Europe and Africa

Vaclav Havel | 04 Dec 2007
The Times
The EU-Africa summit must add Zimbabwe and Darfur to its agenda

Sir, In a few days heads of state and government from Africa and Europe will meet in Portugal to discuss issues common to two continents whose histories have intertwined for centuries. This is an historic opportunity to inaugurate a new era founded on shared values and a genuine friendship where we can support and learn from each other.

But that will not be possible while the summit meeting shies away from discussing two of the world's worst humanitarian crises, those in Zimbabwe and Darfur. Despite Europe and Africa's shared responsibility to address such crises, neither one is on the agenda. No time has been set aside for formal or informal discussion.

We expect our leaders to lead, and lead with moral courage. When they fail to do so they leave all of us morally impoverished. Where they funk the difficult issues they make themselves irrelevant. Why should we listen to the mighty when the mighty are deaf to the cries of the afflicted? Millions of Africans and Europeans would expect Zimbabwe and Darfur to be at the very top of the agenda. It is not too late.

Vaclav Havel

Günter Grass

Roddy Doyle

Tom Stoppard

José Gil

Colm Toibin

Jürgen Habermas

Dario Fo

Franca Rame

Professor Wole Soyinka

Mia Couto

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Gillian Slovo

Ben Okri

Nadine Gordimer

John M. Coetzee

Goretti Kyomuhendo