Strasser: The evil that men do

4 August 2010 at 02:17 | 2090 views

By Joseph S. Sherman, Washington, DC.

Shakespeare’s play Macbeth shows the roots of all evil, our own human nature. The play is centered on the coexistence of good and evil. Macbeth, unlike any other Shakespeare play has the protagonist convert to evil.

In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is shown as a hero in the Scottish army; that is ironic because Macbeth defeats a traitor and he himself becomes one later. Valentine Strasser knows his place in the world. He is fully capable of distinguishing between right and wrong. Strasser purposely disregards his own moral judgment to rise to power which is again ironic and goes against his own military oath. Strasser stands as a symbol for Satan’s sin of ambition. Like Satan, Strasser’s thirst for power and ambition drove him to commit evil by overthrowing a constitutional government and sanctioned the extra-judicial killing of 29 unarmed Sierra Leoneans. Contrary to the theory of supernatural forces, he is responsible for his own actions.

Malignant wickedness strives for evil simply because it is evil; self-centered wickedness promotes a person’s self interest at the expense of others; conscientious wickedness pursues certain values ruthlessly without proper consideration of other merited values.

The late President Joseph Saidu Momoh, who was overthrown by the NPRC junta supported by SLPP Chairman John O. Benjamin, left an indelible mark in the minds of many Sierra Leoneans. Despite the late president military background, which rendered him to repel the NPRC rag –tag and foot soldiers and the willingness of allies in the sub-region to restore him back to power as was the case of Ex-President Kabbah, he stayed put to avert blood shed and destruction of properties. Can late President Joseph Saidu Momo be perceived as weak? Well, so many schools of thought hold different opinion on the issues but what I can say here is he died a peaceful death with no stain of innocent blood on his hand.

When Ex-President Kabbah was restored to power through loss of lives and properties he humanely tried to give the late President Momoh retirement benefits but the idea was vehemently opposed by the SLPP government. Not only was President Momoh denied his rights of retirement as ex-president of Sierra Leone but was exposed to ridicule and unsavory invectives directed at him that led to his untimely death.

Now an ex-unconstitutional head of state (Valentine Strasser) who is guilty of treasonable offences by overthrowing a constitutionally elected government in accordance with the Uniform Military Code of Justice (UCMJ) and who awaits a proposed inquest for the killing of 29 unarmed Sierra Leoneans is being asked to be rendered mercy by the APC government.

Indeed, mercy and reconciliation is what our dear President Koroma is opting for but the question remains where are John Benjamin, Maada Bio, and Tom Nyuma who are supposed to come to the rescue of their former colleague? It would be fool-hardy for the APC government to come to the rescue of a foe who spear-headed the demise and destruction of the APC party and its partisans. I am not trying to be vindictive or unforgiving in this article but as the adage goes, “The evil that men do lives after them” (Macbeth). The appeal to rescue Valentine Strasser should be directed to John Benjamin, Maada Bio, Tom Nyuma and the SLPP partisans who still enjoy the loots and booties that they stole during the NPRC reign.

Captain Valentine Strasser had been a good man because he participated in fighting the rebel incursion and was shot by them. However, he still makes the decision against his conscience andat the end he committed treason and his NPRC was responsible for killing 24 unarmed civilians. Captain Strasser’s decision is a case of conscientious wickedness and his conscience and his promised duty to the Sierra Leone Army stands on his shoulders; each presents a compelling argument. Captain Strasser’s duty as a captain of the Sierra Leone Army values the laws above all other values. The laws clearly state that treason and murder are offenses that are punishable by execution despite the circumstances or origin of the conflict.

People often complain about the unfairness in the world and that evil too often triumphs over good. Good is innocent of evil. It is ignorant of evil. Intelligence is essential in a war. In the war of good and evil, good is battling evil while being completely unaware of the trickeries that evil contains. Good people spend their time to do good for other people, yet evil people spend much of their time to study the good men and attempt to destroy them. In such circumstances, pure good will lose. Most people are not purely good or purely evil.

With the potential for evil so great in today’s materialistic, difficult society, we find ourselves with the difficult task of taking life’s many journeys and tests. Not every journey will result in goodness, and the ones that do not are a learning experience in which we must gain the self-knowledge to prevent our inner darkness from emerging. We must also be able to take knowledge with us through every experience we encounter and incorporate it into our daily lives.

It can be said that Captain Valentine Strasser’s degree of darkness lies within himself, but this darkness will not surface unless given the correct environment. The darkness, however, can emerge and ultimately destroy the person if not checked by reason. If one’s inner darkness does surface, the victim then is given the opportunity to reach a point in personal growth, and to gain a sense of self-knowledge from it. That is, when one’s darkness appears, one must learn from this experience how he or she can prevent similar results from occurring in the future.