Togo, Images of Courage and Death


A United Opposition Rally on Friday in Lome

If I were telling the news…

If I were a news man this is what I would say. I would say to keep your eyes on Togo. I would tell you that there is a small country on the West African coast that is having a difficult time. I would tell you about how the dictator of 38 years died in February and his son was then put into office. But, after international outrage, the country decided to follow the constitution and hold a presidential election.

I would explain how the Opposition came together and agreed on a 75 year old candidate. I would tell you to imagine a 75 year old man who had seen his country ruled for more than half of his life by the same dictator. I would tell you to imagine how it must feel to see your countrymen, possibly friends or family, who opposed this dictator, murdered or jailed. And, I would tell you to imagine what drive the 75 year old man must have today to see to it that the dictator’s son does not take over where his father left off. Imagine what drive you would have to make sure that your children or grand children do not go through a life with the same oppresion that you felt for 38 years.

I would tell you to think of the people. Think of those who came together to rally against the dictator’s son. I would tell you about the rally last week where 6 people died when the crowd was fired upon. I would tell you that even though there was death and there were injured, that 10,000 came together on the Friday before the election to rally in the streets of the capital. I would tell you to imagine what they felt. I would tell you about their courage. I would tell you about the fear they have of death. I would show the people begging the West for help pleading, “They’re gonna kill us in the night!” and “Please do something, please help us.” I would tell you about their fear. I would tell you of their courage.

I would explain that the election is tomorrow. That tomorrow the people of Togo will go vote on a new leader. Will it be the young man with the old promises? Or, will it be the old man with the new direction? I would tell you to keep your eyes on Togo. I would tell you to keep your thoughts on Togo. And, I would tell you to keep some prayers for Togo.

But, I am not a newsman. I don’t get to decide what you hear about. I don’t get to decide what is important to you. I don’t get to decide how you hear it. I won’t remind you of Rwanda, Darfur, or the Congo. I won’t tell you about Togo. I am not a newsman.

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