Che, Lumumba and... Foday Sankoh?This essay is part of an occasional feature on this blog that presents compelling stories from elsewhere in the world, particularly Africa, that are little reported in the American media. It's part of my campaign to get people to realize there is a lot going on in the world outside the US, IsraelStine and the Trumped Up Enemy of the Month. A list of all pieces in this series can be found found here..
I was in the library last night and noticed in the new arrivals section DVD entitled The Empire in Africa (I won't link to it because I don't want to encourage any one to spend a dime enriching the pockets of its makers). My curiosity piqued, I took a look and was nauseated to discover it was an apologia mythologizing the Revolutionary United Front. The RUF were the Sierra Leonian rebels who became infamous for the forced conscription of children, for the drugging of those child soldiers and for chopping off the hands and arms of women and children.
This was not the invention of some international propaganda campaign, as the 'documentary' implies. I lived in Guinea at the height of the Sierra Leonian civil war and met numerous refugees who fled the RUF's savagery, including a few who had lost limbs.
The Sierra Leonian government and military were filled at the time with brutal and thieving scumbags, no doubt. But no one's dared make an apologia to them. Whatever anti-corporate ideology the RUF might allegedly have had when it formed in the early 90s quickly evaporated. It became nothing more than an unimaginably savage organized crime gang that used ANY means necessary to line the pockets of its leaders.
The documentarian who made this offensive trash owes an apology to all the people killed, maimed and displaced by his sainted RUF.