Dear Mr. Editor:
Thank you very much for the exposition.The
information provided seem real; but I cant figure out where you got the
"350,000 million people dead " Moreover, you failed to provide
the names of these unqualified Liberians in the Government who were working
as cleaners."These indigenous Liberian importees, and one-time US underclass
welfare and perpetual food stamps recipients, and ghetto dwellers are using
their newly ill-gained wealth and undeserved huge salaries to buy luxury
homes and brands named SUVs (sport utility vehicles) abroad, and provide
financial support to their overseas dependent families, concubines and associate"
JACKSON BROWN AT 02:39PM, 2014/05/06.
Dear Mr. Editor:
when did you realized all of these that are happening in the Ellen Sirleaf led Government? Weren't you a part of this Government with all of the immunities that you just mentioned of? Are you now talkiing only because you misused of the opportunities that were available to you?
For some of us, we know what led to your dismisal from all of those positions you had. It is a known fact that since you came to Liberia and started working with the Sirleaf Government, you never one day show you wife or family to anybody as a responssible Government Official. We know how you live at Mamba Point.
We also know how you left the University of Liberia IBB Graduate School.
After larvishing all of your resources on the little girls, frustration apprehended you and you know how you were looking in Monrovia in the last three years. You are one of those who had the opportunity and misused it and expect Government to take care of you til death.
One information about you which disqualifies you from accusing others of bribery is. you were fired from LTA because you received bribe. I know that the question of receiving bribe was not strange to you since you were once a Traffic Police Officer during the Doe Regime. Any way, this is what frustration does. Think over it and ask God for Mercy rather than openning a pandora box for yourselve.
ARTHUR TAMBA AT 05:10AM, 2014/05/07.
Dear Mr. Editor:
I am glad u said SKD Junior wants to test the political waters and not coming with the optimism that he can win any election in Liberia. Yes, we agree that he is a son of the late or slain President Doe, but what has he ever done for his people in Grand Gedeh that would give him more votes over the people centered Zoe Pennoh? Don't fool him,he can't win any election now in Monrovia. Let save his resources and not waste them.
DAVID N. TARGBE AT 01:01PM, 2014/04/09
Dear Mr. Editor:
presents a splendid academic idea. What is lacking is the step-by-step practical
actions needed by the coastal communities and government to achieve these
ideas. This is what is often missing commentaries on Liberia's underdevelopment.
HARRY CONWAY AT 09:49AM, 2014/04/03.
Dear Mr. Editor:
I note with much appreciation and delight the article by the former AG, John Morlu, on the causes of inflation in Liberia. I was immensely impressed by the publication and I couldn’t agree with him more. The Dual Currency policy is also an issue on which I have penned articles since 2009.
Morlu’s article also has sort of reignited the debate on the legality of the CBL loan scheme, its impact on the economy and has naturally reignited the need to further examine the matter from a different perspective.
Accordingly, I wish to submit for your consideration for publication, an unpublished article which i hope will contribute to the discourse. The article questions the legality of the loan as being ultra vires and pinpoints potential for future individual liability for the Governor - for all losses sustained by the state on account of those loans. I hope you will find it worthy of publication.
Atty. Wonderr K. Freeman
"Let them call it Mischief, when its past and prospered it will Virtue" Ben Johnson (1572-1637)
Centre for Human Rights,
Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria,
Hatfield Campus, Lynnwood Road,
Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028,
Pretoria, South Africa
+27.8429.64510 (pers. cell.c)
+27.7104.57986 (pers. mtn.)
Dear Mr Editor:
I read Mr. Zazay’s diatribe, “LPRC’s Third Quarter Financial
Results: An Element of Departure from Full Disclosure” with some amusement.
About the only criticism Mr. Zazay makes that has any merit is the one about
the lack of a statement of cash flows. That is something we will produce
in the future.
His comment about the absence of a "cost of sales" betrays a lack of understanding of LPRC's business. We are not a manufacturing company or a retailer. Therefore, cost of sales does not apply. It is irrelevant. I was in the newspaper publishing industry in the United States for 10 years. Let Mr. Zazay read the published financial statements of the Washington Post or New York Times, for example, and tell me whether or not he sees any "cost of sales" figures in their financials. He will not. Why? Because they are not manufacturers or retailers. There are countless other businesses that don’t have a “cost of sales” figure to report. He needs to go back to his textbooks to educate himself as to circumstances under which "cost of sales" and "gross profit" are determined.
How did he arrive at the conclusion that our balance sheet cash figure was overstated by $124,716? He offers narry an explanation. And why is he making assumptions and then questioning why our financial statements do not support his assumptions? Stick to the facts.
Liberia operates a dual currency system. Businesses are free to buy and sell in Liberian dollars or US dollars. So, why is he asking us to produce financial statements in Liberian dollars? In fact, in LPRC’s case, we bill all of our customers in US dollars, we pay 99.99% of our bills in US dollars, our bank account is a US dollar account. So why would we be mucking about with conversion from Liberian dollars to US dollars and vice versa?
The $500,000 he refers to is a dividend. A dividend is an appropriation of profit, not a cost. What is he talking about?
Summary financial statements (such as the ones we are publishing) are not the appropriate medium for lengthy dissertations on our strategic plan or business model. If he were looking at financial statements published in Britain, he would see an income statement with only 5-6 lines, much briefer than ours. Income statement and balance sheet formats vary from company to company, circumstance to circumstance.
How Mr. Zazay concludes that LPRC might have liquidity problems, when we have gone from $50,000 in bank at the end of January to $1.6 million at the end of September, beats me. He should ask LBDI if we have liquidity problems. We borrowed $1 million from them for our severance program. The loan terms called for repayment over 24 months. We repaid it in 8!!!
Harry A. Greaves, Jr.
Dear Mr. Nagbe and The Perspective editors,
Thank you for your “reasoned” column, “Should America Have Lied About Liberia’s Security Condition?”
I am an American who has traveled to Liberia (and will again) and have kept track of the US Travel Warnings for years. I was troubled by the Liberian media coverage of the latest warning. I thought the latest travel warning was actually less worrisome than previous warnings. I saw the press create a mountain out of a mole hill; much to do about nothing.
You are to be commended for bringing rational thinking to the issue. Thank You!
Pastor Bill Pevlor
Victorious Faith Ministries
219 State Street
Algoma, WI 54201
Dear Mr Editor:
I am very much grateful, first, to God for our existence, for at least we can breathe air, and second, to you for the exclusive interview you held with Mr. John Morlu, Liberia's Maritime Commissioner. I must admit that the interview was to the point, and I think that the learned Commissioner performed to his best.
However, I must say here that the Commissioner has been with the Maritime Organization for over twenty years now and all that were said would have been done before the civil war. Even before the war, there were greater opportunities for the Maritime to excel in its short and long terms goals. The then President at the time, the Late President Samuel K. Doe, though as it was said in the Liberian quarters that he was illiterate, was developmentally prudent. He engaged in the building of our country infrastructures, to include roads, public buildings such as the damaged Libyan building in Sinkor, the unfinished Defense Ministry in Congo Town, the Liberian-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Sinkor and many others. Although the Late Doe's human rights record were disgraceful and draconic, He had infrastructural vision for the country. The Maritime Commissioner and its staffs, including Mr. Morlu, sat there and did nothing to advance or compete with other non-Liberian maritime operations. Maybe, the learned Maritime veteran may argue that he was not the head of the organization at that time, and so he could not do anything. Okay, I will pass by this. Is he really ready to take the Maritime Bureau to the next level? Yes, Liberian Maritime has a good program but only benefit certain individuals. To name them, don't ask me.
Now, having said that I am recommending to the Commissioner that a Maritime Building be constructed in Liberia to attract international ship owners; that maritime offices be increased and established in every maritime member country or ; that the Liberian representative to the IMO and the Commissioner make quarterly report to the Liberian government and said report be published in the electronic and print media for the Liberian people own education; that the Maritime Bureau be autonomous and a Board be established to include the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Transportation, Planning and Economic Affairs, Justice, Defense, Liberia Chambers and Commerce, Liberian Bar Association and at least three Prominent Liberians.
The Bureau of Maritime Affairs is a strategic entity that all eyes are on. In this new Liberia with our Iron Lady being the Head of State is doing all within her means to put Liberia first above all. We must rally around her to deliver the good, despite our political ideologies. If you can take a shovel or broom to clean the streets, please don't wait for approval; do it and do it good. I have no doubt that the Maritime and its Commissioners can make the different. With President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in power, every official in this government will strive to do it right or else your ass will be kicked, oops! I am sorry.
Therefore, I urge Commissioner Morlu to take the Maritime serious and avoid partisans politics. Work with the President and the Liberian people and stay away from the pockets of individuals who are bent on swindling our coffers. We have come a long way, and we will forget the past. Now that we are here, what next? is what we should ask ourselves. Liberia needs basic infrastructures, and it is depending on the proceeds from the Maritime and other income generating areas to engage in such infrastructural development. So, please do it right.
Arthur Weah Doe
Dear Mr Editor:
I’ve read articles and listened with apprehension, to the expressions of several Liberians detesting the anomalous composition of the Liberian Legislature. This demonstrates that aspirations and expectations are high. It seems now that everyone sees how high the demands for qualified Technocrats and professionals are becoming. It is quite unfortunate that these expectations don’t meet the demands or the other. Demands and standards remain a dream as long as the underlining policies governing standards for the legislature and any other Branch of Government are un-established, which of course, our President is introducing. We understand that standards for the Legislature were beyond her control prior to taking office, and may be even so now, but it’s never too late. I am surprised that we did not foresee scenarios like the Edwin Snowe’s and others coming prior to the election, which could have been avoided by introducing a national referendum for constitutional amendment specifically in Chapter V, pertinence to qualification and eligibility. Negligence of this made the Liberian Legislature vulnerable as it is presently. It’s become a loop for the uneducated and half educated, even the Chieftaincy could do better. It is quite understood that 70 (seventy) percent of our population is illiterate, and this affects the collective choices made as a nation, but those enlightened and in the institutions of change could effect and perfect the process of change through sound policies, and education beginning now.
The legislature issue is already done. We fear the consequences, however,
there is always a solution. I vividly foresee a continuous education process
to be administered by a separate entity, perhaps, the University of Liberia,
or the empowerment of a Legislative College that transcends the ordinary
orientation process. Whether within that Branch, or a separate entity, I
cannot say, but it’ll definitely help to bring each person on the
same level of thinking, and coherence, despite diverse opinions amidst party
I hope our legislators can humbly accept any opportunity for self improvement, whether it is a Month abroad at a seminar, symposium, or short term program at LU, there is a lot to learn about Parliamentary procedures, Legislative Governance, Policies and Policy making, Terminologies, Public speaking, Research, Ethics, Conflict Management, and a lot more. Please do not disappoint the Liberian People with the “grumble or yes and no-high school politics” type of attitude. I am positive that Dr. Al Hassan Conteh and Many other Academicians, who are experienced in organizing the above, would be willing to do so in collaboration with willing and appropriate institutions abroad. I pray for the Best.
Elijah B. Karnley
Architect-City Planner & Project Manager.
Dear Mr Editor:
The Wife of A New Liberian Business Owner
Dear Mr Editor:
Yes, it is true that you one can not be a rich man in Liberia by working hard for his/her riches but through corruption. Time and time again the Liberia majority have to suffer while some village boy coming from a hut with little education get rich within few years and become a speaker. Shame on the fools that elected this man who can not travel because he is not clean. I thought Liberians will stand up to evil people that left the country in darkness. I cried for my people who will once again suffer from these so call representatives. I believed the position of a representative is to deliver what his people want but it is the other way. I said this some times ago that if you elect a fool to represent you, that fool is going to be a sell out. One thing we should know is that a poor man can not stand up to corruption. The few good men are left out because the Liberia people only know corruption. I pray that Sowne have his day in court and if found guilty, he should spend the rest of his life behind bars. long live the state of Liberia.
Dear Mr. Editor
I am a consistent visitor to your website. Permit me to comment on the referenced article dated 01-03- 2006.
I might not know you personally, but I know of you and other Liberians who have been and remain committed to advocating for justice, equality, fairness, freedom of speech, personal responsibility, good governance, etc, in Liberia - qualities most Liberians believe are essential and desirable to living productive and humane lives in a democratic Liberia. Where were these "attack dogs" and their corrupt sponsors? You have to continue doing what you do - raising issues for honest debates, etc, because Liberians more than ever, deserve better, deserve to know the truth about everything that has an impact on their lives, whether negative or positive.
Let the chips fall where they may. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to know that Mr. Snowe and others did not win jackpots in any formal lottery, inherit from their families such wealth, or earned a salary of such magnitude, period! You don't need to prove anything Mr. Pajibo as demanded by those bigots. Should anyone of the accused refute the allegations that are indeed widespread, they have the right to sue their accusers, a course they have not rightly taken. I will definitely sue if I felt that I was accused falsely and I found it necessary to protect/clear my name, character, reputation, etc, in the appropriate courts of jurisdiction.
One does not have to be rocket scientist either to know that an earring is jewelry and wearing one or more is not limited to one gender. Why will one stoop to such a low level? There are cultures in Africa and elsewhere that wear earnings, nose rings, etc (both male and female). Are they all homosexuals? Michael Jordan and other stars must be homosexuals because they wear earnings?
To those who can not debate issues intelligently and honestly or criticize in a constructive manner for the general public's benefit, this is my sincere advice to you: It is time you change for the better - its not too late. Liberians are fed up with bigots, sycophants, and liars who do not realize the pains, sufferings, deaths, and sorrows they've caused their fellow Liberians, and wish to continue their evil deeds. I can go on and on, but keep on doing what you do Mr. Pajibo - educating/informing us.
We may not always agree with your views/ideas on everything you write or suggest, but we do not have to attack your personality or attempt to assassinate your character because of your expressed views. It is certainly difficult for some Liberians to learn or change for the better, but I join those well meaning Liberians in educating and praying for these category of Liberians as we resolve to meet the daunting challenges faced by our dear nation and people.
Dear Mr Editor:
Now that we know the true order of the Liberian presidents, so what? To
many of us Liberians we careless, all we care for is a safe country to return
to. Who is dare to give us such? We know we do have a long history, but
what can we show for it?
Thanks any way for your effort but do more.
Dear Mr Editor:
As I gather information via your website, or others on the world wide web, I read about the candidates for the Liberian presidency relentlessly quenching their thirst for this high office.
In the process, they say, reiterate, debate, utter rhetorical sentiments that they think the voters would like to hear.
I read nothing about anyone of them acknowledging the herculic task of re-building the infrastructure of the country, most especially in Monrovia, which is essentially a city built in the early '40's. I read no dialog amongst the lot of them concerning Urban Planning, City Planning, Mass Transportation, Storm Drainage Systems, Sanitary Sewer Lines, Underground Utilities, Secondary Power Distribution Systems, and the list could go on and on.
I see photos of buildings built, or being built in and around the City, and I have to ask myself.."Are there no innovative Architects, or Engineers in left in the country?"
With the millions of dollars pumped into that country from foreign aides couldn't the current regime, or "Interim Government" as they call it, have done any better than what we now have?
I guess we all know the rest of the story. I certainly do hope and pray that the next elected president, who ever that happens to be, would be very interested in rebuilding a nation that has been ravished, raped, and stripped of all decency, that they will go down in history as the one who redeemed Africa of its very first Independent Nation.
To the Liberian people, I say to you.. My fellow citizens, let us all come together, go out and vote for the candidate that has Liberia at heart, and not one that is on a get rich, or richer quick scheme. No matter who wins, we must all rally around that individual, and support the winner.One must not take to anger in defeat, and start down the road to war and destruction all over again lest we all lose. We all have a very large task ahead of us, one and all. The President cannot do it all alone, let us prove that when we sing the refrain " In Unity, Success is Sure" we really mean it, and we will not fail.
RESPECTFULLY I REMAIN ;
ADOLPHUS G. MCCRITTY-Architect
(Atlanta, Georgia) firstname.lastname@example.org
I think Moses Gray article was a little unfair and incorrect. First and foremost, the Daily Observer did not accuse John Morlu of being an American. John Morlu provided his Green Card to the paper and it was published along with the story. Second, while Moses published Ellen's statement, he neglected to mention that John Morlu had provided evidence (Green Card) to exnorate himself and that Ellen and Brumskine have not done so. I think in the interest of fairness, Moses should have made that important declaration. But he leaves it in the air as thought John Morlu is guilt. Unfair! Hope all is well with you in hot sun Liberia.
John Morlu, II
Thank you for your article on Khadafi and Liberia. I "ve always felt thisway about Khadafi's Libya and the way he has destroyed our country. He needs to be held responsible. Our telecomunication. water , electricity, etc etc must be paid for by Libya. In as much that he has taken responsibilities for Flight 103 and several destructions in europe, and has apologized and paid those countries, the Liberian people deserves the same. His Ambasadorial represenative runs around in Liberia offering bags of rice to our people. This is an insult. HE MUST PAY: Thanks for your article.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the article by Syrulwa Somah "Promoting agricultural production in Liberia". The Perspective is my main source of information on Liberia, as a Liberian who has lived abroad for the past 15 years. Agriculture appears to receive little or no focus in the efforts to reconstruct the country, a very surprising and alarming situation. Dr. Somah raises a number of very important points, most of which I agree with.
Permit me to make a few additional comments of my own. First
of all, it should be pointed out (contrary to Dr Somah's assumption), the
soils of Liberia and other parts of the humid tropics are not very fertile.
These soils are in fact very fragile once the forest is cleared away. Our
farmers practice shifting cultivation for this, among other reasons. Our
high population growth rate, coupled with the high rate of deforestation
over the past decade means that we must consider alternatives to shifting
cultivation and seek sustainable ways to improve soil fertility
While I agree with Dr. Somah's point about investing in agricultural research at the level of higher institutions, it should be pointed out that even before the war agricultural research in Liberia was never well developed and tended to be somewhat centralized. For example, CARI had its main station at Suakoko and I am not sure how much adaptive research was being conducted.
While Liberia was shut off from the rest of the world during the war, major advances were made in the area of participatory research. This involves a much more decentralized approach to research, with the client, the farmer, playing a major or leading role in setting the research agenda and in conducting research. This, in my view, is a revolutionary change in the way agricultural research is conducted and is something that would greatly benefit the new Liberia.
I am also a big proponent of farmer training, especially given the fact that a huge cohort of Liberian rural youth, many of whom grew up in refugee camps and cities, probably do not have an elementary knowledge of farming. These days we are talking about farming as a business so farmers need to be trained not only in the use of new technologies, but also in changing their entire perspective of farming. Farming does not have a positive image in Liberia and a move away from a subsistence farming mentality to a business oriented mentality, might encourage more people to invest in agriculture. As the saying "there is strength in numbers" implies, small scale Liberian farmers will only acquire bargaining power (to set the research agenda, command higher prices for their produce etc), if they are organized. I agree with Dr. Somah that we should build on the strengths of our traditional forms of organizations e.g. kuus and susu.
Finally, we cannot hope to rehabilitate Liberian agriculture
without radically improving infrastructure, notably roads, marketing structures
etc and policy… There is much evidence worldwide that poor urban households
that are engaged in farming are better off nutritionally than households
that do not farm
As a rural sociologist working for one of the leading international agricultural research institutions, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), I am committed to working toward improving the agricultural sector in Liberia. Toward this end, I, together with a senior management team from IITA, will be visiting Liberia in February to explore how IITA can contribute to the rehabilitation of agriculture in Liberia.
Sonii David Ph.D.
Participatory Extension Specialist
Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP)
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
B.P. 2008 (Messa)
Dear Mr. Editor,
I would like to commend Wonderr Freeman for writing the article, "On Behalf of the Book People" (The Perspective October 25, 2004). The author pointed out the flaw in the misguided suggestion that "book people" are to be blamed for Liberia's unsettling problems.
Even though there is hardly any evidence to substantiate this hollow claim (as the author aptly demonstrated), it nonetheless continues to be repeated as a matter-of-fact. But the "book people" should not be surprised. Those who disparaged the "book people" were unable to get an education; some did not have the opportunity, others were just lazybones. It is human that these non-"book people," frightened by the thought that they have to compete with the "book people" for the few good jobs, will attempt to diminish the value of education. This practice was widespread in the Samuel Doe and the Charles Taylor eras. It has intensified, sadly, at a time when Liberia needs the "book people" to clean up the mess that quasi educated presidents like Doe and Taylor left behind.
As one of the "book people," let me say that Wonderr Freeman did a remarkable job in defending us; the author earned the position of "gatekeeper" to the coveted room of the degree holders.
All the best,
William E. Allen, Ph.D.
As Liberians gradually get closer to holding elections in 2005, the one slot almost every Liberians or Tom, Dick and Harry is running for is the Presidency. My understanding is that there are about 40 or more aspiring candidates to date. It is also likely that others will declare their intentions soon or later. However, one person, we all can be sure, who will soon step up to the plate is the Liberian Soccer Legend and UN Goodwill Ambassador George Weah.
It is a matter of time before we can hear from King Weah. We now know that there is the Friends of Weah (FOW), as well as the Liberian National Congress (LNC) which is envisaged to register as a Political Party in Liberia and of course the Youth for Weah in Liberia are all indications that George is bent on joining the crowd of potential Presidential Candidates to contest the Liberian elections in 2005.
This news of Weah’s intention no doubt is troubling to many would be candidates. The reason is simple. He is popular, he has personally sponsored the National Soccer Team , the Lone Star, most especially in time of need. George Weah has won accolades both nationally and internationally. By virtue of his trade; Soccer and one time World, Europe and Africa best he is famous, well connected at home and abroad. But does this constitute a credential for President of Liberia? The answer is a big No!
Let me also go on record to state that among the array of candidates so far, there are many least qualified to contest the presidency. In other word, they do not have the credentials just as Weah. But my concern for Weah is that he risked loosing the influence and marks he has impressed on the minds of his admirers and supporters at the expense of greedy people that now surround him as his friends and partisans. I believe that the strengths of King Weah is his proven soccer prowess that he can us to lift and challenge the spirits of Young and potential soccer stars.
The Presidency and soccer are two different things. But this is not to submit that the candidcay of Weah is a slamdunk. The politics of the election will come to prove this.
Apart from soccer, what else is Weah known for? I doubt he has the intellectual capacity to be President. Of course Weah is a classic example of Liberian soccer history when leaders in the field did not make efforts to develop the intellectual well being of the players. Weah must learn from past mistakes in Liberia and beware that those who are encouraging him are bloodsuckers that want to exploit his fame for their personal political agenda. I believe there is a political future for George Weah in Liberia, if he so he desires. But he should have the necessary ammunitions before doing so. One way is to go to school and personally acquire the necessary education. An honorary degree will not help. Samuel K. Doe and Charles Taylor had such degrees. An intellectual deception! Therefore, as the only jewel in the crown in Liberia's dark past; King Weah will do himself and others some good by staying out of this race for now. Beware that those who hail the King also calls for his crucifixion.
I read the 10/18/04 piece by Abdoulaye W. Dukule - a very thoughtful piece, by the way - and I thought I should join him in asking: Why Weah should seek the presidency”? Of course, I believe Weah can be president just as I suspect he is capable of being a successful president…and the reasons for my suspicion should not be difficult to follow: (1) the failure of the past thirty years including the Tolbert years make it possible for other Liberians to want to be president - that is, if all we can show is a record of unnecessary incompetence and arrogance; (2) unlike most of the names currently in the race, Weah seems to be untouched by the woeful record of failure and incompetence -besides, he was not part of any failed regimes and he certainly has not been out there perpetually promoting himself for the presidency as Mr. Dukule's twenty four years old interviewee had determined… (3), Weah appears to exhibit rare qualities most of the others in the race seem to lack, namely, the humility and selflessness people expect in their leaders. These qualities appear to set Weah apart from the rest of the field; and people know that. In spite of the naïveté people might ascribe to him, Weah may be offering the Liberian people the breadth of fresh air” Mr. Dukule describes in his piece.
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Philosophy
Edinboro, PA 16444
I just recently came across a very impressive and educational article on the net which was written by Dr. Allen in 2003. I am a native of Liberia but I left the country in 1989 at the tender age of 9 years old. My family also has roots in Palala, in-fact I have family members who still reside in that village. I was born and raised in Lamco, Yekepa, Nimba County. I have always been interested in history, specifically African history. It's very liberating to know that educated Liberians around the world are extending their knowledge to the younger generation who may not be particularly familiar with their history as well they are serving as a reminder to the older generation. Liberians greatly rely on factual materials like these to preserve and maintain our history and culture. Thank you Dr. Allen for taking the time to put this material together.
I am not sure whose hands this email is going to fall into, but I would greatly appreciate any efforts made to ensure that this message reaches Dr. Allen. Thank you.
I re-send my e-mail of rebuttal to Mr. Sawyer's article you published on September 9, 2004 in which he accused me of charging ECOWAS with making a "coup" because you lost the original e-mail sent to you immediately after Sawyer's article was published, I hereby re-submit another one to be published.
In your issue of September 9, 2004, you published an article written by Mr. Amos Sawyer under the caption: "IGNU, Moniba and Transitional Order: Responding to E. Sumo Jones, Sr." in which among many denials and attempts of justification, Sawyer stated " In short, Jones alleges that a coup was made by ECOWAS and all of those who formed the Interim Government."
I wish to deny Sawyer's quoted allegation that I charged ECOWAS with making a coup as he has absolutely quoted me out of context in order to justify what he did which allegation corresponds with figments of his imagination. But for the fact that he leveled the above quoted allegation against me, I would not have dignified his article, under review, with an answer because of the fact that my article to which he obviously took an exception was quite clear and explanatory and I stand fully by its contents.
The reason why I would not bother again to dwell on his unconstitutionally taking over the Government of President Doe whose Government was not overthrown and his side stepping Vice President Harry Moniba is because Dr. Moniba is well, alive and physically present in these United States who is the best person to confirm or disagree with Sawyer's justification for taking over Doe's Government as he did. Maybe, Sawyer has never heard, or read any reactions from Dr. Moniba publicly made against his taking over Doe's constitutionally elected Government that deprived him of the Presidency irrespective of whether or not his action were with the prior approval of the Liberian people consistent with the Constitution as he has labored hard to prevail in his article under review.
Very truly yours,
E. Sumo Jones, Sr..
Mr. John Morlu's article is the first on the Buchanan iron ore story that makes sense. I share his exasperation with the Liberian media's failure to do simple research or check the facts before rushing into print. I do not have all the details of this particular transaction, but simple arithmetic would have discounted some of the wilder interpretations of what went on.
The stockpile in Buchanan is 700,000 - 800,000 metric tons. It has been there a very long time. So accurate estimates are a little difficult. It's only after all of the ore has been shipped that we will know exactly how much ore of commercial value there is on the ground.
Anyway, based on lands and mines minister Jonathan Mason's disclosure, the ore was sold to the Chinese at a sale price of $10 per ton. That would give a total sales value of $7-$8 million. As far as I know, the port of Buchanan cannot load 700,000 metric tons of ore in one go (I don't know if there are any ships in the world capable of carrying 700,000 metric tons of ore). So, the ore is being shipped in lots of about 50,000 tons. My guess is that the Chinese, given the still uncertain political and business environment in Liberia, would not contract to pay the entire purchase price before all of the ore has been shipped. As a prudent business person, I certainly wouldn't. My guess is that they have contracted to pay on a shipment-by-shipment basis.
Minister Mason gave his interview after one of the shipments and declared that the government had received $500,000. One shipment of 50,000 tons at $10 per ton would yield $500,000. The figure would represent the proceeds from one shipment and should not be confused with the total sales value of the ore, which the government will realize over a period of time based on the total volume of ore shipped.
My understanding is that 3 shipments have been made to date. At the current rate of shipment, the stockpile will probably require 15-16 shipments in all. But of course the papers didn't want to explain that. It was far more sensational to report a contrived "discrepancy" and explain that as NTGL officials "dividing the money".
The story is an important story worthy of public discussion. The Liberian media has an important civic responsibility to inform and lead public discussion of issues like this. However, discharging that responsibility requires serious investment of time and energy in researching the facts and doing simple analysis to determine whether assertions being made by public officials or their critics pass elementary credibility tests. By failing to do so, the media runs the risk of being dismissed as a bunch of sensation-seeking quacks.
Economic Advisor to the Chairman, NTGL
Like other speakers have already stated, I am convinced beyond
all reasonable doubts that the learned Professor is interested in seeing
Liberia moving forward in terms of decentralization as he stated during
his presentation. I beg to differ on grounds that it should be a cause for
the postponement of elections.
We think that the issue of decentralization can be tackled after elections through our representatives who will be elected. You cannot postpone elections on the basis of this as if we are in some hurry on decentralization. Our people are yearning for peace and better leadership that will create the atmosphere for decentralization.
You cannot be talking about decentralization at this time when the country is in ruins and people are displaced. With the level of migration in the country, who will be discussing decentralization. The people in the various counties should decide their own destinies and if this is to happen, then the issue of decentralization cannot come into play now.
The major issue now is how our people can get water, light, good education, good health care, good roads network throughout the country and a leadership that will restore the hope of the Liberian people. The issue of decentralization is important but should not be an issue for the postponement of elections.
Dorsla D. Farcarthy
Analyst, Central Bank of Liberia and MS Candidate in Monetary Theory and Policy at the University of Illinois
Thank you for your informative articles on decentralization. I do agree with all the writers that oppose postponing the elections.
It is a pleasure to have you comment on my article published on the new democrat website. Quite sincerely, and from the depth of my heart, my statement about Dr. Gwenigale was not meant to destroy his reputation. I see Dr. Gwenigale as one of the most committed and well respectable doctors in our country.
However, I was only responding to one Mr. Morlu’s misinformation and in so doing I decided to come too straight on the good old man. And I also appreciate your comments about the statements I made against Dr. Gwenigale. I agree that we need to be a bit temperamental with one another especially those who we consider as our older folks.
I must expressed my personal gratitude to you for taking a moderate position with respect to the issue and it is with this in mind that I must hasten to commend you for your objective outlook on issues as they unfold in Liberia.
Once again, thanks for your corrective comments and I do look forward to meeting with you one of these days.
May God richly bless you as you strive to assist in the process of finding peace in Liberia.
Well, of late the Analyst's advertisement with respect to recruitment placed in their paper is a matter of great concern here - with both print and electronic media having this issue on their talk shows and in newspaper commentaries almost every day since the advent in Monrovia!
Our concern here is that, with t
The experiences of Liberians in Guinea and the Ivory Coast have thought us a lesson - countless Liberians died in these Countries because of similar rumors…! Ghana being the last safe haven for those of us who are still around here in the sub-region. Hearing this kind of information, Liberians on the Buduburam camp were over the weekend subjected to another wave of security check and raid at the camp at dawn in search of dissident groups and arms.
This is not the first time the camp has been raided in this manner. As far back as the Taylor's regime, his then Vice President Moses Blah also gave some fake information to the Government here and they acted upon it by lining out all able-body men under the hot sun indicating that they were in search of arms and drugs!
About three days now, the Ghanaian Interior Minister was interviewed and he confirmed the raid but said that it was in line with the news from the Analyst. He also said that the camp was filled with ex-combatants and such raid would often come from time to time!
So what I want to get across to members of the fourth Estate through you is that they should please cross check their information before going to the press because anything that comes out of this war-torn Country is often believed by the hearer and reader due to the fact that we were once principal actors in this game of conflict!
I do understand all media houses are fighting to make ends meet, but not at the expense of their poor devastated brothers and sisters in refugee camp like the Buduburam camp here in Ghana!
Even as I write to you now enough of security measures about the movement of Liberia from and to the camp are in place. The Interior Minister out rightly said that even the police sub-station on the camp was often attacked by the Liberians! So in their elections period they will not leave any visible doors open but make sure to keep security at its fullest especially on people who were once in this crisis country!
So this is how events have been unfolding here and I hope to keep the general public informed through you as careful eyes are placed on all Liberians here! Take care and let's keep in touch.
I have a problem understanding how Liberians leaders set priorities for
for such a poor country.. WHY ON EARTH IS THE LIBERIAN GOVERNMENT BUYING OVER THREE MILLION DOLLARS WORK OF JEEP CHEROKEE when there are over fifty pot holes for ever mile of Liberian road? What justifies such when the country must beg for every penny from foreign governments? There are many cheap certified used cars around the world that can be used for government functionaries in a country where corruption is the #1 cash industry. It seems like a position in government even at the lowest level is a passport to steal and rob the Liberian people blind and boast about it because it was an acceptable practice for years. Why's can't Liberians learn from the past? IF THOSE IN GOVERNMENT WANT TO BECOME "HONORABLE" AND
RICH, I SUGGEST THEY GO INTO THE PRIVATE SECTOR .
Dear Mr. Dukuly;
I must first of all commend you for your unique and remarkable review of Ambassador Freeman's book, MY COUNTRY TIS OF THEE. You have applied the most effective marketing tactic or strategy I have ever seen with regards to promoting a work of literature. Your mastery of excerpting memorable or "catching" sentences is the stuff that PROMOTION is made of. You capture, without a doubt, the readers attention and interest at the very onset, and thus complete the SALES JOB before you even begin your narrative, which I must say is insightful and profound. You have impressed me with your style and the substance of your work. Please continue to write because you can only get better and better.
I pray that God will continue to guide you in the pursuits, and that He will always humble you so you can be a blessing to others.
Winston E. Beysolow
Dear Mr. Editor,
I read Mr. Harry Greaves Jr's interesting rebuttal and comments to the June 1st article in the Analyst newspaper.
I wish to thank Mr. Greaves for educating us about the "near-genius" performance of his daughter at the Georgetown University's "School of Foreign Service" (emphasis mine) and about the "near-genius" performance of his daughter Madia as well as the expected "genius or near-genius" performance of his youngest daughter. He also went thru the pain of telling us about the elite (? elitist) training of Cllr. Varney Sherman. He also told us about his "herculean" work schedule.
I must congratulate him on that. However, I still have a few simple questions and simple requests.
Since he has gone thru the pains to tell us a little about Mr. Varney Sherman, could he tell us a little bit more: whether Mr. Sherman was a legacy, merit or "special "law student at Harvard; when he graduated from Harvard, etc. How he got there. Whether he was on government scholarship; did he pay out of pocket; at what position he graduated in his class and what sort of things he has done since graduation; amount of pro bono work; etc. Any more info will be greatly appreciated.
I am sure with his herculean work schedule, his department will be a model one to see as we begin this new Liberia. Never since the days of President Tolbert, that I have ever heard about such hard working officials of government in Liberia. If he could catalog his achievements to date and what he expects to accomplish come Election 2005 will be an eye opener for all of us.
Adding personal business to an official business government visit is a gray area for most of us. Thus people usually recuse them, etc in these circumstances to avoid any semblance of conflict on interest. I hope he can also tell us more about the accomplishments of the present business visit.
While working at the Washington Post and Dallas Morning News with all that annual revenues the he cites, may I ask : were you a journalist or VP of what division. It seems to have been a lucrative position. I am assuming that your overwhelming patriotism for Liberia led you to leave those positions. If so, congrats. We hope we can see the fruit of your labor at the end of your term in Liberia. I am sure we will be proud of you after we view those records.
With all due respect, Sir, gathering from what you said in your response, you seem to be a unique, new brand of a Liberian government official. I hope this pans out.
Lawrence A. Zumo
Here is a topic I have touched on several times, according to an article in The Perspective "Al-Queda suspect hid in Liberia after the embassy attacks". I have always stated that Africa will become the new breeding ground for terrorists if the international community continues to ignore the African continent. Almost half of the African countries are governed by ruthless and greedy power hungry dictators, any terrorist organization can approach these dictators and offer them a few million dollars to put in their pockets to allow them to set up a training bases in a rural part of that continent and no one would suspect anything, because majority of the people have no access to radio, television or even printed news for that matter.
On the subject of the Liberian rebels still holding on to their weapons, I believe that the population has to be disarmed in order to establish rule of law for the long term, only law enforcement and the military should be armed.
Last I heard, there were 17 presidential candidates competing for the presidency of Liberia? What a complete joke, I guess the Bassa, Lorma, Vai, Kpelle, Gio and Mano tribes all have their candidates in mind. What’s the population of Liberia today, and what percentage is going to cast a vote? The Bassa organization had its annual conference in Atlanta this past weekend, the Lorma organization is scheduled to do the same I believe. Is this not the same sort of division that put such a strain on Liberia in the first place? We have approximately 6-7thousand Liberians in the Atlanta area, there are said to be 10 different Liberian churches.
We are at a crossroad where all Liberians should put their differences aside and work together for the upliftment of our country. The united nations is scheduled to leave Liberia after the 2005 elections, if we have nothing to prove to the united nations, let’s at least have something to prove to ourselves and our children and grand children.
Peace be unto my dear Liberian brother and friend Frederick j. Williams who was brutalized and later died in the custody of the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department.
Thomas Awadjie, Atlanta GA
News of Liberians stranded in Mali is actually true. I say this because my sister-in-law, (my wife's sister) is among them. My wife and I just got an email from her few days ago. We had to wire some money to her to enable her to leave Mali for Ghana by air. She speaks of miserable conditions of where they are kept. She says an official of the Liberian Embassy in Guinea had tried to intervene but to no avail. She says it is disaster waiting to happen if no immediate actions are taken to alleviate the situation. She said the whole episode started when they, (group of Liberian Refugees in Ghana) decided to charter about three buses to transport them to Liberia. She said upon arrival at the Malian/Guinean border, they were stopped by Guinean authorities and denied entry to Guinea. She said the Guinea authorities accused them of being rebels from Liberian, even though many of them were women and children. She said they appealed to the Guinean authorities to allow the women and children safe haven to continue their trips to Liberia of which they refused. They are in "no man's land", with the UN or AU doing absolutely nothing to help. They are now at the mercy of the Malian government as many of the refugees have no means of returning to Ghana.
Joe Flomo Matthew
Dear Mr. Editor:
Thank you very much for such a brillant article on one of Liberia renown killer, Prince Johnson. I just don't understand how Chairman Bryant would invite a dog like Prince Johnson to form part of the political process in Liberia. Is Prince saying the truth? I was in Liberia during the leadership of Killer Johnson ten years ago and since then, I have not recovered from the trauma. Inviting a man like Prince Johnson to LIBERIA would create more violence and delay in the peace process. There are many Liberians who are still hurting from the pain inflated on them by killer Johnson. I hope Chairman Bryant would reconsider his decision if he did. Prince Johnson is a nasty killer and does not need to form part of any government in Liberia. He and Taylor must face the war court in Sierra leone.
I hope other Liberian would read your article and oppose to Killer Johnon return to Liberia
Dear Mr. Dukule:
I am an avid reader of the perspective and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your articles. I particularly enjoyed reading “Matt the Rebel” He comes across as a very “matter of fact” and genuine about his revelations. I was completely tickled to bits by this section in your article. " The security man clicked his heels and said "Yes Sir, Chief, I will look after your VIP." I just have two simple questions that have perplexed me due to its duplicitous and contradictory context. Though these questions were taking out of his response, maybe you might be able to shine some light for me.
You posed the question "So you regret fighting for Taylor?"
He responded: “No, I am glad we got rid of Doe and the country has changed but I will never fight again, except to defend my family… Too bad we don’t have light and water and people don’t have jobs, but things have to be bad before becoming good again.”
Please allow me to break this down Mr. Dukule:
When he says “I am glad we got rid of Doe and the country has changed. This sentence to me says, finally we got rid of Doe and the country has changed (For the Better)? I am assuming it must be for the better that’s why you are glad you got rid of Doe, Right? So, if it is for the better, why is it “too bad that you don’t have lights and water and people don’t have jobs”. In this context, I understand that too bad means, these amenities once were available but are no longer, that’s why it's too bad. Lastly, he concludes, “but things must get bad before becoming good again.” I construe this sentence to mean, things were once good, but now they are bad, but they will get good again like it once were.
So then I pose your original question “So you regret fighting for Taylor” If all his answers are contradictory to his statements, I beg to ask was he really genuine?
I think he was genuine to the best of his ability. He was a child who was programmed to “get rid of Doe” for the cause of the revolution. For what has now be revealed and analyzed, it would be a crying shame for him to realize that his foundations and reason for fighting was not as clear as he once thought. To think that one has committed atrocities in an illusional revolution, solely for the interest of helping accomplish the goals of calculative man, brings tears to my eyes.
I am very fascinated by your LIFE IN MONROVIA series. Your graphic description of sites and events in Monrovia has given me a grasp of life in Monrovia. Particularly frustrating though, is the appauling state of our once cherished University of Liberia. We hope that the new President and Board of Trustees will be selfless, responsible, and credible enough to attract badly needed assitance (financial and academic) that the Unversity stands in dire need of during this dark and critical period. There is no umbrella organization of UL alumni in the US to directly channel huge support to the University. However, I am convinced that the current despicable state of affairs at the Unversity will gravitate us in that direction. I will be calling Abraham Massaley, who chairs the University of Liberia Alumni Association in Pennsylvania to study the possibilities for such venture.
Again, thanks for the good job.
John Erakias Fallah
Hi Mr. Dukule:
I read your story of Matt a few minutes ago, and it touched me deeply. I like the way you wrote Matt's story, and I appreciate your sharing it with us.
Thank you very much.
Cyril E. Broderick, Sr. (Ph.D.)
"The Perspective" laudably serves as a marketplace for the free and balanced exchange of ideas. Even articles that challenge your justified claim to fair play are eventually bereft of ammunition. This bears hard evidence in support of your credo to bring proportionality in what you supply.
Your tireless involvement in the drive to wrest control of our common patrimony from the grips of evil is well known and widely appreciated. So are your intellectual contributions to the denoument of Charles Taylor. All this done with characteristic civility.
The foregoing burnish your credentials as instruments for a better Liberia.
However, Mr. Pajibo's recent rejoinder to Agnes Taylor crossed the line between civil discourse and vituperation.
Pajibo , to his immense credit , has brought to the arena of thought a rich morsel of views that bear eloquent testimony to his intelligence. It is my fervent hope his abilities can be further harnessed to advance the hoi poloi and improve the commonweal.
In addressing Taylor, Pajibo misappropriates his desrved standing as a respectable commentator and budding public intellectual by a specie of crass repsonse that denies the marketplace of ideas another quality product from his fine intellect. Pajibo punches below the belt, opting for the personal vendetta, ventilating what is unnecessary in order to impugn Taylor. How Pajibo has chosen to spar with Taylor leaves much to be expected.
While the "The Perspective" can not completely regulate how its contributors answer their critics ,it can ensure fidelity to its lofty credo of civil discourse. Your imprimatur is a badge of honor.
Your organ has reaped the respect of many , including myself, for giving voice to the silent majority ;illuminating injustices;spotlighting corruption ; as well as promoting enterprise healthy to the Liberian experiment.
It is my sincere hope ,as one of your many well-wishers,that you will remain a shining example of a vigorous forum for civil discourse.
I strongly think the purpose of the Perspective on the Internet is to discuss issues and not personality.
The Open Letter to Agnes Taylor, as written by Ezekiah Pajibo, is outrageous and of no substance to the debate other than simply dealing with the lady’s personal life. Who cares about who Mr. Pajibo loved to or was married to? I am sure he came across some reckless ladies that when he looked back, he had regrets. Who even cares whether Pajibo spy in school or not. What matters most now is can he deliver?
Trust me; I personally do not know Agnes neither am I in her defense. I am only contributing or suggesting to your editorial board, that what matters to most of us that visit your web site regularly is to read about issues affecting our nation and how to move forward. I think the issue of concern on the subject matter Pajibo was supposedly responding to; which should be the core of the debate is whether the Chairman had the right to remove Agnes or was it a position allotted to the former government in the Accra peace Talk or the so-called Monrovia Clarifications. These are things (clarifications) that the Liberian people need to know.
Pajibo has to learn to remain with the issues and not personality.
Mr. Editor, thanks for the opportunity and I must say that you are doing a fine job because there are great articles from contributors like Mohamedu Jones, John Josiah, Brownie Samukai, and others that are bringing up issues that are good to debate for the good of the nation.
Dear Mr. Editor,
Liberia today stands at the crossroads of revitalization of the economy, and resurrecion of the socio-cultural political fabric or sink into oblivion. The state of the Liberian economy is that of total destruction, while most of its citizenery remain cynical about the prospects of their country.
We sit and lament about glorious days gone. Days when Liberia paid its dues, and played significant role within the comity of nations. Liberians still look back with nostalgia when the Iraqs of this world had no say in international fora (before oil...). Some still remember when President Harry Truman of the United States requested Liberia to lend supportto the immediate recognition to the State of Isarel before a critical UN vote on the status of that country. We also remember when Liberia was firm in its opposition to a redical non-alignment movement at the behest of the United States of America. Veteran Liberian diplomats still recall when the Liberian State Department, between 1962-1967 was the voice that Western Powers used to forestall the formation of Continental Government in Africa (Oh, the "cold war" was still very hot).
Yes, we stood by our friends. We can proudly say that Liberia is not fair a weather friend. Liberia stood to be counted when it was needed by the West. And as a proud people, we will still stand by our friends in times of need!
Today, we need those friends. We do not expect any less of them. To request 1% of the total cost of the budget of the reconstruction of Iraq is not too much to ask; especially if one considers that Liberia is a founding member of the League of Nations, and the United Nations. Unfortunately Liberia is the poorest member of the august club of founding members. Just as members of an old boys/girls club that stand up for each other, we should expect the same support from all founding members of the United Nations.
That the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Secretary of State of the United States of America are presiding over this most important event is a welcome development. I join hands with my dear friend, Mr. Pajibo in calling on these true outstanding sons of African Origin to insist on getting at least 1% of the funds that is being earmarked for the reconstruction of Iraq for the construction of Liberia, and total debt forgiveness.
If you truly wish for the "LONE STAR" to begin to shine, once again over Montserrado's virgin heights, please lend your voice to this effort by calling on the International community/actors to make a meaningful contribution to the Liberian Donor's Conference.
A. Sayku Kromah
I read your article, "Why
Damateh wants Bryant Removed". It is an excellent, exceptionally
and well written article. I seriously doubt that it could had being better
put as you did. Congratulations for a job well done.
The only thing that borthers me a bit is: do these warlords ever see the big picture that true Liberians see? I mean the massive destructions of both human lives and properties done to Liberia. Are these people real human beings or what? Again, it is very troublesome that these same people who have caused so much sufferings and destructions may never face justice, thus a real possibility of history repeating itself one day again.
Dear Mr. Editor,
Please permit me to say a word, or two about the response
of Ms. Agnes Reeves-Taylor to Mr. Pajibo's article titled "Eyes on
the prize," in which Pajibo mentioned that the former government of
Liberia was trying to pressure the Bryant Administration to allow the former
first lady to maintain her job at the International Maritime Board.
I do not see what in that article that prompted such a harsh response from Ms. Agnes Taylor. She did not deny that her former husband's criminal empire, of which she is a part, was trying, through the former government of Blah to have her reinstated at the Maritime program.
I think that Ms. Reeves Taylor is a little angry and frustrated,
which puts her in her Rebel mood. She says that she is qualified for the
position of Liberia's representative to the International Maritime program.
Says that the job entails only paying salaries and maintaining the office.
That statement alone tells you that Ms. Agnes Taylor knows nothing about
how the Maritime program runs.
Agnes, you know that we know how you got that job in London. You are an integral part of your former husband's criminal Enterprise.
It seems like Ms. Agnes Taylor is living in dreamland. She
thinks that the Liberian people will easily forget how she and her former
husband turned our people into beggars, while they pocketed the wealth of
Ms. Agnes Taylor, what Mr. Pajibo's article tried to articulate is the fact that your husband's criminal enterprise is still meddling in the affairs of our country through the so-called former government.
Ms. Taylor, you should be ashamed of yourself. Can't you see
the children of Liberia eating from the dump sites? Have you been to any
of the displaced camps to see how the people that you helped to displace
are doing? DOES ANY OF YOUR OWN CHILDREN GO TO BED HUNGRY?
Yes, we are trying to "pick up the pieces" in your own words, but in the meantime, Agnes, PLEASE SHUT UP.
Thank you very much, Mr. Editor, for the space.
Tolo Bonah Corfah
I noticed in your story "All Eyes on the Prize" that you mentioned that the Former Government of the Liberia was calling on Chairman Bryant to maintain one of the several wives of the exiled leader as a paid employee at the Bureau of Maritime Affairs.
I wish to first of all point out that I am an ex-wife of the former Liberian leader who has held this position for the last four years and may I point out very effectively. Is there a crime in someone being an ex-wife of a leader regardless of what that individual is supposedly accused of? Does this mean that I have no rights as a Liberian or am less a Liberian than you or anyone else?
Not only am I most qualified for the job, but have the experience and have performed well. I believe it is about time that Liberians begin to stop this witch hunting and begin to build a society where all Liberians can live in peace. Anything short of this could continue the vicious circle of reprisals.
I have lived in the United Kingdom for the last five years, four of those in the service of my country. I suggest we get our facts correct before making disparaging remarks about people we know nothing about.
You must be aware that 'Guilt by Association' is illegal. Therefore, please do not begin to allude to any assumed guilt on my part for whatever alleged wrongs that you may accuse the former leader of. I have conducted myself with the outmost respect and have been most transparent in my dealings. The position of the Permanent Representative is a Diplomatic one which does not involve the revenue of the Maritime Programme. It is simply a Representation to the International Maritime Organisation. There is a budget for the running of the office which includes salary and office expenses. That is the extent of the finances handled by that office.
There is nothing wrong with any Faction raising issues of concern and of interest to them, especially if it brings into question facets of the Accra Accord. In the interest of our country, we ought to be trying to pick up the pieces and not start pointing fingers at each other. As you know if this starts a lot of fingers could be pointed in all directions.
I hope this has put some light on things and will help to clarify matters for you. You can contact me for any additional information which I will gladly give.
Dear Mr. Editor,
I was dismayed when I read in an article, "New Chairman of LURD Arrivesin Liberia, But..." posted on January 16, 2004 by this Magazine, the forcible arrest of Mr. Mohammed Keita, The Director of Motor Vehicles at the Ministry of Finance by pro-Damate Conneh combatants from Tubmanburg. The illegal arrest of a government official by any camp endangers the fragile peace in our country. It is an assault on the interest of the Liberian People. Mr. Conneh and his cronies have no authority to arrest a government official regardless of his or her affiliation. Only the Liberian Government has the authority to carry out legal arrests. Today, Liberians want to know why Mr. Conneh continues to undermine our people's peace. He has tested the government's authority, and we are concerned that if he does not answer to his crime, he is likely to do more harm in the future.
Mr. A.Sayku Kromah,
your question/comment of December 23rd/2003,"Why is Chairman Bryant so Impervious to advice?", is a question that one has to think twice before responding to.
Because there might not be any truth of they being corrupt.
If they did, according to your article, then I think they should be some of most wanted men in Liberia today.
Secondly to be frank with you, Mr.Kromah, you should not had asked such question/made such comment without identifying yourself. By the way, who are you? Are you one of those who the late President Samuel K. Doe gave one way ticket(Citizenship) from the neighboring countries in West Africa, or the grand child of those who came to Liberia ,through the bushes with short hoes and cutleses without going through legal immigration process during the Tubman and Tobert Regimes.
Therefore, Mr.Kromah, the only advice I can pass on to you is: if you are a biological Liberian, then the door is opened as usual for your comments, If not, you have to shut up. You and all want to make comment when you are not suppose to.
I thank you very much for forwarding the comments from "a" Mr. Peters to me. Normally, I will not dignify such diatribes with a response, but because the gentleman seems to be quite off tangent, I have made an exception in his case.
With reference to my right to raise the issues I did on Liberian leaders, I can only say that the world has become a global village. I reserve the right to take issue with the rulers of any society that has become dependent on the international community. Don't forget I pay taxes that go into funding humanitarian programs in Liberia.
Lastly, if I were not a dedicated and committed patriotic citizen of Liberia, why would I want to take more than a passing interest in a country that has become the burden on its neighbors, and the international community? What personal benefit do I get by being a Liberian?
Should Mr. Peters desire to know who I am, I will refer him to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that issued me a passport to travel abroad. By the way, they also have my resume. Finally, whether I was made a citizen by Mr. Samuel Doe, or I travel through the bush to come to Liberia is not germine to the issues, but how we as a people can bring about a vibrant, wholesome, functioning transparent democratic Liberia, where each will contrubute in a significant way to its total development.
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Dear Mr. Editor,
Please accept my profound thanks for your immeasurable efforts in being a voice for the many voiceless people of Liberia. Your path and direction, though they may have collided with many detractors, have continued to show
the way and give some level of hope to our people; that the mud will settle and the water will be clean again. I am sure there are many other Liberians who would want to wish you well also. Thanks for the many inspirations!
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a very prosperous NEW YEAR to you and your family, your staff and their families, and to your organization.
George D. Yuoh
St. Paul, MN
Thanks very much for providing us information and news about Liberia. Your web site has become more important to some of us who by our location are far away from other sources. I check your site everyday to stay in touch with happenings back home and read articles from The Inquirer Newspaper for which I worked for seven years before joining the Diaspora. Please keep up the good work. Compliments of the season.
Do you reprint anything and everything as long as it seems tantalizing? The article about Mr. Ranney B. Jackson, Sr. and Mr. Mohammed S. Kromah seem like something straight out of a gossip column, if I ever saw one.
Which of the sitting ULAA officials said they were shocked that both Mr. Jackson and Mr. Kromah are in the NTGL? We all read on the ULAA list serve about Mr. Jackson's resignation a while back, and as for Mr. Kromah, he held a public ULAA meeting in Philadelphia on November 15,2003 where he gave his state of the union address and then publicly resigned. He even told everyone present that he was accepting a position with the NTGL. So which of the sitting officials was absent and is now "shocked"? I recall seeing each and everyone of them present at that meeting in Philadelphia and it was also video taped. Whoever wasn't present at the meeting also must have had a chapter representative present; the list serve carried it the following week also. Mr. Kromah wanted to face all of us to tell us he was moving on. He didn't want anyone suggesting that he asked for membership votes in person for the ULAA presidency, but resigned in absentia. He accomplished a lot for ULAA and he wants to do the same for the country we all claim to love so much. What is wrong with that, I ask you!!
Please try not to be so anxious to print the negatives always. We all would love to read of people's accomplishments every now and then. I could tell you of a few of Mr. Kromah's with ULAA.
You know, there are various types of killing, and you people practice one type with your poisoned pens!!
Margaret N. Kromah, D.D.S.,MPH
Dear Mrs. Kromah,
Thanks for contacting The Perspective. We do not comment on every letter sent to the Editor, but yours, like few others, cannot go without a comment in an effort to set the record straight. The article in question was published by The Inquirer newspaper in Monrovia and sent to us for distribution on the Internet as we do to several other articles sent by the same paper. The Inquirer’s right to publish the article is guaranteed by Article 15 of the Liberian constitution, while our right to publish their articles is covered by the guarantees of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. We opted to make the clarification, in order to clear any doubt or perception that any other person may have regarding our right to distribute news contents from The Inquirer. Should you have any problem with the article, we advise you contact The Inquirer in Monrovia and we have no doubt, your husband, Mr. Kromah can find them.
More importantly, please be reminded that we at The Perspective are not killers. The killers are the various factional fighters who waged a destructive war against defenseless Liberians. We don’t have to brag about our love for Liberia – our record speaks for itself.
Have a good day.
G.H. Nubo, Managing Editor
ULAA Members Question Former Officials
ULAA Board Opens Investigation into the Seating of Ranney Jackson on the NTLA
Who represents Liberians in the Diaspora/America in the Assembly?
Dozens of Additional Appointments In Government
Dear Mr. Editor,
After reading Ezekiel Pajibo's article titled 'Liberia: Eye on the Public Purse', in which he mentioned in paragraph 5 that "…prior to Mr. Charles Taylor departure from Liberia, officials at the Central Bank were quite literally held at gun?point and made to empty the vaults.", we would like to know if Mr. Pajibo or anyone out there can produce more facts to substantiate this statement. Because, we are not aware of any CBL Senior Staff or Cash Officer being held at gun-point for the removal of funds from the vault.
With reference to the ‘Government Influenced Loan’ in the amount of Forty-Nine Million Liberian Dollars (L$49,000,000.00) discussed in our communication to Ambassador Klein, we know for fact that even Governor Saleeby flew into Liberia from Ghana, on a chattered flight, to initiate this transaction. We are also aware that prior to the actual transferring of the Forty?Nine Million Liberian Dollars (L$49,000,000.00) from the vault, both CBL and the defunct government’s representatives involved were already informed about this transaction, and hence made the necessary arrangements.
Dear Mr. Editor,
After reading the LUBI Bank story, I think it is important and necessary that an investigation be conducted on Mr Elie Salleeby and the Central Bank.
I will be sending to you a detail paper highlighting concerns with Gyude Bryant. This interim period is there to clean up the mess that Taylor left in order for the elected government to start on a good footing. Unfortunately, it seems like the interim chairman does not want to step on some toes.
A good leader must have the ability to make sound decisions in the interest of the people. Elie Saleeby was very strategic in the Taylor Government and he should be replaced.
J. Wleabo Walker, II.
Kindly allow me to be a part of the ongoing debate, by publishing my conterview to that of Mr. Jonathan J. Williams, published on your site on November 6, 2003 under the caption: In Support Of A Truth And Reconciliation Commission. Brother Williams, you are assuming that those who bear greater responsibility for the continuing genocide in our country want to repent and seek forgiveness from those they offended. Women are still being raped, and people are being hacked to death, even as you read this article today. Nimba County is a death zone; Tubmanburg has become a criminal enclave, while Buchanna and other parts of the country are being turned into slave centers by these criminal elements of our society. What have you seen that suggests to you that these misfits deserve to be pardoned unconditionally?
You made mention of Slobodan Milosevic, and that he has not yet being found guilty by the ICTY (the International Crimes Tribunal for Yugoslavia) in the Hague. True. But what you did not mention also is that Milosevic and about 40 of his co-conspirators are not cabinet ministers, managing directors and speaker of parliament in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, nor Macedonia. They have been removed from the equation, and have been neutralized, and are incapable of taunting and bringing any harm to the people of the former Yugoslavia. They are behind bars, where people who believe they can rain rockets on civilian hideouts at will and in the process intentionally murder hundreds, should be sitting. They are in custody, where death squad leaders who murdered entire family ought to be locked up. Slobodan Milosevic and his colleagues-in-crime are not arrogantly, and without any ounce of remorsefulness, demanding jobs and threatening the people with more death and destruction if their demands are not met. George Dweh is speaker of the assembly in the Bryant government. Where else in this world could that have happened, given the atrocities he personally committed? Notice that I did not say allegedly committed, because there are numerous international organization reports and eyewitnesses accounts that confirmed his crimes. Even, if he must be given the benefit of the doubt and presumed innocent until proven guilty in a competent court, he could still not make bond anywhere else in the world considering the gravity of his crimes. But there he sits, as speaker of the Liberian Parliament. Is that a sign of a remorseful person?
The logical scenario that one would have assumed these death squad murderers and their insane collaborators would have taken was to totally remove themselves from the Liberian political picture completely. Give the people time for their pains to naturally heal and for them to forget the vivid images of those horrendous killings. But look at what happened in Ghana! It was the who's who of Liberian warlords and death merchants, gathering to claim their trophy. You would have thought that as a duty and a means of reparation to Liberia, the warlords and their spineless politician accomplices would have made the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission an imperative component of the agreement for the transitional government to undertake. What have they done instead? They are holding our people hostage as a tradeoff for more jobs for them and their soulless hackers. If they were sincere, do you think we would be waiting for the UN forces to reach full strength before commencing disarmament? Why can they see what you and I are looking at? Why must they be paid before issuing orders for disarmament? Haven’t they taken enough pay? These are the people for whom you are insinuating that they be let lose with a pat on the back.
For some of us who speak for a war crimes tribunal, our intentions are not to seek revenge and undeserved retribution, rather, we are advocating for the establishment of a realistic and “credible threat” that will deter future criminal liberators from feeding death and destruction to Liberia somewhere down the road. We want it to be made known to all and sundry that Liberia is a no go zone for frivolous liberation wars, for there would be severe consequences. And the tribunal is also needed to curb future excesses of any sitting government that may dream of halting civil disobedient with the kind of gross abuses and mayhem witnessed in Liberia over the years. If Liberia is to move forward without looking back or slowing down, then the carriers of cruelty among us must be properly sifted and appropriately neutralized.
We too believe that it is not Gyude Bryant's job to insist on the establishment of the war crimes tribunal. We also believe it is not his place to grant unconditional and blanket amnesty to these unrepentant murderers. We believe in Mr. Bryant’s sincerity and commitment of wanting to heal the wounds. We can only hold him accountable for that which he has been asked to do by the Accra agreement. And we wish him well to succeed.
Brother Williams, the man who inflicted the injury on Ma Ennie, waited for some years to elapse and then he, on his own volition, went back to Ma Ennie to beg for forgiveness. That is the mark of a repentant soul. You could not do anything else than to forgive such a person. But if people believe that their actions were justified, they have to vindicate themselves. Like Ma Ennie and the man, we too are tempted to want to forgive and live in peace with our brothers and sisters who inflicted so much pain and destruction on mother Liberia. But from the way they are carrying themselves, they will never benefit from the people's generosity. Let's test justice and see what it can do for Liberia. We have tried impunity for far too long. I rest my case!
George D. Yuoh
I think it will be in the best interest of Liberia and the donor nations if Mr. Belleh resigns. That will create a clear understanding to the donor nations that Liberia is on the right track. We should not sit and wait for these guys to enrich themselves while our country and people suffer. If Mr. Bryant refuses to let Belleh go, then we Liberians have the right to demand that he too resign. We will not repeat the mistakes we made during the past 150th years. We cannot let these criminals get away with anything from now until the end of time. Let all the board members of the (CBL) be investigated. That should be extended to the national housing bank, the housing bank was looted also by some criminals who think we do not know them and decided to use the money to kill our people. I want to say many thanks to the perspective for effort in bringing the world to our doorsteps. Please continue and one day we Liberians in the USA will honor you. God bless the staff.
Keep up the good work and I will keep supporting your non-conventional way of preparing and delivering the news -looking at it from the other side of the window.
The guys from MODEL and LURD appeared to be using strong tactics to acquire top post in the transitional government. I am beginning to wonder if they are out to reward themselves by any means. What are their qualifications?
The statement that LURD forces will not disarm unless the
UN buys it's weaponry, in all fairness comes as no surprise to those of
us who have always opposed the pattern of handsomely rewarding criminals.
Frankly speaking, I do not still understand why the international community decided to include in the search for solution to the Liberian crisis, the very problem. Why did nobody seem to have learned any lessons from the same method of appeasement that unfortunately brought Mr. Taylor to power and which promoted the systematic confinement of the Liberian nation into a state of extreme misery over the past many years still remains an unexplained question.
I will admit notwithstanding, that Mr. Conneh is perfectly right to demand that he gets back his money spent on the weapons his organization used and continue to use to destroy Liberia. Mr. Kromah, Prince Johnson, Dr. Boley Roosevelt Johnson, even to include the Armed Forces of Liberia under the then Dr. Sawyer regime, all should have required that the UN and others who participated in the process that awarded the NPFL the Liberian Executive Mansion, buy their arms from them as a condition for disarming. Had this happened, I have no doubts that the international community would have carefully reviewed it's strategies in resolving rebel related conflicts.
However, considering that LURD, being the case under review, is also under the obligation to being fair to the UN and other world communities who are involved in the efforts to returning peace to the ever- suffering people of Liberia, is herein advised to be prepared to presenting evidence of the purchase of these weapons. The presentation of genuine and absolutely verifiable evidence is can not be ignored; meaning that receipts of purchases, deliveries, and other relevant information must form part of the documents that LURD must present to the world body so that the buying back process may immediately commence.
I wish to assure LURD that many Liberians including me are prepared to join the search for funds for the purpose of freeing the Liberian nation from the state of obvious black mail and hostage taking in which it finds itself over the past many years.
I make this pledge, realizing the need not to go back to challenging your previous statements that the weapons your men used to help Mr. Taylor torture the Liberian people were taken from the Taylor creation. Once you do the right thing as suggested above, we shall immediately begin the process of seeking funds to buy back your arms with the view that you and your men will leave the Liberian children alone so that they may begin the process of reshaping their lives.
Commander Conneh, the ball is now in your court. How soon you get your money depends on how early you present your claim.
I certainly feel very good by this latest development because I am sure it will ensure that all the arms are accounted for and that the Liberian nation will now realize the extent of your effort to coming to their help, though it came at the time they needed it lease.
Isaac D. Warner, Sr.
Well we didn't know all this. In some of your future articles please let know what you think we can do. Personally for me I have dedicated myself to the task of making sure that Taylor and his men, LURD and its leaders, MODEL and its leadership face a war crimes court in Liberia. Bryant wanted power; so he got it. The prosecution of these guys is not really his concern.
ZranDaynah Grugbay Zoe
I read this article with some enthusiasm and some disappointment. I feel like such good analysis and suggestions should be sent to Bryant instead of just in some newspaper in the USA where the likelihood of him or people in his government seeing it [is very slim]. Maybe instead of asking the UN or any other foreign governments for aid we could assess Liberia's resources(natural) and maybe devise a plan whereby those people living outside who can spare a few dollars a month or so can invest in Liberia. I am sending this article by email to friends in Liberia. Let us come up with the problems facing Liberia and offer some concrete suggestions to help solve them.
Seklau Worjloh Wiles
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
About your article, Liberia Needs a Visionary Not a manager. A few questions: Who do you see as the current presidential players for a presidential election in 2005? Second, which of these would you consider as good enough managers to become president? Finally, which Liberians do you consider visionary?
I ask because I have a vision to bring about the very sort of change that you talked about in your article. My staff and I want to begin to work with those individuals that believe they can put such a vision to practice.
I would like it very much if I could meet with you and the staff from The Perspective to discuss who the players are and whom me and my organization can begin to work with. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.
Peter Adolphus Gbelia
I read the article on American Shipping Companies in Liberia. I have been looking for a sailor for over six years now and have had no luck. I used to write Cedric Tash back in 1969 in care of Esso International of New York, but that is no more. I have since found out the ship was registered to a Monrovia based company during the years 1965 and 1969. How do you go about finding a sailor who sailed on these ships? The ship was the M.T. Arthur P Tanker. 16,258 GRT. Sold to Astrocielo Cia Naviera SA, Monrovia 1965.
I hope you can help.
Veronica Delagard Canada
It is ridiculous for the Liberian community to sit here and
believe that Mr. Bryant was picked to head the interim government by chance.
I have spoken to several more successful businessmen who had to give up
and leave Liberia because of the work by the Taylor government to destroy
everything they worked so hard for. How do you think Mr. Bryant continued
to operate his business in Liberia, while all the others were destroyed?
Do you believe that he was just persistent, or is it because he was always
protected, although he claimed no alliance to any of the warring parties.
Let’s be real people! This man has appointed all the people nominated
by LURD. Is this a coincidence? And he is against a war crimes tribunal
for these thieves, murderers and rapists? Liberia is my country and I am
just as optimistic as any other Liberian, but let’s not forget the
last time we allowed these murderers to be excused from their crimes, and
were allowed to participate in a power sharing government. Let’s not
forget Liberians! It’s time that we stand up to these thugs, and never
allow this to ever happen to Liberia again.
Atlanta Georgia 30339
It has become very much significant at this turning point
in our nation's history to uproot the seeds of discourse from the soil of
Liberia, which have been troubling the downtrodden masses with the ultimate
aim-to provide a society free from segregation, nepotism, tribalism, and
Consequently, with the clicking of the mouse on the inauguration of an interim government and subsequent functioning of it, it is my hope and conviction that Liberians who has survived the storm of war will veer from the path of compensation to men who are half-baked bureaucrats; simply, because they fought for the removal of another incompetent regime, instead, the competent ones should be the appointees.
Frankly, let it be made crystal clear that the risorgimento of Liberia lies in the brain power of the enlightened bureaucrats who have acquired the requisite training in the building of the state; anything short of this, I see the chicken coming home for roast and is tantamount to the doomsday's critics of Liberia sitting and laughing in their closets - which patriotic citizens like me see as the saddest faux-paz of this generation's intent to revamp post-war Liberia.
Finally, the dawning of a new Liberia will definitely spring from the ingenuities of patriotic, loyal, competent, and nationalistic Liberians, who see the survival of the state to be a going-concern and a perpetual venture outside the parameters of corruptions and its accomplices. Therefore, the compensation syndrome to unqualified individuals should be discouraged as a means of a gateway to growth and development of the state.
As a young Liberian living in the metro Atlanta area, I am
very optimistic about the future of our country, but yet I am also facing
some very troublesome questions and doubts. How can we, as civilized Liberians,
be assured that peace can be fully restored in Liberia, when majority or
all of the people personally responsible for the rape, murder, torture of
countless of human beings are actively involved in the reconstruction process?
Am I being too cynical by suggesting to the Liberian people that we need
to make sure that peace will never come to our country until those responsible
pay for their crimes against humanity, and be fully punished to the extent
of the law?
Should I be forgiving by accepting one of the so call rebel-leaders who drugged my 9 year old brother, made him drink human blood, and was forced to prove his alliance by executing his 16 year old cousin (our cousin) in front of our Aunt? Are we going to make the same mistake we made when we elected Charles Taylor for the sake of temporary peace? Are we going to allow these thugs to get away with this? Should we be that forgiving by allowing these very same people to make decisions for our future?
Your article dated august 20,2003 "The selection process hits snag" Former Vice President Harry Moniba wrote a letter of protest, where he states that "during the first round of voting, I was denied the right to vote even though I had applied and paid the fee". This is one of the many reasons my optimism for Liberia hangs in the balance. What happens when we finally reach the point of elections in 2005, and every single rebel leader is on the ballot, and he comes up short of victory, is he going to congratulate the winner, and pledge to work along side with that administration until the next election, or is he going to fade away in Ghana, Nigeria or the Ivory coast to put together yet another incursion that’s going to take us right back to where we started?
kindly permit me to put across these views in your most read
informative online news.
I had admired the Gyude Bryant's administration from afar from the day it was installed in to office, but I am beginning to lose a little bit of confidence in this administration at least for the election of a criminally known figure like George Duah as speaker of the Interim Assembly.
I wonder what were the members of this Interim Assembly thinking when they elected such a man with countless Liberians blood on his hands to occupy such a highest position in our country.
It is in my opinion that even besides being a murderer and someone that should face a war crimes tribunal, like Taylor, Damate Conte and others, Dweh is not qualified the least to be a first year law student before ascending to such a high profile position as the speaker for the law makers.
This is the first big blow to the Transitional Legislators. Shame on them! I wonder if Dweh had a 45 pistol to their heads or had threatened to slaughter their families when they went to cast their votes. Dweh is a big disgraced to Liberia and as such should not be accepted the best place for Dweh in Liberia is Center street.
Hello and thank you for a job well done on informing us. Did you at one time publish a story on "Johnny Nah" son arrival here, if not this paper can you please direct me to where I can find the story
Would you please air my view on this problem in Liberia. Why every time killers are given impunity to go free after committing the worse human rights abuses, they are always given respectable positions in government? I am speaking of George Dweh, the newly elected speaker of the house of representatives in the Transitional government.
He was the one who killed Naomi Gooding - a Liberian business entrepreneur in Sinkor. He also killed the Darkar family in Fiamah, the entire family so that no one could give any testimony. He killed Johnny Kpor the assistant minister in Samuel Doe administration because he was of the Gio ethnic group. There are many others that are yet to be identified. He is shamelessly boasting that he has never killed a fly in his life. The best that George Dweh can do for the thousand of grieve stricken Liberians whose hopes he shattered is to ask for forgiveness. Lest he should remember the Liberian proverb the same rope that haul bamboo will haul monkey. A hint to the wise is quite enough!!!!!!!
Many thanks to the General for the stand he is taking to have the people in the counties elect their own people. Those that will be elected should live in the counties and have homes in the county they will represent in order to be responsible to ensure the interest of that county. The last government of Taylor had bunch of fools and too many too poor to stand up to Taylor. The real power is in the house and not with the president, but members of both houses in the last 150 years were hand picked by the president in most cases and did not even have solid education to understand the constitutions. I think it will be wise and better for the country to have college educated members in both houses. We should not repeat the mistakes of the past. Long live Liberia, and not the president as it was. We should respect the constitution of Liberia and not the president. The president should not live above the constitution and when that happens, we are going to have problems. There should be check and balance system. The chairman of the ruling party should know that he has no power in the government, but within his party. His party should not use government funds to for its operations. Long live the Republic of Liberia and may the Lord guide our leaders not rulers!
The piece by Mr. Gbessagee "Countering Political Rhetoric..." is a superb act of intellectual gymnastic. It is a good piece to introduce the new transitional government, defending everything and everyone, assigning wisdom and good intentions to warlords. And in the process, he attacks "the intellectuals" and gets caught in own simplifications hardly disguised by the pedantry.
Mr. Gbessagee said that my piece "misrepresents the letter and spirit of the peace agreement..." I am still trying to find in my article any instance where I misquoted the peace agreement or questioned any part of that document. Mr. Gbessagee says that the international community would not forcefully disarm the fighters and hints that the peacekeepers would not stay for ever in Liberia. And he goes on. With slaps at everyone who seems to have raise any hint of skepticism about the incoming 5th transitional government in our past 14-year history.
Some of us are not new to this process and we don't speak out to praise politicians or warlords. Maybe I should remind Mr. Gbessagee that from 1990 to the present, every warlord has survived and enriched himself out of the war. The only victims - 200, 000 - have always been civilians. Warlords have always agreed on what to do: to kill Liberians and loot Liberia. What we have witnessed in the past 14 years was nothing but a brotherhood of killers and looters under the disguise of "liberators." Those of us who have worked in Liberia in the past 14 years, dealt with warlords and their likes have now come to understand their tactics. First it is about "liberating" the "poor masses." Then they reach Monrovia and it is all about naked power and greed.
I have personally attended no less than 35 "peace meetings" on Liberia - Yamoussoukro to Geneva to Abuja - including the recent one in Ghana. I have witnessed from a front-row seat what has become of the 15 peace accords signed in the past 14 years.
Once warlords get together, they rarely talk about peace, but rather, they discuss how to share pieces of the pie. I have no illusion about warlords bringing peace to Liberia.
The only solution to war and instability is to put warlords out of business. The Sierra Leone case should be a good example. If Taylor and others had been arrested and made to face a tribunal for their destruction of life and property, we would not be talking about a transitional government today.
Does Mr. Gbessagee really believe that a meeting between Blah and Damate would bring peace to Liberia?
Let me reiterate what I wrote in my piece: Mr. Damate has no business meeting with Blah. Liberians and the international community expect him to go around in territories he has taken hostage to inform his fighters that the war is over and that they must surrender their guns to UNMIL. He needs to do this clearly.
The second thing Damate and others may obligate themselves to do is to help those children go to school or to their farms. Mr. Conneh may come to Monrovia as a civilian and carry on his life. He and former president Blah may sip "hataye" and talk about their past war, but now, it must be done on them that the process is irreversible.
The less we allow warlords -- or "strongmen"- to think that they have control over our destinies, the better off we will all be. The big mistake the peacemakers made in the 1990s and that some Liberians still make is to believe that by giving to warlords money and respectability, they will give us peace.
Again, let Damate and all other warlords retreat into their territories, prepare the boys and girls who fought for them for civilian life and if they can't, turn those children over to their families and communities. Liberians should know by now how warlords operate. Since their upsurge on the Liberian political map, LURD leaders have been saying that they don't want power and do not wish to control the destiny of Liberians once Taylor left the scene. Guess what they were fighting for in Accra in July 2003? To some of us, who knew where they were coming from, this was no surprise.
What we write is based on real life experience, not on mere intellectual exercise.
Abdoulaye W. Dukulé (Ph.D.)
As a Liberian businessman and a keen reader, I would like
to address our current debacle.
The solution to Liberia's future begins with our economy.
The economy must be controlled by Liberians. This will create the much-needed middle class to stimulate growth and opportunities.
In order to achieve this, we need to get Liberians involved in the private sector by the current government stance on laws geared to allow at least 50% ownership on all businesses, a system of accountability and sound monetary policy.
We need to revisit our natural resources and peg factories to these resources such as, mining, rubber, timber, gold and diamond, etc.
We should not export gold or diamond, this should be deposited in our Central bank to reduce our reliance on foreign bank guarantee and create a sound monetary policy.
This idea will enable Liberian businesses to rely on Liberian banks for development and reinvestment; which will stimulate employment.
With this in place, we can look at the political arena and ask for proven leadership to emerge with political parties being registered with a Liberian bank deposit of at least $5,000,000.00. A 1,000,000.00 deposit to the election commission and a verifiable bank balance of at least four million us dollars.
This ensures that political parties will invest in the Liberian economy, proven leadership and a system of nationalism.
Each party will have to participate in the national benchmark for economic reform, with protracted interest, long-term commitment and a system of accountability.
With this in place we will place added value on our educational, healthcare, infrastructure and security arena.
Before I close, may I remind us all that the current situation
that allows UN assistance should not be an open door for foreign domination
but an opportunity to foster cooperation and correction.
Liberian must put forth a Liberian agenda that will prevent another civil war.
Thanks for the opportunity
Montgomery Village, MD
I had a friend, Irene Knight, a member of a Methodist Church in Liberia, whom I met while she was taking Culinary Arts Classes at Oklahoma State Tech at Okmulgee, Oklahoma in 1962-1964 (approx). I know that she returned to Liberia and I have been greatly concerned about her welfare since all the political unrest and wars in Liberia. When I met her, she told me that her home was Monrovia, Liberia.
How would I go about finding out if she is still alive, where she might be living and her present circumstances, if she is alive. She was a very dear friend and I am most anxious to find out anything that I can about her or her family members.
Any help will be most appreciated.
Doris (Milberger) McAllister
It's a privilege to write this piece of information as it relates only to my view on the selection of Mr. Gyude Brant by LURD, MODEL and the deposed, but still running government of Liberia. Since the selection of the brother, people from many quarters of political influence have become more doubtful as to what credentials he has, his wealth and personal shelter. I know this is the way Liberian people will continue to live. We as Liberian, will always be in the habit of criticizing even when we ourselves lack the credentials we expect of someone.
Leadership is a God-given style to all. All leadership styles are vary and as such others tend to ask from God what is good because anything done humanly without the input of God Almighty is in vain. I think our brother has the blessing of God by his selection. God has by far evaluated the qualifications of all those who participated in the elections even before they got in the race. As primarily and practically obvious in any race or election, there must be loser(s). Therefore, let us all join hands with the brother as Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is doing now after she conceded. No one is extremely qualified to lead when he or she is not called or blessed by the Almighty God. Let us all give the brother our support as ever before to any leader in the interim so that God will give us joy and freedom at last.
No amount of criticisms will stop what God has put into motion now. All pessimiticism must be buried even hundred feet below the surface of the earth so that as a people, renew our efforts in fostering unity in order for lasting peace to be ever visible. Now, the tyrant, Charles Taylor is no more and no one should ever remember this demon as a former leader of our dear country and this will give us more strength to move forward. The reconstruction of schools, hospitals, roads, social lives, etc., should remain paramount on our minds. When we continue to divide our ideas on politics which failure generates war, the international community will leave us along and this country will remain in anarchy.
Moses S. Nyenpan
Trenton, NJ 08618
Please allow me to submit this formula which in my humble view would resolve the issue of appointment of Assistant Ministers and Directors which has become a contentious issues. The Agreement is not clear on who appointments the Assistant Ministers who are really senior civil servants. One can only conjuncture that since it would be inconceivable for Presidents in the facilitating countries to appoint civil servants, they Accra peace brokers did not perceive this to be an issue. But an issue is what it has become. LURD's threat is premature, and given the level of suffering that Liberians had endured under these warring factions and Mr. Taylor, their threat can best be described as unfortunate, and unwarranted. This is even more so, because there are those like me that believe that this war has no religious, ideological, ethnic, nor political underpinnings, but as a means to acquire wealth through fraudulent means.
Having said that, I would like to propose for timely consideration of all parties that a pool of Assistant Ministers, and Directors be created through a selection process based on the below formula:
1. Chairman Gyude Bryant nominates five competent Liberians
who could serve as Assistant Ministers in almost any Ministry.
2. LURD, MODEL, Taylor’s GOL, Political Parties, Civic Society, Interfaith Mediation Committee, and the Liberian Bar Association nominate 5 persons each.
3. These nominees should submit their resumes to the Transitional Team selected along the lines proposed by LURD, but with observers from the UN and ECOWAS.
4. The Transition Team selects the most competent persons, matching them with appropriate ministries/agencies where their services could be best utilized.
5. Transition Team submits its list to the Honorable Gyude Bryant as a recommendation, and Chairman Bryant makes his appointments of Assistant Minister based on these recommendations.
This formula will create a list of 40 competent Liberians, and will most likely ensure that the best available minds are given an opportunity to serve their country at the time when it needs them the most.
A. Sayku Kromah
My name is David Laud and I live in Montpellier in the South
of France. Two months ago, nine young Liberian men arrived here on a vessel,
having escaped from Monrovia. As you understand, communication with Liberia
is not currently possible, but our Liberian friends have family members
in the US - mainly in New York and Philadelphia. For the last few weeks
I have been desperately trying to make contact with people who might know
them, to tell them that the guys are alive and well in France.
There are 4 from Monrovia, and five from Bassa County.
Can you help me to trace their family members on the net, so that they can make contact again ? I thank you very much for your help.
... Congratulations for your perseverance, balance and great work. Liberia and Liberians are beholden to you all for leading the way in presenting good information on our beloved country...
I think you don't have a foresight of what is going on in
Liberia. Do not put blame on any president of Ecowas but Liberians themselves.
Do you know how many Ecomog soldiers died during the war for just helping
bring peace in Liberia?. Did they have to? Are Liberians really united?.
What could ordinary Liberians have done to bring the war to an end without
the help from our brothers and sisters from Ecowas?. Do you accept the saying
"There are many ways of killing a Cat" and that it ought to be
done with care?. My suggestion to you now is to stop pointing fingers at
Ecowas presidents but focus on taking the
guns out from our kids, getting them into vocational schools before coming
out with a united voice to pressurelize president Obasanjo to hand Taylor
over for war crimes.
Thanks sincerely for providing a source of relatively balanced opinions on the Liberian conflict and efforts at peace building. Not only do I read your articles posted, but I have sometimes sought verification on their veracity. Accordingly, I am grateful for your efforts.
For the purpose of this note, I want to thank you for posting articles that I believe motivate well meaning and patriotic Liberians to disengage the fence, overcome their sense of indifference and frustration, and get involved in thinking and sharing their thoughts on how to rescue our dear country from its present quagmire. Two articles, one written by Mr. Brownie Samukai, and this one by Cllr. Taiwon Gonglo are quite insightful, as we confront the challenges of a peaceful Liberia. While it is not always prudent to give blanket endorsement to a cluster of thoughts, I have no doubt that these gentlemen's love for Liberia cannot be easily outmatched, owing to their own personal struggles and their struggles to afford voices to the silent majority-the victims of the Liberian carnage. I just wish these thoughts will find greater fora for debate and agenda building for Liberia's reconstruction.
I pray that your efforts will engender a rennaissance among Liberians!
In due course I wish to add to this forum and to the thoughts shared by other concerned Liberians. Thanks.
H. Momo Fahnbulleh
I was very delighted to read Cllr. Gongloe's article "The way to lasting peace in Liberia". This is a man of sound judgment and wisdom. If the NTGL could accept my request I would be nominating this fine gentleman for the position Justice Minister, RL. Keep up the good work Tiawon.
I hail you my friends,
As I told a fellow Liberian, this noble feat of bringing down monster has been championed by the Liberian Media, forget the guns, and you, my friends at the Perspective, have led the way. I promise to write an article to this effect, very soon.
Bravo, for being the ultimate patriots!
I only caution that the battle is just half-won. August 11 signifies the end of the beginning. We have to mount the fight to keep whosoever is installed in the leadership roll in check. You cannot let up now.
Thanks for publishing my article.
I am a concern Liberian living in Boston and is concern about the TPS that was renew just recently, according to the document only Liberians who were in the US before September 29, 2002 and before, are the only wants eligible for the TPS.
For this reason, Liberians who came to the states after September 29, 2002 are being told that they are not eligible and might not be eligible at all or until the homeland department reverse the clause in the TPS that limit it to only those who were here before September 29, of 2002.
I will be very please if you were to clarify this important issue, since your paper first broke the news of the TPS. I will also be glad if you were to e - mail me.
Liberia and Liberians will forever remain grateful to you in your effort to keep them informed especially in these trying times. It's a good feeling to hear about Liberia from Liberians themselves. It's a big step in breaking the old legacy of hearing about our own country from the perspective of foreigners whose views and opinions are always subjective thereby denying us the opportunity to know what’s really going on.
Once again I say a big heartfelt thank you. Keep up the good work, its a noble cause of which of which you will someday be proud.
What will be the next steps for Liberia? Peace, with Moses Blah? The need for another Administration? Elections in October/November 2004? Who will lead the country in the right way? May God bless the Liberian people!
As I can see, the Liberian at the peace conference are still sleeping. Is there no one awake to burst the rotten breadfruit? How long will we continue to fight for survival to develop our country? If these guys love Liberia and means business there should open enterprises to create jobs opportunities so the Liberian will live betters lives. Other than that, they should sit with their messy ideas so that Liberia will survive the future to come. Liberia need someone who has internationally contact with well develop public management just to name a few. As I can foresee, if we are not far sighted, I see us going back to the arms very soon. Because when one group begins to lavish the nation's money they will not want anyone to say a word of their doing.
You have said it. I strongly believe that the Interim Leadership
should be neutral. It should be composed of individuals who have Liberia's
peace and development at heart.
There is so much need for healing of relationships, building of broken trust in the Government's ability to protect the Constitution, providing basic human needs for healthy survival for all within its borders and preparing the stage for peaceful transition through the ballot box.
Who should be the LEADER? A person who is dedicated, trustworthy, has an analytical mind, who has the attitude to cross-culturally embrace all as Liberians and not by tribe, who tolerates or upholds religious freedom and freedom of the press and defend the Constitution as mandated by the people of Liberia.
Florida Kweekeh, B.Sc., MPH, CHES
Community Involvement Coordinator
HIV/STD Prevention Program
City of Houston Dept. Of Health and Human Services
I was surprised when I read the article of Winsley S. Nanka. It is unfortunate that he would commend the efforts of the US and Britain and not firstly include the names of countries like Nigeria who inspite the situation send "sacrifice" their citizens for our sake. What about Ghana the host of the peace talk, man your article sound like you are bias and it looks like you live in the US. If you really are objective editors try to publish the truth.
I suggest that you include the names of the West African countries that is in the full front of this process.
As we reported in our last press release, we will be proactive
hereafter in informing our sympathizers and foes alike of developments in
MODEL. Here is the latest.
Days prior to Taylor’s latest declared intention to again resign, MODEL has been inundated with forces from President Taylor (now rebel leader) defecting to us. Following intense interrogation of these defectors, we have once again uncovered some of Taylor’s wanton grand design to stage mayhem on our people and the peacekeepers.
Taylor’s murder squad has been scouting the Harbel area to identify areas of mass concentration of displace people. The grand design is to stage a massacre on the scale and style of the Carter Camp massacre. Over 600 men, women and children were hacked to death by the NPLF in what became known as the Carter Camp Massacre in Harbel, Margibi County on June 6, 1993. A Kenyan jurist named Amos Wako, Chairman of the United Nations Panel of Inquiry appointed by the Secretary-General at the request of the Security Council to inquire into the Harbel Massacre concluded that the Armed Forces of Liberia under the command of then C-I-C Dr. Amos C. Sawyer committed the atrocities because goods looted from the dead were found dumped around AFL positions in Firestone rubber plantations. Like the Carter Camp massacre, Taylor intends to perpetrate this heinous act and use a similar décor like Model’s insignia to incriminate the movement. Our insignia or some other paraphernalia would to be obtained and dropped at the crime scene by defectors now in our midst in a bid to implicate MODEL.
Attack on ECOMIL
We want to warn ECOMIL that our interrogation also uncovered a pending attack on their position from the Roberts International Airport area from forces of Mr. Taylor. The intended purpose is to provoke a firefight between MODEL and the peacekeepers where Mr. Taylor can claim that we are the aggressors and that he can help the peacekeepers repel our forces. He would then asked for ammunition from the peacekeepers under the guise of repelling the “enemy” forces. With the compliance of ECOMIL to this trick, Taylor would forge an alliance with the international community where he can bargain his indictment to stay in Monrovia.
It is worth bringing to the attention of all, why Mr. Taylor is now concentrating the war on the Bassa front as a last dish attempt to remain in Liberia. His cronies and partners in crime (Tom Woewiyu, Sam Jackson, Lewis Brown and Daniel Chea) all hail from Grand Bassa County. Taking over Bassa with access to a seaport, they can carve a nation of their own and continue business as usual. Just remember that this is unthinkable if they do not get support from the international community; the reverse is arguable.
We admonish everyone to treat this information with the highest degree of diligence. These miscreants have the motive, propensity and unflinching spontaneity to carry on these nefarious acts and yet masquerade in Liberia as if they are saints. They did it in Carter Camp; they did it on DuPort Road when they were under lesser pressure; they can do it again given the tremendous pressure they are under. David Crane’s indictment sealed their fate. With nowhere to hide, no amount of destruction is beyond their imagination.
We must remain vigilant. As for MODEL, they will only dream of it.
Image is Everything
MODEL believes in its image. We have committed ourselves to relinquishing Liberia of the tyranny of Mr. Taylor through the use of force because we are convinced that no other method is workable. For our critics who believe the political process could oust the man, just observe how recalcitrant and damningly defiant Taylor is even with AK-47s at his chest. The man’s proclivity to rein terror on his kind defies rationality. Some may disagree with our violent reaction to his regime, but all will agree it has brought about his imminent departure. Mr. Taylor has quash the democratic process; snub the international community’s attempt to assist in rebuilding the country; turned our country into a rogue state; promulgated and participated in murders of his political opponents; flogged a former president and chief justice; invaded friendly neighboring countries visiting mayhem on them; yet some believe that in the long run, he will change. Well, we also believe that in the long run, we will all be dead. Any delay or inaction our part to remove him allies us with him. We hold no regrets for our actions. However, despite our desire to remove Mr. Taylor by force, we remain considerate for the lives of those that lie in our path. Since the beginning of our insurgency, we have been very careful in minimizing civilian casualties during our attacks. Even after occupying areas, we have maintained respect for human rights. Our record is self-testimonial. Fellow Liberians, we will work out our other differences once this monster (once described by his own mother as Lucifer) is gone. For us, image is everything.
We made it clear at the beginning of our insurgency that Mr. Taylor must go; our demand remain uncompromising. On August 2, 2003, Mr. Taylor after realizing that the African Ministers in Liberia were determined to see him in spite of his attempt to elude them announced that he would step down on August 11, 2003 at 11:59am and turn over to a successor. He deliberately avoided any mention of his impending departure. Even after quizzed by a CNN reporter, he chose to evade the question. Let it be known that we at MODEL did not simply call for the resignation of Mr. Taylor, we asked for his departure from Liberia. The United Nations bolstered our demand by indicting him on March 7, 2003. We would like to use this occasion to remind Mr. Taylor’s would-be successor that Liberia is a founding member of the United Nations and is under obligation to uphold its mandate. We therefore expect that Taylor’s successor will comply with the United Nations Tribunal in Sierra Leone and have citizen Taylor arrested and turned over. If the administration finds this task too difficult to execute, MODEL will do it.
DONE THIS 4TH DAY OF AUGUST 2003.
THE PRESS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE OF MODEL
I read the article by J. Howard about a suitable leader. Perhaps
The Perspective could come up with a list and Biographies of all potential
candidates so that we can get a handle on who exactly could lead the country.
Also the various ministries, after all, if the ministers themselves are
chopping, [there is] no way for the government to move forward.
Does Charles Taylor have a son called Chuki Taylor? I am asking because I recently received an e-mail from somebody who was claiming to be his son called Chuki Taylor and was asking for my assistance in moving a huge amount of money. He claimed to be in London and gave me his mobile telephone number. Of course, it was most likely a scam, but who knows!? Anyway, I have contacted the police about it. I am English and in England.
We must push for war WAR CRIME TRIBUNAL COURT for all the mentioned persons in this article. I agree 100% with Nanka. We must push for this WAR CRIME TRIBUNAL. It will save lives in the future and will be a deterrence for those who want to cause violence.
I've done a general search on the Internet seeking information on Dr. Lincoln Brownell of Liberia and haven't found much except a link to your site. I want to know how he's doing with all that is going on there. Do you have any information or source of information?
I wholeheartedly embrace Ms. Gongloe's article which appeared
in your July 22 edition. I share her views, dreams and vision for Liberia.
I too have been trying to find other Liberian women who are true visionaries
and spending their time and perhaps resources looking for possible lasting
solutions to our cancerous problem. I would appreciate and exchange of communication
with Ms. Gongloe and perhaps we could work together to encourage Liberian
women rise up to the challenge of a clean up campaign in Liberia.
God Bless Liberia and Save Us All.
Thank you for the informative and enlightening piece. Unbiased and truthful perspectives are difficult to find within an Internet search. The piece on LURD and MODEL are very refreshing.
Constellation Software Engineering
I have been reading you're site for several years and have seen more honest reporting on Liberia from you than from all other sources of news combined. Thank you for your efforts.
I'm writing because I have a suggestion. You should partner with oneworld.net. This is a great website and would allow your articles to be more widely read. http://www.oneworld.net
Keep up the great work!
Argus Human Rights Festival
Thank You Dr Conteh :
It is indeed a show of ignorance on my part of stumble onto the facts behind Liberia. I find it fascinating and at the same time depressing… It is indeed painful for me to see the round-trip tragedy of a people. Bringing blacks to America was a tragedy and bringing some of them back to Liberia turned into yet another nightmare.
I wonder how many blacks in America actually know the history behind this country and the fact that we are so close to this. I am not black, and in fact, was not born in this country, but this for some reason has touched profoundly.
Thank you Perspective. I am doing more research into this. Hopefully I will find that there are black organizations in this country that care about this issue. I will write to all black congressmen and women to press for more US involvement in this, yet another, unfinished business of our historical misconduct that seem to taint our moral standing before the world.
God Bless You!
While I applaud your latest well-argued editorial on Taylor's very well known unreliability as a partner to any agreement, I reject the editorial comments embedded in your story on LURD's position on Ibn Chambas' bias and very unhelpful interpretation of the Accra ceasefire agreement regarding Taylor's exit.
By stating that LURD's action to suspend temporarily its active participation in the ongoing discussion is a ploy to stall the talks is off the mark. I am certainly not a sympathizer of any rebel group, even though as Liberians, they have the right to fight against the dictatorial, despotic, kleptomaniac, elitist, Americo-Liberian-led regime that is Taylor's regime. However, if truth be said, both LURD and Model have a right to take umbrage at Ibn Chambas' evidently pro-Taylor position. It shows that he deliberately misled the unsuspecting LURD and Model delegates at the Accra meeting into thinking Taylor would be out in 30 days!
Indeed, if leading signatories to an agreement begin to misinterpret the contents, then there is no need for other parties to continue having confidence in both the agreement and personalities found guilty of such indiscretion. I am personally not surprised at Chambas' posture; he behaved the same way during the long tussle between Taylor's NPFL and the IGNU.
I hope you'll see through his attitude, and take a less jaundiced view of the reactions of the rebel groups who rightly now feel betrayed and sold out by those who may have benefited from some of the ill gotten money Taylor has stolen from our people.
Thanks and continue your otherwise good work.
Doris A. Marwee
Thank you for reacting to the comments made by the "3rd First Lady" of Liberia, Jewel Taylor. Her comments on CNN embarrassed me greatly. It would have been better if she had not made any comments regarding her "husband's" rule. She could have stuck to comments on her so-called humanitarian work in Liberia. This lady is disgusting.
I am writing to register my support of the above idea by Mr. Joe F. Matthew. I do not know what Mr. Matthew political leaning is, however I believe that those that I fighting now, members of the current and past Liberian governments should not be given any opportunity to continue to terrorize our people and keep them as slaves.
I come from a family whose heads were never involved in politics, and yet my brothers, sisters and I were able to obtain quality education through the sweat, hard work and determination of our parents. There are Liberians who are honest, caring people willing to do the right thing for our country. We are not ready to undertake the task at hand; We need the United Nations and USA assistance.
The leadership of the USA is badly needed to put Liberia back to normalcy. Ecowas troops have helped in the past to establish and maintain the peace. They have also contributed to the pillage of our country.
Yes, I support the idea of trusteeship and the five years cooling off period. The period is needed for those that have subjugated our people, butched our people, violated the innocence of our children and caused many of our people to be displaced to be brought to justice. The justice of confessing their crimes publically before the Liberian people and the world.
This is the only way to sustain the peace in Liberia and West Africa.
I just read an article by one of your contributors, Mr. Edward K. Kollie, Jr., captioned, “Two-Tongued Supporters of Freedom,” in which he thought arguments that the Ghanaian Government was within its legal rights not to have effected the arrest of visiting Liberian President Charles Taylor on account of an ill-timed announcement of the issuance of an “indictment and arrest warrant” against the visiting president, were somehow “flimsy.” “baseless excuse” and “retarded justifications.” In rhetoric, we call such posturing “begging the question” when someone decides to evade the issue or question at hand, and takes comfort in casting aspersions. Perhaps, Mr. Kollie might have understood the argument better if he were more familiar with international relations and diplomacy, or the legal requirement and ramification for arresting a visiting head of state on one’s soil. The decision to arrest or not to arrest a visiting head of state has more to do with consequences and precedence in international relations and diplomacy, than with whether the accused is culpable or not culpable for the crimes alleged.
Mr. Kollie will gain some insights into international relations and diplomacy as regards the Ghanaian government’s options in the wake of the arrest order, and the issue of personal responsibility on the part of Liberians to solve their own problem at home within the body of this writing, so I will not bother to go into the details of Mr. Kollie’s article. I would appreciate it, however Mr. Editor, if you would share with Mr. Kollie and your readers, the text of my reply to one J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III, who was as vocal as Mr. Kollie about the content of my letter to the editor, published by your magazine on June 12, under the caption, “The Indictment of Taylor is Part of the Uncertainties, not the Solution to Liberia’s Problems,” and by another magazine the same day under the caption, “Ghana’s Refusal to Arrest Taylor is Legitimate.”
I should, however, caution Mr. Kollie never to consider someone’s opinion “flimsy,” “baseless excuse” or “retarded justifications” unless he understands the depth of that person’s experience and perspective. Mr. Kollie is entitled to his opinion as any other person, especially fellow Liberians, on the thorny issues of Liberia, and the best he could do is to present his views and make his case on the merits of the subject at hand, without assigning to himself the moral authority to condemn others, or rhetorically “beg the question,” by thinking that something is “flimsy”, ”baseless excuse”, or” retarded justifications” when it is not. Below is the text of my reply to J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III, with now a carbon copy to Edward K. Kollie, Jr.
Not long ago, I had the occasion to clarify the myth held by some of my “educated” Liberian brethren that it was “intellectual McCarthyism” for ordinary Liberians to assert that the educated or “book people” destroyed Liberia. But what could be further from the truth? The fact remains that “educated Liberians” did destroy Liberia because they have always been the key, if not the only, strategic planners throughout Liberian history, serving as cabinet ministers, county executives (superintendents), policy makers, lawyers, judges, propagandists, office managers, rebel commanders, and the like. Today, I have another occasion to clarify for my “educated” Liberian compatriot, J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III, whoever he is, that Ghana was within its legal rights as a sovereign state to refuse to honor an international arrest warrant against Liberian President Charles Taylor, while Taylor was in Ghana on a Liberian peace mission.
Like my educated Liberian brethren who believed that the “book people” did not destroy Liberia, my educated compatriot, J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III ran for cover under legal precepts with a few quotations from the International Criminal Court (ICC), as if international relations and diplomacy did not matter in international law. Even at that, the issue under discussion is not about international law but rather the application of international law. For instance, if we carefully examined the passage, “the court may transmit a request for the arrest and surrender of a person, together with the material supporting the request outlined in article 91, to any state on the territory of which that person may be found and shall request the cooperation of that state in the arrest and surrender of such a person,” as ably cited from the ICC by Mr. J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III in support of his argument that Ghana had a “duty” to arrest Mr. Taylor, it is difficult to understand his logic, interpretation, and conclusion.
Here, the passage of law is made very clear in plain English that the Ghanaian government was not “obligated” or had any “duty” to arrest Mr. Taylor, if Ghana felt its national security and diplomatic interests were at stake, regardless of what J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III and others think. The key words in the passage cited are “request” and “cooperation” not “obligation” or “duty.” In essence, the decision to arrest or not to arrest Taylor rested entirely on the goodwill of the Ghanaian government, as far as the statute in question is concerned. So, if one needs a law degree to reckon with such elementary fact, then woe unto us as so-called “educated Liberians.”
Moreover, in his rush to discredit rather than disagree with the content of my letter, regarding Ghana’s apparent refusal to arrest Taylor, my “educated” compatriot, J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III, selected not to deal with the substance of my argument, and state his disagreement, but rather sought comfort in questioning my patriotism, intellect, professional background and motives. He even sailed so far afield as to misrepresent and misinterpret my remarks by leaving out the conditional clause. I wrote, “We, Liberians, should not have expected the Ghanaian government to do the dirty work of the Sierra Leone war crimes tribunal, if the tribunal restrained itself for nearly three weeks from publicly announcing the indictment and arrest order of Mr. Taylor until the Ghana peace conference on Liberia.” Without the conditional clause beginning with “if”, the meaning and context of the remarks are lost, and any attempt to interpret the passage without the clause is misguided. So, I hope Mr. J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III will do himself and his conscience justice by rereading my letter and the passage from the ICC ten more times to grasps their true meanings. It is disingenuous to accuse someone of intellectual or professional arrogance, when the main problem is selective distortion or misinterpretation of the issue at hand. And no doubt, it is such cheap shots and carelessness I had in mind when I wrote that, “...jubilations at the indictment of Taylor, and the condemnation of Ghana for taking action in its own national interest only show that we Liberians still have long bridges to cross before we learn our lessons.” Childish remarks? I think not! But it will surely be “childish” to someone who strives to distort by beginning the passage at “Liberians still have long bridges to cross....”
Besides, when I wrote that, “I think it is time we face up to the problem we created collectively by our rush to judgment on many issues pertinent to our survival as a nation and people …” I was simply writing from past experience, and had no idea that a J. Garlahyee Gonkarnus III existed to prove my point about “our rush to judgment” so elegantly, by insinuating that I was writing outside my areas of expertise or professional background, as if he knew anything about my professional background. If a person with background as a professional journalist and a former foreign service officer as I am, is not competent to speak or write on issues of international relations and diplomacy, then I don’t know who J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III has in mind. I wrote that, “The hatred of Taylor should not permit Liberians to applaud a bad precedent when it is being set. After all, if the arrest of Taylor were justified under such a circumstance, which other African head of state would be immune from summary arrest or similar treatments in the future? Or should unpopular African leaders accused of crimes outside their borders await secret indictment and arrest at international conferences? I think not!” Here, my concerns are clearly about diplomatic precedence and African diplomacy or international relations than about international law.
I did not challenge the court, nor did I say the court was not within its legal rights and jurisdiction to indict Mr. Taylor. I simply questioned the style of delivery, and inferred that the court should not be in the business of issuing secret indictments and arrest warrants that had the potential of embarrassing a host country. The way the indictment and arrest warrant were issued and made public, the Ghanaian government was forced to choose between honoring its international diplomatic responsibility to accord the visiting head of state security protection and due respect, and honoring its responsibility under the international criminal court to arrest an indictee. These two international responsibilities were legal, but the choice of which to implement rested entirely with the Ghanaian government. If you still disagree, please explain why you think the Ghanaian government did not have the legal right to choose in this particular case!
Other key points of my letter that were either misconstrued or deliberately distorted had to do with the statements that Liberians have the capacity to indict, try and convict Mr. Taylor, if indictment is what we want, rather than hide behind or feel comforted by the Sierra Leone tribunal. Remember, the key words are “if indictment is what we want!” And, I mean just that. I think it is a great shame and disgrace on Liberia and Liberians to see the indictment of our sitting president by an international court for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in a foreign country. But it is a complete joke on the Liberian nation and people to rely on the Sierra Leone tribunal to try Taylor for crimes committed through Taylor surrogates in Sierra Leone, instead of exhausting every effort to try Taylor at home for crimes he personally spearheaded in Liberia. Or, is it suggestive that the 50,000 people killed in Sierra Leone by Taylor-sponsored RUF are more important than the 250,000 people killed in Liberia under Taylor’s direct watch as head of NPFL?
Of course, life is life, and one single life lost in Sierra Leone or Liberia is one life too many. But let’s take a critical look at the issue at play with this scenario. For instance, if I live in the Joe Bar, Sinkor Old Road Area as you, and I stole and sold all the appliances from the homes of you and your neighbours to outside bidders, would you be happy to send me to Harbel to be tried for crimes committed by two thieves I had trained because you learned the two thieves stole some appliances from families in the Harbel area? I think not, because any logical person will first try the thieves responsible for crimes committed in the Joe Bar, Sinkor Old Road area before sending them to Harbel, if necessary. That is what I think and that is what I believe should be the right course of action, and I will gladly accept the “unpatriotic” label on this particular issue! But I think you’ve got the point!
I should remind you and others who think like you that the Liberian problem is more complex than we care to admit. Have you ever wondered how Taylor escaped from a U.S. jail to be head of a rebel group? Do you know why ULIMO-K joined with the Taylor’s NPFL to get rid of ULIMO-J? Did you care to think why INPFL captured and killed President Samuel K. Doe only to create a political leadership vacuum that was filled by the various IGNUs? Do you know how Taylor’s NPFL got its original funding, or to whom the NPFL sold gold, diamonds, rubber, and other materials from the so-called Greater Liberia? Unless you know the answers to these and other questions, the problems of Liberia will not be solved even if Taylor were arrested, tried and imprisoned today.
Unlike you, I do not think Taylor is the problem in Liberia, but rather part of the problem in Liberia. Yesterday, Tolbert was the problem, so we got rid of him and no better. Then Doe became the problem and we got rid of him and still no better. Now, Taylor is the problem, so we are again trying to get rid of him. But do you sincerely think that that will solve the problems in Liberia? I think not because the problem in Liberia is more systemic than individualistic, though the head of government always bears full leadership responsibilities for any failures under his or her watch. And you may disagree with my conclusions, based on information available to you, but that doesn’t make you unpatriotic, or intellectually arrogant.
The peace and unity we crave for in Liberia will not happen by magic. We will have to work hard at it. But we cannot be emotional, lest we lose sight of the bigger picture. We must show toleration, and respect for each other as individual persons, and should be prepared to state where and how we disagree with each other without being abusive. I do not subscribe to the notion that any Liberian is smarter, better or more patriotic than the other. We only differ in our experiences and our strategies and approaches about various issues on Liberia. And that is good as long as we can channel our energies toward the common good of the Liberian nation and people. No one has the right to ask the other person to rescind his or her opinion or position on a particular issue out of sheer disagreement, unless such statement or opinion is injurious to that person as clearly sanctioned by state laws. It is therefore my hope that we will each have an open mind as we strive to find solutions to the many problems facing Liberia. No shortcut will solve our problem. We need to think long and hard about our next course of action before we repeat the mistakes of the past. I hope I have made myself clear.
Thank you, Mr. Editor, for the opportunity to clarify my position not necessarily at the prodding of J. Garlahyee Gonkarnu III, but for the benefit of your readers and posterity.
Nat Galarea Gbessagee
Washington, DC Metro
What you have composed below is no more than a debate between Liberian's and whosoever takes part in that debate about the citizenship rights for Black Americans. This is unacceptable, as I have told you before, this is not a debatable issue, this is our inalienable right that was given to us by our ancestors, 181 years ago. How long will it take for Liberians to realize that every news or media account of Liberia's beginning starts with; Liberia was settled by freed slaves from America, in the early 19th century. I hope and pray that the testimony of the Media is enough proof needed for the fact, that Black Americans are citizens of Liberia. My fellow Liberians, if you have learned or have been taught anything at all about Black Americans, that one lesson you should have learned is, we are persistent in our pursuit of what’s seen as belonging to us. Take the battle of civil rights between the Black Americans and the Caucasians as an example, we have not won that battle, but we have come a long way from the starting point and are still battling. You are 100% correct when you say we are looking for a lasting solution for peace in our country. I will highly appreciate it if you will post this on the web site, for all Liberians to view.
Dear Mr. Editor
I will first of all thank you and your Web Magazine for your tireless efforts
to keep Liberians abreast on issues of national concerns. Having said that,
I will like to comment on Mr. T. Q .Harris's issue; after reading the excepts
of your interview with Mr. Harris, I came out with the following conclusions.
Mr. Harris seems to be confused to the extent that he doesn't even know what
he stands for in the Liberian political society; this is the same man who
has been advocating for the establishment of a war crime tribunal for former
so-called war-lords and yet still he is fraudulently appointing himself to
a position( Associated with a warring faction ) that he doesn't know what
it is about and what is the source of such an appointment. Mr. Harris has
proven to all seasoned Liberians that he is not competent to hold even the
position as a Mayor of Monrovia talk less of President of Liberia, because
if he doesn't understand the chain of command in any given organization, then
there is no way he can make a productive President. Appointments ( Especially
that of representation ) come from executive officials. For Mr. Harris to
naively publish and try to defend an unsubstantiated document from a discharged
Chief of Staff without first making all necessary inquiry regarding the so-called
appointment is an indication that he is nothing but a frustrated power greedy
ambitious unqualified politician who is trying to achieve his personal goal
by any means necessary. Another thing that is uncovered by this appointment
scenario about Mr. Harris is that he doesn't care about the ware fare of other
people even if it is going to cause them their life; does Mr. Harris realize
the consequences of the implications he is trying to put Gen. Prince Seo in?
In a Military Organization as LURD the reward for such an action by Gen.Seo
is death. And the young man's life is vary important ( maybe not to Mr. Harris
) to any human dignity loving Liberian. It is time for the Liberians to be
aware of people like T. Q. Harris as we are striving to heal the wounds we
have inflicted upon ourselves for the past fourteen years.
Musa S. Fofana
Please send a copy of this analysis to the White House, and maybe it will make them do something about my beloved Liberia.
Thanks in advance.