Terrorists in our Midst

By Abdoulaye W. Dukule

The Perspective

September 19, 2001

It was a sad week for the world. It was a shock to humanity. It was a reminder of how fragile everything in this world is. It was a reminder that forces of evil will do anything against anyone to make a political statement. It was a testimony of how far those bent on using violence to achieve their goals would do.

The recent terrorist act against the people of New York and Washington, and by extension the United States and all those who share those values gave us all something to ponder, something to analyze and understand the ramification of violent political behavior. A teacher told my daughter that a terrorist is someone who uses violence to achieve his/her political goals. Using brainwashed kids to kill innocent kids to make a bigger impact, I would add.

We are all deeply sorry and feel violated by the cowardly acts of September 11, 2001. We understand how Americans feel, we understand their sense of helplessness and their despair and grief, because we Liberians have been there. We have been experiencing this type of despair for some decades. Some moderates would say two decades and others would say more, depending on their political beliefs. We have been submitted to reigns of terror, one after another, violent or subtle.

The acts that brought thousands of Americans into their churches, synagogues and mosques are not strange to us. We have been there and we are still there. We are a small country, with great people. We have never violated anybody's constitution. We have never subverted anyone's sovereignty. We have never entered anyone country and caused havoc. We are a peace-loving nation. We have opened our country to many persecuted in their own homes. Like America, we took in refugees, the displaced and the hungry and impoverished of a continent once subjected to tyranny and humiliation.

Like the many innocents who lost their lives on September 11, we have also lost loved ones. We have lost innocent babies who had never had the chance to hurt anyone. Like Americans, we feel the pains of the memory of our dead, friends and families, spouses and children, killed by the faceless cowards in the name of political struggle.

But unlike America, we don't have guns to go after our terrorists. Unlike America, we don't have a CIA, a FBI, a Marine Corps, a Navy and a heroic fire fighting contingent to go after the terrorists.

Because our terrorists are well dressed. Our terrorists are not faceless. They are not hiding. Our terrorists have names. They ride Mercedes Benz and the latest SUVs. They have bank accounts. They wear uniforms and parade in daylight.

Unlike in America, our terrorists don't hide behind Osama Bin Laden whatever. They don't know the PLO or the Mossad. They just kill. They burn villages. They rape women. They brainwash children and turn them into child-soldiers and killers. They hate everyone and anyone who would not dance to their tune. Our terrorists sent thousands of children to their deaths, children who launch rocket-propelled grenades to kill other children by the thousands. They were rewarded with the supreme powers and arrogant, they use those powers, training more children to kill more children.

Unlike the terrorists who hit America, ours get their money on the open market. They mine diamonds and sell it on the market. They cut down our rainforest and sell the timber on the international market. They fly our flag on wrecking ships and use the money on the open market to buy guns, bullets and uniforms.

Our terrorists have names. They have faces. We know them. We will go after them. Sooner or later, like America is going after hers, now. We too, in that small republic of Liberia, have had enough. It's time to take the issues at another level. We feel for America. We know how much this hurts. We have been there for two decades, with the trauma, the death of 200,00 victims with no memorial service ever. We have been there with the total destruction of our homes and farms. We have been there. But unlike America, our terrorists parade the streets. They laugh at us. They are enjoying the fruit of their crime, in a world of total impunity.

America, we understand you. We have been there and we are still there.

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