Liberia - One Nation, One People By God's Command
Rev. Coker A. J. George, Jr.
November 29, 2002
At the inception of the Coup in 1980 LBS played without ceasing, "I WANT TO KNOW WHO OWNS THE LAND..." This song with its divisive undertone was alluding that our country was for a particular group(s) of people, and others did not have any rights to the land. That period in our history was mired with other divisive utterances that fueled the chasm among us as a people. Appointment to positions in government was not only based on your name, but on tribal identity. This forced some to quickly adapt traditional names.
It has been over 22 years and instead of working towards genuine reconciliation and peace, those evil vices (sins) that have haunted us as a people since the creation of the Liberian State, continue to persist as found in our public utterances, and our deeds. This is not only frightening, it is of concern, and makes one to wonder, "where are we going as a people and a nation?"
What are some of these vices? They are obvious - greed, selfishness, arrogance, and ethnicity, among others. Adherence to these vices by the successive leadership of our country, plunged our beloved Liberia into a bloodbath; dehumanization of our people; devastation of our country; and subjugation of our people to a standard of living never dreamed of - "from the mattress to the ground".
We hate to reflect and beat on these evil elements, but this is a reality, and calls for reflection. As a Liberian, regardless of your name or how you look, you belong to some ethnic group(s). For some of us, we are multi-ethnic and cultural. We embrace this diversity because it is a gift from the CREATOR - "BY GOD'S COMMAND". On the other hand, over the years, our people have been discriminated against, suppressed, oppressed, and persecuted because of their ethnicity. This has gone on with impunity. The recent civil crises, 1989 to the present have exacerbated the problem.
As we reflect over this situation, we empathize with our children who live in the Diaspora. Many have been given traditional Liberian names, but unfortunately, they don't understand or speak our tribal languages. What do we call them - "LIBERIAN- AMERICANS, AMERICO-LIBERIANS, or what"? Many don't know our NATIONAL ANTHEM!
Over the years, we can now agree that ethnic classification is not germane to the Liberian
situation. Further, we can also agree that our class, socio-economic, or educational status do not make us more Liberian than our fellow Liberians. Additionally, PROVIDENCE has revealed that the leadership of our country is not inherent in any one ethnic group(s). We have also learned that a "good leader" or "bad leader" is not a product of any particular ethnic group(s).
The "TRIPLE G SYNDROME: GET-GRAB- and GO" - Greed, haunts our leadership, and seems to be ingrained and systemic. No sooner do we forget "the cause of the people" which we advocated before ascending to positions of trust and authority, and embark on our personal agenda to enrich ourselves. Unfortunately, we create an environment and situation that we feel are comfortable and impregnable. As a result, the masses we once loved become our ardent enemies.
The other evil vice is selfishness. Greed and selfishness are inseparable. A unique characteristic of selfishness is the development of a micro enclave around us as leaders that is prepared to sacrifice their lives for the leadership. The justification for this pseudo loyalty is: "had it not been for the chief, I would not have been where I am, or who I am. The chief is a good person. They can't see what the other people did." This blind loyalty is entrenched in this enclave, and is a force to reckon with, (C-I-C: CHOP-I-CHOP).
As we work towards a better Liberia, let us not forget the impact of the devastation and exploitation we have incurred as a people and a nation. Did any of us ever dreamed about fleeing, leaving behind our homes, properties, loved ones, and friends? Some had prepared themselves, worked very hard over the years to make things comfortable for themselves, their families and friends, and making contributions to their communities and the nation, but had to begin life anew in a strange land. Others aligned, becoming part of the leadership enclave. That even did not help or protect them. Several were killed, and others had to run for their lives. This is an ugly reflection, but it is a reality. Let's not forget that "only those things done for God and His people will last."
As we response to the question "WHO OWNS THE LAND?" we can reflect on the Hymn, "THIS IS OUR FATHER'S WORLD", the last stanza which says:
This Is My Father's World; Oh, Let Me Not Forger That, Though The Wrong Seems Oft So Strong, God Is The Ruler Yet. This Is My Father's World; Why Should My Heart Be Sad: The Lord Is King, Let The Heavens Ring; God Reigns, Let The Earth Be Glad!
Let us be reminded as Liberians that Liberia is our Father's land. God has bequeathed it to a group of people called Liberians, regardless of ethnicity. Our diversity should not be problematic, but its richness should be embraced and cherished. "Who cares about the ethnicity or even name of a beautiful young lady, or a handsome young man at first sight? At once, we are infatuated, and all other elements are irrelevant. Similarly, let us be infatuated and blinded by the beauty beheld in our richness and diversity as a people, and stop destroying God's creation called Liberians and Liberia.
My friends, our beloved Liberia has been established, and set apart by the CREATOR, GOD for his purpose. He calls upon us as Liberians to reconcile, and be "A NATION, ONE PEOPLE UNDER HIS COMMAND". God has also placed a song in our mouths. Do you remember it? Have we taught it to our children? Do we even have it in our homes? The lyrics remind us of God's vision for Liberians and Liberia:
"All Hail Liberia, All Hail. In Union Strong Success Is Sure, We Will Not Fail. With God Above, Our Rights To Prove, We Will Over All Prevail!"
As we prepare for Advent and Christmas, let us work toward love, peace, and unity. GOD BLESS!