Getting over Bambay and Others

2 July 2009 at 03:02 | 817 views

By Fayia Sellu, California.

One thing Sierra Leone does not need right now is finger-pointing and blame for who did what in the almost decade long madness, carnage and societal dismembering that the war years brought us. It is not like we have not tried; but from the Special Court to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Sierra Leoneans have demonstrated clearly their inclination to move ahead.

Millions of dollars have been spent to arrest and try a few down-below pawns in a conspiracy you and I know had big international diamond, political or other interests. Interests big enough to include Libyan President Ghadaffi, major diamond corporations, east European arms cartels, just to name a couple. Overstating the fact that from Kabbah to Koroma, there has been a policy of glad-handing with Tripoli isn’t necessary. If even the West could settle out of court, once Ghadaffi showed remorse and paid cash, why not us-a donotion-hungry country? Talking of cash, Ghadaffi has tons of it to “hypnotize” state officials- evidence abound.

I was once a convert who happily backslid from the religion of “No More Impunity in Sierra Leone” At least not in the context of flawed jutice instruments as the Special Court or TRC. I was one journalist who was in the thick of human rights community. From the signing of the Human Rights Manifesto of ’99 to the setting up of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, I was especially involved. I had a brief with gig the Special Court and moved on.

There has been so much bloodshed in our country that nobody should start any selective and divisive game of going back into a particular set of extra judicial killings that were rampant in the war years. I am happy to be alive; but when I look at the past, I look beyond the twenty-something people (Bambay Kamara,Col.Yayah Kanu and others) who were who were murdered allegedly at the behest of NPRC strong man S.A.J Musa. It is funny, no make that tragic, the complex drama that unfolded in Sierra Leone ever after. It is best left behind us. The fact that S.A.J Musa was able to work with members of the APC under the AFRC/RUF alliance only begins to show that complexity.

There is so much blame to go around to every end of the spectrum that is the nation. Repressive and anarchic employs come with a high price. Violence begets violence, as they say. The lessons learned through life, blood, limb and tears are still staring us in the face. Reparation has eluded the peace process. I am talking of the people whose lives were uprooted, who were displaced and disgraced, dismembered…you name it. And what reparations did they get out the Special Court or TRC? You know the answer. Dondo (nothing)!

Yet we would find it convenient to use war against impunity with the specific object being NPRC and bringing them to book for the extra judicial killings of Bambay Kamara, Col. Yayah Kanu and others. The end game? Vengeance and its attendant vilification. It easy for me to say: “Get over that” to family members. I do not have a dog in that fight. However, there are countless, nameless, title-less and party-less Sierra Leoneans who paid the ultimate price. Whether we are talking slaughter houses in Kailahun, Pujehun, Kono or Makeni. The massacres: Mabayla, August 18, January 6 to name a few. There were indiscriminate and discriminate killings at equal opportunity spate. Our war was termed “senseless” for a reason. It refused to degenerate to tribal or regional cleansing.

So, we have to move on. Strasser was herded out of his Warwick university education into madness and disgrace by we know who. Idriss Kamara had to be executive member, albeit disputed, of APCNA to seek salvation. Tom Nyuma’s immigration troubles were not unconnected with the same quest by APC people for justice. When I heard the incident with SLPP chairman John Benjamin at the Dulles Airport in here US, I am afraid I had to join the “conspiracy theorists”. I did not join them on hearing the news which could well have been a mere protocol breach. It happens! I became a conspiracy theorist when proxies for the APC started to insinuate certain ill-logic in the media.

Those who continue to harp the selective justice notions must look at themselves in the mirror. Remember those ten of thousands who in spite of their loss have chosen look ahead into a brighter future for Salone instead of championing petty vendettas.