Open Letter To President Taylor

By Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted May 28, 2002

Editor’s Note: Counselor Charles Walker Brumskine recently sent an Open Letter to President Taylor regarding the state of affairs in Liberia. Counselor Brumskine is former President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate. He fled Liberia after he fell out with President Charles Taylor and the National Patriotic Party. Find below the full text of his letter:

May 23, 2002

His Excellency Charles G. Taylor
President, Republic of Liberia
Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia

Mr. President:

I write this letter at a great personal political risk to myself. But now is not the time for any of us to think about our individual desire, ambition, position, or status. This is the time for every one of us, whom God has blessed with the political leadership of our country, to do whatever our national circumstances demand to save the lives of the Liberian people and salvage what is left of our country—a place that some of us still call home.

As I write this letter, Mr. President, Liberians are once again being killed, maimed, and displaced, internally as well as externally. Thousands of Liberians are now picking up whatever they can and running for dear life. Those who can afford to leave the country and/or that your government will allow to leave are leaving because they fear for their lives and safety, and because they have lost hope in the future of our country. Of course, I trust you are not too removed from the reality of what attains on the ground to be unaware of the facts to which I speak.

The outbound flight is no longer limited to those of us perceived as your “political enemies”, but now includes ordinary Liberians whose only offense was to wish you well, and foreign businesspersons. Victims of the excesses and abuses that characterize our country today are not only casualties of the war between your government and LURD, but also preys of your security network.

Something has gone terribly wrong in our country, presided over by a president elected by more than seventy-five percent of the votes. You have blamed every imaginable person for the failed conditions of our country, oftentimes forgetting what national leadership entails. But now is not the time to point fingers. The nation needs leadership with a strategy to get our people and nation out of the current national dilemma. Mr. President, an announcement of ceasefire by the government to secure life, liberty, and property of its citizens—a primary function of government, should never be construed as placing the government on parity with LURD.

It was disheartening, Mr. President, to learn that you have rejected the ceasefire called for by your colleagues of ECOWAS. If the ceasefire would save just one life or abate the disruption of the lives of only a few, it would restore some of your legitimacy and would in no way diminish your stature. The plight of our people would break the heart of any patriotic Liberian, and it certainly breaks mine. I, therefore, urge you to accept the ceasefire proposed by ECOWAS, the deployment of an international stabilization force and a negotiated political settlement out of the current crisis. As you near the end of your current six-year term, let your legacy not be one in which the nation ended up in flames. Rather, opt for a legacy that shows that Liberian leaders have finally learned that the people of Liberia are more important than the presidency. Abandon the urge and inclinations to maintain a scorched earth policy.

Mr. President, if the humanitarian crisis continues in Liberia, regardless of who appears to be winning the war, if there can be such a victor, an intervention force will come into Liberia, sooner or later. Without your cooperation such a force might arrive too late for many Liberians, but I don’t believe that the international community will be mere bystanders and allow a repeat of Rwanda in Liberia. This is not an issue of state sovereignty, but of the sovereignty of the Liberian individual - the human rights and fundamental freedoms of each and every individual.

It is no secret that you and I have and continue to disagree as to our visions for Liberia. But Mr. President, I implore you, in the interest of Liberia and all of our people and in the name of God, to rise to the occasion, provide the leadership expected of the president of Liberia - announce a ceasefire and accept the offer of your colleagues in the West African region for an international stabilization force to stop the killing, restore peace and the rule of law in the country.

May God save our country.

Very truly yours,

Charles Walker Brumskine

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