The other day I read that Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia was on trial for crimes against humanity. It seems that his soldiers were responsible of the deaths of and/or the dismemberment of 50,000 people in Liberia and Serra Leon. According to the Times, this is only the second time in history that a head of state has been on trial for such. Actually, I am writing this from memory, which can be faulty with details. Nevertheless, Taylor was the man in charge during a terrible, bloody time in those two African nations. Part of the conflict had roots in tribalism; another part, in diamonds.
One detail that I do remember was that the Liberian army, desperate for recruits, kidnapped boys between the ages of 12 and 15 to serve. To insure that these children did not run away, they cut the acronym for the army into the backs or the foreheads of each child. To me, that act was particularly brutal. It reminded me of the branding of slaves in other times and in other countries. Humans can be so cruel to each other. Perhaps one day we should all sit in sack cloth and ashes to atone to one and other and to Our Creator for such behavior.
Taylor was a “man in charge”. Why is it that some men and/or women in charge encourage the worst in human behavior toward many of the people who put them in charge? Is it the old “Power corrupts; and, absolute power corrupts absolutely”?