an American jail on a lengthy sentence of crimes against humanity, and who himself is in the Hague awaiting sentence after being found guilty of 11 counts of crimes against humanity ranging from rape, murder, mutilations, all the way to slavery and the use of children to perpetrate acts of such depravity, that even Satan would have been in awe.
I once read a story a story of a mad man in Freetown who went up to another mad man and said to him, "fellow we are all mad, but you make all of us mad men feel ashamed." Yesterday after reading the reaction of Mia Farrow to the Charles Taylor verdict and reading the reaction of Sierra Leone opinion journalist Sylvia Olayinka Blyden to the same verdict, Mr. Ayisi's question came back to me just as if he had asked it that very moment, "why are Sierra Leoneans so wicked to each other?" I also remembered the saying "fellow we are all mad, but you make mad us feel ashamed"
|Sylvia "the troll" Blyden|
Mia Farrow is a prominent American Movie star born on February 9, 1945 in Los Angeles, California to film director John Farrow and classic Tarzan girl actress Maureen O'Sullivan. Mia is a talented multi-award winning actress who has been nominated for many very prestigious acting awards and has won the Golden Globe, one of the most coveted acting awards in the world, and many other prominent acting awards. Her full biograpy and filmography can be found at the Independent Movie Data Base IMDB website, but she is the star of movie classics as Rosemary's Baby, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Purple Rose of Cairo and many more. Her latest movie is 2011's Dark Horse. She has gone on to act in many TV series, prominently the 60s classic, Peyton Place. She is also a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and was a major witness at Taylor's war crimes trial.
At Taylor's trial Mia Farrow recalled an incident in 1997 in South Africa after a dinner hosted by African hero Nelson Mandela that was recounted to her by supermodel Naomi Campbell. Mia said that Campbell had told her over breakfast the next day that some men had come to her room in the middle of the night claiming to be from Charles Taylor and her given her a very big diamond, though Campbell had earlier testified in the trial that the men had given her a pouch of dirty looking pebbles which she did not know were diamonds. Mia countered Naomi's story and stated that the supermodel was excited in the morning and said "Oh my God, in the middle of the night I was awoken by a knock at the door and it was by men sent by Charles Taylor and he sent me a huge diamond"
|Taylor had the hots for Naomi Campbell|
When Mia Farrow heard the verdict against Charles Taylor she was happy, angry and relieved and thought that the day was a very good day for human rights. She recalled a story of a man whose arm had been amputated by the rebels asked that his son be spared, only to have the other hand cut off to spare the sons arm. She said the man had been a witness at the trial of Taylor and her thought was with such victims, many of whom had been brave to come forward to testify. Mia said that Charles Taylor was not unique, as history and time has shown time and again that given the right set of conditions, men will behave with such impunity. This case was important in her opinion in that it shows that no one was above the law and leaders may be cautious how they behaved in the future. This was an emotion by an American, who took time off her extremely busy schedule to testify at Taylor's trial and ensure that the victims of his diamond lust were made to feel some element of closure.
Sylvia Blyden on the other hand, a Sierra Leonean, members of whose own family may have suffered from the activities of Taylor, and who is rumored to have once been a member of a secret association called the Ninjas that provided secret intellectual muscle to the RUF/AFRC union, has a very different take on the verdict. She was angry that Taylor was found guilty and felt that he was just a scapegoat. Even though the major players of the RUF are languishing in prison, she thought that Charles Taylor should have been released, as if the victims of the atrocities he sponsored, were flies or less than human, because they were poor Sierra Leoneans. In a long senseless rant in her paper Awareness Times, she blames the people of southeast Sierra Leone, even though she knows that there was no geographical way possible rebels could come from Liberia to attack Sierra Leone and use any other territory but the southeast. The fact that the only country that southeast Sierra Leone shares border with is Liberia, is of know consequence to Sylvia Blyden.
|Blyden's hero Taylor|
The fact that thousands of people from Southeast Sierra Leone lost their lives, their property and became displaced refugees in their own land is of no importance to this academic midget claiming to be a doctor. I was born and bred in Segbwema, an important trade town in the days of the rail and the former operational headquarters for Lassa Fever International, one of the best medical research institutes anywhere in Africa. Nixon Memorial hospital, home to Lassa Fever International was one of the first teaching hospitals in the country. When Liberian and RUF rebels entered Segbwema and later when the AFRC/RUF criminal agency directed by Taylor was on full retreat, Segbwema was destroyed and the Nixon Hospital burnt down by these senseless human beings.
When the war started, those of us from Segbwema saw with our own eyes, Taylors NPFL rebels captured and brought to the town from the war front. Many of my school mates including the best friend I ever had in my life, Musa Boima, were captured and forced to join the rebels, with many losing their lives, including Musa who I miss to this day. Musa and I were so close during school days, that his dad almost became like a family member to us. Musa never survived the war and my heart has never stopped crying for my brother and friend. So for this degenerate and intellectual pygmy to claim that the war in the Sierra Leone was the fault of those of us who came from the southeast, even though we suffered so terribly during the war, made me think of what Mr. Ayisi once said to me; that Sierra Leoneans have a unique brand of wickedness
Sylvia Blyden now claims to talk for and defend Sam Sumana, the vice president of Sierra leone. Nobody suffered more atrocities in Sierra Leone than the poor people of Kono district in Eastern Sierra Leone. Kono is both blessed and cursed with diamonds. Koidu town before the war had a metropolitan feel and the people have been the bread basket of the country for decades while even the road leading to the district was neglected by the very people who exploited the area's wealth. Instead of building roads, leaders of the country used to fly in by helicopter, take the diamonds and leave. Foreigners were given virtual control over Kono under the old APC, while Sierra Leoneans required permit to enter. The story is true in Tongo, Panguma and other diamond rich areas of the Eastern region.
So for this insane human, Sylvia Blyden, who apparently has very little knowledge of history and geography to claim that she did not rejoice or write when Taylor was convicted, because she thought we were to blame presents an interesting paradox, because in a convoluted way she is right. If people like her can cry for Taylor while the rest of the world with the exception of NPFL is rejoicing, then because of people like her, Maskita and people like Foday Sankoh, then she is right. However, most sane Sierra Leoneans I have talked with these few days and happily most of my APC friends, even though they like Sylvia Blyden's new colors, think that she is dead wrong on this one. One told me that the woman has always been an idiot, but the opposition never saw this because she was attacking president Koroma and calling him a serial womanizer. In general most Sierra leoneans think that Sylvia is not only crazy, but she is dead wrong!
Well Sylvia, we feel sorry for your husband and children if they have to live and sleep with you, because as far as human beings go, you are one crazy one. Between you and Mia Farrow, I can only think of the phrase; beauty and the beast.