Sunday, December 9, 2007

the EU's shameless lack of a moral compass

on friday -saturday december 7-8th the EU officially lost it's moral compass. This was when the EU -Africa international development and human rights were talked about . To me there was nothing wrong with that , most people right and left of the political spectrum want Africa to develop and improve it's human rights records . However the problem is you dont do that by inviting Robert Mugabe who has persecuted opposition to his rule , torn his country to shreds , and turned Zimbabwe which was one the economic powerhouse in Africa into a basketcase . Then there is another leader called Omar al Bashir the leader ofSudan invited. Omar al Bashir has raped and pillaged black muslim africans in darfur through backing the janjaweed millitia in it's genocidal actions , whilst the world turned a blind eye . At the same time , he has turned Sudan into a hotbed of islamic extremism ,where Osama Bin Laden was based in the 1990s ,and where the government is in cahoots with islamic extremist parties. All in all you would of thought not a a great idea to invite them to the EU -Africa summit , but unfortunately this is what happened.

Lets first take a look at Mugabe. The EU in inviting Robert Mugabe is ignoring it's own travel ban on Robert Mugabe put in place . when you are having a international development and human rights conference , you pick role models , and im afraid Mugabe is completely the opposite. The shameful cowardice in inviting Mugabe , is no way to stand up to African leaders when they are in the wrong , when they demand he be invited , they should have point blank refused this request , and pointed out to his awful human rights record ,and the rampant inflation which means many zimbabweans are left without a daily meal . By giving in to the African leaders request , it shows to the African leaders they to can get away with corruption and destruction of there country's economy , it also shows that there is nothing to gain from standing up to mugabe. very sad that, partly through the blind support of other African leaders, this same process was not allowed to take place. Now Zimbabwe is burdened with a leader ruining his country and guess what: this does make him less of a hero , however by putting Mugabe on the world stage once again , he can show himself as an African hero , and the chances of Mugabe's regime falling become longer not short term odds. The EU in it's decision to invite him is propping up a deeply unpopular leader in Zimbabwe who is surviving over western guilt from colonial times , and African solidarity with a guy they see as a fighter against colonialism , whilst ignoring his henious crimes ,as the international community be it the EU or UN do not seem to be taking serious action against him . What sort of message does this send to Thabo Mbeki the president of South Africa , that South Africa support of Zimbabwe has no effect at all , because Mugabe is still being treated like a international statesman. Europe needs to get over it's post colonial guilt , they were united in there opposition to the horrific apartheid regime in South Africa , so why when Mugabe crimes are on par with this do the EU give him the cloak of legitimacy .It is all to do with post colonial guilt ,it's wrong for African white leader to go power hungry it seems , but not if a black African leader goes power hungry . I am not making a racist point , what i am saying is that the EU shouldn't treat a demonic white leader and a demonic black leader differently. The EU is also not carrying out it's promises , there was a travel ban on Mugabe put on him by the EU due to his crimes against humanity , yet this has blatently been ignored at this summit . The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu was right when he said on the today programme said the international community, especially South Africa, had to act to help Zimbabwe because people were starving. Speaking as he used a pair of scissors to cut up his collar, he said: "As an Anglican this is what I wear to identify myself, that I'm a clergyman.
African leaders "Do you know what Mugabe has done? He's taken people's identity and literally, if you don't mind, cut it to pieces. This is what he's actually done to a lot of - and in the end there's nothing. "So, as far as I'm concerned, from now on I'm not going to wear a dog collar until Mugabe is gone." The archbishop said power had gone to the Zimbabwean president's head and the leader did not seem to "realise the suffering of people". The EU is not helping Zimbabwe's people when eu leaders say the EU African summit shouldn't be overshadowed by Mugabe's involvement in it . It does have a big effect after all a main part of the summit is on human rights and development , development which Mugabe has stunted ,and human rights which Mugabe has ignored , he should not have been given an invitation to such a prestigious event. It shows the world is not acting in united disgust against Robert Mugabe who seeing the international community's weakeness will keep perpretuating his crimes against humanity.For once I agree with Gordon Brown who has shown strength in a time of EU wide weakness for staying away from the summit, and condemn the EU for inviting Mugabe in the first place.If the other African countries wish to boycott the meeting, then it is up to them. We have pussyfooted around these African despots for too long, and its about time we in the west make a stand. Threaten to take away the billions of dollars sent to prop up appalling regimes and African leaders would soon do something about Mugabe.

Then there is the question , what is the point of having Mugabe there. You would have thought on a summit on good governance human rights would be high up the agenda . However apart from Angela Merkl's spirited attack on Mugabe human rights record, astonishingly Robert Mugabe's abuses on both Zimbabwe's economy and people are off the Agenda . So an all expenses paid trip for Mugabe to talk about giving Zimbabwe's money in trade deals, which will keep him in his luxourious lifestlye whilst the rest of Zimabwe suffers.

Now lets take a look at Omar al Bashir. It seems it wasn't enough to invite one tyrannical leader , the EU went for two . Omar al Bashir through his support of money and arms to the Janjaweed millita , has been complicit in the genocide of the black African Muslim population in Darfur. Due to Omar Al Bashir's government support of the Janjaweed millitia over 400,000 black africans have died and more than 2 million people have been displaced . What sort of message are the EU sending if there inviting someone to a confererence on good governance who has massacred his own people . there is so much tribal and ethnic cleansing going on towards the black African population in Sudan ,Yes we all want Africa to progress but laying a red carpet out for despots is NOT the way to do it. The Sudanese government has suppressed information by jailing and killing witnesses since 2004 and tampered with evidence such as mass graves to eliminate their forensic values. In addition, by obstructing and arresting journalists, the Sudanese government has been able to obscure much of what has gone on. Again by giving Omar al Bashir the cloak of legitimacy through inviting him to the EU summit will mean he can keep on claiming that no massacre has occured in Darfur. How can the EU consider warming relations with Khartoum when demonstrators are marching on capitals worldwide to protest what’s happening there?. The summit after all is all about warming relations between European and African leaders but this is one leader the EU would be foolish to cosy up to Bashir's regime has been buoyed by infusions of cash from the petroleum industry which has refused to bow to international pressure and continues to pump oil along a 2,200 kilometre pipeline to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. the summit is designed to improve trade links with African countries, but in Sudan exactly the opposite needs to be happening as all the money from the trade is being ploughed into killing Bashir's opposition in Sudan.

the EU is rewarding and giving legitimacy to two abhorrent leaders , they should be ashamed of themselves, but with an organisation lacking a conscience they just simply dont care , if they really cared about Africa they would stand up to these tyrants but i guess for the EU thats to much like hard work.