Politicians should stop treating citizens like fools, says South African business player Ian Kilbride. In his latest column, the financial services entrepreneur looks at the attacks that have shocked the world. He highlights the political hypocrisy of global leaders who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk, on democratic freedoms. And, not least of all, he highlights the need for African political leaders to do some serious work on beefing up security forces. – JC
By Ian Kilbride*
It has been said that “Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely”, but what is more subtle is the ability of politicians all over the world to forget almost instantly their previously stated positions on many issues.
At first I felt rather sick listening to the American big guns become instant lovers of free speech, freedom of the press and generally “freedom” of everything. My first impression was that they are just acting like a “real Charlie” rather than relating to anything that Charlie Hebdo actually stands for.
With Julian Assange still holed up in a London Embassy, too afraid to leave in case he ends up part of a little US “rendition” and with Ed Snowden sitting in Moscow too afraid to leave and return to his own “land of the free” it was almost too much to hear Mr Kerry (with the strange hair) tell us how the US is the land of free speech and the greatest bastion of freedom.
Yet as that wonderful reaction unfolded in Paris, as one million people marched for freedom and in protest against those Islamists who would have us all return to the 12th Century, I deduced that people power, and thus votes, can sway even the most cynical and politically manipulative politicians.
Political hypocrisy has been rampant of late. Cuba is now a decent country and a great nation to have as an ally according to Mr Obama, which is rather a strange “new” idea because, other than the US who think that anything other than a two party system is “communist and subversive”, no one else thought of Cuba in any other way, did they?
Then the Americans urged us all to “get Green” and make climate change our number one priority. Thanks again Mr Kerry, but how did your country vote on the Kyoto Protocol? Oh yes, you tried to kill it off, but then they say there is no-one as zealous as a convert.
I must stop picking on them, but the Americans decided that after torturing detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay for decades, it really was not a nice thing to do and so they are now acting as though they only found out about it last week. Obviously one or two junior heads will now roll to protect the backsides of everyone from Bush on down, including Mr. Obama.
Yet do not despair. The “Je Suis Charlie” and “I am not afraid” march and campaign may add some momentum to the dawning realisation in politicians minds that we listen to what they say, what they promise and their stated convictions, and we will hold them to it all.
For far too long the West, and a great amount of its “free press” has allowed politicians, and self-serving billionaires, to get away with talking rubbish and when necessary – rewriting their own history. Political power may be more transient than a billionaire’s pot of financial self-protection, but it is not the role of any form of our free press to suck up to, or pat the head of, any politician who seeks publicity, or any billionaire who simply needs petting.
If nothing else let us hope that the mindless killings, in a first world city, will galvanise public resolve and wake up the mainstream Muslim community to what is being conducted in their own religion’s name and force politicians, those democratically elected at least, to honour their commitments.
Lastly, when 10-year-old girls are used by the “brave and fearless” Jihadists in Africa to kill hundreds, possibly even thousands, what will it take to wake up our own continent’s politicians? A nuclear bomb under their heated limo seats or the threat of losing their car pool and or travel privileges?
If Africa wants to be taken seriously then it needs to act like a modern, democratic and organised continent of progressive nations, not a back water of “no go” zones and areas with badly trained, equipped and motivated security services. Watching the Nigerian army on the news this week convinced me that they would not last an hour in Liverpool or Manchester on a Friday or Saturday night at “throwing out” time, let alone take on Jihadists in their own back yard.
Ian Kilbride is the Chairman of Warwick Wealth and the Spirit Foundation, (formally known as the KIDS Foundation). See all of his articles on iankilbride.com and every week on BizNews, in the Opinion Section.
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