In 1977, when Parisian designers oversaw the lavish coronation of Jean-Bédel Bokassa as "Emperor" of the Central African Republic, were they aware of his alleged anthropophagy? In December 2013, when French troops descended on Bangui amid rumours of cannibalism in the market, was irony finally claiming the spoils? Recently returned from Centrafrique, KEVIN BLOOM considers a story almost too macabre to tell.
"This information is true," said Captain Ahmat Nedjad Ibrahim. "Muslim flesh was eaten. They cooked the flesh in the market and ate it in front of the press. They prepared it a certain way."
And so there we had it, yet more confirmation that public acts of cannibalism had taken place in Bangui during the final months of 2013, and that these acts, which appeared intimately linked to the phrase "potential genocide," had played a central part in France's decision to triple its troop presence in a country that President Francois Hollande considered "the poorest in the world."
But if anyone appreciated the surreal twist here, the bizarre irony in the fact that France had once openly supported that most famous of alleged local cannibals, former President-for-Life Jean-Bédel Bokassa, nobody was saying a word--a circumstance concerning which we...