The End Of The Rope
By Abdoulaye W. Dukule
December 3, 2002
It is hard to believe that Liberia is just a few months away from national elections. It could even sound like a dream when one looks at the conditions on the grounds. But to some, the elections are already won by the NPP. A few months ago, I reached the same conclusions, after reviewing what Taylor has been up to and how, using his tactics of fear, corruption and immorality, he would keep anyone from getting near the Executive Mansion. In Monrovia, some people share the same conclusions but they took a different route: they based their findings on the opinions of 47 people who called DC 101 to say whom they would vote for if elections were held on that November 2002 day.
It is almost risible, when looking at it but as the saying goes, "important facts are to be found in the detail." The detail was that only 47 people called, out of the 2 million people who live in Liberia and mostly in Monrovia and suburbs. With 47 callers, the NPP propaganda machine was able to determine that Taylor would win the next elections and that Dr. Tipoteh would receive 2 percent and that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf would get some 27 per cent. It sounds naïve and stupid. One does not make national statistics from 47 phone calls, especially in a country where very few have phones, and where phones never work. But then again, this is Liberia under NPP and common sense does not necessarily prevail. Unity Party can take solace in the fact that by admitting that Sirleaf could get 27 per cent before the campaign even started, there is hope. Taylor can be beaten at the polls, was the subliminal message sent out by the pollster.
A few campaign themes
Taylor can and must be defeated at the polls. Yes, he has put in place all the instruments of terror and has subjugated the people of Liberia to the most fearsome rule of terror. But that terror can and must be defeated at the polls. The facts are clear and simple and Liberians only have to pick any two of the following four issues to throw out the NPP and its thugs:
1. No body has been paid for the past 7 months. How can you vote for a government that does not pay you? Is your work worthless? Is your life worthless? Is it normal that your children receive no education? No food and no books? What are they going to grow up into?
2. There is no light and running water. This is the 21st century, you live in the oldest republic of Africa and the man who started a "revolution" to bring democracy and development is president! Do you have any dignity? What happens tomorrow if you need surgery and there is no light at Catholic Hospital?
3. There is no freedom of speech. You can't say what you think, not even in the secrecy of your bedroom. Is this the country you want for your children? A country where they can't say what they think and can't write what they know and believe to be the truth?
4. Every moneymaking resource of the country, from the NPA to the rain forest and to the diamond mine are in the hands of a few people, the same people who killed, raped and maimed innocent people. Do you expect people like these to grow old and wise while still governing you?
"A Third Country to Cool Off"
The Ministry of Information said that Hassan Billity and others need a "third country to cool off" because they would not be safe in Liberia. Where in the Liberian constitution does it say that the government can arrest someone, beat him or her up and torture them and after 5 months of unconstitutional detention, ask them to leave the country, their country? What gives the government the right to deport a Liberian citizen "for his own safety?" What makes Mr. Goodridge think that he would be safer for him to walk on Gurley Street than for Hassan Billity? What makes the government think that Hassan Billity would not be welcome like a national hero, if he ever walk out of jail, limping, with one eye or half-dead? Again, it sounds stupid and naïve but that is what the NPP build its politics on: "they can't be that stupid..." But they are and they are not, because this is a way of life.
Sending the opposition away... or kill them
They kicked Koffi Woods out. They kicked out Amos Sawyer and Conmany Wesseh. They kicked out Tiawon Gongloe. Even Benedict Sanoh, who once wanted to give the benefit of the doubt to Taylor and other warlords ended up in exile, because he was not allowed the small space of defending indigents in the court of law. They kicked out Charles Brumskine because he said the President does not run the Senate. Of course, the president does not run the Senate but go say it in the Oldest Republic of Africa. Now, little man Hassan Billity has become the issue, as if freeing him would be like making a concession to the country. So the Ministry of Information expects the US government to thank them for accepting to deport one of their own citizens! It is nauseating but this is our government!
The Issue of the Catholic Nuns
Lately, there has been much hoopla about the Catholic Nuns killed during the civil war in Liberia. The government does not want the issue revisited for the simple reason that those who committed the atrocities are today the lawmakers in the country. The killers and rapists of 1992 are today sitting in the National Legislature, wearing uniforms at the National Police Headquarters and other government institutions. Of course, they would do anything to stop an inquiry. In the same process, the issue of the 200,000 Liberians will be revisited.
Sando "The Clown" Johnson is wrong in fearing an international war crimes tribunal. What he should really fear, and maybe tell his bosses, is The Liberian National War Crimes Tribunal. It is on its way and it would soon be there, in Monrovia. Attorney Amos Wako of Kenya who investigated the carter Camp Massacre was somehow indulgent. However, propaganda and diamonds will not buy Flomo whose daughter was raped and whose son was drugged, tortured and killed.
And what about a war crimes tribunal?
Are we supposed to be fearful of a war crimes tribunal? When people kill 200,000 human beings, mostly innocent children, women and elderly and do not want to account for it, they would use any tactics. We are supposed to be afraid because Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf may have to answer to giving Taylor $10,000 when most of Liberia thought he was onto something good. We are supposed to be afraid because Dr. Sawyer may have to testify for the role of the AFL in the Carter Camp massacre or because ECOMOG arrested and jailed a man who was helping the NPFL to rain bombs on Monrovia in 1992? We say, let's go for it! There is a difference between a revolution and a killing field. Are we supposed to be afraid of a war crimes tribunal because Charles Brumskine once worked with Taylor? We are not and we stand ready to walk into the court of law in defense of human dignity and Liberian life.
1980 was not a revolution. It was an assassination. 1989 was not a revolution; it was the beginning of mass murder.
The revolution, the one that is ahead would be played out in 2003. That would be the test. If Liberians, armed with nothing but their dignity and their sense of patriotism can stand up and throw out the bandits, the rogues, the thugs, the rapists, the clowns, the hoodlums and TAKE BACK THEIR COUNTRY from the naked emperor, we would have had a revolution. Maybe ignorant, half-educated but our eyes are open to what is real and what is fiction. Keep your PRC/NPP revolutionary pipe dream. We want none of it.
The country has been submitted to a band of sadistic, megalomaniac and corrupts killers since 1980, people who take their narcissist tendencies for reality. It is time to reverse the waves and reclaim the dignity of every man and women in Liberia.
It is not Hassan Billity who needs a third country to cool off. We all know who needs "asylum" in a third country. President Taylor and his entourage of UN-banned Officials could enjoy some sunny days on the French Riviera, exchanging notes with Baby Duvalier.
In the end, the good guys will win
The Taylor machine looks scary. And because of that, it would not be easy to dismantle. But as it is the case of any paper house, it would only take a push. Liberia needs to be saved from fear, lies and inhumanity. And the only way to do it, is to shake away the paper tiger.