FEATURE ARTICLE

Thursday, August 19, 2021
keshiafrica@gmail.com

OF TRAITORS AND THEIR PAYMASTERS

hroughout history, traitors have suffered the same fate: They are either eliminated or abandoned after their pay masters have used them.” A traitor to his people will be a traitor forever,” they told poor David Dion, as they shoved him into the gas chamber before the end of the second world war. David Dion, the renegade Jew, thought he could buy a lifesaving friendship into the German power caste by betraying his people.

The fate of David Dion may not be familiar, but we cannot easily forget Hughes Stanford. Stanford sought to appease the Christian mission which explored the Niger areas(later Nigeria). Stanford poured invectives on Africans only to be keenly avoided by the church leaders who rightly felt that they needed diplomats, committed missionaries and lovers of humanity, not raving racist and hate- monger who would ignite African resistance to their new values. He died without a job and without a penny in the world. But this was a time some more positive colonial agents were building their career in the emerging colonies.

Joseph Goebbel, the German Nazi Party member, paid dearly for supporting an unpopular cause. Goebbel became Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister in 1933 comes to mind. By exploiting mob emotions and by employing all modern methods of propaganda Goebbels helped Hitler to power. His work as a propagandist materially aided Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. When Hitler seized power in 1933, Goebbels was appointed Reichsminister for propaganda and national enlightenment. From then until his death, Goebbels used all media of education and communications to further Nazi propagandistic aims, instilling in the Germans the concept of their leader as a veritable god and of their destiny as the rulers of the world. In 1938 he became a member of the Hitler cabinet council. Late in World War II, in 1944, Hitler placed him in charge of total mobilization. Unfortunately, despite Goebbel’s propaganda wizardry, Germany lost the war. On May 1, 1945, as Soviet troops were storming Berlin, Goebbels committed suicide.

What of Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), the American hero of the Revolutionary War (1775-83) who later became one of the most infamous traitors in U.S. history after he switched sides and fought for the British .Arnold was involved in several landmark battles for the US such as the capture of the British garrison Fort of Ticonderoga in 175, warding off British invasion of New York at the Battle of Chaplain. Arnold also played a crucial role in bringing about the surrender of British General John Burgoyne’s (1722-92) army at Saratoga. Unfortunately, Arnold felt he was not adequately rewarded and became a turncoat. He entered into secret negotiations with the British, agreeing to turn over the U.S. post at West Point in return for money and a command in the British army. The plot was discovered, but Arnold escaped to British lines.

After fleeing to the enemy side, Arnold received a commission with the British army and served in several minor engagements against the Americans. After the war, which ended in victory for the Americans with the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Arnold resided in England. He died in London on June 14, 1801, at age 60. The British regarded him with ambivalence, while his former countrymen despised him. Following his death, Arnold’s memory lived on in the land of his birth, where his name became synonymous with the word “traitor”.

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