Illiteracy And Its dilemma

By Aaron B. Weah


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
Reposted August 25, 2005


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Illiteracy and its dilemma has set the pace and premise for almost everything controversial known to this country. History has established facts that the 5% so- called ruling class that ruled Liberia for more than a century succeeded in suppressing and denying the natives equal rights and opportunities particularly education; knowing that education is an incentive of freedom, development and sound decision making. This scourge has plagued the nation until today and continues to remain prevalent in every fabric of our country. In the wake of the continued suppression of indigenous, the late Samuel K. Doe led a mutiny in April 1980 to arrest the situation. Upon the success of this account, typical Liberians refer to this moment as the actual independence of Liberia, according to Prof. J Gus Liebanow in his book, “The Quest for Democracy”. This demagogue who represented the conscience of the common people was hailed and marveled at until the late eighties when he became the opposite of pride and glory.

President Doe however, became grossly infamous, a fact reinforced and evident by the demonstrations and public outcries for his resignation around the same time. Concomitant to these events was the historic and horrific rebellion launched by exiled president Charles Taylor. Like the situation with S.K.D, the masses again overwhelmingly became receptive to war as an alternative to the status quo. The dilemma of illiteracy characterized the scene and the moment.

Illiteracy has a tendency of coercing its victim to act on emotions instead of rational faculties; if he/she has any, and it is against similar background, that Mr. Taylor was erroneously elected. Many claimed that they voted for him as a way of giving him the benefit of the doubt but history is the best judge.

Once again, Liberia stands at a crossroad. At the point where, if the wrong choice is made come the 2005 election, the entire activities of UNMIL in Liberia and the efforts by the International community will be a waste. This is a critical period in the history of Liberia, where every Liberian has a stake, especially knowing where we go after elections. Unfortunately, the people of franchise are beginning to rehearse that familiar chorus though remixed but with the same undertone and intension that brought mayhem and carnage to innocent Liberians. In the comity of nations, Liberia remains at the outskirts of development and it is only appropriate that we start to contemplate positively the way forward.

It is true that the proliferation of political parties in Liberia has reached an unprecedented number. This is a manifestation of just how divided Liberians are but irrespective of the number, there are indeed individuals and politicians who are very conversant with the country political landscape and have remained consistent with their quest for social, economic and political reform in this country for the past three decades. Indeed the time has come for all well meaning Liberians to put up a concerted effort against ill- prepared individuals whose reasonableness has been clouded by their ego and ambition but are likely to emerge victorious since in fact illiteracy has a way in this country of expediting such a process.

Today we do not need a fastidious critic to tell us that history is being repeated. What worries me the most is the premonition that if we refuse to act now, which is our moral obligation as Liberians, then our anticipation for a positive transformation should not be high and to even envisage a Liberia on the way to development will be unthinkable. The time has come for this country to make a detour, especially when the International Community is sincerely willing to facilitate the process. Act now and let posterity judge you right.

About the author: Aaron Weah can be reached at: or 231-6-511-205