Columnist’s Note: This article, which has been modified a bit, was first published in 2006, but, in view of Charles Taylor’s conviction vis-à-vis other ex-warlords’ scot-freeness, it is being republished today.
I am not lying – my name is War. Hesitate not to wage me. Have no fear; just wage me. Most people know that I am destructive. Yes, it’s true, but I am obedient and docile; I obey anyone who chooses to wage me for any purpose. Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
I am not arrogant; those who wage me are. Besides, I am disinterested – I take no side. Believe me. I affect those who wage me and those for whom I am waged. I am like thrown ashes – I never remain in my intended direction. Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
Haven’t you heard about me before? My name is War. I swear to God – my name is War. I am controllable and preventable, if those who wage me want it so. Frankly, I am a puppet; I move by the dictates of those who wage me. Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
Do people wage me for no reason? You will only hear “Yes” from mad people. Do people wage me for no good reason? Ah, I swear, you will only hear “Yes” from a fool. I am one of the most profitable ventures that any man can ever undertake. Just ask those who waged me in Liberia. Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
Why do people wage me and do everything to sustain me? Don’t behave as if you were born today? Don’t you know that I bring wealth and prominence and power to those who wage me? They meet great leaders and travel here and there – I effectuate the process. Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
It’s funny, really. I empower those who wage me. I am empowered by weapons, just anything that is called weapon, or can be used as a weapon – mortar pestles, machetes, AK-47s, rocket propelled grenades, bazookas, tanks, etc. Ah, lest I forget, I am mainly empowered by the utterances and stubbornness of those who wage me. Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
But remember that, though you can wage me at anytime, don’t wage me just anywhere. I am like a seed – certain soil is good for me; others are not. Choose the right ground and see me moving – you will be elated. Have you read the pages of history? Have you followed my activities keenly? Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
Wage me in Sierra Leone and you soon see yourself dragged before a war crimes tribunal. If you don’t believe me, ask Charles Taylor or the late Foday Sankoh, and you will understand my point. Choose the right soil for my deeds and you’ll go free. Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
Don’t wage me in Rwanda, or else, the same fate, I mean, that thing called war crimes tribunal, will bring you to your heel. If you don’t believe me, ask Georges Anderson Nderubumwe Rutaganda, Obed Ruzindana and Journalist Georges Henri Yvon Joseph Ruggiu. I need good soil. Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
Don’t make the mistake to wage me in the the territory of the former Yugoslavia. If you do, you’ll soon find yourself before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Ask the late Slobodan Milosevic and others still in the Court’s custody, or wanted. Choose the right ground for my launching. Believe me. My name is War – wage me.
Are you already discourged, thinking that it’s impossible to find a fertile ground, I mean, a ground that will send those who wage me laughing with their last jaw-bone teeth showing for all to see, like an excited chimpanzee? Ah, nothing is impossible in this your world of double standards and stupidity. Believe me. I swear, my name is War – wage me.
A very good ground for launching me is a place called Liberia. Some of those who brutally waged me there are considered statesmen. It would be different in the other places I’ve mentioned. In Liberia, those who waged me live and move freely – no trouble for them. Believe me. My name is War – wage me in Liberia.
Some of those who actively excuted me in Liberia were elected by Liberians. The opposite was true in Sierra Leone. Those who are notorious for crimes associated with me are law-makers in Liberia. I mean, you would do well if you chose Liberia for launching me. Believe me, my boy. My name is War – wage me in Liberia.
Don’t be be flabergasted. Don’t be befuddled. I’ve already told you why Liberia is suitable for those who wage me. Instead of being arrested, you’ll become law enforcement officer. Not only that. Instead of answering for your crimes, you’ll be the one summoning people for not obeying the law. My name is War – wage me in Liberia.
I like Liberia, really. The government hides behind something called reconciliation and refuses to prosecute and punish those who committed the worst of crimes through me. I really like Liberia. No punishment for those who used me to destroy the country and its people. Believe me, my boy. My name is War – wage me in Liberia.
I know you will argue, saying: “But Charles Taylor was indicted, arrested, dragged before Sierra Leone’s UN-backed Special Court meeting in the Hague, prosecuted and convicted for waging you.” Well, you are right and wrong. Yes, he’s before the Court for waging me, but not for waging me in Liberia – that fantastically fertile soil for me; he was dragged before the Court because he chose the wrong ground – Sierra Leone. Believe me. My name is War – wage me in Liberia.
You doubt me? You disbelieve me? Look, buddy! Genral Prince Johnson waged me in Liberia; he’s a free man. General Alhaji Kromah launched me in Liberia; he’s a free man. General George Boley waged me; he is a free man. Do you want me to shout above the pitch of my voice before you believe me, that Liberia is a very good ground for what you call war? General Sekou Demate Conneh launched me in Liberia; he’s also a free man. The same is true with many other individuals. You better wage me in Liberia. Trust me, guy. My name is War – wage me in Liberia.
Wage me, wage me, I say, launch me. Launch me in the land called Liberia. Don’t think about the blood of those brutally killed in the various massacres. Don’t be worried about those killed in cold blood. Wait a minute! Don’t you know that their killers are now the Big Guys in Liberia? Don’t waste my time, buddy. My name is War – wage me in Liberia.
Are there hundreds of thousands of Liberians crying for justice? Are they pushing for the establishment of a war crimes tribunal? Ah, they will not be listened to. Don’t worry about it. They will be labeled as people who are against peace and reconciliation. Why don’t you want to believe me, man? My name is War – wage me in Liberia.
If the government conducted a referendum today, the citizens would vote for the establishment of a war crimes court. The citizens want a war crimes trial; the government doesn’t want it. It’s true that government exists for the people, and not the other way round, but not in this case. I say, my name is War – wage me in Liberia.
I know you will ask, “But what about the dead?”
You know what? Stop asking me meaningless and stupid questions. The dead? They’re dead and gone, nothing more.
I believe you will also ask me, “But what about the voices of the victims of the various massacres?”
Oh, voices of the victims of the various massacres? What a silly question! You’re a funny man ehn! If the government cannot listen to the voices of the living, why would you want to mention the voices of the dead? Look, I swear to God Almighty, believe me. My name is War – wage me in Liberia. And you will go free.
Believe me, my people. We will never stop following the issues.