A Letter To the Editors of the Financial Times at London
I read with great sadness and dismay in your paper today of the sentence to a heavy term of imprisonment imposed on Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for, among other things, “crimes against humanity.” Mr. Fujimori, through iron will, saved the nation of Peru from the clutches of implacably violent communist revolutionaries of the Shining Path and other related groups. Likely all of the Justices sitting in his case were doubtless spared barbarous death at the hands of violent insurrectionists by Mr. Fujimori’s equally savage tactics.
Citizens of the UK and US can be forgiven for knowing little or nothing of the nation of Peru, of Mr. Fujimori or of the Shining Path and its related violent factions. Peru and the entire continent of South America are very little known even at this time to outsiders. Mr. Fujimori made Peru safe for her own citizens and businessmen and travelers from all nations interested in going to Peru. It is startling to me that many Peruvians appear to forget that for sixteen long years their nation was in the vice grip of an unrelentingly violent foe. Mr. Fujimori was elected to be a strong man to effectively and efficiently lay waste to that foe after the terms of many ineffectual predecessors. Yes, Mr. Fujimori killed many violent insurgents hell bent on seizing power at the point of a gun. That was his job. And he did it very well indeed. He freed his nation from the yoke of daily, endless, terror. His thanks for this, for being a true Peruvian hero and patriot, is to be packed off to prison by his own Justices. This is an amazing outcome.
Far more than amazing is the frightening message this sentence sends to terrorists and violent insurrectionists the world over. That message is that civilized societies will not resist them. The implications of that message are not a sectarian Peruvian concern. Rather, that message which announces that it is wrong to kill, without quarter or mercy, violent terrorists has troubling international ramifications. Think how that message will be read by the violent adversaries of civilized life everywhere in the world—it says—“we are free to rape, pillage, plunder and kill with no resistance from established authority!” This message is terrible and I hope that in Peru, Mr. Fujimori’s daughter, Keiko, a respected congresswoman already, will succeed in 2011 to win the Presidential Palace, fulfill her vow to set free her father, pardon him and reverse that awful message of misguided appeasement handed down yesterday by the Justices at Lima.
JOHN DANIEL BEGG