By Dele OMOTUNDE
‘We Africans love to fight one another until death do us part because it’s in our genes to be aggressive, wicked and homicidal…’
‘If your army engaged in a real progrom, call it a mere programme for the emancipation, not pacification, of the primitive tribesmen of the lower Sahel. That is what the international community wants to hear’
Bashiru, it is true that you have suddenly become another dancing African leader?
What's wrong with that? We, Africans, are known for our dancing culture. Aren’t we?
You mean you are no longer an Arab? Ah, thanks to the indictment. But come o, can you really dance from the heart like Zuma, the Dancing Zulu of Soweto, or Jonathan, the late Dancing Chief of Lesotho?
It means you didn't see me on CNN. Did you? I really got down to it. You needed to be there to see me in a hail of dust as I danced to spite them and their indictment.
Can you really call the bluff of The Hague?
Yes, we are ready to confront the plague of injustice and international conspiracy to recolonise Africa by the "lawlords" who think they can intimidate courageous "warlords" like me. Tell me, Mr. President, is this not interference in the affairs of an independent African nation? Those vultures! They always hover around our rich landscape of bloated corpses and swollen carcasses.
I hope you are not getting things wrong. In Rwanda, when the Hutus took on the Tutsis and massacred them in their thousands, the International Court of Justice sitting in Arusha, Tanzania tried the ring leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity. Right now, the former President of Liberia is undergoing trial abroad for war crimes. So, this is not a strange phenomenon in Africa.
Yaah, it may not be a strange phenomenon, but what I hate is the usual Western propaganda. They accused me of assisting the janjaweed in attacking Darfur which is a lie. We did not provide any logistic support other than air cover by our air force, and intelligence by our secret service. They also accused the militias of raping, torturing and killing over 300,000 within a period of five years. Let me debunk those allegations one by one. No decent Arab will rape those dirty, dark things in dust-laden skirts. Two, the militias were trained not to torture or kill anybody, but to kill to defend themselves because attack is the best form of defence. Three, it is a blatant lie to claim that over 300,000 people have been killed since "Operation Darfur" started. No, I disagree. Those killed so far cannot be more than 295,000 by our own estimation. Can't you see that those Western media can exaggerate too much?
Yes, I know. At times they are so stupid that they don't know that there is a difference between six and half a dozen!
Thank you, Mr President. Those foreign things don't know that this is just a brotherly fight. We Africans love to fight one another until death do us part because it's in our genes to be aggressive, wicked and homicidal in thoughts and deeds.
Bashiru, so you can now call yourself African. I thought you were Arab?
Yes, geographically, we are Africans, while, genetically, we are Arabs. But recent studies have shown that Arabs, indeed, have the same genes as Africans, so we are Africans, too.
Is that why Darfur is such a man-made humanitarian tragedy, a sort of slaughter slab for fellow dark-skinned citizens? Yet you have natural disasters like dust storms and droughts staring you in the face every minute. You have River Nile passing through your vast country, the largest in Africa, yet, you do not have a sound irrigation scheme that could aid agriculture throughout the year and turn the sand dunes into oases of affluence. Are you trying to fast-forward the creeping revolution in the South?
Excuse me, sir. I appreciate the fact that my country is the largest in Africa, two and a half times the size of Niagara, your country, and slightly more than one quarter the size of Obama’s America. I just hope this is not the case of the kettle calling the pot black.
What do you mean?
Mr. President, the fact remains that your country is the most populous and one of the richest in Africa. Yet, you are also battling with internal strife and hunger every minute. You suffer from periodic religious and political crises. You have your own Darfur in the southern part of your country where you equally have your own janjaweed militias holding tight to the jugular of the nation. Up north, your people, without provocation, have often killed one another at the drop of a rosary; yet, no Niagaran leader has been indicted for crime against humanity. Why should it be me? Those criminals are just being partial.
How many have we killed?
Bashiru, it's your fault. You do not seem to have experience in the art of eating and wiping your mouth clean like our politicians.
Sorry, I do not understand that. This is no eating business.
I mean you should never leave any tell-tale signs in the killing fields. If your army engaged in a real progrom, call it a mere programme for the emancipation, not pacification, of the primitive tribesmen of the lower Sahel. That's what the international community wants to hear. It’s a question of semantics and packaging. Honestly, you made a mistake. And a costly one at that.
What could I have done in the circumstance other than cursing those things in Arabic? This their English is irregular and confusing.
You should have got in touch with us and we could have given you the "Kenabacha" antidote against international indictment.
What is that?
While your soldiers and the militias were busy doing “environmental sanitation” in Darfur, you should have arrested or kidnapped many Darfur activists. Arraign them before a kangaroo court, try them and have them sentenced to death. The entire world would be too busy appealing for clemency to be thinking of indicting you for crime against womanity or whatever. The Butcher of Abuja did it successfully here. He killed at will. He would not take prisoners except as bargaining chips. He even had his cake and ate it. He used Ken Saro-Wiwa as a chip and still went ahead to crunch him with his deadly molars. Can't you remember he roped me also in a phantom coup d'etat at a time the entire mankind rose up against his bloody regime? He used me to shake off pressure from the human rights communities. It’s the most effective antidote against ‘the plague of The Hague’, to quote you.
Everybody has his own strategy. Yours is to prevent the indictment, mine is to make a joke of it by dancing Makoussa dance on the grave of the victims.
Bashiru, I’m sorry for me. Your Macbeth has murdered sleep…
*First published in TELL April 6, 2009.
*First published in TELL April 6, 2009.