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Sunday, November 07, 2004 

Have You Publicly Spanked a Tyrant Today?

It was a mystery to me. How could millions of people around the planet organize themselves to feel so angry about the atrocities they were sure would be committed in Iraq and then all show up on the same day to protest it? I'm not saying the protesters were wrong...just questioning why they chose THIS war to be so angry? They never showed up at Russia's embassies to protest their 10 year long war with Afghanistan in any sort of significant numbers. 600,000 people died in Rwanda in a matter of weeks but millions didn't protest outside Rwandan embassies. Up to 40,000 Sierra Leonians had their hands cut off by fighters so the people would find it that much more difficult to vote in their elections but I didn't see anyone raise a picket sign outside Sierra Leone's embassies. Now, in both the Congo and the Sudan, hundreds of thousands women are victims of a systematic rape campaign while government officials visit the refugee camps, talk about sanctions while thousands more are becoming refugees in their own countries. Other than a few news items, no one thinks it's important enough to stage an organized protest a la Iraq?

If these kinds of atrocities were happening in any western country, the shock and horror followed by a high probability of swift military action against that country would result. But because it's Africa, and the media isn't priming us to 'care' then we don't?

Don't tell me that it's because Africa has no oil that the US doesn't intervene. That still doesn't excuse our own apathy. Maybe we don't care enough because somewhere deep inside ourselves, we don't think their lives are worth the trouble to protest? Is it because no one's leading us by the hand to take us to the main city squares around the planet to make sure we get to a protest?

NGOs should be making more of an effort to inform us all of how we can each, personally, find some way to help these people out by having their addresses published so we can at least send food and clothing. Anything. Every little bit helps.

The tyrants who run these countries and allow these atrocities to continue need a good public spanking in the form of massive protests and external pressure to behave themselves.