Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh Jr.: Sixty-Seven Years Of A Revolutionary Life In Retrospection


By Ivor S. Moore



The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 17, 2016

                  



 

 
 
 
 

Today, July 16, 2016, marks the sixty-seventh birth anniversary of Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh Jr. In commemorating the natal day of our leader, teacher and friend, we take cognizant of the risk of berthing into the realm of the “Cult of the Personality”, that anti-revolutionary tendency with its history of ruining great leaders and their followers and thwarting their revolutionary struggles. It represents the tendency of fifth columnists and reactionary bourgeois personalities who pride themselves in vainglorious god-like worship.

HB, as he is affectionately called, would offer the strongest abhorrence and rebuke against anyone making him an idol like a deity in his celestial pedestal far detached from the rigors of human life. His revolutionary grooming has thought him to steer clear off that path. This is evident by his identifying with the masses, his humble lifestyle and his revulsion to be one of those who he drolly categorizes as “center-spread politicians”. His outmost humility is a key theme in his life’s records.

Over the years, many social forces and reactionaries have attempted to dint the impeccable character of this noble nationalist and Pan Africanist. Sympathizers and elements of the True Whig Party oligarchy   will not forgive him for providing the sharpest ideological weapon against their tendency and their exploitation of the wealth of the people. Thus, they, like others, would call him all sorts of names ranging from a communist, a warlord and so forth. Every time he is painted as an evil person, surprisingly, he rises up with huge followers of young student radicals, militants and cadres who find his ideas as their guide to action in fighting for liberation.

These accusations are only proven to be wrong and far from reflecting the true character of HB when one takes a retrospection of his life from birth, early childhood, education, and political life up to present. Out of this journey will arise the true meaning of why, amidst grave attacks from several quarters for about four decades, Dr. Fahnbulleh remains the inspiration of many people, young and old, like no other Liberian historical figure living and dead. One will find in his humility, consciousness, patriotism and comradeship sufficient reasons to attest that he is deserving of outmost recognition.

BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE

The person that we know in Dr. Fahnbulleh Jr. today has its roots far back into his birth and family life. To not understand this is to not fully appreciate him and understand why he is who he is. “I was born into a politically conscious family”, he says during his TRC hearing.  Indeed, this is the pure truth. His father, H. Boima Fahnbulleh Sr., was a Liberian diplomat, lawyer and one of the greatest intellectual figures of his time. He is reputed for returning to the government unspent monies from foreign duties. Of his father, HB says:

“As a young man, I had great admiration for this man who lived up to his conviction.”

His maternal grandfather, Netie Sie-Brownell was a renowned politician and statesman. He served as Post Master General under Tubman, contested as vice presidential candidate to Edwin Barclay against Tubman, and headed the committee charged with probing into the Rice Demonstration saga.

Dr. Fahnbulleh was born in the year 1949, few years after Tubman came to power. He grew up in a very critical time when the evil of the TWP was at its peak. He recounts the killing of David Coleman and his son, the incarceration of his grandfather, and the treason charges against his father, circumstances of which landed he (HB) and his elderly sister now Ambassador Miatta Fahnbulleh, in jail at tender ages for no reasons under the law.

During his early years, young Fahnbulleh witnessed the African Revolutionary struggle for independence. Notably, he remembers the visiting to Liberia of Patrice Lumumba of Congo and the latter news of his sorrowful killing.

He took to reading after his father who had many books, magazines and newspapers available. He read the classics, works of various revolutionary figures from around the world and especially Africa. At the tender age of 15, he had become “a convinced Nkrumahist,” a tendency he still holds on to today. Beginning his education at the CDB King Morning School, he would later go to Kenya to attend boarding school and didn’t stay long there because of his reaction to racism on campus and consciousness building of others in the African liberation teachings. Thus, Sierra Leone became the rightful place. He became the distributor of the Little Red Book of Chairman Mao and saw Kwame Nkrumah for the first time when he attended a conference in Freetown Sierra.

College and Professional Life

Dr. Fahnbulleh became a leading writer, intellectual and student-political figure at the Foray Bay College in Freetown.  As a foreign student at Sierra Leone’s premiere tertiary institution of learning, he contested the student union presidency and lost by two votes. Current President Ernest Bah Koromah of Sierra Leone was a member of his followers on campus who chanted battle cries for their leader whenever he spoke.

Upon graduation he was persuaded by his mother, Mary Brownell, to attend school in the United States of America where he attended the [Howard] University and later the George Washington University. His degrees are in history, political science and political philosophy.

Upon graduation, Dr, Fahnbulleh Jr. immediately returned to his homeland in 1978 and joined the Movement for Justice in Africa and served as a lecturer at the University of Liberia. His arrival to Liberia and joining of MOJA was a quantum leap in the revolutionary struggle of the seventies. With his vast reading of revolutionary history and his interaction with great revolutionaries during his studies, he became the leading ideologue, orator and revolutionary figure. The cadre training program of young militants is to his credits. Many of his students are leading reputable people in the body politics of Liberia today.

On the ceremony of the anniversary of MOJA in 1979, Dr. Fahnbulleh Jr. served as the guest speaker, delivering a historic address: The African People Are the Own Liberators. This great speech was indeed an overwhelming attestation to his Pan Africanist confirmation and commitment to the African Liberation struggle.

It was at the same occasion that Baccus Matthews, inspired by the brilliant analyses of Dr. Patrick Seyon of the University of Liberia on the Tolbert’s increment of the price of rice-the country’s staple, for the selfish interest of TWP elements, announced that the Progressive Alliance of Liberia would stage the historic Rice Demonstration Protest. With MOJA’s involvement, Dr. Fahnbulleh became a leading actor in the struggle which is regarded as the first and greatest stampede of the masses of Liberians on the stage of history.

With the overthrow of the TWP leadership on April 12, 1980 by the People’s Redemption Council headed by Master Sergeant Samuel Kayon Doe, HB and other Progressive brothers thought it tactical and strategic, given the nature of things, to work with the new regime. Thus, he served as Minister of Education and subsequently Minister of Foreign Affairs, before resigning to leave for abroad.

Being abroad to HB did not mean being absent from the struggle for social justice in Liberia. Many times, he wrote critical articles under pen names and attended numerous interviews.

During the civil war, he attempted engaging the struggle to prevent Charles Taylor from causing mayhem. However, odds were not in his favor and he had to retreat as many of his militants died in prison in Sierra Leon on orders of Mr. Taylor.

In the 1997 elections, Dr. Fahnbulleh contested the presidency as a protest to Charles Taylor whom he thought is a “con man” and “common criminal” with parochial interest. After the elections, he returned to England and began writing critical against the Taylor’s regime on the Liberian Perspective, an online with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. His predictions of Taylor’s backward nature and self destruction came to pass with outmost exactitude as the biblical prophecy of Jewish prophets about the coming of the Messiah.   

With the war ended and the country’s striving to take the path of recovery under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Dr. Fahnbulleh accepted to serve as National Security Advisor to the President, a position he currently holds.  Under his advisorship, Liberia has experience over ten years of peace and democratic governance like has never been experienced for decades.

As a prolific writer, he wrote the Prejudice of Diplomacy-a masterpiece of his understand of politics in Liberia and the international stage, Behind God’s Back-an unmatched political-historical novel on happenings in Liberia, Voices of Protest-compilation of speeches and articles of he and other Liberian revolutionaries, and Across the Landscape: Selecting Writings of Henry Boima Fahnbulleh Jr.

WHY WE CELEBRATE HB’S BIRTHDAY

HB is reputed as Liberia’s foremost intellectual, political philosopher and revolutionary leader and teacher by ideological militants, cadres and friends with no reasonable contestation, whatsoever, from critics and foes.    HB, as he is affectionately called, maintains an exceptional role on the stage of history which has earned him the honor and accolade of a towering figure whose birthday is worthy of celebration like others do their leaders across the world.

When we take to commemorating the birthday of our leader and teacher, we are memorializing a life selflessly dedicated to consciousness building and the emancipation of his Liberian and African compatriots from being victims of social injustices and backwardness to victors of social justice and progress. We clad in union to recount his struggles and teachings and conduct inventory on where we stand in advancing the masses revolution within our historical calling; we pledge before history to continue to uphold the banner of revolution stained with the blood of our compatriots  until we can host the flag of justice and liberty and dance the David’s dance while singing victory songs and chanting battle cries announcing that Liberia is alas finally and forever living up to its true status as the icon of African independence and freedom.


sylvester moses
To assess the accomplishments of Bulleh, as we fondly called the former student Cicero at FBC, within the context of a Security Sector that lost the confidence of most citizens, and over which he has had minimal authority, control, or influence could be seen by his diehards' fans as besmirching his reputation. The only known low in his otherwise heroic trajectory was the Che Guevara - like alliance with Revolutionary Comrade Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the Qwiwonkpa 1985 NPFL Invasion. Obviously, an invasion which tit - for - tat bloodletting would later fuel the genocidal Civil War.

Now that we have seized the thunder from under potential caustic detractors, let's talk briefly about the once student firebrand behind the name.

And, perhaps, we should add that he met his very beautiful wife, and the mother of his children at FBC too. The equally brilliant former Ms. Morgan is the daughter of a prominent family that owned the largest franchise of pharmacies in Sierra Leone. Many of us kids in the early 1950's and 1960's grew up on Morgan medicine, and for that we will forever remain grateful.

Bulleh, like the celebrated Frantz Fanon, is first and foremost an intellectual, political radical, advocate for the dispossessed, and Pan - Africanist, whose goal in life was given to him by the arrogance of unfettered power in Liberia. His exploits in student affairs at FBC, and in the cause of freedom for Southern Africa were on college campuses so unheard of that he changed student politics to radical extremes, and made some of us surmised that a life outside the political arena would make him a fish out of water.

To close, Bulleh's friends and foes foresaw that by appointing him as her Security Advisor, EJS didn't want to let the genie out of the bottle, but also felt she needed to keep the bottle in plain sight. Needless to say that a new government might make use of him in the foreign ministry. And who knows, skills from the present position could be useful to him there.

Happy birthday Bulleh, and we would like to say thank you Mr. S. Moore for this thoughtful tribute to another worthy servant of his people, and country.
sylvester moses at 09:39AM, 2016/07/17.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah
Its good to know NBULLEH (as in NKRUMA and as Du Jr. is also called) was born on the same date the first man Neil Armstrong landed his feet on the moon! For that we say happy birthday Nbulleh!

Now, dear friend, Sylvester Moses, what is "revolutionary" about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf? Is financing the killing of thousands of innocent civilians and the destruction of one´s own country for her VAIN QUEST what you attribute to or equate with one being revolutionary?

If Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ever qualified for such category she would not choose to "NOT want to let the genie out of the bottle, but only keep the bottle in plain sight" FOR HER SELFISH INTEREST AS OPPOSED TO THE NATIONAL INTEREST.
Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 04:06PM, 2016/07/17.
Jerry Wehtee Wion
Is this the "REVOLUTION"? I guess this is the "Revolution." That Dr.Henry Boima Fahnbulleh Jr who made a believer out of many of us in the 1970s, is now part of a government considered the worst in terms of corruption and other forms of abuses against the Liberian people, has remained conspicuously silent leaves his critics to conclude that it is "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil."

A few great revolutionaries come to mind: Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez, Chairman Mao.....and HB Fahnbulleh Jr.? You
must fight to the end; never compromising, for it is how you finish that matters and not how you got started. HB, our hearts cry out to you. What went wrong? Come back home, please return to your base. Where is that zeal? A job is not everything. Please redeem yourself. The masses are yearning for their great orator and spokesman: Dr. Henry Boimah Fahnbulleh Jr.


Jerry Wehtee Wion, Journalist and Political Commentator, Washington, DC, USA.
Jerry Wehtee Wion at 05:17PM, 2016/07/17.
Jerry Wehtee Wion
Is this the "REVOLUTION"? I guess this is the "Revolution." That Dr.Henry Boima Fahnbulleh Jr who made a believer out of many of us in the 1970s, is now part of a government considered the worst in terms of corruption and other forms of abuses against the Liberian people, has remained conspicuously silent leaves his critics to conclude that it is "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil."

A few great revolutionaries come to mind: Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez, Chairman Mao.....and HB Fahnbulleh Jr.? You
must fight to the end; never compromising, for it is how you finish that matters and not how you got started. HB, our hearts cry out to you. What went wrong? Come back home, please return to your base. Where is that zeal? A job is not everything. Please redeem yourself. The masses are yearning for their great orator and spokesman: Dr. Henry Boimah Fahnbulleh Jr.


Jerry Wehtee Wion, Journalist and Political Commentator, Washington, DC, USA.
Jerry Wehtee Wion at 05:17PM, 2016/07/17.
Jerry Wehtee Wion
Is this the "REVOLUTION"? I guess this is the "Revolution." That Dr.Henry Boima Fahnbulleh Jr who made a believer out of many of us in the 1970s, is now part of a government considered the worst in terms of corruption and other forms of abuses against the Liberian people, has remained conspicuously silent leaves his critics to conclude that it is "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil."

A few great revolutionaries come to mind: Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez, Chairman Mao.....and HB Fahnbulleh Jr.? You
must fight to the end; never compromising, for it is how you finish that matters and not how you got started. HB, our hearts cry out to you. What went wrong? Come back home, please return to your base. Where is that zeal? A job is not everything. Please redeem yourself. The masses are yearning for their great orator and spokesman: Dr. Henry Boimah Fahnbulleh Jr.


Jerry Wehtee Wion, Journalist and Political Commentator, Washington, DC, USA.
Jerry Wehtee Wion at 05:17PM, 2016/07/17.
sylvester moses
"The only known low in his otherwise heroic trajectory was the Che Guevara - like alliance with Revolutionary Comrade Ellen Johnson Sirleaf".

Brother Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah, aren't you reading "Revolutionary Comrade" too literally even with the inclusion of "known low", and capitalization?
sylvester moses at 07:41PM, 2016/07/17.
Wilfred Leeroy Kabs Kanu
Dr. Boima Fahnbulleh was my college mate at Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone. I was one of those who admired his revolutionary rhetoric and radicalism on campus.To this day, I am disappointed that he did not win the students' union elections, realizing what a huge difference he would have made and how his fiery and fearless student activism would have shaken out of their lethargy and sleepwalking the then archaic and moribund college administration.We Sierra Leoneans love Boima and his sister, Miatta,because we always considered them to be part of us.

I met Dr. Fahnbulleh personally and had the opportunity to listen more deeply to his radical and progressive views when he was on his way back to Liberia after graduating from FBC. He spend a night at the Ministers' Lodge in Bo. My father , who worked there at the time ,having learnt that he was from Fourah Bay College told Dr. Fahnbulleh that he had a son who was also a student at the college . I was called by my dad to go meet somebody who had graduated from the same college and was spending the night at the Lodge .

I went up The Lodge excitedly to be see who it was and greeted by the man I considered one of my heroes of students' politics at FBC, Boima Fahnbulleh.I was elated. We discussed the interesting campus life. Later, he wanted to meet some of his class mates in Bo Town to bid them farewell and I gladly consented to lead him to some of them. Bo sat three miles away from the Government Reservation where the majestic Lodge was built, so it meant six miles of an afternoon stroll to and from Bo with my hero, Dr. Boima Fahnbulleh, during which time I learnt a lot from him as he espoused the rich political views that exemplified him . Even at that age, he showed a lot of concern for the ordinary man in the street.

Dr. Fahnbulleh won additional plaudits and respect from me in 1983 when the late Sierra Leone journalist, Mr. Foday Kandeh wrote in his PROGRESS newspaper that Head of State, Samuel Doe had shot and killed his wife, Nancy. This erroneous report almost plunged Liberia and Sierra Leone into war. I was a teacher then at the Monrovia Central High School and we , the Sierra Leoneans resident in Liberia, feared that the irate military leader would have ordered mass deportations. The situation was fluid and apart from closing the Sierra Leone side of the border, Doe clad himself in military battle gears and was driving a military jeep around. Fortunately, Doe had reasonable people like Dr. Fahnbulleh in his cabinet. While many of his officials could have been helping to harden the heart of a very angry military dictator,it was Dr. Fahnbulleh, my hero , who helped to calm passions by publicly postulating that the misunderstanding that had arisen between Doe and then Sierra Leonean President , Dr. Siaka Stevens, over the issue was caused by "A MISREADING OF SIGNALS" on both sides . Dr. Fahnbulleh would never know the magnitude of the tremendous respect he won from Sierra Leoneans resident in Liberia that day. Dr. Fahnbulleh, who was the Foreign Minister then, helped in no small way to diffuse what would have been a chaotic interlude in the relations between Liberia and Sierra Leone. His exemplary diplomatic skills helped to restore peace between two sisterly nations.

Dr. Fahnbulleh was to also impress the generality of Liberians and foreign residents shortly after that, while addressing a commencement program, when he openly condemned the corruption and ostentatious life styles of his colleague ministers and public officials in the PRC Government whom he accused of driving around in limousines with tinted glasses and he wondered what they did behind those glasses. Dr. Fahnbulleh was sharply rebuked on TV by Head of State Doe who said that if Fahnbulleh did not want to prosper, he should leave his colleagues alone. He was summoned before the Senate for upbraiding and he appeared before the lawmakers wearing a traditional Vai Shirt and rubber slippers, redolent of the common man on the streets, whose welfare he represented. Angry Senators fined him for not appearing in a coat suit and tie . But Dr. Fahnbulleh's message resonated with the masses. That was Dr. Fahnbulleh,my hero,for you .

I could go on and on.

Happy birthday, Prof. May God continue to bless and keep you.

Enough respect.

WILFRED LEEROY KABS-KANU



Wilfred Leeroy Kabs Kanu at 06:33PM, 2016/07/25.
Leon Mannie Talery
Dr. Fahnbulleh is our leader and teacher, we believe in him like the militants believe in Fidel... As Cadres and Militants we understand that in every revolutionary process tactics and strategies change base on the position of those one the other side of the divide, sometimes we form alliances with those on the other side of the ideological divide as a means of protecting the general goal of the struggle.... We know Dr. Fahnbulleh working with this right wing regime is to preserve the space for the reintroduction of ideological politics which is the key to national transformation, so we see his alliance with Madam Sirleaf as no betrayal or giving up, but as a means to foster the struggle for total emancipation...
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