Friends and brothers, I am honored by your invitation
to be here, and I want to thank you for your warm
welcome and introduction. Now you know my “weakest
link” (love for football). Though you slow down
when you are aging, I still love to play football.
Therefore, when you said that I should come for us
to “run after the leather” and talk about
killing the mosquitoes, I accepted your challenge.
I also accepted your challenger because regardless
of how small the effort one undertakes to help our
nation in good faith, we must support each other and
not derail each other’s progress. We cannot
build a great nation by keeping each other down. I
want to thanks the young Liberians who out ran me
on the field. You did well! I was in Liberia two months
ago and the team we played--players out ran me as
you did today. You didn’t do anything wrong
for making me breathless so do not feel discourage.
Thanks for the good game! You are my heroes. We need
to have more events like these not because we are
sisters and brothers, but soccer is uniting and therapeutic.
I remembered when the great Pele played in the Nicaragua
during the civil wars, the fighters put their guns
for three days to see him play. The world finest footballers
are in Germany in unity for the 2006 World Cup. This
is how powerful football is.
Friends and brothers, we are living in a difficult
time. I maintain that the 14-year civil war shattered
everything we had, so we need to work very hard and
very smart to rebuild our lives and our country. But
we cannot build up ourselves and our country if we
are sick constantly from common and curable diseases
like malaria. I think you know if you and I were sick
with malaria we wouldn’t have played the game
today because we wouldn’t have the strength
to run after the football. And this is why my organization,
the Liberian History, Education, and Development,
Inc. (LIHEDE), is trying to do something about getting
rid of malaria in Liberia. We are holding a conference
in Monrovia this coming December to discuss how we
can combat malaria and other common diseases in Liberia
because malaria doesn’t belong in our environment.
For these and other reasons, I would now like to draw
your attention to the title of my speech, “We
Cannot Build the Fourth Republic by Keeping Each Other
First, I want to again thank you for taking time off
of your busy schedules to be here. We in LIHEDE want
to impress on you not to let anyone hoodwink you that
we cannot get rid of malaria in Liberia. The only
that we need more of are you to join the campaign.
When people raise their hand good things can happen.
Pacing through the unpleasant aspects of human existence,
humanity has always looked for heroes but it also
resents those who step forward. The resentment is
even greater when the nation is stressed, traumatized,
or attempting to recover from the unpleasant aspects
of human procrastination and inactivity that demised
a whole generation, like the nation of Liberia.
Equally so, history also provides us with compelling
records of men who stood up in time of great moral
crises, and by virtue of their belief in the brotherhood
of man, attempted to rescue their people from the
dungeon of self-destruction and external exploitation.
The like of Mahatma Gandhi, Patrice Lumumba, W. R.
Tolbert, M. L. King, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah, Diogenes
Laertius, and Biblical Joseph, are but a few examples
of individuals who rose to the level of reluctant
heroes when their nation needed them but the same
nation resented them. My discussion will be limited
to the last two individuals to make my point and move
Diogenes Laertius was the son of Icesias, a banker
who had been found guilty of defacing the public coin.
Icesias was soon imprisoned and his son Diogenes was
sent to Athens to live in exile. Diogenes became a
follower of Antisthenes, who was the head of the Cynics.
When Diogenes sought membership into the Cynics, Antisthenes
uprightly rejected to admit him and struck him with
a stick. In response Diogenes did the unthinkable,
proclaiming "Strike me, Antisthenes, but you
will never find a stick sufficiently hard enough to
remove me from your presence while you speak anything
worth hearing". It was Diogenes’ calmness
of response that impressed Antisthenes so much that
he willingly admitted him into the Cynics. It was
in exile that Diogenes developed a character of excellence
and renounced all forms of corruption, riches, luxury,
and greed that those in power espoused.
Diogenes reasoned that virtue was better exposed in
action than in premise or “deeds not words”
as we would say in Liberia. To prove his allegiance,
he was seen promenading around the city and market-grounds
on a pleasant day with a lighted oil lamp in his hand.
He keenly and attentively was observed looking around
as if he had misplaced the head of a pin.
The sun is so hot, high in the Heavens, why
are you strolling in the streets with a lighted lantern?”
an individual asked Diogenes. “I am trying to
search for an honest man” Diogenes responded.
It was not a surprise that Diogenes sought an honest
man or a hero in the hot sun with a lighted candle
because in a humane society everyone should be taken
care of and all should contribute equally and leave
no child behind or render verdict without the fact---and
that’s what honest men and heroes are known
for and needed now in our nation!
It was Diogenes’ unflinching frown on societal
standards of moral duty that sent positive waves across
the length and breadth of Greece. The tale of Diogenes
reached so far that duty-bound Alexander the Great
went in search of the man who was so overconfident
with his will to defeat human frailties. Before Alexander
the Great could get on his way, distracters, friends
and gossipers were speaking ill and pre-judging Diogenes
up to the day on which Alexander arrived at the tub
in which Diogenes’ slept. “Good afternoon
I am Alexander the Great" he stated, as he stretched
his hand forward for a hand shake with Diogenes the
To everyone’s surprise, Diogenes didn’t
even acknowledge his presence. Alexander, in an attempt
to get his attention, accosted him to let him know
what service he could render him. Diogenes simply
replied, "Stand from between me and the sun".
Alexander, moved by his response said to his friends,
who were speaking ill of the Cynic philosopher, "If
I were not Alexander, I should wish to be Diogenes".
Why would Alexander, “The Great” wish
to be Diogenes, a man who slept in a tub in the street
Brethren, I believe that the answer to this difficult
question lies hidden in Ancient Greek’s psychology
of humanizing corruption or considering everyone as
corrupt individuals. Among all the great men of Greece,
including Alexander, Diogenes had defied the odds
and determined that corruption - like any human behavior,
can be altered or controlled by the action and inaction
of the people. For the most part, the Greeks had not
seen any of their countrymen who would just be a nationalist,
love Greece and prick the people’s conscious
to good governance and decency without wanting an
accolade until Diogenes. Therefore, when Diogenes
said he was not for moral emptiness because where
morality or development is denied, poverty blossoms,
where ignorance is bred and violence prevails, and
where good motives are classified as “ulterior
motives”, national development is delayed, his
fellowmen became judges and jurors. Naturally, Diogenes
was a hated hero and was scorned.
Our next example of how a citizen stood up and provided
the needed lifeline for his people is the Biblical
Joseph. The animosity between Joseph and his brothers
began when their father Jacob showed more love toward
his favorite wife’s Rachel’s son Joseph,
to whom he gave a coat of many colors. Realizing that
Joseph had not done enough work to deserve such a
gift from their father and that by doing so, provoked
jealousy and envy against Joseph (by his brothers)
which soon caused them to sell him to traveling Midianite
merchants in route to Egypt.
Upon their arrival in Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar,
captain of the king's guard, in whose service he remained
for ten years. It was while he was in this dungeon
that Joseph rose to prominence not only amongst the
prisoners, but also amongst servants of the pharaoh
including Pharaoh’s butler and baker. Joseph
became an excellent dreams interpreter for them. Soon,
Joseph was interpreting the dreams of the Pharaoh
which none other could discern, ultimately giving
rise to Joseph who became a prominent leader over
the land of Egypt.
How does Diogenes and Joseph’s legends relate
to how we cannot build the fourth Republic by keeping
each other down? Accusations without proof will not
only cause miscarriages of justice but has the potential
to cause the delay in the 4th Republic’s redevelopment.
Joseph was falsely accused of attempted rape and Diogenes
was falsely accused of “ulterior motives”.
Historically, many of our fellow countrymen were similarly
accused - some of whom were lucky and were only publicly
ridiculed, while others died before they had time
to help our nation develop. An example of how accusing
our fellow Liberians without giving them the benefit
of the doubt can be disastrous is, when the people
are made to believe that there is an “ulterior
motive”. This is presented in the case of Rufus
Daboh. History tells us that the Liberian veteran
journalist was not only detained at Belle Yella, Liberia’s
notorious prison, but coined one of President Doe's
famous remarks: "God gave you long life, but
you were very careless with it".
Second, labeling our fellow Liberians with having
an “ulterior motive” can be fatal when
our countrymen just want to do what is required of
them. This is captured in Charles Gbeyon’s demise.
For several years he worked for the Liberian Broadcasting
System as a television journalist. He decided to televise
a scene of government crime and was accused of having
ulterior motives”. He was soon murdered
in a cold blood---an event that is still fresh in
Another example of how silencing individuals by stating
they have “ulterior motives” that kept
good people and their ideas in jail is vividly captured
in the stories of James Yarkpawolo Gbarbyee of Bong
County; Robert H. Kennedy of Lofa County; Gabriel
Fhangarlo of Nimba County. The bosom or our nations’
history is filled with accounts of the forming Public
Relation Officers (PRO) who terrorized Liberia and
kept Tubman in power for 27 years. Appointed to the
leadership of their respective counties, these vibrant
and energetic young men were accused of having “ulterior
motives” for riding in government cars with
sirens blaring similar to President Tubman. It didn’t’
take too long for the news to get to Tubman by the
PRO that this group of superintendents were potential
opposition party members and were appearing too “presidential”.
They were quickly thrown in jail as "plotters"
A fourth example of how sending those who have our
nations best interest at heart to “Bella Yalla”
because they have “ulterior motives” can
cause an incurable wound, can be seen in Ambassador
Henry Bioma Fahnbulleh, Sr, Second Secretary to the
Liberian Embassy in Freetown who was named ambassador
to Kenya. In Kenya, it was said that “Duke”
supported Mzee Jomo Kenyatta (who helped to organize
the 5th Pan-African Congress in Great Britain in 1945).
It was also said that “Duke” had the picture
of the Chinese Cultural Revolution Chairman Mao hanging
on the wall of the Liberian Embassy. To make matters
worse, there was no President Tubman of Liberia picture
next to Chairman Mao. During the latter 1950s and
early 1960s, the names of Fidel Castro of Cuba (that
overthrew General Fulgencio Batista, the de facto
leader of Cuba and Mao Zedong) who attempted to bring
the government completely under his control and were
called, the “gringos of revolutions” that shocked the seatpants of incumbent leaders.
Therefore, the PRO had an easy case to make. Hence, it didn’t
take too long for the news of the two incidents to
reach Tubman. A surveillance team was dispatched unknown
to Fhanbulleh. Under the disguise of “auditing”
he was accused of embezzlement, a smoke screen that
landed him in jail where he remained until Tolbert
became president, freed him and dismantled the PRO,
rightfully describing them as a “bunch of liars.“
Here were our fellow Liberians on the mountaintop
with their visions for Liberia’s future, being
viewed through a fog of misunderstanding by other
Liberians in the valley. It is not easy for ordinary
Liberians to listen to, much less accept, their own
kind. But this is the task before us as a nation and
people. It is not possible to fully understand the
way some of us see things and ask why and why not
if one does not understand the role of the citizen.
One of my roles as a native of Liberia is to challenge
hypocrisies (beliefs cherished as certainties) and
institutional paradigms that our people endowed with
supreme sanctity. Though my findings may be stern,
sour, and stinging, I offer no apology for the “inconvenience
of the truth”.
Combing through our history, one can see that we are
a nation of people who do not know how to be happy
for the next citizen and rally around him or her for
his or her own ideas or achievement. We are quick
to invoke the crab mentality---pulling each other
down as soon as we see an effort. We are quick to
kill our heroes as soon as the mother begins to give
him a breast or when we see him learning how to crawl.
As a result, we lack national monuments of our past
in the arena of our athletics, musicians, heroes,
and leaders, and so forth. We learn other peoples’
grandfather’s tongues to show off and destroy
our own. The object of our college degrees is boasting
in the name of the degree granting institution, wearing
the titles not what the holder accomplishes with it
for our nation.
Combing through history, it would not take too long
to find that; we live as if no other generations are
coming when we are gone. In doing so, it would not
take too long to discover that we prefer failure to
laughter and resist team-work for national accomplishments.
Combing through history it would not take too long
to find that we are one of the few if not the only
nation in the world that continues to suffer from
a serious case of identity crisis but refuse to study
to learn who we are or find ourselves.
Combing through our history, we are the only nation
that sets down traps for each other hoping that it
will soon catch a person.
We do not have to travel half a mile in our history
to find how spiritually empty we are in our hearts
and soul. We refuse to intone and reconcile our differences
but continue to give lips service to the real issues,
when asked to provide responsible answers to these
We refuse to turn to one who attempts to address the
issues, one who stands with arms opened wide waiting
for us to come and put our hands together in the calabash
of nationhood and build a better tomorrow. And because
our minds and hearts are unclean and do not bend towards
each other, we seem not able to find our way out of
things. Sadly, we wonder why our current government
supposedly resembles that of the past and we also
resemble the past because of our refusal to change
or graduate from the same destructive history we accuse
others for holding unto.
Like the Greeks, Liberia would have had the likes
of Diogenes and Joseph. Our history holds countless
stories of men and women of good character who were
killed before they stood up. Like the Greeks, Liberia
has the likes of Diogenes and Joseph are among us
but other Liberians stand between them and the suns’
rays and sell them to “travelers” while
dreaded (and curable diseases like) malaria is still
killing our people while poverty and ignorance have
become a way of life on the rich soil of our nation.
Something is very wrong and grave serious action is
Frankly, my heart aches and I am disappointed and
taking aback, with all due respect to our fellow Liberians
who called the 3.2 billion people (or the more than
50% of the world population exposed malaria) an over-dramatization.
Are they saying that the fact that an African child
dies every 30 seconds, and that there are 500 million
clinical cases causing up to 3 million deaths with
90% happening in Sub-Sahara Africa annually a dramatization?
I still maintain that the reason malaria doesn’t
catch the world’s attention is because it is
a poor people’s disease. In other words, malaria
doesn’t threaten rich people’s lives.
On the contrary, as soon as a Russian scientist announced
that “one billion people stand to die from the
coming global flu pandemic” (http://www.birdfludefense.com/002331.html)
it made headlines. As soon as it was announced that
the United States would lose 700,000 people to the
bird flu in the six months following the onset of
a pandemic, it attracted the world’s attention
in an extraordinary way (see Mark Adams’s article
Flu pandemic could kill one billion people
around the world” http://www.birdfludefense.com/002331.html.).
I only have time for the values that bind us together
as a society and allow us to live in this free, democratic
and malaria free land. Malaria is my enemy and like
Diogenes, I too I am figuratively strolling the streets
of the world and literally the streets of Liberia
shouting, Malaria is my enemy and I will fight to
my death what I fear. I am looking for honest men
and women to help defeat this damn disease. Simply,
it was both Diogenes and Joseph’s upright character
which is of greater worth than the gold of Ophir that
compelled Alexander the Great to visit with Diogenes,
and Joseph to be in charge of the harvest bloodline
of Egypt. It was an upright character, which is of
greater worth than the gold of Ophir that Joseph said
unto his brethren, “Come near to me, I pray
you” and they came near. And he said, "I
am Joseph, your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves,
that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before
you to preserve life”. When the character we
say that we have is attached, it must be with this
expression of our character that we use to exonerate
ourselves before honest men. Without character none
can rise to an honorable eminence. It is history and
honest who will see our heart and assign us according
to our deeds.
The spiteful public relations campaign and public
outcry by some Liberians over the unsubstantiated
claims that the use of DDT in any malaria treatment
efforts in Liberia could degrade the local environment
and expose the Liberian people to greater health risks,
than might be attained by using DDT to eradicate malaria
in Liberia is a chastisement mechanism of keeping
good people and their ideas down. While I believe
that it is the right of all Liberians to express fears
and concerns about any potential negative effects
on the environment and health of the Liberian people,
to play politics with our efforts to defeat malaria
Malaria is a serious health problem in Liberia with
the potential to undermine the country’s national
reconstruction efforts by seriously eroding the productive
capacities of Liberians infested with the disease.
This is why LIHEDE organized a symposium in the U.S.
in July 2005 on “Combating Malaria in Post-Conflict
Liberia” in order to engage Liberian and American
health professionals and malaria treatment experts
in finding a common solution to the malaria pandemic
The head of the malaria control program in Liberia
not only attended the LIHEDE symposium in the U.S.
on behalf of the Liberian government, but the Liberian
government also embraced the ideas expressed in a
resolution by participants of the symposium underscoring
the need for malaria eradication in Liberia and mandating
that a follow-up health conference be held in Liberia
in order to liaison with local Liberian government
officials and health authorities in deriving a blueprint
for malaria treatment, control, and eradication in
Liberia. The upcoming LIHEDE and Liberian Ministry
of Health-organized National Health Conference in
Monrovia in December 2006 is a direct result of the
LIHEDE 2005 symposium resolution aimed at combating
malaria in post-conflict Liberia.
Fellow Liberians, today, there are other insecticides
such as permethrin 30/30, approved by the World health
Organization (WHO) that can be used alternatively
with DDT to minimize resistance since resistance requires
consistent use. WHO supports the use of these pesticides
using an integrated approach as we mentioned in our
message. Very importantly, if one is to hail the outlawing
of DDT for the risks it imposes then one must take
responsibility for the risk of not possessing any
technological alternative. My point is malaria is
a billion dollar business so pharmaceutical companies
will influence lobbied research to keep selling tablets
while other says we should pray that a vaccination
would be invented someday by Bill Gates. Is Gates
responsible for defeating malaria in Liberia?
The question we must ask ourselves honestly and nationalistically
is: Why are these environmentally friendly chemicals
not being promoted in Liberia as opposed to bandage
solutions, i.e. bed nets and the yet to be invented
vaccine? Equally important, while some of our brethren
are still applauding the researchers who advocated
DDT ban, they failed to realize these researchers’
findings were based fake research. Even as I speak,
fake research is on the rise to the detriment of human
health. Often newscast informs us about people who
are genius, absolutely unequalled researchers who
have invented new drugs, but only to hear later that
something poses a threat to human health. The recent
withdrawals of the prescription medications such as
Vioxx and Bextra from the marketplace due to safety
concerns, are classics examples of bad science.
The point I am conveying is that researchers are not
angels---they cheat. It is my professionally view
that they cheated the African people in the case of
DDT so I am not going to relent. Researchers cheat
for several reasons, starting with mental ailment;
lack of or inadequate mentoring; lack of universal
standard or different scientific standards, above
all, insurmountable and increasing professional pressure
to publish studies or perish.
That is exactly my point! The malaria debate, health
professionals, community activists and social service
providers must seek to maximize a solution that builds
our capability to control and eventually eradicate
the disease by dissecting the malaria economics from
the risks and opportunities derived for our people
by fake research. Let’s remember malaria is
a billion dollar business and anyone who dares to
fight such a lucrative business is bound to be scorned
as having an “ulterior motive”.
Friends and brothers, before 19th century, not only humanity was made to believe that earth has four corners, but that the earth was flat. And, it was not only the center of the universe, but if you sailed too far you could fall off the cliff of the earth. But there was young man whom many of you have read about in the science class. He was Copernican who didn’t
believe that nonsense. Copernican concluded that the
sun was the center of the universe with the Earth
being one of its flocks.
I believe there other people who didn’t believe
in falling off the “cliff theory” but
were afraid to challenge it because lot of people
and the church said it was so. During those days,
the Catholic Church had absolute power over vast areas
of the world. It could excommunicate members and punish
persons with unorthodox views. The Pope even exercised
that power by issuing a Papal Bull, which divided
the world between Christian and non-Christian. The
Church argued that certain trends of thought could
stir up revolutionary thinking, therefore, the Copernican
concept was opposed to normative values, religious
authority, and the idea of natural laws. He too was
hated and scorned.
Young Copernican did not give up on his belief no
matter who were the stakeholders and irrespective
of the circumstances. He stood up to the Pope when
Western intellectual thinking was muzzled. I know
you know what happened, right? He proved them dead
wrong! It took the Vatican three centuries to repent
for its condemnations of Galileo for supporting Nicholas
Copernicus. In retrospect, the post-De Revolutionibus
Orbium Calesstium liberated those minds that were
incarcerated. Imagine if Copernican had not told the
bitter true”! You and I would be so afraid to even get on jet plane today to avoid falling off the cliff of the earth if he had succumbed to pressure. The De Revolutionibus Orbium Calesstium of 1514 initiated a change in astronomical and cosmological thought. Like Copernicus, I stand before you and can look straight in your eyes and without any air of ambiguity say that DDT was banned as being environmentally unfriendly pesticide based on myths. History will never contradict my opinion on the benefits.
Friends and brothers, wonder with me why a person like me who has specialized in Environmental and Occupational Safety & Health for the past 25 years, whose main objective has been to protect the lives of people from the harmful chemicals in their environment, would allow a toxic chemical/carcinogen to kill my people? Is this the only “ulterior motive” with which I win the heart of the Liberian people? What are the reciprocal benefits or affinity between poisoning the Liberian people and the “ulterior motive”? Do I have any stock with these toxic producing companies for which I will give them “carte Blanc” to drench Liberia with environmentally harmful chemicals? Something is wrong here, isn’t it? You be the judge because I have told you all that is in my heart herein.
We Liberians have not learned that being an employee of our nation without necessarily being on the payroll or being heavily influenced by a president or minister is the highest form of patriotism. I believe that I do not have to be employed by the Liberian government to do what is expected of me or help make my nation defeats malaria. I believe that I do not have to be a “president”, “minister”, director”, etc. to do that which is required of me.
Throughout our school the mantra has been "I pledge allegiance to the flag of Liberia, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." I wonder to who or what have Liberians pledged our allegiance for the past 159 years? Like you I wonder why students were spanked for failing to properly recite this mantra. It would be silly to think that our pledge of allegiance was showing our loyalty to a piece of red, white and blue colored cloth and not to "republic for which it stands", meaning Liberia.
It would be silly to think that our true pledge of allegiance was showing our loyalty to a piece of red, white and blue colored cloth but not to uphold and defend the soci-economic, cultural, and political life of Liberia. It would be silly to think that our true pledge of allegiance to the "republic for which it stands" and say later that “I do not have to time”, which I consider to mean I do not have soul”. Instead, this destructive virus is accelerating and becoming a legacy that the concept of social and political perspicuity for Liberians means not only to challenge and defeat the opponent, but rather to completely OBLITERATE his/her totality. It is sad that this cancerous virus is now killing our moral and just spirit, just as the Greeks did to Diogenes. I think it is hypocritical when we have prayed for the civil wars to end to help build our nation only to become antagonistic of others because our ideas didn’t come from our fellow citizens. I think it is hypocritical when we have prayed for the civil war to end to help build our nation but become antagonistic to others and want to derail their progress knowing that we promised each other to help the 4th republic to start anew.
I do not want to believe that Liberians have not learned any thing from our past dangerous behaviors. I do not want to believe that the virus called “lack of institutional memory” is still logged in our psyche after 400, 000 of our fellow citizens have been buried by these identical behaviors. Since the beginning of our nation, generations of Liberians have struggled to achieve that golden dream. If I am not willing to do for my nation except I am given a government position, then who will build Liberia for me? But if all of my childhood and other acquired education are only a benefit to me, then the destruction of my people and the nation that has given me so much should be the epitaph on my tombstone. Good Citizens Develop Nations not Government
Throughout history, great nations become and maintain greatness because of its people. Sparta was one of the smallest of all the Greek states but became famous because of one of its citizens’ deeds. It was people like Lycurgus who gave it laws of uncommon brilliance. It was not the USA or USSR president who invented the atomic bomb it was the people! It was not the US president who invented the computer - it was the high school dropout, Bill Gates! It was James Watt’s invention of the Steam Powered engine in 1763 that industrialized England - not the government. It was Michael Faraday’s invention of electricity in 1831 that set up the golden age of light. It was Marconi and De Forest discovery of radio signals that amplified and transmitted music and speech -not the government.
It was Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin that proved that colonies of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus and other infectious diseases could be destroyed by the mold Penicillium notatum. It was Mr. Edward Carter, a Kpelle son who is credited with “assembling a 2 seated Nissan Damamker in order to support his family since he could not get a job” - and not the government of Liberia. Simply, it is the people who change human society. Did those I have named have “ulterior motives” for the presidency or other ministerial positions in their nations before doing what they did? America, the nation that Liberians imitate so much even though they disowned us during our civil wars, didn’t became great through the government - it was the people. No one should stand between development and Liberia if there are no scientific or justifiable reasons to do so, Liberia needs all of us.
Let Us Start Building
It was while in exile that Diogenes and Joseph’s nobilities and countenance were not only noticed but their nations thrust into historical prominence. It was in exile that Diogenes and Joseph are represented as an exemplar of filial respect, for which they were called to duty and leadership, they went punctually and with cheerfulness of heart, although they knew that their people hated them.
Today we live in other people’s nations and call them paradise and crave to be like them but our actions and inactions speak otherwise. The rest of the world is tired of calling “time out” as they feel we don’t have what it takes to build a great nation. For example, instead of using our guns to protect our nations, we turned them on our own brethren. Instead of using the powerful Internet to free our nation from disease, ignorance and poverty, we turned it on our brethren to “create dissention.” Among the civilized nations, we are the ones who just refuse to grow up and are like unto a big balloon in the wind, tilted by the pressure to rise.
Is it not about time that in building this new Liberia, we give those who are not defrauding our nation the benefits of the doubt? Is it not about time that we judge each person based on what each person does and not what others have done in the past? Is it not about time that we ask “not what your country can do for you-but what you can do for your country"? And is it not about time that we collectively demand the eradication of curable malaria that is older than Jesus?
We cannot build a great nation with rancor and rudeness in Liberian politics. We cannot build a great nation when we forget where we came from. We cannot build a nation of humanity or brotherhood of mankind, without concern about our fellowmen. All the experiences of religious ecstasy pale before it argues that anything that restrains you from giving your maximum be it false accusing, envy, jealousy or fence sitting in developing your own nation and receiving your brethren, though they may have wronged you is bondage.
In essence, it is with this abiding faith that I say to you “You can struck and stick all you want” but I will never be indifference to my native land because “The penalty men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men” (Plato). In essence, it is with this abiding faith that I says to you In essence, it is with this abiding faith that I says to you --we cannot build the fourth Republic by keeping each other down. This land of Liberia is not only the land of my parentage, but is my mother - I owe to it my very life and being because she gave me life. It has nourished my physical and spiritual body and soul with its substance, and it has molded my very soul. It is surely not for nothing that from childhood I have looked upon its great rivers, landscapes, mountains, even if there are those rare fellow citizens who have not learned to love them. Its skies, its weather, its woods and fields and hills, its towns and villages all have dyed my imagination and has become part of my innermost being. After all, this land of mine, is part of me and I am of it. I have no desire to harm this land and its soil that holds the dust of countless generations of my kinsfolk and fellow citizens.
I have no desire to harm this land and its soil because it is the land of my birth, because it is the land of my forefather, and because it will be the land of those who shall come after me, perhaps of my sons and daughters.
I have no desire to harm Liberia and its soil because they have given life to my forefathers and holds their fossils and tombs them, and which in turn nurtures me, my children, their children, and grandchildren to come. Liberia and its soil is linked between generations, between families and friends, between common experiences of our past and that of the present and future.
However, nations are great because of their heroes and generations that have gone before them have toiled to make them what they are. It is the fruit of their labor and sweat or the outcome of their brains and skills, not the government per se that make these nations great. You and I have the moral and ethical responsibility to take our nation to its rightful place in this world and put our hands between our legs and let fate destroy us all.
I always say, that the God of Liberia will ask you one day this question. Yes, you were a journalist, doctor, engineer, professor, writer, but what did you do with your education to help Liberia. For me, I just want to be one of the Liberians who beckon our nation towards the future. I know very little about the naysayers and what their plans are for our nation. What I know is one day I will stand before my Creator as an educated person to face that question. I want to be able to answer without scratching my hairs to find the answer.
I want to answer that question without fighting to find words. I want to say at least I tried to develop a Liberian Studies Program, my fellow Liberians fought me, but I didn’t give up on Liberia. I want to say on that day when I stand before the God of Liberia, at least I fought malaria, my fellow Liberians accused me of “ulterior motive” but I didn’t give up. I want to say on that, at least I tried proposing a youth development project, plantain-banana project, agricultural project, restructuring the Armed Forces of Liberia, and implementing a radio station for national health/malaria eradiation. All the way, my fellow countrymen used the principle of collective guilt to derail my effort but I didn’t abandon Liberia. If my efforts yield nothing, I least I tried. If I succeed in saving the lives of few Liberian babies from mosquito bites, at least I have something to show my Creator.
Think on these things so the God of Heaven and our forefathers will give us success and bless our hands as a collective people. Let us start national building. Thanks!