Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Charles Taylor on Trial

The BBC has reported that the trial of Charles Taylor has resumed.

For the world it will be an important event. For those that don't know the Charles Taylor that I am referring to was once the ruler of Liberia.

Now some of his charges relate to his actions during the Sierra Leone Civil War.

During that horrific time, rebels and government troops committed numerous atrocities against the civilians of Sierra Leone. Taylor is believed to have financed the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) by trading guns for conflict diamonds from the RUF controlled mines near the Sierra Leone - Liberia border.

Thanks to his greed he helped to kill 75 000 Sierra Leoneans, maimed probably more then that, and traumatised even more.

With his help he was responsible for the use of child soldiers by both sides, which will, undoubtedly, have scarred those former soldiers for life.

And I think the most unfortunate thing about this is that he will never face the vilification that he deserves.

At least we can see that apparently Africa's most prominent warlord is too poor to pay for his own defence team.

My reason for feeling this way stems from a book.

The book in question is A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. In many ways it opened my eyes to what happened over there.

In that book you got to see what the RUF and the Government forces, helped do to a generation of children, deprive them of their childhood and turn them into drugged-up killing machines.

If I were a more eloquent person I would be able to give the book the praise it deserves, but I am not.

I won't tell you too much about it, I would prefer that you read it for yourself.

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