Gibril Gbanabome Koroma
My friend Victor Sylver's attack on Shaw through the FREEDOM FORUM left me with mixed feelings tinged with overwhelming sadness.
Let me first of all state that Victor, in all probability, did not expect the Forum to go public with that malicious, libellous, irrational and vindictive piece of writing.
Since the crisis in our country in May 1997 some people calling themselves journalists, in a self-righteous sort of way, have, instead of finding something useful to do with their lives, been contacting international media organisations to vilify colleagues with whom they have an axe to grind. I never knew Victor can come down so low until I saw his letter.
But what angers me a whole lot is that some of these organisations never cross check the information they receive about some people but will stupidly swallow everything hook, line and sinker and then go on to blacklist such people. I have a couple of such organizations in mind and at the appropriate time I shall expose them for the world to see the kind of creatures they are.
People should realise that there is nothing the average Sierra Leonean knows more than to bring his brother down and smash him in the dust, this is one of the many causes of the present war which again many foreigners stupidly attribute to diamonds alone. I would therefore like to doff my hat to the FORUM for having the good sense to inform Shaw about what Victor had said and thus allowing him to defend himself. Other organizations I know very well would have just insanely kept mute about this very damaging letter, believe everything and develop an attitude about about the victim. This kind of epistolary warfare has been going on and is still going on, we are just lucky to hear about this latest stinker. Shaw has already adequately defended himself but Victor referred to Shaw's "cronies", so I have to jump into the fray. I am going to tell the world what I know about Victor, so that people can understand why he wrote such a disgraceful letter.
Victor Sylver studied Agriculture at university but ended up stringing for the BBC after a jail sentence at the hellish Government Information Services. He is the perfect intellectual slave the BBC likes to recruit in Africa - somebody who can sacrifice THE TRUTH for a few miserable British pounds.
Victor has always been close to the powers that be and he used to be very proud of his close association with ministers, directors, permanent secretaries and presidents. He was particularly very close to Kabbah and the SLPP. When the latter was overthrown in 1997, Victor took it as a personal affront, which gravely affected his reporting to the BBC. He never reported anything good about the junta, which angered a lot of people and the BBC lapped up anything he faxed or sent by telephone.
But he got into real trouble when he deliberately falsified a story on the ECOMOG bombing of the Mabayla slum in central Freetown. At that time everybody was glued to a radio and the slum dwellers heard Victor's report while their loved ones laid in pools of blood. With a loud cry of rage they went on the streets with stones and sticks looking for him. It had nothing to do with EXPO TIMES. WE ONLY REPORTED THE INCIDENT AS CORRESPONDENT OF REPORTERS SANS FRONTIERES IN FREETOWN AT THE TIME. I EVEN INFORMED PARIS ABOUT IT AND WROTE A COMMENTARY IN EXPO TIMES CALLING ON THE PUBLIC TO STAY CALM. THE RECORDS ARE THERE.
Anyway, despite everything Victor is still our friend and brother at EXPO TIMES. I for one used to have a drink with him and we used to have lengthy discussions. I will tell Shaw to forgive him. But to be frank, Victor has really disappointed me. This is the kind of game small boys like David Tam Baryoh, who onced tried unsuccessfully to tarnish my name in Ghana, should play, not a man like Victor for whom I had some respect. For Victor to Nicodemously send a letter like that to the FORUM has exposed him as a veritable enemy of press freedom and free expression. The man still believes in unfree ways to express himself and damage others. But he went to the wrong people.
LONG LIVE FREEDOM FORUM!
AND WE ADD: Now, having carefully read through Gibril's thing above, you should now have an idea of who had been telling the truth, who had been supporting the murderous junta and who has been mixing up a cocktail of lies, deceit and even more lies.
This is part of a report by the Human Rights Organisation, Human Rights Watch in October 1997 titled: Sierra Leone - a disastrous set-back for human rights. Remember, Gibril never noticed these human rights abuses and if he did, chose to ignore it and never criticised the junta for its excesses.