Terrorists in Our Midst (Part II): Political Hysteria
By Abdoulaye W. Dukule
September 27, 2001
In the last few days, there has been a barrage of letters from the employees of the Executive Mansion and other hired pens of Mr. Taylor pointing accusing fingers to all those who, like us at The Perspective, do not dance naively at Mr. Taylor's attempted overture towards the United States. In his recent e-mail to the editor of the newsmagazine, Mr. Vanii Passawee, the Press Secretary at the Mansion, wonders why we couldn't see any genuine goodness in the tears of Mr. Taylor. He asserts that we have lost sight of the realities on the ground. He goes on to say that people like those writing at The Perspective would have been happy that Liberians were rejoicing at the announcement of the terrorists' strike at America.
President Taylor shedding tears over the losses of America and his promise to fight terrorism can be perceived by some as signs of redemption. We are not that naive. The most simplistic definition of a terrorist is someone who uses violence to achieve political gains. Unless our most recent history was a dream or a movie, we all know who has used violence to make political gains in Liberia. We may need to refresh some memories. Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that the NPFL launched guerrilla warfare twelve years ago and that as a result, hundreds of thousands of people died? Most of the people who got killed, to the exception of Samuel Doe and a very few aides, were innocent civilians who had nothing to do with the government. What is the difference between those 250,000 dead and the 7,000 innocent victims of Tuesday, September 11 in New York and Washington? What is the difference between the rockets that dropped on Monrovia in 1992 and 1993 on innocent people and the bombs that rocked the World Trade Center? What is the difference between the ruins of the WTC and the houses and office buildings bombed and set on fire in the last twelve years in our country? What is the difference between the five Catholic nuns slaughtered by Taylor's rebels and the Police and Firemen killed at the WTC?
The difference is that those who committed these acts of cowardice in the United States are being hunted down by the international community while those who killed Liberians, burned their homes are parading in the streets, committing more crimes every day and stocking money in their bank accounts.
We all want to go on a safari, to find terrorists and bring them to justice. However, justice must begin at home. Therefore, we must clean our own backyard before jumping on the international bandwagon to hunt down criminals. Let's bring to justice those who killed innocent people during the 1990 war, during the Octopus War of 1992, during the 1996 April Madness and the September 1998 Slaughter and their aftermaths. Let's talk about those killed, dismembered and burned the late Samuel Dokie and his family. Let those who attacked and almost killed Dr. Amos Sawyer and Conmany Wesseh face justice and tell the world what was their justification and who gave the orders. People like Senator Brumskine and Milton Teahjay owe their lives and safety to miracles. There are others, many others who were not so lucky. Unlike the RUF in Sierra Leone, our terrorists have been very effective in getting rid of the evidence in many cases.
It borders on insanity for anyone to try to deny the fact that the RUF and the NPFL are one and the same and that RUF was an offspring of the NPFL. They trained together in Libya, in Burkina Faso and in Danane, Cote d'Ivoire. It is also a fallacy of the first kind to try to pin the current UN sanctions on the bad propaganda of the exiled opposition. It is not the opposition that killed Dokie, slaughtered hundreds on Camp Johnson Road and locked-up journalists and human rights advocates on trumped-up charges. If Reverend Jesse Jackson could not convince the American government, there must have been irrefutable facts that no amount of PR could conceal.
Crocodile tears on the book of condolence of the American Embassy will not blind us to our national reality. If Mr. Taylor wants to help the world to get rid of terrorism, he doesn't need to look far. He does not need to open the Liberian air space to America. All he has to do is demobilize his ATU, which, according to the people of Monrovia is just "Another Terrorist Unit."
If many Liberians are not condemning the fight between LURD and the NPFL, it may be simply because the choice is hard to make between evil and devil. People, of course, deplore the destruction of lives and properties. But then what? Nobody seems to believe that the current government is capable of organizing free and fair elections and risk losing to the poll. That might help to explain why LURD is not being totally rejected by some, although nobody expects them to do any good except put an added pressure on a failing regime. Recently, according to Monrovia news, Mr. Taylor has accused LURD of being a Muslim Fundamentalist group. That's a bit farfetched and ironic; coming from somebody who was trained and funded by Colonel Gaddafi. Rather than The Perspective, it may be Mr. Taylor who wants to use this opportunity to rekindle his relationships with the United States. We bid him good luck, knowing well that the deterioration of these relationships were caused by crimes committed by our government against our people.
Today, President Bush extended the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians. In the midst of the chaotic climate here now, the situation in our country was urgent enough for the administration to say that it was in the best foreign policy interest of US to allow Liberians to stay here. So the tears of crocodile did not convince anyone. Nobody had to lie or go in the streets to demonstrate to extend the DED. Why cry over the deaths of Americans while you keep killing your own people?
The recent arbitrary arrest and detention of the President of the Liberian Bar Association, the continued detention of Mr. Ade-bayo and numerous others as well as the campaign orchestrated against the Speaker of the House are all signs of a political hysteria in Liberia. The NPFL government does not need an opposition to bad-mouth her, she does all by herself. As far as Liberians fighting for DED, the government would be surprised to know that the great majority of Liberians in this country consider themselves refugees and would board the first plane home, if there was anything to go to and if there was a semblance of sanity.
Again, whether people in America seek an immigration status by pointing to the ills of the government is not our concern, the important question is whether or not the accusations of terror, corruption and lawlessness are substantial. And so far, to the best of our knowledge and as seen daily, the NPFL regime has proven itself to rule by terrorizing the citizenry to achieve its goals, it does not abide by the constitution and is involved in corrupt practices and has tried to destabilize its neighbors. Looking for terrorists? Look in the mirror!