This is Not Kansas - Harbouring Dangerous Despots in GhanaBy Holli
It’s definitely surreal. My ipad perched on my lap in bed, I read of human rights atrocities, people being burned alive, rebel troops from two sides of a political struggle killing and maiming innocent citizens in a city less than 300km from me. For months this chaos has been brewing. Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast’s incumbent president has refused to leave his post after losing a democratic election last October.
Although international media is less concerned as they are with the developments in the oil-rich middle east, Ivory Coast has been heading toward the brink of an all-out civil war for months. Local media and that odd BBC article have been following.
Sometimes the lines are blurred between the good and the bad, the right and the wrong.
And in the middle are the people. The industries. The entire society is at a standstill, cowering, hiding from the bloodshed in the streets. Banks packed up so people cannot get paid. Sanctions have crippled the biggest industry – cocoa.
And at the heart of it all is one man’s insatiable ego.
And then yesterday, local media publishes a photo of a glamorous lady in designer shades, with her little boy – they are staying at Ghana’s finest hotel – The Labadi Beach. It is Mr. Laurent Gbagbo’s second wife.
How quaint. Apparently first wife is staying in my neighborhood as well.
It also comes out that Gbagbo owns a mansion in a near by luxury housing estate.
So here we are, in the middle of something ugly.
It’s days like this when the distant din of news – of CNN and BBC and Al Jazeera reporters ‘on the ground’, reporting disasters and developments around the world, come just that once step too close to home.
Dorothy ain't in Kansas anymore. Or in this case, Mississauga Ontario.
Could Ghana offer asylum to a man that has allowed close to 1000 citizens violently and senselessly murdered to keep his power for a few more days, weeks, months?
Will his wife be offered a luxury suite with money earned on the backs of those who lie dying in the streets in our neighboring country?
Will we all just watch it happen and turn the page to a new story?
In the meantime, the streets of Abidjan are in turmoil. And they have apparently descended on Gbagbo's residence. But they cannot find him... The family is not inside...I wonder where they are.
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