Romancing the Dictators
For years, a number of black leaders have paid homage to Muammar Qaddafi and other ruthless African heads of state. They should be ashamed.
The stated purpose of Farrakhan's junket was to find out for himself whether Western reports about totalitarian conditions in these benighted countries were true. But his real intent seems to have been to exonerate the regimes he sucked up to, in exchange for a potential big payoff.
The clearest example was the praise he lavished on Qaddafi on a stop in Tripoli, in exchange for which the Libyan dictator lavished him with a $250,000 human rights award and a promise of a $1 billion gift for his organization. Sadly for Farrakhan, the U.S. government would not allow him to accept either sum.
At the time of Farrakhan's visit, Qaddafi was up to serious bad business in West Africa, where his protégés -- Liberian President Charles Taylor and his ally, Sierra Leonean rebel Foday Sankoh -- had instigated civil wars that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Both Taylor and Sankoh -- whose trademark tactic was to hack off the hands, arms and feet of his countrymen -- had been trained, equipped and funded at Qaddafi's insurgency camps before being dispatched back to their countries. Qaddafi had blood all over his hands.
Qaddafi's deep involvement in the genocidal conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone was no secret at the time of Farrakhan's visit. Since then, the evidence of his culpability has been front-page news as Taylor stands trial for human rights in an international court.
You would think by now, with Qaddafi's savage crew of militiamen and mercenaries mowing down revolutionaries in the streets, that Farrakhan would have second thoughts about his flirtations with a mass murderer -- but so far neither he nor his organization's newspaper, Final Call, has uttered a peep on the issue.
With examples like this, it's no wonder that ignorant entertainers have few qualms about accepting bloodstained dollars in exchange for their services. They're only doing what some of their leaders have done.
Jack White is a frequent contributor to The Root.