In addition to the devastation of foreign exploitation, Liberia has had a hundred and thirty-three years of autocratic rule by a small segment of its population, a bloody military coup d’état, ten years of military rule (five of which were camouflaged in civilian clothing), and fourteen years of bestiality euphemized as a civil war.To add insult to injury, corruption and other social vices have been endemicin almost every Liberian sector.These realities make it arduous-indeed asinine-to deny or ignore the fact that Liberia is laden with gargantuan problems. It is therefore difficult to understand an article published by my brother, J. Yanqui Zaza (in the June 11, 2011 edition of the Perspective) indicting President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Ivy League Schools.Hence, a response is necessary and although this response could be extended along several lines, it will be succinct.
First, I want to make one thing clear. This response is not intended to defend the World Bank or exculpate President Sirleaf’s administration. Indeed, the president herself has publicly acknowledged corruption and other social vices that plague her administration. On the other hand, to ignore President Sirleaf’s numerous achievements and assert that she “was invited by an institution that has trained her to implement anti-people's policy …” is insensitive, disingenuous, deprecatory, and erroneous. It lacks balance and objectivity that ought to characterize academic rigor and intellectualism.
This response also is not intended to defendIvy League schools, their professors and graduates. Rather, we want to point out the lack of balance in Mr. Zaza’s article regarding these institutions and individuals. For instance, Mr. Zaza engages in faulty generalization when he asserts that Ivy League schools do not “seek the interest of humanity” and that their professors and graduates (presumably like Presidents Kennedy and Sirleaf) are greedy exploiters who are insensitive to humanity (emphasis added). This generalization ignores the countless contributions of Ivy Leagues schools and their graduates around the world. True, some graduates of Ivy League schools, like graduates of other institutions, are far from admirable. Yet, the truth remains that thousands of Ivy League graduates are making humongous contribution to humanity. It is neither necessary nor feasible to chronicle them in this response. Rather, it suffices to state that, todismiss, degrade, derogate, and bedevil all of them is defenseless. Though I have made no contributions, I am not only proud to be an Ivy League graduate but ardently determined to see Liberia prosper, whatever dent can be made to that effect.
About the author: Dr. Sakui Malakpa
Professor, University of Toledo
2801 W. Bancroft Street
Toledo, OH 43606