The Central African Republic has been a war-torn, post-colonial mess for a very long time, but they had a relative level of stability until this year.
Now, the nation is in complete disarray, and its old colonial master, France, has stepped in to try to stop the sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims.
The volatile mix of competing religions, post-colonial factions, and valuable resources would place any nation at risk of civil war.
For a nation such as the Central African Republic, it is an inevitability.
The only hope that the citizens of the CAR have is three-fold:
1.) Immediate outside intervention is needed to stop the bloodshed.
France has already begun this action.
It remains to be seen how long it will take to stabilize the situation. Hopefully the cycles of violence can be permanently stopped, but it seems likely that they will continue into the near future.
2.) A coalition government must be formed with specific objectives.
Those objectives need to be: reconciliation, reform, and rewards.
Reconciliation: To quote Abraham Lincoln, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Reform: The C.A.R. must reform its political system by creating a constitution that guarantees certain “inalienable rights” to all of its citizens regardless of their creeds, etc. It does not have to model itself after the U.S. Constitution (although that one has stood the test of time), but it should reflect the unique character of its nation, while at the same time, it should attach itself to universal truths.
Rewards: The Central African Republic has what many other war-torn nations do not have–natural resources that are easily converted into wealth to supply the nation. Once a new government “of the people, by the people” has been re-formed, the material resources should be used to finance infrastructure and benefits for the citizens.
3.) Outside forces must leave at the appropriate time, so that they do not become tempted to confiscate the nation’s wealth.
No examples are necessary, world history is full of examples of tyranny, despotism, and material theft imposed on the people “for their own benefit.”
Is this all a fantasy? A utopian idea?
Possibly, but what are the alternatives?
A nation of refugees?
Outside militias or strongmen creating a dictatorship?
Al Jazeera has a decent article describing the scene in the African republic–click here.