Courtesy of AP
Having said that, I believe that the capture of Charles
Taylor and subsequent transfer to the Special Court
in Sierra Leone is no small matter in our history.
We survived to see the demystification of one individual
whose personal goal to attain resources and its accompanying
power, destroyed the lives of many West Africans,
not just Liberians. Liberians call for a photograph
of Mr. Taylor’s arrival had more importance
that only we as a people understand. Charles Taylor
elevated himself to the level of a deity, while destroying
the lives of young people, women and children. His
regime depleted the energy and pride out of Liberians
and restricted our lives for approximately fifteen
years. Yes, we planned around Mr. Taylor, with his
ever changing and progressively destructive, whims
and caprices. His actions provided decision-making
around when we lived in displaced camps and when we
With all of these actions having a direct effect on Liberians, it is important to note that Liberians did not take this lying down. Responses that led to Mr. Taylor’s present residence emanated from Liberian. We must relate the Charles Taylor’s issue to our history and its documentation. It has become so easy to thank the international community, especially President Bush of the United States of America regarding his government’s role in transferring Mr. Taylor to Freetown, Sierra Leone to face justice, something that Charles Taylor denied thousands of people. The US government had a pivotal role in March 29th, 2006 victorious culmination, and perhaps commencement of our newly achieved peace. This role can never be underestimated, especially given the events of the last 72 hours. The appreciation that Liberians extend to the US Government, especially President Bush, Secretary of State Rice,and relevant member of the Congress is in place and genuine as the exile and capture of Mr. Taylor was influenced by President Bush’s utterances, and subsequent support to the UN Mission in Liberia.
However, we must recognize the contribution of Liberians in this process. This contribution must go down in history and not be relegated and forgotten. When Liberia was not a foreign policy priority for global institutions and governments, Liberians took the responsibility to make it that. For this struggle, they should be commended. This advocacy effort took many forms but rested on similar issues with Charles Taylor at the core. It was a process that was supported and validated by many Liberian individuals and organizations, who saw the Charles Taylor issue as a threat to social stability in Liberia and the West African region. Liberian advocacy networks fearlessly influence this process despite the numerous criticisms from at home and abroad. As recent as March 27th,2006, a network of human rights groups and non-profit think-tanks: Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC);Center for Democratic Empowerment (CEDE); Foundation for Human Rights And Democracy (FOHRD); Foundation for International Dignity (FIND); Green Advocates and Liberia Democracy Watch (LDW), were providing suggestions for Mr. Taylor’s transfer. This advocacy process began long before then, not only with this network but also with women advocacy groups, notable Liberians, among them, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer and Hassan Bility. We need to remember and recognize this.