January 24 - Economic Liberation Day in Togo

Posted on January 24, 2018

I have NO idea why this day is supposed to be about economic anything or any sort of liberation...

Instead, it should be called something like "Crash Victim Commemoration Day" or "Amazing Survival Anniversary" or...

Well, let me fill you in:

The small African country of Togo had an awful plane crash on this date in 1974. The plane was a military transport, part of the Togo Air Force (but it was a Douglas C-47 Skytrain that was built in the U.S.). The pilot was French. The four passengers were important political figures and generals from the nation of Togo.

One of the passengers was Étienne Eyadéma, who was then the president of the country.

As the C-47 descended for landing, it crashed!

Tragically, the pilot died, and three of the four passengers died. Eyadéma was lucky enough to survive the crash.

What happened next is sad but human: Eyadéma claimed that the crash was not an accident. He claimed that aircraft had been sabotaged - that the whole incident was a conspiracy by French "imperialists" who wanted to kill him.

I gather that he didn't offer any evidence for this conspiracy theory. He probably thought he didn't have to.

Eyadéma also hinted that his survival of this assassination attempt was due to his own mystical powers, or superhuman strength, or some sort of divine miracle. 

Eyadéma changed his first name to Gnassingbé to remember the event.

Eyadéma even raised a monument near the crash site to celebrate his survival (and hopefully also to honor those who died...hopefully!).

By the way, Eyadéma's crashed C-47 was replaced by a new presidential jet that was ALSO damaged beyond repair in ANOTHER fatal accident, that same year. That time Eyadéma was not on board the jet.

When you see powerful people exaggerate their own powers, their own abilities or intelligence or characters, their own specialness, remember that it is insecurity that drives them to brag and fudge details and even to lie.

Here's what Togo's presidents SHOULD be bragging about:

Baobab trees

Natural beauty
and lovely beach properties

The people, of course!

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