–A CALL TO PATRIOTIC CITIZENRY IN LIBERIA
Friday October 17, 2003
By Rev.Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu, Esq,
Former Instructor of Educational Psychology
MOE/University of Liberia World Bank In-Service Teacher-Training Program,
All true Liberians–that is, all Liberians whose hearts beat with patriotic love and concern for their country— will by now be lost for words to express the joy that vibrates in their souls , as they savour the return to civil order in their Sweet Land of Liberty.
The inauguration into the Interim Presidency this week of Mr. Gyude Bryant, who as the head of the 2- year Caretaker government , should steer the Liberian ship of state to the wonderous shores of total peace , national recovery and national rehabilitation , is the best thing that has happened to a once bastion of peace and socio-economic and political progress in Africa for decades.
With the key force of destabilization, former President Charles Taylor gone, the largest peacekeeping force ever in the world to soon fan out into every crevice of the war-battered country, and a government of national unity in place , the future portends only good things for Liberia, a nation that did not deserve to fall into the unfortunate straits she found herself, in the first place.
To every man and every nation comes the opportunity to put right and redeem. It is Liberia’s moment of destiny. She has been given the opportunity to rectify her errors and start a new lease of life.
A resilient people adept at surmounting adversity , Liberians have the capacity to rise to the occasion of the multitudinous challenges that they are going to encounter during the coming years as they strive to put the horrible past behind them and carve out a new country from the carcass of that destroyed by internecine wars during the past 13 years.
But if this optimism in the abilities of Liberian people is not to be turned into a mere pipe dream, Liberians themselves must rise up and adhere to the demands of patriotic citizenship. After decades of waging war on each other and seeking the extermination of other people’s tribes and ethnic groups, the time has now come for Liberians to put all these selfish considerations behind them and seek only the welfare of their nation. They have seen where tribalism and ethnicism has landed their country. The time has now come when every Liberian must demonstrate an uncanny ability to learn from the past.
It is an era that calls for supreme sacrifice from every name that calls himself or herself a Liberian. There should be sacrifice in tolerance . It is wishful thinking for anybody to expect all the tribal animosities, bitterness and resentments to just evaporate in the air. The roots of enmity will still exist but every Liberian must now make a special sacrifice to look beyond internecine rifts and starve the roots of tribalism or ethnicicism of the nourishments necessary for them to sprout again and send their deadly fruits blooming.
It is also an era that calls for collective national vision. Liberia got into her present mess when her citizens saw visions that were adrift of national goals and aspirations. The trouble started with a greedy, wicked , suppressive, bigoted and segregationist oligarchy that trampled on the ordinary man in the street, to a bloody, animalistic and violent military coup that could have been avoided , to a wanton military dictatorship that did not care one hoot about how it took the nation to the cleaners , to a mindlessly brutal reaction and godless warlordism that only exacerbated the problem . In all these, men and women of Liberia sought only their own parochial interests. Nobody thought about the nation.
Therefore, when people ask whether Gyude Bryant was ideally suited for the interim Presidency or what he could do to restore Liberia’s lost glories, they are really misguided. The problem is not going to be Gyude Bryant per se , although inspiring brinkmanship will be required of Mr. Bryant as the man who carries the hopes and dreams of a people hungry for peace and progress. The onus of success or failure of the journey of peace and restoration that have been embarked upon will be equally on the shoulders of the generality of Liberians themselves
Every Liberian worthy of his name will have to strive beyond the ordinary to make peace and national reconciliation, national healing and national rehabilitation sordid realities. Never before has an era called for sacrifice and harder work for Liberians than this. Everybody will have to work hard in their respective vocations, callings and corners to ensure that the new dispensation holds and that the fortunes of the nation are restored.
There are the combatants to be disarmed, demobilized and reintegrated into society. There is the economy to be resuscitated. There are other social institutions like the schools, the Universities , the hospitals, clinics , and infrastructure to be rebilt. It is not going to be an easy task, but by the Grace of God Liberia is going to succeed .
Let us therefore stop asking what Gyude Bryant can do for Liberia and ask what every Liberian can do to make these dreams of success a reality.