The week ends and I muse over the fact that Sierra Leone and the war has been in the mainstream news. Once again, it has taken a western ‘celebrity’ to highlight our country but at least for once these are not pictures of smiling Africans dancing and welcoming her, or shots of a crying baby being cuddled by her. This time it is Naomi Campbell in court over diamonds that Charles Taylor may or may not have given her.
This topic has always been fraught for me, being born of a Liberian mother and a Sierra Leonean father. I have constantly heard the argument that Charles Taylor is at fault for our war in Sierra Leone and some of the Liberians I meet saying Sierra Leoneans are wrongly blaming Liberia for their war. So far it has caused no long term personal rifts, just heated family moments but hey, which African friendly debate does not get loud and messy at it’s best?
So did Charles Taylor give Naomi diamonds (or dirty stones in her words) from Sierra Leone? Does it really matter?
Well, 3 years into a trial, thousands dead, numerous lives destroyed, two countries damaged by their civil wars, rife poverty, child soldiers now scarred for life, continued corruption that may have contributed to the wars in the first place…I could go on for a few more pages, I hope that the prosecution has a lot more evidence than whether some model received diamonds or not. The way this has been built up and reported it seems that the whole case depends on Naomi Campbell and if it does we are in a lot more trouble in those two countries than I previously thought!
Those wars were started due to many different reasons, funded in many different ways. For me what happens politically and economically now in both countries is more important,so we do not ever end up in those situations again. Not sure if the trial and possible conviction of Charles Taylor will be a deterrent to someone else.