North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The courage in succession

Let's take a moment to appreciate and applaud the many quiet transfers of power throughout the 192-195 countries of the world, not to mention the passing on in countless ways of family and small business control, and simple roles as individuals age.

How tragic when leaders cannot bring themselves to move on, defying formal rituals or elections of succession, and often bringing their countries to ruin because of their entrenchment. In Africa, two individuals stand out (among many others): the Libyan dictator Gadaffi who has declared he has no authority to resign as long as the people want him; and Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent President who by all accounts lost a generally fair election back in November 28.

The Ivory Coast, a nation of 20 million, once considered a foremost candidate for developing a relatively rich standard of living, but is now gripped with a third violent spasm in the past 20 years.

Tonight, heavy fighting rages in Abidjan, the nation's largest city and commercial center. Over the past month, the number of internally displaced citizens has swelled to nearly 1 million, and the economy has stumbled. All because one man who tasted power could not envision himself without it.

Once again, citizens reduced to refugee status

The widely acknowledged winner of the election, Alassane Ouattara, had found himself besieged by pro-Gbagbo forces in an Abidjan hotel for the months since the election, defended by a UN contingent and his own militia. Sporadic fighting had led to nearly 500 deaths since November 28, but over time, Outtara's forces from the north began moving south, taking villages and cities, before eventually sweeping to Gbagbo's stronghold.

Mr Outtara, about to move into power under unfortunate and unnecessary circumstances

Yesterday, in one of the biggest blows to Gbagbo's grip on power, his army chief of staff, General Phillippe Mangou, sought refuge at the South Africa ambassador's residence in Abidjan. Pro-Gbagbo forces then abandoned a blockade of the hotel Ouattara had been restricted to, as well as the Abidjan airport.

Perhaps the city and its citizens will be spared further violence over the next few days, and Mr Outtara can quickly control the city from looters and lawlessness that many fear in the aftermath.
Abidjan, a cosmopolitan and modern city, now damaged from fighting and at further risk from subsequent looting

One thinks of the Biblical story of Solomon discerning the real mother of a child as one who was willing to give up the babe in order to spare it. The false mother was willing to see the loss of the child as long as she received her "fair share." A rather pertinent dynamic when viewing Gbagbo vs Outtara, Gaddafi, the lawless anarchy in Somalia, and the Zimbabwean shambles that Robert Mugabe has inflicted.

King Solomon revealing the hearts of two women

Walking away, entrusting governance and leadership to another in a positive fashion, should be applauded whenever, and whatever scale at which it occurs.

Smoke rising from fighting within Abidjan - a testimony to the destruction brought about by those seduced by power

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