The Struggle this Time!

By Jeremiah Jefferson Kringar Harris

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

December 5, 2003

After almost fourteen years of constant warfare and internecine strife, the Dove of Peace suddenly hovers on the horizon of our woefully besaddened nation. As this divine messenger of peace majestically glides in the extraordinarily beautiful and brilliant African sunlit sky, the eyes of the Liberian people, glistened by years of tears, are locked in bewilderment and anticipation on this heavenly host, the bearer of good tidings and hope for our nation. The Dove of Peace firmly clasps in its golden claws, the message of peace.

At last, it would appear, the elusive light at the end of the national tunnel seems to be drawing nearer, even if at a pace reminiscent of the slow, soulful and wormlike, but determined movements of a snail. The snail, we must remember, eventually reaches it destination, despite setbacks along the way.

With the arrival of the Peace Keeping Force in Liberia, we begin a cadence gait towards democratic rule. This is a well deserved respite from the persistent warfare, with all of the horrors, savagery, and sufferings appertaining, that has been the bedmate of our people for 14 years.

By now, Liberians should be vividly aware that this period of transition to democracy will require extraordinary patience and fortitude, as the struggle this time is for the very soul of the Liberian nation.

The skeptics may wonder, and rightfully so, what constitutes the soul of a nation. It is my considered opinion that the soul of a nation may be found in its moral, social, political and ethnic fabric, all compounded into one national whole, out of which evolves its national identity. Hence, before we are Mandingoes, Krahns, Bassas, Greboes, Krus, Vias, or Americo-Liberians, we are firstly and foremostly
Liberians, our ethnicities being inherently fused into one national identity. The unity in this diversity, I should note, is what constitutes nationhood.

Given the senseless and useless warfare of the recent past, Liberians by now must realize that our nation will only survive as a body politic if the national identity supersedes all ethnic and regional inclinations. The absence of this could be the spark that would ignite the next deadly conflagration in our nation. In the event of this, a struggle of such immense magnitude could emerge that would upend and fatally clog the pathway to peace and democracy in Liberia.

The Interim Chairman, and the members of his government must have the gumption and the will to meet this challenge with fierce determination and undaunted valor, if the end result of the process of transition is to be a secured democracy. Our leaders must be willing to sign the Bill of Divorcement that would forever sever their ties to the evils of ethnicity and regionalism, forces that could irreparably melt the glue that binds our nation.

As the leader of the Government, the Interim Chairman must be the one to define the agenda, and, by the same token, seize the initiative, in consonance with the members of his government, to promote the detribalization and deregionalization of the national mentality. His failure to identify ethnicity and regionalism as major points of distraction in the bid for a secured democracy in Liberia, would embolden the forces now waiting in the wings to create disunity among our people, and, in the process, deny our nation the opportunity to recreate itself. Nationalism breeds unity in a nation, being the main ingredient of the many components that synthesize into nationhood.

As things now stand, and until otherwise proven, I am a convert to the notion that Mr. Chairman will meet the challenge, the rationale being that he must have the best interest of the nation at heart, or he would not have aspired to the high office that he now holds.

Long live the ethnic and regional groupings of our nation! Long live Liberia, one nation indivisible!