BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said “I congratulate the people of Chad whose dogged, decades-long pursuit of justice made this day possible.”
She was referring to the conviction of Hissène Habré, former dictator of Chad.
This is a “first” in many ways. He was tried and sentenced in Senegal last week, i.e. not in his own country. He was the first African former leader so punished. This was extensively a result of civil society forces. The U.S. was actually supportive of Habré’s being brought to justice in recent years.
Habré was a Reagan-era puppet. That president who was willing to support any forces who would do the U.S.’ bidding no matter how they mistreated their own people (Saddam Hussein, the Contras, Indonesia’s Suharto, etc.) saw fit to “create” Habré as a “bulwark” against Libya’s Gaddafi. There can be little question of this shameful cooperation, since Habré’s circle’s documents contain frequent mention of names which also appear on the U.S. State Department registry. So, it is heartening that at least the current, Obama, administration worked on the side of justice.
Habré oversaw the killing of some 40,000 of his own citizens, personally raped many women, and was responsible for extensive torture in his jails. He even earned the nickname “Africa’s Pinochet” after the latter dictator’s arrest opened the door to Habré’s arrest
Other dictators watch out! Except, of course, in all likelihood Erdogan & Aliyev who will continue their murderous, warmongering, genocidal and Genocide-denying ways.
Why is the Obama administration pursuing such radically different approaches in Chad vs. Turkey and Azerbaijan? Where is the justice for the murdered Kurdish children? Where is the justice for the pogroms in Sumgait, Cantsag/Gandsak (Ganja, Kirovabad), and Baku? Where is the decency to properly recognize, officially, the Genocide?
And Samantha Power, ANC award winning author of “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” – where is her voice for justice? She lauds Chadians for their decades of doggedness. But what of Armenians’ doggedness, now that we can speak of it in plural centuries? Perhaps it’s time she learns from and follows the example of Ambassador John Evans. Her boss’ term in office ends in seven months. If Republican Trump wins, he’ll appoint someone else. If Clinton (the more likely, unfortunately, Democratic nominee) wins, she’s unlikely to reappoint Power since they have a “history…” Remember when Power called Clinton a “monster?” She has nothing to lose and much credibility and her conscience to regain.
Come clean, Samantha, take to the podium at the U.N. as America’s ambassador, and call on Turkey to own up to its responsibility for the murder of 1.5 million people in the Armenian Genocide, along with the hundreds of thousands of Greeks and Assyrians who were subjected to the same fate by the same murderous Turkish regime.
Write Samantha Power at the U.N. and ask her to return to decency!