The brother who rapes is still a rapist

Rape is not ok
I am ashamed of all my fellow Africans who keep pretending it was okay for Gbagbo to hang on to power. For me, forcing oneself one a country that doesn't want you is no different from forcing oneself on a girl who doesn't want you. It is rape. Rape of any form is horrible, disgusting and totally unacceptable.

The people who are busy defending Gbagbo because he's African and busily accusing the French just plain right have no shame. They are no different from the mother who silences the daughter because it will be embarrassing to the family if the world gets to know her husband rapes his own daughter. Just because Gbagbo is family means nothing if he will not live and abide by the values we all claim to hold dear (or do we have no values?). I will call a stranger who values and reciprocates my respect for him a brother any day than share a roof with my father's son who despises me and treats me like trash.

If someone asks you to tell them how old you are, you don't show them your pubic hair. You show them your wisdom. Every fool grows pubic hair with time but age doesn't necessarily make one wiser. If Africa wants to show the world that we have come of age, then we must live it. Nepotism and tribal politics is not how strong nations are built. I may not like the French but my hatred for all these "aristocratic", tribalistic, politically favored, shallow minded, myopic African leaders far outweighs my disgust for the imperialists.

Comments

Bonita said…
I have never commented on your blog before but I have to say I couldn't agree with you more! We have to start being accountable, as Africans, for our actions. The days of blaming everything on the West and on the past has to stop in order for us to move foward. Not to say that colonialism had no impact. We have to stop allowing these '"aristocratic", tribalistic, politically favored, shallow minded, myopic African leaders ' from flourishing. Well said!
Bello said…
There are a few things I'll have to challenge with this post I'm afraid. First of all, I think the analogy would work best if it were a husband on his wife - if we must use rape as the analogy, which I don't think we do. The responsibility of a husband to his wife, is more equal to a President and his country. Just saying.

To the important stuff, I think you really shouldn't simplify it that much and understand that Gbagbo was not an everyday dictator... the circumstances under which he came to power are not unique, but they are rare. And what's more, Alhassane Outtara under the last President proved to dismiss democracy just as much as Gbagbo seems to be doing now. This was a personal war between two political figures and Ivory Coast was their battleground. As the saying goes, when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

And do not be too quick to write off African values. It's seems to me that your argument is that we either hold international values or no values at all. That's not the case. What is the case is that we value different things in some cases. Which is why President Mills, chose to subscribe to the Fante saying of mind your own business - that isn't the "international" value, but it's the Ghanaian one. you see?

I'm not defending Gbagbo, I had only hoped that Ghana took this opportunity to reinstate itself as No. 1 cocoa producer. But, what riles me up is when people choose a side without considering the entire context. That's the problem with reporting on Africa, it's so One Dimensional it's almost no dimensional. Who is to say that Outtara will be any better, who is to say that France won't continually attempt to undermine its former colonies' constitutions, who is to say they won't stage/sponsor coups everywhere in order to install the pro-West candidate. Africa will show its age when it ceases to allow other countries and regions to dictate the agenda of the day, when it ceases to allow them to solve our problems in THEIR good time and when it recognises and protects the values and beliefs which have formed the spine of our society for hundreds of years.
Hello Bello, thank you for commenting on my blog :) I don't know if you are familiar with Ama Ata Aidoo's book "Naana". One of the main issues she raises in that book is "spousal rape". I wonder how she will feel if she reads your words on my blog. Bello, spousal rape is still rape. "Rape of any form is horrible, disgusting and totally unacceptable." And that is an "important stuff" actually, more important than anything else you had to say.

Secondly, if I "simplify", it is not because I lack adequate information on Ivory Coast. Unlike most people who have only read, I have spoken to other sides of Ivory Coast's political divide. Way before the election. I knew what was coming. Actually, I know that country more than most Ivorians do. I choose to simplify because, too many times, too much rubbish is wrapped in elaborate language. I enjoy stripping off all those long, winding arguments to get to the bottom of the matter. Let me simplify again: Gbagbo lost the election.

Thirdly, I think it is very assumptive on your part to assert that I defend Ouattara. What in my post drives you to such a conclusion? Ouattara in my opinion, is a goat for letting his rebels, rape, loot and kill. It doesn't matter if he was locked away and couldn't control them. He's the head. The head takes the responsibility. He really dropped the ball and can NEVER win the trust of all his people again. I don't support Ouattara. I cannot trust him.

Also, you would need to show me where I wrote off "African Values" or promoted "international values". Actually, what is the difference? Values are values. The world is shrinking too fast for us to think of values in terms of geography and colour. I will share with you one "African Value" my mother taught me. She said "your dignity is as fragile as an egg. You drop it once, and you've lost it forever". What is funny is, my friends from all parts of the world can relate to the wisdom in those words because in every culture, reputation is important. Values are universal.

Finally Bello, everything you had said above, was in defence of Gbagbo. Why would you defend such an idiot?
Anonymous said…
A very interesting post and even more engaging discussion in the responding commentary.

Here's my view:

I do not support dictators in Africa - or anywhere in the world for that matter, it's about time our continent did away with these types of leaders. I don't think anyone would dispute this point.

My issue is with when Western countries appoint themselves judge, jury and executioner on the soil of a so-called 'sovereign' nation in the name of what exactly I'm not quite sure (but time will tell)?

The prescence of the West in Africa has done nothing to better the continent in the last half-century since the advent of independence(s) on the continent. If anything their prescence has markedly led to worsening conditions. What further justtification could these countries have for continued interference.

In the interest of simplification, over the years the West has proven time and time again through their actions that Africa's well-being is not foremost on their agenda. So Africans are justified to feel immense unease whenever they show up on our land. In this latest case, today France claims that it was in CI to save the people. Tomorrow I fear that these very 'saved' people would be in a worse state of poverty than before(which usually is the case - read up on your history). The choice seems to now be between either the Devil or the Deep Blue Sea.

Europe has had more than their share of tyrants, where was the foreign calvary swooping in to save the day then? They worked through it, and emerged from the Dark Ages stronger and better able to manage their affairs.

We continue to neglect the fact that African countries were 1) Not formed based on mutual indigenous agreements and unification but from colonialism (division). Ghanaians in the Volta Region have more in common with Togolese than the rest of the country, for example. So there are BOUND to be unique tensions that arise in our part of the world versus elsewhere 2) We are VERY young countries compared with several of the West.

African solutions to African problems, I say.

It is no longer a black & white situation. There is no right vrs wrong. We need to think in terms of what is 'better' for our countries and the continent as a whole. Western interference definitively is NOT the answer.

PS. Also consider how what happened in CI reflects on us as Ghanaians to the larger global community. Where ppl do not think in terms country lines like we do, there they think in terms of Africa, Africans, Blacks, Negros.

Sarkosky was in CI because France has interests there, and for no other reason. If as a fringe benefit he is seen as saviour and liberator all the better, for him and his. Makes it that much easy to further his/ his country's agenda. Who's watching Cote D'Iviore's back then? Who is looking after Africa and Africans' interests?
Bello said…
I was equating the relationship (of a President to his country) to a Man and his wife. But I was not disputing spousal rape. I just didn't think it nice to think of a president as raping his country. Rape IS a serious issue. (if we are to say one is forcing himself on his country, could we not equate it to an aggressive and possessive husband... must it be rape? That was the point I was trying to make when I said "if we must use rape as an analogy")

On the second point, I understand that he lost the election and yes, that may be the crux of the situation, but I'm just saying, that it is his personal feud with Outtara dating to the 80s/90s which is an important factor for his actions. It doesn't justify it, in my opinion it's quite pathetic of a man to not face reality. I am only saying that there is a bigger picture.

On your third point I could not agree more. (and just to say, I did not assume that YOU defended Outtara, well... kinda). I think if you read back on your post you can see how I would draw to that conclusion which prompted me to counterpost for the sake of your readers. And I think just as I have assumed you defended A.O. you have also assumed the same of my post. I was merely offering a balance of opinion which I think your readers deserved.

But like I said, my main concern is Ghana's cocoa rankings... that's the patriot that I am. :D
Edward Tagoe said…
I agree with you NK. Africans flex muscles every now and then proclaiming international forces should leave us alone to manage our own affairs. I think I must have said the same to my Dad after my secondary school education, I wanted some independence, only to turn to him after every semester for school fees. Let's face it, Africa and Africans have a few lessons to learn before we finally ask for total independence. Without the interference of the French forces, more women and children would have died, all in the name of 'managing our own affairs'.

I trust these International forces will know when to interfere and when not to. Besides, if they had wanted to invade our land for our resources, what stops them? They just haven't because it doesn't fit into their moral mandate. The next time anyone takes Africa hostage, whether he is black or white, I will support any force that kicks him out!! Di wo fie as3m indeed!!!
@ Bello, thanks for clarifying some of your earlier comments. And I totally agree with you that "Ghana's cocoa rankings" is a way cooler topic :)

I'm sure you already know that Ghana produces the best quality cocoa in the world? It will be great if we can also be the country that produces the most cocoa in the world. Funnily enough, my last but one assignment in the Ivory Coast was on cocoa :)
grahamghana said…
I hope that when France 'helped' Africa by kicking out one murderer and instating another, they will swiftly leave, not rape resources or attempt to establish a power base. Perhaps they won’t need to do either as their new friendly murderer will surely keep those doors open for them.
To answer Edward, the times have changed and it’s not so easy for foreign powers to steal resources openly. Even in Iraq, they still claim it’s not about the oil but about a humanitarian gesture. The question is, to follow from Edward, why do we trust “international forces” (based on their dirty history) to clean up for Africa? Why do they appear to be the only solution we have?
Anonymous said…
You must watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFwpkiKPoUs&feature=player_embedded#at=313