Friday, December 28, 2007

Note to Humanitarian Workers: DO NOT Go to Chad

Although coverage of this issue has largely been lost in the storm of news over Benazir Bhutto's assassination, Yahoo news has recently reported that six French aid workers convicted of kidnapping in Chad by a kangaroo court are being sent back to France.

These workers, from a humanitarian group called Zoe's Ark, are accused of supposedly trying to kidnap a group of Chadian children, whom they masqueraded as children from Darfur. The case is very complex, but the Chadian court, strongly biased against the French due to the previous imperial relationship between the countries, came to a verdict in only four days.

Many have described the group as being in over its head and amateurish. They tried to pose the children as being injured in order to get them out of the country more easily. Although this may be the case, there is no reason to believe they were actually trying to kidnap the children. For example, they had a journalist with them who was documenting their efforts, not a usual activity for a kidnapper.

Hopefully, the workers will have their sentences commuted in France, as many are expecting. In the meanwhile, humanitarian workers should think twice before they waste their efforts on an ungrateful country such as Chad.

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