He could have gone out in a Versace suit, all dapper and with the assurance of a delicious croissant every morning, lazily lounging in a villa in any country of his choice. Instead, Laurent Gbagbo chose the path of indignity and humiliation – a former president trapped in a hole like a rat, sweating like he had run a marathon, wiping sweat from his armpit. That sight was both annoying and sad.
Watching Gbagbo wipe his armpit on international TV made me feel very sorry for him even though I know he doesn’t deserve my pity. Not that it would take him anywhere but I am angry that through his obstinate folly, Laurent Gbagbo managed to get me to feel sorry for him.
I don’t feel sorry for idiots like that – leaders who bring their country to ruin just so they could stay in power for longer, do not deserve pity. Even though Gbagbo has proved to me that he’s one of the worst African fools of the new millennium, I feel sorry for him and all the opportunities he missed to walk away a dignified man, if not a hero.
I believe that a man should be able to stand by his convictions and defend them. But it gets to a point where the tide turns and comes at you like a Tsunami. That’s when you walk away. That’s the lesson and I hope others get from Gbagbo’s fall. Most of the world saw that this was not going to end well – not for Gbagbo, not for La Cote d’Ivoire. Only Gbagbo and the sycophants around him didn’t see that the end was going to be this bad. Now look at him, with the forlorn expression on his battered face and wiping sweat from his armpit. Humiliated and shamed.
It could have been worse.
Gbagbo should be feeling lucky that he’s alive but he’s going to regret the rest of his days because now, having missed the opportunity to live in luxury in exile, there is the very real prospect that he could be jailed. I want to say “it serves him right”, but honestly, I really feel sorry for Laurent Gbagbo. Most annoyingly, I just can’t seem to get that image of his armpit out of my mind.