04 September 2010

About Parties and Presidents

Last Sunday in churches all over Côte d'Ivoire the announcement was made that the Cebaara Bible Dedication planned for the 4th of September (this Saturday), had once again been postponed. It is because there has been a concerted effort on the part of some of the organizers that the President of Côte d'Ivoire be invited to the party. It was only last week that we learned of the "high interest" of the president to be there for the dedication. The problem was that the 4th would not be possible and so in good Ivorian fashion, everything is put on hold until such time that the President can find time in his busy calendar to attend such a dedication. Of course this does not take into account that the WorldVenture Board Representative had to toss out his flight tickets again, nor that this means that the Bible will not be available for we don't know how long, and that all of our other plans for trips, meetings and a hundred other things have to be adjusted.

But who's to complain. In this country where only recently anyone was allowed to say anything that might be construed as being an attack on the government and its leaders, such an attitude is entirely understandable. There is an up side to this delay however and that is that the entire country will be presented with the fact that there is an important Christian community in the north of Côte d'Ivoire. This is important because much of the fuel for this 8 year long conflict has been the notion held by many Christians in southern Côte d'Ivoire that everyone in the north are Muslims and foreigners who should simply be eliminated. At the beginning of the conflict there was a concerted effort on the part of some "Christians" in southern Côte d'Ivoire to characterize the conflict as that of Muslims trying to take over the country. This failed to take into account that the north of Côte d'Ivoire is far more diverse than that. This attitude was evident, sadly enough, in the multitude of prayer vigils organized by Christians in blind support of the government, going so far as actually collecting money in churches to support the war effort against their brothers from the north. Many times during this conflict we have hung our heads in shame at the attitude of our so called brethren from southern Côte d'Ivoire. With that background one can understand better why having the President present for the Dedication of the Cebaara Bible might be so important.

Another and by far less important reason for having the President come to the Dedication is that normally his office will more than likely foot the bill for the manifestation. This of course helps us think big and as a result he will get a "free" platform, so to speak, for his presidential campaign. Incidentally, the presidential elections are programmed for the end of October this year, again! Like the Dedication, this does not mean they will actually take place the end of October!
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