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The Guilty Verdict of Mr. Charles Taylor

The guilty verdict of Mr. Charles McArthur Dakpanah Taylor is good news for West Africa and all peace loving people all over the world. The United Nations backed international court set up to prosecute the Sierra Leonean war has delivered its verdict on the warlord turned ex-president Charles Taylor, finding him guilty of arming Sierra Leone's rebels who paid him in "blood diamonds". It was a long and historic case lasting almost five years, but finally, Mr. Taylor was found to be "criminally responsible" for atrocities in Sierra Leone. Guilty on 11 counts - that's outstanding!

But as Liberians, we need not be too excited. While this news is worth all the celebration, our Liberian culture abhors free riding or “riding charole” as we call it as per our Liberian parlance. Mr. Taylor committed worse atrocities in Liberia than those he aided and abetted in Sierra Leone. While most Liberians did not think that our killers, looters and brutes should face justice, Sierra Leone took the high road by bringing their war criminals to justice and was kind enough to have extended a hand to us. As Mr. Dakpanah Taylor not “turned drunk” to enter Sierra Leone in hot pursuit of blood and diamond, he would probably still be ruling in Liberia. But thank God "when a baboon is ready to die, it does not hear whistles." As a consequence of Sierra Leone’s resolve to stand against war criminals and rogues instead of canonizing them, Mr. Taylor who destroyed our country and terrorized the region for over a decade will be put away in stock for good, never to reign terror and mayhem again. This is indeed hallelujah time for all of us especially the direct victims of his criminal empire.

Today, as we congratulate Sierra Leone and the international court for such milestone, let us be mindful that “riding charole” on Sierra Leone’s back is a little embarrassing for many of us whom have been taught to eat bread only by the sweat of our own brow.  There is nothing to be proud of when others do for you what you can do or supposed to be doing for yourself. All is not lost; we can follow Sierra Leone’s example by refusing to decorate our war criminals. We have an opportunity to bring ours to justice or at least tell them in a strong way that we as a country detest what they did to us. Our neighbor has helped us with one warlord, we can follow their lead to nab the rest. Most of those actors including those who aided and abetted them in their crimes are still around. Let’s send them to Ocampo! José Luis Moreno Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), will tell them what to do.

Artwork by Liberian artist Won-Ly Paye (http://www.wonldypaye.com/):

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