Wednesday, November 24, 2004
In the amateur video widely available (both spliced together and compressed on Free Will), one scene clearly shows an individual whose head had essentially been destroyed, presumably the result of a high caliber round. It seems clear that the Ivorian accusations refer simply to the removal/destruction of an individual's head without regard to the method. It seems equally clear that the French officials are intentionally misinterpreting these allegations and trying to make them sound similar to the sort of beheadings seen recently in Iraq. In the comments, the author, John Rosenthal, notes that the same French word could be applied to both, making me wonder if the French might be counting on the possible confusion of terms, especially when their comments are translated into English. That the author of this post had the exact same confusion the French seem to be promoting unfortunately indicates this gambit may be having some success.
That this event could still have so many unanswered questions surrounding it seems almost incredible.
- Is there no more accurate count of injury and death than the estimate that between 7 and 60 were killed?
- If the French were indeed responding to incoming fire, were there any casualties among the French forces?
- What was the specific mission of the French unit involved?
- Was this unit deployed specifically to quell the demonstration, or did the demonstration happen where the troops were already deployed?
- If it the troop presence was required by mission, why does it seem in the video they leave shortly after the shooting?
Besides that, what is the purpose and mandate of the French intervention? By UNSC Resolution 1528, they are specifically charged with the following:
- Monitoring of the ceasefire and movements of armed groups
- Disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and resettlement
- Protection of United Nations personnel, institutions and civilians
- Support for humanitarian assistance
- Support for the implementation of the peace process
- Assistance in the field of human rights
- Public information
- Law and order
Taken as a pattern, how can one look at UN inaction in the face of violence against black Africans not only in Rwanda and Sudan but by its own forces in Côte d'Ivoire and not feel that this disinterest is not racially or ethnically influenced? The sad fact is that as long as the victims are poor and dark and the perpetrators aren't the hated Americans or Israelis there really isn't much concern or interest on behalf of the world.