The Dog-Fight in Lofa Continues
There are reports of renewed fighting in Northwestern Liberia. This new wave of fighting comes after almost three months of calm in the long-running battle between dissidents of the Liberian United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the forces of the government of Liberia.
Dreams and the Reality of Politics!
Pat Robertson Replies (Washington Post)
The Post has joined with those who wish to topple the duly elected government of Liberia. But I have yet to hear any proposal from the United Nations, from the State Department or from The Post as to what should be done with Liberia if the government falls.
It is not uncommon even for people working on opposite sides of an issue to refer to each other and sometimes acknowledge the work the others are doing. At The Perspective, we pride ourselves by taking issues with the wrongs that are going on daily in our country, subjecting our people to undue hardship, humiliation and despair because a few greedy individuals feel that the country and its resources belong to them.
Where has it become a crime to dream? Or for that matter, where has it been a crime for holding on to your dreams? I have not heard of nor seen such a place on this earth! Someone went on to suggest, "Dreams are what life is all about." And the truth of the matter is history is not lacking in examples of men who attained to status as the result of having big dreams.
Exiled Journalists Condemn Press Clampdown In Liberia
The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) condemns the arbitrary closure of the independent "The News" and the Monrovia Guardian newspapers, and the detention of Wilson Tarpeh, chairman of the board of directors of The News.
The Pain And Anguish That Took Over Me
It was on Monday the 19th of November 2001 in the morning hours that my mobile phone rang - "Is this James"? I said yes. "Ok, I just call to inform you that one of our Liberian sisters was murdered last night", said the President of the Liberian Refugees Association in Senegal.
Life in Monrovia
It took some three days for the image-makers of President Taylor to find out that the picture of him caning his daughter in public was comparable to the buffoon images of former Uganda Dictator Mr. Idi Amin Dada or those of another buffoon, Emperor Bokassa. There was something sad about seeing Idi Amin carried in a hammock by English businessmen, trying to prove that he really had control of life in Uganda.
HIV/AIDS as a Security Issue
The terrorist attack on America killed about 5,000 people on September 11, 2001. The international community mourns the loss of thousands of innocent lives from more than 40 nations. A global coalition of nations led by America is fighting back against terrorism.
MDCL Calls for Legislative Inquiry
We Beg to Differ, Mr. President
In a recent interview with a French information network, President Charles G. Taylor said that his government failed to deliver basic services to the people of Liberia because of two factors, both out his control. The first factor was that the international community did not come to the rescue of Liberia. According to the president, the international community left Liberia alone to face the task of reconstruction.
Government Shuts Down News, Arrests Board Chairman
For the second time in less than a year, The News newspaper has been shutdown for alleged tax arrears due government. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the paper, Mr. Wilson Tarpeh, is reported arrested by the police for interrogation on what police Director Paul Mulbah called "sensitive matters". According to news report from Monrovia, the Assistant Minister for Revenue, Mr. George Howe, said "the decision was taken for the failure of the two media houses to settle their tax obligations to government ."
Peace in the MRU - What Kind of Peace?
In the past few months, the three nations that comprise the Mano River Union (MRU), namely, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, respectively, have been holding a series of meetings, which they say, are aimed at establishing peace in their West African sub-region following years of upheaval there.
A conversation with Sheikh Kafumba Konneh
He is probably one of the most familiar faces in the ongoing Liberian peace process. His popularity goes beyond traditional, political and tribal boundaries. With a group of religious leaders from various faiths, he participated in the creation of the Interfaith Mediation Committee at the onset of the Liberian civil war, back in 1990.
The Last Journey of the Liberian Maritime Program
In the mid 1970s, I worked as an intern of sorts with the Liberian Services, Inc., the purposely inconspicuous name for the host company for the overseas branch of Liberia's Bureau of Maritime Affairs in the United States. I actually sought a permanent job with that Liberian ship registering company which was then located on Park Avenue, a block south of the Grand Central Station in New York City. I was waiting for school to open in New York or for my job with the Liberian Information Center in Washington, D.C., to be confirmed.
Congress Holds Hearings on Terrorism in Africa
As the campaign against terrorism intensifies with the first phase of the war aimed at routing the Taliban and the al-Qaeda Terrorist Network from Afghanistan progressing, the second phase is already beginning to take shape. Gradually, the campaign is shifting its focus to countries harboring terrorists, those aiding and abetting terrorists by providing them safe havens or financial means to carry out their plans.
Mbeki's Stone-Age Commentary on HIV/AIDS
I was shocked when I heard Mr. Mbeki's stone-age commentary on HIV/AIDS. Such remarks, coming from just any African wouldn't have mattered much, but from the President of a renaissance nation like South Africa
Five Central Issues for Those Seeking Public Office in Liberia
Liberia is one of those countries that entered the new millennium worse off in 2001 than it was 20 years before. Even more troubling, under its current leadership, the country will only continue on the downward spiral. In 2003, Liberia will hold general elections - we need to begin thinking about those issues and matters that ought to be addressed as we consider whom to support - these are issues that speak to the core of Liberia's future. If people who desire elective office are not thinking and talking about these issues (and I don't mean lip syncing), then they don't get it.
MaYamah Bonai-Haddad: Town Mother, Counselor
Very few people exemplify generosity and humility and at the same time be the bedrock of their community, as was the case with MaYamah Bonai- Haddad. MaYamah who hailed from Konia Town, Lofa County, passed away on Saturday, November 3, 2001, in Monrovia after a protracted illness inflicted by the Liberian war. She was married to the late Waddi El Haddad commonly called "Bearber" by inhabitants of Lofa county.
A Paradigm Lost
A South African writer Mr. Mukazo Mukazo Vunda has taken issue with my description of South African President Thabo Mbeki as letting philosophy get in the way of science. Although my piece was mostly about the thinking of otherwise educated Africans who showcase their knowledge rather than put it to work, I became a suitable subject of Mr. Vunda's opinions.
Once a Terrorist, Always a Terrorist!
A little over ten years ago, while preparing for Christmas celebration, Liberians were awakened on the eve of Christmas by a group who deceptively styled themselves as "Freedom Fighters." We came to find out later that this terrorist group was headed by a terrorist called Charles Taylor, and was sponsored by the Libyan Leader Gaddafi.
Amid startling revelations appearing in the November 2, 2001, Edition of the Washington Post, linking the Taylor regime to the Osama bin Laden al Qaeda terrorist network, including its illicit trade in diamonds with the RUF rebels of Sierra Leone, the Movement of Democratic Change (MCDL), has written the Liberian national legislature through the Speaker of the House, Hon. Nyundueh Morkonmana , calling for an inquiry into this matter.
The Fallacy of Laser Wielding Aliens
A week ago, I was listening to a BBC radio broadcast, as I usually do when I am tucked up in bed. It helps put me to sleep. The program that was airing at the time was about science and discovery. The topic was the Dogon tribe in Africa.
A Vision for Creating a New Platform for Educational Development in Liberia
There is little or no substantial and credible evidence of a concerted effort to create a new platform for educational development in Liberia. This is the case today as it has been in the past. Educational development in Liberia has stalled on all fronts. Traces of failure can be found in the realms of practical policy and historic ideas. Similarly, the educational infrastructure is in complete disarray as the foundations of national economic life have long since evaporated. The national curriculum is inept and wholly inadequate for the aspirations of a modern society.
First Daughter Becomes Victim of Public Relations Ploy
Last week, President Taylor put his daughter on the front pages of the international press in an effort to portray himself as a former teacher, father and president who is a disciplinarian - by flogging the 13-year old girl, Edena, in front of her eighth grade classmates at the J. J. Roberts United Methodist school in Sinkor. Taylor made her to lie flat on a table and administered ten lashes to her "backside".
Liberians in the Diaspora: We Must Unite
As another election approaches, it is with great dismay that we observe the same pattern: Candidates are running parochial campaigns, targeting sections and patches of the community at large. One would think it would be elementary to attempt to meet a cross-section of the community. What is the wisdom of preaching to the converted?
It is a Palaver Hut, not a Court of Law
Counselor Jones' rhetorical question of October 16, 2001 to which he devoted a few pages in answer fits the category that deserves a response. It did get a response from Mr. Smith and this is a reaction. Mr. Smith's reaction in defense of Senator Brumskine calls to question Counselor Jones' right to his question. Further, he sought for the evidence to support the Jones question. Another response in defense of Counselor Jones' right to question 'would-be' leaders was posted. This creates an interesting scenario.
The Misguided Taylor's Apologists
Recently, apologists for Charles G. Taylor have stepped up their attacks against democratic minded Liberians that are criticizing the state of lawlessness in Liberia and the destabilization of the West African sub region by Taylor and his criminal gangs. Accusations against the critics of the regime among others are, they are political asylum seekers and candidates for the deferred departure program in the United States.
Freedom for the Remaining Liberian "Political Prisoners" Now!
We are troubled by the mixed messages, double standards, deceit and hypocrisy of the Taylor Administration on issues of national concern. Even as the regime proclaimed a month of reconciliation, and now seeks to participate in a global anti-terrorism campaign, many Liberians continue to languish in prison because of their political belief, ethnic affiliation and bogus charges made against them, including but not limited to treason, sedition, contempt and espionage.
I Defend Thabo Mbeki!
The effect that the opinions of leading news agencies have had on my psyche, in defaming Thabo Mbeki's stand on the issue of AIDS, became apparent to me when I hesitated in finding a fitting title to this article in defense of him, wishing not to seem associated with his ideas, the reason I wanted to defend him notwithstanding. I chose one title, then dropped it, then another, and, because of this, almost came to the point of giving up, like so many have done.
Excuse Me, Commissioner - It's The "People's Money"!
In one of the most ridiculous and arrogant remarks made by a senior government official anywhere in recent times, the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) has quoted the Liberian Maritime Chief as saying that: "It is our right to decide what we do with our money."
Can Charles Taylor's Apologist Explain his Ties to al Qaeda? (The New Republic) - On September 19, 1998, the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia, was attacked by the forces of Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. According to an internal State Department report on the incident obtained by New Republic, Taylor's police, pursuing a local warlord seeking protection at the embassy gates, laid siege to the building using AK-47s and at least one rocket-propelled grenade. In the ensuing firefight, one American embassy official was shot in the lower back.
America Turns a Blind Eye Towards its Uzbek Host
U.S. support for Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov -- whose crackdown on political opponents and religious leaders has caused widespread dissatisfaction may result in the very anti-U.S. government Washington hopes to avoid.
Closing In On Mr. Taylor
On Sept.18, 2001, the internet edition of The Perspective carried a flash piece in which we expressed our condolences to the government and people of the United States, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. At that time, we warned U.S. policymakers to be mindful of wolves in sheep's clothing, people who would, by ruse, simulate sympathy; but in reality, their hearts and minds were with the terrorists.
America and our Terrorists
When the global hunt for terrorists began a few weeks ago and our President, "His Excellency Dakpannah Dr. Charles Ghankay McArthur Taylor" told the American people that he was ready to put our country on the front line and said breathlessly that he was crying with the American people, we told him that he did not need to go far to find terrorists.
When Unlawful People Become Judges
The ongoing squabble between the Liberian National Legislature and the National Bar Association is one to interest us students and observers of history. Liberia today can be likened to a country without a leader; and this comparison would in no wise way be faulty judgment considering the issues that are at stake today. Amidst this acute mess the country has been plunged into, it is somewhat impulsive to endeavor and investigate why things are as they are. Why has Liberia degenerated from noble to ignoble?
A Beautiful Small Town In Liberia
Once upon a time, there were two little towns, in Liberia. They were cities by themselves, bustling and dynamic, immaculate, with thousands of people traveling in and out every day. Yekepa and Harbel, in the past represented two poles of the Liberian economy, the iron ore and the rubber capitals of the country. Experts, both local and expatriates looked over the smooth operations of the mines and the rubber. Getting a job in one of those little cities guaranteed a leap into the world of middle class Liberia. These two cities, like the rest of the country fell to the war. Yekepa is now a ghost town while Harbel somehow has become a shadow of what it used to be.
Taylor's Crocodile Tears
Following the September 11 attacks, President Taylor made several overtures that some considered to be sincere. First he signed the book of condolence pretending to console the Americans. The book was brought to him at the Executive Mansion, while others who signed the book of condolence had to do so at the American Embassy. And in a theatrical effort to appear sincere, he made the following statements at an intercessory service:
Death and Diamonds in Liberia (Washington Post)
This week The Post published a letter to the editor by Charles Taylor's man in Washington, a Liberian ambassador appropriately named William Bull, responding to my Oct. 20 op-ed column, "Pat Robertson: His Liberian Deal." The piece highlighted the 1992 murders of five American nuns in a Monrovia suburb, allegedly by rebel forces of then-warlord, now-president Charles Taylor. Bull tried in vain to defend the indefensible.
Al Qaeda Cash Tied to Diamond Trade (Washington Post)
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, Nov. 1 -- The terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden has reaped millions of dollars in the past three years from the illicit sale of diamonds mined by rebels in Sierra Leone, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials and two sources with direct knowledge of events.
A Tale of "Robbing Hood and his Merrymen"
In the business world, there is something called Corporate Alzheimer (CA). It is simply, the old way of doing things as compared to making use of new technology. Those who engage in Corporate Alzheimer for example, do not find efficient ways to file their work, instead stored documents in pigeonholes in walls of libraries, and list the contents of documents on the wall - a kind of "primitive database." The same is true regarding the "Robbing Hood" of Liberia (Charles Taylor) and his "Merrymen" who engaged in Alzheimer or Waterside Argument in defense of their corrupt practices.
Government Must Protect the Rights of Citizens
Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was recently interviewed by Musue N. Haddad on a wide range of national and international issues. The interview touched on the Measuagoon Project, President Charles Taylors clemency granted her and three of the over two-dozen political prisoners in that country also charged with treason.
The Liberian Flag: A Symbol of Pride or Misrepresentation
Lately, the American flag is seen everywhere. The flag can be seen draped from windows of buildings; painted on rooftops; hoisted onto small and large poles in neighborhoods; tied to or pasted on to antennas, and to the front and rear of vehicles. The American flag is also being used to make fashion statements, from pins that are tacked onto suits, to t-shirts, socks and other apparels that are worn by patriotic Americans.