Sunday, January 22, 2012

Special Emergency Letter: Conflict Gold

Dear Mutombo,

I never thought I'd be writing you again so soon. I don't know what to say. Four tons of Congolese gold? Militias? Corporate jets? Money-laundering? Two bags containing 6.6 million dollars in cash? Local generals? PowerPoint presentations? Purported customs facilities? Confidentiality? Highest discretion? Armed soldiers? Warlords? Did you, Mutombo, really set up a deal to sell a thousand pounds of conflict minerals within a few weeks of meeting with the State Department to bring more attention to how the illicit sale of conflict minerals has ravaged your homeland? Do you really want to add your name to the ever-growing list of Public Figures Who Secretly Do the Very Thing They Speak Out Against? Is the Mutombo family that hard up for money? Were you going to use the money to build another Congolese hospital? Would that make it okay, or at least a little okay? Do we all have as many sides to our personalities as you do, Mutombo (i.e. the gold-smuggling side, the Gold-Club-prostitution-trial side, the help-reduce-polio-and-build-hospitals humanitarian side, the finger-wagging-trash-talker side, the teach-Yao-Ming-about-fine-wine side, the exasperated-at-the-DMV side)? Are you greedy? Are you a money-hungry humanitarian or a money-hungry man posing as a humanitarian, or neither? Say it ain't so, Deke. Say it ain't so! We're not surprised at all anymore when athletes get accused of illegal activities--I mean, ESPN runs a crime ticker at the bottom of the screen during all programming--but damn, Dikembe. This is surprising. This is crazy and awful. This is some Blood Diamond shit. Please tell us you have a decent explanation. Or barring that, that you made a mistake, as people do, but that this isn't indicative of your character as a whole. Please tell us that the exasperated sitcom father I've been imagining you to be is the real Mutombo, and not this international smuggler of conflict gold. Exonerate yourself, Deke. Instead of being another reminder that there'll always be public figures who do exactly what they decry, please be a reminder that people do, occasionally, get falsely accused. 



P.S. I'm sure you already read it, but just so you know, all the words and phrases near the beginning of this letter come from the Houston Chronicle article breaking the news of your involvement in the scandal. When the reporters reached reached you in Atlanta for comment, you said, "I have nothing to say." No, Deke!  Exonerate yourself! 

P.P.S. What am I supposed to do about my bobble-finger doll if you don't ever refute the allegations? Bobble-finger dolls are not supposed to make us have complicated feelings about human nature.