The United Nations and the Ivory Coast. (Human Rights Watch).I was born and grew up in the Ivory Coast Ivory Coast: see Côte d'Ivoire. , also known as La Cote d'Ivoire. This African nation, which gained its independence from France in 1960, is bordered by the countries Mali, Ghana, Liberia, and Burkina Faso Burkina Faso (burkē`nə fä`sō), republic (2005 est. pop. 13,925,000), 105,869 sq mi (274,200 sq km), W Africa. It borders on Mali in the west and north, on Niger in the northeast, on Benin in the southeast, and on Togo, Ghana, and . More than sixty different ethnic groups live there, but most Ivorians belong to either the Baoule or Mandingo tribes. The Mandingo people are primarily Muslim and from the northern part of the country. They own many of the businesses in the capital city Abidjan. The Baoule are mostly Christian and hold many positions within the government. Both tribes until recently lived peacefully side by side for hundreds of years. I am Mandingo.
Like in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , there are several different political parties in the Ivory Coast. Translated from their French names, they are the Democratic Party, established in 1946; the Ivory Popular Front (FPI FPI Formal Public Identifier
FPI Front Populaire Ivoirien (French: Ivorian Popular Front, Icory Coast)
FPI Federal Prison Industries, Inc.
FPI Front Pembela Islam (Indonesian: Islamic Defenders Front) ), established in 1990; the Republican Party (RDR RDR Reader
RDR Rassemblement des Républicains (French: Rally of the Republicans, Ivory Coast)
RDR Remote Data Recovery (Ontrack Data International)
RDR Registered Diplomate Reporter ); the Party of Social Democrats The Party of Social Democrats (Partito dei Socialdemocratici, PSD) is a tiny social-democratic Italian political party.
It was founded in 1994 as European Liberal Social Democracy (Socialdemocrazia Liberale Europea (USD USD
In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the U.S. Dollar.
The currency market, also known as the Foreign Exchange market, is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily average volume of over US $1 trillion. ); and the Party of the Workers (PIT). The country has a president--currently Laurent Gbagbo Laurent Koudou Gbagbo (born May 31, 1945) has been the president of Côte d'Ivoire (better known in English as The Ivory Coast) since 2000. Early life and political career
Gbagbo was born in the village of Mama, near Gagnoa. , a socialist within the FPI--a prime minister, and twenty-eight ministers of various departments, including foreign affairs foreign affairs
Affairs concerning international relations and national interests in foreign countries. , defense, health, and transportation. The voting age is twenty-one.
Until recently, my hometown home·town
The town or city of one's birth, rearing, or main residence.
Noun 1. hometown - the town (or city) where you grew up or where you have your principal residence; "he never went back to his hometown again" of Abidjan was a tourist attraction Noun 1. tourist attraction - a characteristic that attracts tourists
attractive feature, magnet, attractor, attracter, attraction - a characteristic that provides pleasure and attracts; "flowers are an attractor for bees" , known as the "Paris of Africa" for its beauty and economic stability. As a young boy, I never had to worry about war or fighting; I only knew peace there. But recently Abidjan has turned into a war zone, and several of my friends and family members have been murdered.
The last presidential election resulted in massive killing--very uncommon for this country. The fighting was mostly between the Baoule government and military and the Mandingo people. The trouble started when the head of the country, Henry Konan Bedie, misinformed the nation by saying that Baoule Christians were the first to arrive in the Ivory Coast and that the Muslim Mandingo people were outsiders. Soon everyone, young and old, across the country was debating who were the "true Ivorians." The government even banned a Mandingo candidate, Alassan Ouattara of the RDR, from running for president, saying that he wasn't a true Ivorian since his mother had been born in Burkina Faso.
Young Mandingo men started protesting against the government, which fought back violently by sending soldiers to target and kill Mandingo people, especially the young activists and poor civilians. Thus the Baoule and Mandingo tribes became more divided than ever, and neighbors who used to greet each other each morning were now fighting.
My teenage brother witnessed three of his friends shot and killed by Baoule soldiers. My father's car was set on fire and destroyed by his Baoule neighbors. Then, one day, Baoule soldiers went to my cousin's home and arrested him. They took him away and he's never been seen again. My cousin was known for encouraging young Mandingo to stand up for their rights, so he was seen as a threat. When his mother asked the police where he had been taken, they told her coldly to check the rivers, lakes, and dumpsters. She nearly lost her mind searching for him, but she, too, never returned. Now my mother cares for the three children she left behind, along with my little brother and sister. The sadness is so great that we never talk about what happened.
I felt so helpless here in the United States when I read news articles in the New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times and the Washington Post about the atrocities being committed in my homeland and the mass graves A mass grave is a grave containing multiple, usually unidentified human corpses. There is no strict definition of the minimum number of bodies required to constitute a mass grave. that had been found. I was so worried about my family. All I could do was try to phone them, but many times I couldn't get through.
The question now facing the United Nations is whether it should have stepped in to prevent the Mandingo genocide genocide, in international law, the intentional and systematic destruction, wholly or in part, by a government of a national, racial, religious, or ethnic group. and whether it should get involved now to prevent more horrible killing. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the official UN peacekeeping manual:
UN peacekeeping is based on the principle that an impartial UN presence on the ground can ease tension and allow negotiated solutions in a conflict situation. The first step, which often involves intense diplomatic efforts by a UN Secretary General, is to secure a halt to fighting and the consent of the parties before peacekeepers are deployed.
However, not everyone agrees that UN intervention works. Ivorians who oppose UN involvement say that United Nations action in the Ivory Coast would only aggravate the ethnic conflict. They believe the UN cannot be neutral and would have to take sides. They cite awful failures by the UN in the past, specifically in Rwanda. And as John Reader wrote in Africa: A Biography of the Continent, "The UN called upon Belgium to organize some form of national reconciliation, an aim described by a senior Belgian adviser as `perfectly useless.'"
Those who oppose UN intervention believe Ivorians don't need strangers coming in to solve their problems--that the UN cannot successfully address the concerns because it is unfamiliar with the country's complex issues. They also worry that when outsiders attempt to help political situations they often impose their ideas on the people, many of which could conflict with tradition.
To some critics of African affairs African Affairs is a peer reviewed academic journal published quarterly by Oxford University Press on behalf of the London-based Royal African Society. The journal's articles cover any African topic: political, social, economic, environmental and historical. , like Ikaweba Bunting bunting, common name for small, plump birds of the family Fringillidae (finch family). Among the American buntings are the indigo bunting, in which the summer plumage of the male reflects sunlight as a rich, metallic blue; the painted bunting, or nonpareil ( , the UN is seen as just a weak symbol of peace:
In Africa today, only the symbols of sovereignty exist. There are flags, seats on the UN General Assembly, heads of state (sometimes more than one), armies, national currencies, ambassadors, and Mercedes Benzes.
However, while there are concerns about the effectiveness of UN involvement in the Ivory Coast, there are also problems with letting the country deal with its troubled political issues on its own. Solving civil problems may take Ivorian politicians too long, which will result in the slaughter of more Mandingo. And although UN forces failed to stop the killing in Rwanda, the UN could still use its power and influence to prevent more killing there. According to Leo Leo, in astronomy
Leo [Lat.,=the lion], northern constellation lying S of Ursa Major and on the ecliptic (apparent path of the sun through the heavens) between Cancer and Virgo; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac. DeSouza:
The only way to end the bloodletting in Rwanda once and for all is to declare a general amnesty for all but the highest level perpetrators and establish a truth commission similar to the one in South Africa, charged with investigating the fate of victims on both sides even as it forgives most of their attackers. This could initially be conducted under the aegis of the Organization of African Unity or the UN or both.
While the United Nations has its problems, I do think there could be long-lasting value in having its presence during troubled times. If the UN could keep the peace among different tribes in the Ivory Coast, then there would be more social, political, and economic stability for the country. A stable economy is attractive to European and U.S. investors. With more corporations setting up in the Ivory Coast and providing jobs, the unemployment rate would likely drop.
During the fighting in November 2000, several businesses pulled out of the Ivory Coast and many banks shut down. Fortunately, when the country held municipal elections in the summer of 2001, they were all peaceful. As a result, many of the businesses have resumed operation, and the World Bank and the European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the
European Community are providing loans to help the Ivory Coast.
A UN presence might also pressure Ivorian politicians to be more precise about how they spend the country's money and to be accountable for misusing funds.
Recently we experienced great suffering here in the United States with the terrorist attacks of September 11. I hear politicians saying that this is a new kind of war and that the United States must fight back. I hear the president say that military action is the answer. But what can this solve?
I think that war is war no matter how one defines it. Any war involves mass killing and in any battle many innocent people are murdered. Military action cannot solve injustice. Most everyone agrees that "two wrongs don't make a right," and retaliating with violence is wrong. I don't wish to kill the soldiers who killed my cousin, and I don't want the United States to go to war. When we use violence to combat violence we are acting just as badly as the killers. Instead of trying to show the world how powerful the United States is--or which tribe is stronger--we need to come together as human beings and create justice. I hope that one day we can live without anger against those who killed innocent people. This is the only way to have peace and live in harmony.
Soumahila Cisse of Berkeley, California Berkeley is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in Northern California, in the United States. Its neighbors to the south are the cities of Oakland and Emeryville. To the north is the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington. , is a twenty-three-year-old student at Vista Community College. His essay received honorable mention in the eighteen-to-twenty-four-year-old age category of the 2001 Humanist Essay Contest for Young Women and Men of North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. .