Now Is The Time To Cry Out For War Crimes Inquiries
By Rev. Fr. James N. Wilson, II
November 25, 2002
Sando Johnson's accusation against Archbishop Michael K. Francis and Dr. Amos C. Sawyer is not only an insult to both men, but also a gross disrespect to the Liberia Council of Churches of which Archbishop is a staunch member, the entire Christian community, and all peace-loving Liberians. I commend and support LCC's firm position on this issue. Indeed, it is absolute nonsense and ludicrous that after years of Archbishop Francis's passion and patriotism for his country, not to mention Roman Catholic Church's tireless humanitarian role since the inception of the Liberian crises, he would today be incriminated by one who lives in a glass house.
Why should anyone be surprised, anyway! When snakes are brought to town, they are bound to attack anyone regardless of status; when people who are used to living in rooms are brought to town and put in the House of Representatives, they use the living room for kitchen, bathroom for dinner room, and give their ultimate loyalty not to the people they claim to represent but rather to the one who put them in the house. When murderers and killers are clothed, rewarded, and compensated with state authority, they institute different kinds of terror to silence and deter others from revealing their evils.
Why should anyone be surprised! Can anything good come out of a selected government? This same month, November, I reminded Bishop Alfred Reeves, who told the Liberian people in 1997 that "something good would come out of Taylor if given a chance," that nothing good had come out of Taylor and his government since his assurance and nothing will never - except more disgrace and damage to Liberia. Liberia has lost its reputable international image, its judiciary system is paralyzed, the press and human rights entities are terrorized daily, and Liberians are embarrassed everywhere to speak of their country; now they are coming after the church. When we think Liberia is moving forward, it is not! Everyday, something new comes up. It is very clear that we should expect any better if no price is paid or no indictment is brought against the war criminals of Liberia.
Over the years, the Christian community and other peace-loving institutions of Liberia tried to move Liberians away from unforgiveness, vengeance, ethnicity, and encouraged them to burry their past, and move forward with their lives so as to overpower the stress brought upon them by the killers and murderers of their children, relatives, and friends. Despite these consolations and encouraging words, many Liberians still find it difficult to let go the pains of the Liberian senseless war. One can understand the reasons why some Liberians still find it difficult to let go the painful memories of the war when those who created vacuums in their lives are still walking around with impunity and living in luxury right before their very eyes. These kinds of people are today shamelessly pointing fingers at good people. Now is the time to cry out for war crimes inquiries if we must stop paying those who commit evil.
The brutal murdered of the Catholic nuns is one of those irreplaceable vacuums and painful memories created by the Liberian war. The Catholic Church, Liberians, and friends of the nuns are still grieving the loss of these Christian stewards whose lives were cut short while they were in their call of duties. For a government official to indirectly express the position of the government over the President's private radio station is undeniably horrible, insulting, and grossly disrespectful not only to Archbishop Francis and the Catholic Church, but also to the Christian Church and all peace-loving Liberians. Had any Liberian said those words about the government, he/she would not have lived the next day. Johnson's accusation is not a "private matter" as the president thinks it is; it is very serious and should not be taken lightly. Johnson should legally be dealt with though I doubt that there will be any legal success since the president controls the judiciary.
Notwithstanding, I commend and support the solidarity of LCC with Archbishop Francis and the Catholic Church and also want to encourage the Christian Community to be strong in prayers as our nation still walks in the darkness of evil. I know that some Christian leaders behave like Nicodemus, but yet the truthful ones are encouraged to remain together and speak with one voice.
Thank you and may the peace of the Lord be with you always.