Justice for Students Against
March 26, 2001
Ongoing developments in Liberia, culminating last week in the violent invasion of the University of Liberia by Taylor's thugs, only remove the veil of deception that democratic elections and reconstruction can be undertaken under the current regime. They cannot! There is a need for redemption before it is too late.
The violence, including reported deaths and rape, against students at the University is not surprising. Since this insanity called a government was imposed via theft and violence, students at the University of Liberia have been the only consistent ones opposed to its destructive agenda. They have questioned the authenticity of the alleged war waged in Lofa because this is a government that came to power through war and plunder and therefore prefers to maintain the status quo. They have opposed the destruction of the rainforest and its environmental disaster ahead after Taylor and cronies are gone with their looted millions. They have condemned the resurrection of the politics of arrogance, theft and contempt for the people, which led to the coup of 1980. They have criticised the politics of privilege, which, since 1822, have been the hallmark of Liberia's oligarchic regimes. Without success, to resist the campaign of Taylor's misinformation, they have called for the publication of the UN Panel of Experts report on his diamond smuggling and gunrunning regimes leaving behind waves of deaths and refugees. While several so-called political leaders have opted to join the tyrannical and looting gang, the students have remained aloof and facing the terror alone.
When the rest of society was lobbying for the warlord's ears in return for jobs and privileges, the students knew the danger that hung over them. They knew that a man who orders the splitting of women's stomach to determine an unborn child's gender, endorses amputation of limbs, uses unmitigated terror for political dividends, was far incapable of allowing a university of ideas to co-exists with his regime of primitive graft and horrors. Thus they were the only ones who defied Taylor to step on their campus during the so-called Abacha ordained presidential campaign while the wretched of the earth sang, "You killed my ma, you killed my pa, [but] I will vote for you." As president, labelling the students "Marxist-Leninists" to win Washington's money as did Samuel Doe, he immediately purged the institution, installing his incompetent cronies as administrators to keep eyes on students who have historically opposed all crumbling tyrannies and fear no fools. Now, Dr. Ben Roberts, a proclaimed man of letters, and an individual who spent the war years at Taylor's side while child soldiers died for them, has served his master by throwing brutish thugs on students of ideas. Those who still harbour misgivings about the thuggish mindset of men around Taylor need psychological liberation.
For rallying to raise funds in solidarity with jailed journalists, Taylor, a man who waged a crude war in the name of democracy and freedom of ideas for which he spearheaded the killing of 250,000 people, sent his thugs to show his preference for democratic ideals. Any more arguments that we have a terrorist lose on society?
There are many who have seen terror and hoped for enlightenment. Since 1989 when Taylor landed with his Libyan/Burkinabe, Ivorian trained and supplied goons, signs of horror they brought should have convinced all that these were not people to surrender power to. In his last days and lacking credibility, Samuel Doe had vowed he would give power to anyone but not Taylor because "the man is a rogue." Liberians should have listened. It is now too late. Many Liberians, primarily their political leaders, failed to appreciate this rottenness and instead formed a vicious alliance with it now dissipating the country and region. Far from marshalling every available resource, every available man to defeat this spreading terror, they embrace it for personal financial and other benefits, using one-man, one vote, however deceptive, as a respectable and cowardly way to surrender. It is as if Al Capone would have been accepted president in America on the basis of the "vote" and nothing but the "vote". Now that the gangster is entrenched, ridding the country of him poses a serious challenge because anyone who believes the ballot can defeat terrorists must be mad, and there are many, many mad Liberians.
In our helplessness and anger, we mourn with the university students and teachers. We are convinced that they are true conscience of the people in a society lacking respectable political leaders and institutions. From the years of the Americo oligarchy to the days of the Samuel Doe military junta, they have continued to pay a heavy price for freedom, and it seems that they still are alone. But this criminal brutality against free ideas must not go unpunished.
Although we realize that this is a government of hoodlums
contemptuous of justice, we call on them to swiftly set up an
inquiry with the goal of bringing to justice those who ordered
the terrorists called security forces on the campus. We make this
call in weakness because we know that several commissions have
been set-up in the past to investigate heinous crimes but with
their master's plan of covering them up. The mysterious death
of Enoch Dogoleah, despite a presidential commission appointed
to investigate the cause of death, remains inactive one year after.
The killers of Sam Dokie and his family, Madam Nowai Flomo, and
several other victims remain at large. Taylor had said if the
killers of John F. Kennedy cannot be found, his hired killers
remain out of reach. He means it.
In the end, in the absence of concrete and bold plans to defeat fear and rid the country of this clan of thieves and killers, all we can do is to join human rights groups in doing what they do best - call on the Government opposed to justice to ensure justice. After a few days, the call is ignored and the business of waging terror and theft continues. This is our world!