The Dangers Facing Advocates of Democracy

By Tewroh Wehtoe Sungbeh

The Perspective

September 29, 2001

It is a common practice by Charles Taylor's paid writers and loyalists dodge and refuse to discuss the real issues confronting our country, despite Taylor's terrible human rights record, and his regime's continued repression of the media and civic society. Instead, his coterie of hired pens and spinmeisters whose stock-in-trade is embellishing their leader's already blemished record, resort to lying to the world concerning his so-called leadership attributes, and making reference to the prism of "development projects" undertaken in Liberia by him.

Yet, there is no safe drinking water, sanitation services, good roads, and worse of all, the only public hospital is closed to the public. These are the "developments"!

When Taylor doled out public funds as his personal money during his nationwide tour of various political subdivisions in July, where counties were promised millions of dollar to undertake "development projects", his hired pens have deliberately failed to make this distinction as they go about polishing his record.

Furthermore, to continue to brand advocates for democracy and human rights who called to question Taylor's monopoly of the Liberian airwaves and print media, as anti Taylor is a sad commentary. Since there is always two sides to a story; to continue to present only the government's side is not only misleading but rather makes the government looks bad in the eyes of the world. Because it is common knowledge who is benefiting or has benefited from the country's resources, and the PR portrayal of him abroad - as a leader who "continues to undertake development projects for the benefit of the Liberian people" is a big joke here.

On the other hand, name calling and referring to Taylor's critics as LURD's supporters is to admit that there is something seriously wrong with the way things are being done in Liberia, and to even deny it by blaming everybody else about the problems in Liberia, except Charles Taylor, is to avoid the issues and to reduce it to the usual "street argument"- making noise about nothing.

And again, not wanting to accept the facts put forward by human rights advocates, journalists, opposition politicians, and community activists, is a sad state of events.

Come to think about it, the elections of 2003 is drawing near, we have figured out that there is a desperate attempt on the part of those who are intoxicated with power to unleash their henchmen and women to engage in whatever it takes to quell the "menacing pens" of their opposition. The reality is that name calling has never prevented the Liberian democracy activists and human rights advocates in the past , and will not prevent them now from exercising their rights.

After all, the last time we checked out to see who Liberia belongs to, we were sure to find out that it still belongs to the Liberian people; although, it was hijacked through default, 4 years ago by a so-called "popular election," which was won through fear and intimidation. As Liberians, it is morally imperative that we speak on issues of concern that affect the way of life and standard of living of our people, and if this is considered a crime by the Taylor regime, it is one crime we are willing to commit - as suppose to lying, cheating and robbing the Liberian people of their livelihood.

Therefore, it is about time Taylor's supporters stop saying "he was constitutionally elected" (so was Samuel K. Doe). What's the point? To be constitutionally elected does not exempt one from obeying the Constitution that elected him. This is our point! Being elected to a position, carries with it obligations - such obligations include the implementation of policies that are intended to enhance the livelihood of the citizenry. But it seems that Taylor's supporters including his hired pens are blind to this simple reality. Instead, they are making a "big fool" out of him by heaping empty praises him and calling him "Pa Pay". Why? Because they do not have the guts to look him in the eyes to tell him the truth - for fear of getting "erase" or not knowing where their next meal will come from.

This is what separates the Goat from the Sheep! As for us, we do not depend on Uncle Charlie for our daily bread, therefore, we are able to tell him the truth - for his own good and those who are ignoring the "writings on the wall" as well as the "light at the end of the tunnel".

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