Last weekend,Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir was briefly prevented from leaving South Africa when a judge bravely issued a court order restricting his movements at the request of a human rights organisation.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) wants the arrest of the Sudanese president for crimes against humanity.
On Monday 15 June, he flew out of the country. There was no apparent attempt to stop him leaving or to detain him as requested by the ICC.
With my experience of living in Africa for most of my life, I am not surprised at the South African government’s actions or lack of respect for both Human Rights and the rule of law. The ANC came to power through brutal intimidation and a campaign to make the country ungovernable.
I am more surprised that a judge was actually permitted to issue a court order in an attempt to prevent a wanted criminal from leaving.
The “new” South Africa has a long history of ignoring the crimes of other brutal African leaders and supporting corrupt regimes like that of Mugabe in Zimbabwe. That it reaps what it sows by suffering serious unrest and waves of crime because of the huge numbers of illegal immigrants flooding into the country from its corrupt neighbours would be poetic justice if not for the huge cost in human lives and misery.
What does not surprise me either is the almost complete lack of criticism in the West of the South African government for ignoring a request by the ICC – to which it is a party – and allowing a wanted criminal to escape.
There is criticism from Justice Malala in an article in The Guardian but nothing yet from world leaders, the UN, human rights organisations, churches or the assorted groups of self-appointed do-gooders who were so ready to condemn the “Old” South Africa for the slightest hint of “oppressive” action.
It’s yet another example of the erosion of values in the West. Liberals succeeded in overturning the successful governments in the two most developed countries in Africa and then turned their backs on the horrors the new governments unleashed on their unfortunate citizens. Millions condemned to far more serious adversity than under the former governments. The hypocrisy would be unbelievable if it were not so tragic.
I don’t spend much time on social media, but from my limited reading, it seems that the insensitive, but not criminal comments, by Tim Hunt, a Nobel prize-winning scientist about the distracting effects of women in science laboratories has generated more outrage than the release of al-Bashir who is accused of organising the genocide of 400 000 people and the displacement of 2.5 million more. The scientist has seen his career ruined. The murderous president helped to evade justice.
There is something wrong with this, the lack of tolerance is so well-developed that no one can risk making a comment or voicing an opinion unless that opinion is “acceptable” to the social media vigilantes.
What happened to the art of debate? The exchange of ideas that led our societies to their greatness?
It’s time for that pendulum to start swinging back towards common sense before political correctness and lack of tolerance doom us to extinction.
Photo courtesy of Mark Knobic / Wikipedia Creative Commons