President Barack Obama has intervened in a civil war in the Middle East under the mantra of protecting civilians — even asserting it is America’s moral responsibility.
Unfortunately, Libya is as far as our morals have extended.
We have willfully ignored the last 15 years of incessant conflict in the Congo that has left tens of thousands of women gang-raped and millions dead. We speak of Darfur in the Sudan but only to reference the fact that fewer deaths have occurred there than in places such as the aforementioned or Rwanda.
Now, our nation is avoiding the chaotic reality that confronts the people of the West African nation of the Ivory Coast, also known as Cote d’Ivoire. It is engaged in a bitter civil conflict between forces loyal to opposition leader Alassan Ouattara and incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo after a disputed presidential election in November 2010. Just like the Arab nations that are revolting, most of its 21.5 million citizens are young, with 40 percent under the age of 14. Last week, a United Nations resolution imposed sanctions on the incumbent president.
After enduring a four-month political crisis, the country plunged back into civil war. Hundreds of people were killed in the town of Duékoué, in western Ivory Coast, just this past week. President Barack Obama recently stated, “To end this violence and prevent more bloodshed, former President Gbagbo must stand down immediately, and direct those who are fighting on his behalf to lay down their arms.”
Obama’s words do not match his policy. The concern is that the conflict in Ivory Coast could spill over to Liberia and have a major destabilizing affect in West Africa. The UN considers what has occurred in the Ivory Coast as one of the most dramatic displacement crises in the world. Currently, more than 120,000 Ivorian refugees are in Liberia and several thousand more in Ghana, Togo and Guinea. The conflict has displaced between 750,000 and one million people inside Ivory Coast.
Yet, despite all of this, Obama has failed to act or address the need to protect civilians in this West African nation as those in Libya. Even in Libya, he has not prevented the slaughter of hundreds of black African migrant workers by the rebels living there. Why has the president avoided and turned a blind eye to Africans outside of Libya? –torrance stephens, ph.d.