By Siahyonkron Nyanseor
Rev. Dr. Blamo Benedict Nyentue Seekie
March 15, 1948 – May 28, 2014
On February 26, 2012, I paid tribute to my Blojlu Geesayfahnnonkon Tarty Teh, my Protégé (a name we called each other), and a close friend and brother to Patriot Rev. Dr. Blamo Benedict Nyentue Seekie, to whom I refer as “The Silent Warrior”. Now, two years after the home going of Blojlu Teh, Blamo, the co-publisher and Assistant Editor of the famous thought provoking and stimulating Blojlu Journal is called to glory on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, at his home in Dacula, Georgia, USA, following a protracted illness. He was 66 years of age. Today, I pay similar tribute to our beloved *GBALUE on behalf of the Korlahs, Nyanseors, Seekies, Paileys and Jusues, are our extended families from Rockcess, Rivercess County, Liberia. Blamo’s departure two years after Tarty, suggests that the friendship between the two, make them truly inseparable.
Such a relationship compels me to ask the question, what is Friendship? According to Aristotle, Friendship is: A single soul, dwelling in two bodies". Based on this explanation and many other factors, this tribute is written. For example, “The True Meaning of Friendship” written by Alex Lickerman, M.D. provides us with a Japanese word that truly explains the meaning of friendship that I find unique and intriguing. According to Lickerman, the Japanese:
…have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means ‘family’. The connotation suggests a bond between people who've made a similar commitment and who possibly therefore share a similar destiny. It implies the presence of the deepest connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past.
Many of us have people in our lives with whom we feel the bond described by the word kenzoku. They may be family members, a mother, a brother, a daughter, a cousin. Or a friend from grammar school with whom we haven't talked in decades. Time and distance do nothing to diminish the bond we have with these kinds of friends.
The question then arises: why do we have the kind of chemistry encapsulated in the word kenzoku with only a few people we know and not scores of others? The closer we look for the answer the more elusive it becomes. It may not in fact be possible to know, but the characteristics that define a kenzoku relationship most certainly are:
Common interests. This probably ties us closer to our friends than many would like to admit. When our interests diverge and we can find nothing to enjoy jointly, time spent together tends to rapidly diminish. Not that we can't still care deeply about friends with whom we no longer share common interests, but it's probably uncommon for such friends to interact on a regular basis.
History. Nothing ties people together, even people with little in common, than having gone through the same difficult experience. As the sole glue to keep friendships whole in the long run, however, it often dries, cracks, and ultimately fails.
Common values. Though not necessarily enough to create a friendship, if values are too divergent, it's difficult for a friendship to thrive.
Equality. If one friend needs the support of the other on a consistent basis such that the person depended upon receives no benefit other than the opportunity to support and encourage, while the relationship may be significant and valuable, it can't be said to define a true friendship. (Lickerman, M.D., Alex. “The True Meaning Of Friendship”, Published December 15, 2013 in Happiness in this World.)http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201312/the-true-meaning-friendship
“Poor No Friend”: Friendship in the Liberian Culture of Yester Years
“Poor no friend” is a phrase used in Liberia to describe the importance of friendship. In Liberia of our recent past, when we say, “poor no friend”, we are in pursuit of amicable relationship. In that Liberia of our youth, we greeted each other as: “My good friend, how do yah! or, how do you do?” which implied that we were concerned about establishing relationships rather than making palava with each other. We did so in order to keep our relationship alive. Even when we were fussing, we still referred to each other as “My good friend.” Friendship and relationship in Liberia of yesteryears - formed an important part of our socialization; we placed friendship very high on the totem pole of things we cherished; wealth and health came second and third to friendship. In that Liberia, you were poor if you had no friend. “Poor no friend” was a reminder that we needed each other. Therefore, we made an extra effort to get along; despite the problem we had with each other every now and then, over “Country and Congo” - before the “EVIL WAR” called Civil War. This is the relationship we had, and Blamo had with Tarty.
So, when Tarty relocated to Liberia, I (Siahyonkron) encouraged Blamo, his lovely and devoted wife Naomi, and their wonderful children to relocate to Georgia. That was over nine years ago! It was a happy reunion with family. You see, Blamo and I come from a very large family. Originally, we are from the former Rivercess Territory, now Rivercess County. Ironically, I have never been to Rivercess; I was born in Montserrado County; in the unpaved side of the Clay Street community towards United Nations Drive, Monrovia.
I did not meet or know Blamo until he came to the U.S. and inquired about me through a mutual acquaintance – Dagbayonoh Kieh Nyanfore (a former Zion Academy Junior High schoolmate of mine). This is where family name plays significant role in a culture. By then I had dropped all of my kwii (so-called Christian or civilized) names – Sam Anthony Roberts, III to the names I now have. The names: KORLAH, NYANSEOR, SEEKIE, PAILEY and JUSUE, are our extended family names, therefore it was not difficult for cousin Seekie to establish our relationship.
For you see, names are very important in every culture; they are unique to the group of people of the culture from which they derived. Therefore, it is out of pure IGNORANCE for a person or a group from another culture to claim that their names are civilized names, therefore, better than our African or African Liberian names like it was done in Liberia. This is an affront to God Almighty that created us to His likeness and His OWN IMAGE.
Nevertheless, the circumstances that propelled me to pay tribute on the home going of Blojlu Geesayfahnnonkon Tarty Teh compels me to do the same on behalf of our extended family for our beloved Brother, Cousin, Uncle, Father, Husband, friend and Servant God, Gbalue Blamo Benedict Nyentue Seekie on his home going to join Blojlu Teh, and our ancestors. Our tribute is celebratory, not one of sadness; which even death cannot diminish, because Blamo lived a good life and made enormous contributions to mankind and the Liberian people’s on-going struggle from the Diaspora.
Can the passing of Blamo erase his memories? Not so! Death is not that powerful enough to erase his enormous contributions; therefore, it need not be proud! In life Blamo was a “Silent" but effective “Warrior" who accomplished many things without showing off. While death has removed him physically from among us, his memories shall live in our hearts forever.
A Man of Humble Beginnings
Blamo had a humble beginning. He was born in Rivercess County to the union of Mr. Nyonnohwleh Nyentue Seekie and Mrs. Pailey Nyonnohweah Seekie, dedicated Christian family. Blamo started his education at the Open Bible Standard Mission (OBS). After graduating from Junior High school, he relocated to Monrovia, where he attended William V.S. Tubman High School. He graduated with honors from Tubman High. In the United States, Blamo attended the Deliverance Evangelical Bible College, Brooklyn, New York for three years after which he relocated to Washington, D.C., where he attended and graduated from the University of District of Columbia with a degree in Chemistry/Environmental Science, and in 2005, he and his lovely wife Naomi enrolled at Trinity University and graduated in 2011 with a Master’s and Doctoral degrees respectively in Religious Studies.
Furthermore, after 18 years of dedicated service with the DC Water and Sewer Authority he retired and relocated to the State of Georgia. While residing in the metropolitan area of Washington, DC, Blamo served as Assistant Pastor along with his cousin, Bishop E. Pailey Sherman of The Little White Chapel Church, Silver Spring, Maryland and in Georgia, he affiliated with the Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, Georgia.
In the Liberian people’s struggle for “Rights and Rice”, Blamo made tremendous sacrifices and significant contributions. He was a dedicated member of MOJA-Liberia; he served as President of the Liberian Community Association of Washington, DC, a founding chapter of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), Inc. Also, Blamo served as Secretary of the National Board of Directors of ULAA. He was a member of the following organizations: the United Bassa Associations in the Americas (UNIBOA), Inc. (Washington, DC Chapter); the National Krao Associations in the Americas (NKAA), Inc. USA. In addition, he served on numerous committees and boards in both the Liberian community and the church.
We thank you for joining the family in celebrating the memories and home going of this great “Silent Warrior” who lived a devoted Christian life and loved all of God’s people. And in the words of J. Nagbe Kpanneh:
Life has a way of snatching from our midst real good people. Blamo was such a perfect gentleman who personified decency and integrity.
How true Kpanneh’s statement is! Blamo was a true gentleman, and one of Liberia’s Patriots and a great “Silent Warrior”, who made all of us proud because of his genuine advocacy that had no boundaries or limits.
Rev. Dr. Blamo Benedict Nyentue Seekie is survived by his devoted wife of almost thirty-two years, Evang. Dr. Naomi Juah Simmons Seekie; his daughters: Mrs. Victoria Ortiz (Gregory), Mrs. Farmetta Garbla (Nathaniel), Mrs. Jarcee Hersey (Miguel), Mrs. Massa Olaiya (Tunde'), Ms. Nyonnohweah S. Seekie, and Ms. Nyonnohwleh F. Seekie; his only son, Mr. Nyentue Blamo Seekie; his eleven grandchildren; his brothers, George, Raleigh Seekie and Sala George (96 years old lives in Sierra Leone), his sister Nohn Seekie, his cousins Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor, Ms. Menia Jugbeh Nyanseor, Sarkpah F. Nyanseor, Mrs. Rebecca Nyanseor-Korlah Wisseh, Ms. Te-teefue Nyanseor-Korlah, Mr. Jerry Nyanseor-Korlah, Mr. Orlando Jlakron Wisseh, Mr. Ralph Kofi Wollo, Sr., Bishop E. Pailey Sherman, Mr. Robert Pailey, Mr. Rufus Pailey, Mr. Gebrier Gesue Roberts, Mr. Robert Seekie Wesley, Sue Williams, and numerous nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.
Rev. Dr. Seekie was laid to rest on Saturday, June 21, 2014 in the state of Maryland, USA.
Farewell Gbalue Blamo, you will be truly and deeply missed because you’re our Patriot and “Silent Warrior!” Your memories and invaluable contributions to the on-going Liberian Discourse and humanity will live on forever.
MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN ETERNAL PEACE!
*GBALUE: Nickname for Blamo in the Klao (Kru) Language.
NOTE: It has been Rev. Seekie’s dream to give back to the people of Rockcess, Rivercess County that nurtured him by building a school as his contribution to honor them. This dream did not die with him; it is still alive. This is one wish his darling wife, Evang. Dr. Seekie would like to have done in honor of her life partner. We the members of the Rockcess clan will assist her, their children and grandchildren to see materialize.
About the Author: Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor is a cousin of the late Rev. Dr. Blamo Benedict Nyentue Seekie. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.