Stop The Political Manipulation

By Jerry Wehtee Maotse Wion

Liberia's lingering civil war has created a leadership lacuna, a void that none of the rebels can fill. Hence, the scramble for power is reverberating not only in Liberia, but in the United States as well by names familiar and detested by the Liberian masses.

Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will. Frederick Douglas was right in his historical and Political assessment of his time and this reality is quite evident in the Liberian political theater of today.

Nelson Mandela, a man who is a living testimony in a society where the minority dominated the majority, adds: "A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred; he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity."

This has been Liberia's history and the reason for our current political crisis. South Africa and Liberia's history have resounding political parallels-the inhumane subjugation of the majority by the minority, be it white over black or black over black.

The Liberian majority has yet to have the political luxury (freedom) to demand power nonviolently. What is unfolding in Liberia over the years is by no means an accident of history. It is a carefully crafted, cynical strategy conceived by a few power-hungry Liberians whose backs are pressed against the wall of time.

Had the masterminds succeeded, it would have returned Liberia to its old political past in which monkey worked and bamboo drew.

The roots of Liberia's ever lingering problems lie in the fact that a certain segment of the population blindly considers itself endowed with divine authority and heavenly anointed to govern the silent majority. Don't let anyone fool you or romanticize this tragic fact of our history. Anything short of this dogma is merely to sugarcoat the issues and the rest is pure political nonsense.

This group, which is less than five percent of the entire Liberian population, refuses to swallow the bitter pill of having being forced to take a ten-year political vacation made possible by the late President Samuel Kanyon Doe. To them, the vacation period was being too far extended without their prior consent and that the time to return to the promised land had come and they would return by whatever means necessary and at any cost.

However, the righteous "Heavenly Father" who supposedly chose them had to derail their plan because of their iniquities against African-Liberians. The high cost of their transgressions against their fellow citizens is a staggering human toll of 250,000 lives with an additional one Liberian refugees scattered across the West African sub-continent.

Scores of our unfortunate brothers and sisters continue to die daily of starvation and diseases. These dirt-poor citizens, unlike their economically privileged few other citizens, were left behind to endure the harsh realities of a war they did not invent. The poor lack the financial means to escape to Europe and to the United States, where their wealthy brothers reside while fueling the war machinery by remote control. IT IS A SIN TO BE POOR IN LIBERIA.

Because the military option failed, those who started this ugly war and their wealthy cohorts, (and we know who they are), felt it was now incumbent upon them to come crying foul to Mother America to help them return to the promised land. But mother knows best, so you can hardly outsmart her.

Mother America knows the long and dirty history of Liberia and is, therefore, weary of the potential for danger should the "good 'ol child" decide not to play by the rules of the democratic game again.

With the new wave of democratic fervor sweeping the globe, from South Africa to Haiti, from the Philippines to the eventual fall of communism in Eastern Europe - and in the wake of present global realities, Mother America is aware of her role as a model of world democracy and does not wish to be accused of taking sides and helping to prop up yet another unpopular regime. For certainly to give this group the political blessing by America, would compound Liberia's age-old problems.

Brilliant at their old bamboozle political manipulations cloaked around the notion of "ignoratioelenchi", Washington becomes the new political playing field. But to get Washington's okay, it must first be convinced that whatever group seeking its blessing must equally prove its legitimacy and have the full support of the Liberian majority.

That was the game played out in Washington, DC on April 26, 1996 when nearly 10,000 Liberians demonstrated to urge Washington to use its influence and global power to end the terror in Liberia.

So, the question then is, who or what group organized the famous Washington, DC rally on Friday, April 26, 1996?

Mind you, those of us known as the National Committee for Peace in Liberia (NACOPEL) who first conceived the idea of staging the Washington demonstration and who successfully staged the April 12 peace rally in New York City at the United Nations were now being called the "nobodies and troublemakers."

NACOPEL was pushed on the sidelines. Our homes and businesses are being flooded with threats and queries as to our identities, political affiliations and ambitions. America, welcome to the old Liberian political dedebahs or dirtytricks.

We have said and continue to say we are non-partisans and that our prime interest centers on bringing peace to Liberia. But to some old factions within the Liberian community in the United States, we are seen as the same "nobodies" and "troublemakers" we have been labeled for the past 150 years of our nation's existence.

Why do our detractors from the old order crave to be the new overnight organizers of the demonstration? Are they not seeking the very spotlight they have accused us of seeking? They want to be given the political credit made evident by their clamoring and juggling for positions during the DC rally.

But if we want genuine peace for our country, then the playing field must be made leveled. We have come too far to be relegated as "nobodies" and "troublemakers" and we are NOT going to let anyone or any group push us around anymore.

We are a new generation of Liberians cognizant of historical and topical issues. While our cries have yet to be heard by Mother America, meanwhile, the alleged "Chosen" few think they can resort to the old Liberian dirty politics.

Thank goodness, some of us the "nobodies," unlike our forebears and our parents, who were punished by neocolonists for the crime of being African-Liberians, can read between the lines and will NOT sit by while the minority from the old school attempts to railroad its way back to power through the same scheme.

The Washington demonstration clearly indicated what group has and could deliver the numbers in the nation's capital on April 26 to demand power and an immediate cease-fire in Liberia. NACOPEL certainly delivered the people but quite interestingly, a few power-hungry egos sought political credit as being the ones who actually encouraged the Liberians who attended the April 26th rally, a prelude to the true test of what is to come when and if free and fair democratic elections are held in Liberia.

You be the judge!