The Taylor Regime Must Go - Says Fahnbulleh

Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Jr., a former presidential candidate during the 1997 election that brought Charles Taylor to power, has issued a statement on the prevailing situation in Liberia and the West African sub-region. Below is a full text of the statement:

The position of this discredited regime, created through the craven idiocy of most of the leaders of West Africa is perilous, to say the least. Battered on all sides because of the maniacal greed of its gangster-boss and the barefaced lies of its hapless functionaries that expose them to international derision, this regime of nonentities and scoundrels now hovers between abject paralysis and bloody destruction. Like an ailing patient with an incurable disease, it suffers from chronic symptoms of frustration, depression and disillusionment. Everything has gone wrong since its farcical imposition on a miserable people by the kleptomaniac Sani Abacha and a few social parasites in the sub-region. Its bloody birth was not an accident of history but a freakish outcome of a social process that mirrored the chaos and sloth of a backward society. An accident of history would have been a default that under certain circumstances is permissible; but this freakish contraption was the result of a national malady that allowed depraved outsiders to conspire in our debasement and dishonor.

The regime's involvement in the conflict in Sierra Leone in order to plunder diamonds is not incidental to the activities of the Taylor cabal in other spheres. This is the main basis for its shabby existence and the raison d'etre for its tawdry emergence that conforms to its bloody legacy of butchery and theft. It exists, not as a responsible entity catering for the welfare of its people, but as a bloodthirsty leech which despoils everything in order to make fast money for the gratification of a clique. The Liberian and Sierra Leonean people are the helpless victims of the most rapacious cabal that has ever ruled over a West African nation. In Liberia, the people exist in a state of disbelief, numbness and shame. They echo whatever is parroted by the clique because they know the consequences of speaking out in a land of death squads and sadistic thugs. Their shame stems from their inability to comment on the obvious tragedy unfolding before their eyes.

The brutality and plunder next door in Sierra Leone mirror the situation in Liberia. The clique considers its own people as expendable cannon fodder and thus sees the people of Sierra Leone as waste product of its adventurism. The mutilation, rapes and amputations in Sierra Leone do not bother this clique as it regard these occurrences as the unavoidable cost of its enterprise of plunder and theft. In its own country, this clique has mortgaged the entire State to crooks and rogues. Trees are cut for export with such rapidity that the ecological balance in the country is being destroyed. The villages are empty because the peasants and their children have been forced into slave labor. All over the land, digging and excavating for gold are going on without any concern for the farmers. Drug addiction, prostitution, petty theft, grand larceny, economic stagnation, political stupidity and social chaos are the symptoms of this dying order.

The international community has condemned the regime in Monrovia for its banditry and duplicity in Sierra Leone, but this is a minor irritant for these crooks. As long as the condemnation is not followed by concrete action, there will be no change in the action of the rogues who preside over Liberia. They are only interested in the diamond fields in Sierra Leone and as long as these remain under the control of their allies in the RUF, the international community can threaten with its empty harangue. Taylor and the bandits around him are not moved by threats but by concrete action that must manifest itself in decisive punishment for those who continue to wreak havoc on a defenseless people. At the moment, to entertain suggestions from Taylor as to the way forward in Sierra Leone is to make a mockery of the tragedy of the fraternal people of that country. Under normal circumstances, a rascal like Taylor would be censured and dragged before an international court for criminal acts against humanity.

However, these are not normal circumstances because of the peculiar nature of the political tomfoolery in West Africa. Where else would leaders meet and suggest that an arms embargo be lifted against a criminal regime that was fuelling rebellion in a neighboring state? Where in the world would leaders, who were supposedly elected democratically in their own countries, fight to protect a criminal who was undermining a democratically elected government in another country? By what system of logic would a Charles Taylor be considered a peacemaker in the tragedy in Sierra Leone? This vile yahoo should be condemned and ostracized for his criminal proclivity. In refusing to do this, most of the leaders of West Africa have exposed their moral bankruptcy before the world and brought into disrepute the democratic credentials on which they base their rule.

Talking about moral bankruptcy, there are some leaders in West Africa who see nothing wrong with what Taylor and his gang are doing to the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone because they themselves are guilty of the brutal oppression of their own people. They make mockery of their people's aspirations and pillage the resources for the benefit of themselves and their cronies. Throughout most of the sub-region, undernourished masses exist as chattels at the mercy of ruthless money grabbers and crooked politicians. These masses, without hope and a future, live only for the moment. Some in their frustration and helplessness pick up arms and imitate the robbers who preside over these States. They become armed robbers but without the veil of legality that shields their counterparts in government. Others simply live among the rodents and garbage, without education, health care, housing and culture. They are the cannon fodder in the national scheme of avarice and pillage. Thus Taylor is in the company he appreciates and the world shudders at this irresponsibility! No matter what argument is used, most of the present leaders in West Africa have shown their callous disregard for the welfare of the African people and they too must stand condemned before history.

The Taylor regime, now locked in a struggle to the bitter end with dissidents in the North of the country is on its deathbed. The regime is an international pariah because it has taken robbery and gangsterism to depths of recklessness and opprobrium. The weakening of his allies in Sierra Leone leaves Taylor exposed to the wrath of the people of that country. In Guinea, he is loathed and held in contempt for what he represents: a petty crook who controls state power and has put it at the service of international criminals and hustlers. Thus, his neighbors detest him and feel uncomfortable with such a charlatan around. He is mocked and ridiculed by his people languishing in refugee camps throughout West Africa. The dissidents in the North have now undermined what little legitimacy he had and with his narrow social constituency, his regime, which lacks a popular base, is tottering very fast. Repression and terror are on the increase as the people turn their backs on the rascals who hold power. Witch-hunting of all and sundry, including even members of his armed forces, has become the order of the day. He boast of having thousands of fighters but dare not give them arms at this point in time as they are sure to turn the arms on him and his clique. The boomerang he threw by uprooting the peasants and using them for his personal enrichment is coming back to hit him. The peasants, in their frustration and dejection will follow their brothers who have now taken up arms. The dissidents are inching their way to Monrovia, slowly but surely!

Many have warned that this clique was pushing its luck too far; that its arrogance and contempt for the people showed a total lack of sensitivity to national sensibilities; and that its piracy and thievery would drown it in the vortex of its own stupidity. Its supporters in the United States danced on the bruised pride of the people's children and its paid agents in the Black Community lied and propagated hogwash about the regime. This was no surprise as the diamond fields of Sierra Leone yielded much profit that could be distributed to all the mercenaries - from Reverends to Lawmakers! Against the conspiracy of deceit, lies and duplicity, the people showed their disgust sporadically and paid the price. The situation is now at a point where every man and woman must take side! As the Cuban radical nationalist, Jose Marti, averred: "We are free, but not to be evil, not to be indifferent to human suffering, not to profit from the people, from the work created and sustained through their spirit of political association, while refusing to contribute to the political state that we profit from. We must say no once more. Man is not free to watch impassively the enslavement and dishonor of men, nor their struggles for liberty and honor." Thus we say it is time to take a firm position on the present crisis!

The Taylor regime must go! It is an international disgrace. The swansong about "popularly elected government" is hollow. Where criminals rule, their crimes cancel out any semblance of legality. The regime has failed, criminalized the State, and exposed the Patrimony to international ridicule because of the venality and shamelessness of the rogues in power. The people are sovereign but cannot act to remove this regime because they are brutalized and cowed. Thus, the responsibility to redeem the dignity of the nation now falls on the shoulders of the armed forces. Those in the army could live up to the honor of their oath and put an end to this regime of rogues and criminals. After snapping out this wretched clique, it could then ask for a cease-fire with the dissidents in Lofa in order to stop the destruction and loss of innocent lives. The soldiers fighting for this rascal Taylor must not throw their lives away behind a worthless cause. They have gained nothing after ten years of watching a handful of men swindle a whole people! The dissidents in Lofa on the other hand must realize that only the people are masters of their destiny and should therefore treat them with respect and honor. We hold in reserve our final say until we have seen the agenda of these people. As long as they add pressure that will break the criminal hold of the Taylor clique and lead to its destruction, they will have our guarded support. However, our unflinching support can only depend on the agenda for reconstruction, reconciliation and progressive governance with the people at the center of all considerations.

Those who now condemn the rebellion are either dishonest or shameless allies of the Taylor clique. No one wants war but the bandits in Monrovia have unleashed destruction on fraternal people in neighboring countries and for three years have pushed the faces of the Liberian people in the mud. They have shown their contempt for all civilized standards of international interaction and the Liberian State now stands as a criminalized entity outside the comity of nations. In history, a people fight for justice not because they are violent but because there is no alternative to removing a reckless and brutal clique. It is hypocritical to condemn men who fight without knowing their agenda! In case they should succeed and turn out worse than those they depose, then more uprisings will take place to rectify the historical anomaly. Those who deposed Tolbert and turned out worse were opposed and overthrown by all and sundry. The opposition to Doe was general and had many facets! Some of those who opposed Doe and now hold power have become worse. They too must be opposed and overthrown!! The people have the right to oppose and destroy any tyranny, no matter what flimsy legitimacy it purveys. What will emerge in the final analysis will be of the people's choosing. Humanity does not stop its search for the better life even if it has to gamble at times!! This is what history teaches!!!

Now, at this critical juncture in the history of our country, we condemn the hypocrisy of those who say they want no more war because the people will suffer. This pretense for the people's welfare is callous and cynical. Through neglect, brutality and poverty, the people have been dying in the hundreds since this cabal was thrown up by the frustrated remnants of the old order. Its mission was not to transform society and deliver the people from the tyranny of the Doe regime but to institute terror and wreak revenge against the people for supporting its overthrow in the first place. Its arrogance since the seizure of state power has been its way of announcing its return on the backs of exhausted peasants, workers and students.

The people and the armed forces can end the national nightmare by taking advantage of the rebellion in the North and instituting a popular uprising to destroy the clique. This is their historic responsibility as free citizens of the Republic. They owe it to themselves and their children to make their own history! It is rightly said that "the agonies of history can find their justification only in the realized freedom and happiness they will ultimately make possible for humanity," George Novack. There can be no time frame for the triumph of the human will to freedom, justice and equality. The people can never be tired of struggling for dignity and honor.

This is our position! This is where we stand!! The clique must be destroyed by the people, the dissidents and the armed forces. A combined uprising will quickly burn the straw pillars of the edifice of these modern day pirates and push the people into the vanguard of the new order. This is the way forward and those in West Africa who understand the need for peace and stability in the sub-region must support - covertly or overtly - this march of an angry people into the forefront of the African revolution.