Monday, April 12, 2010

Open Letter to President Barrack Hussein & Mrs. Michelle Obama By Joe Gbaba, Sr., Ed. D.

Open Letter to President Barrack Hussein & Mrs. Michelle Obama

The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D. C. 20500, U. S. A.
By Joe Gbaba, Sr., Ed. D.
Exiled Liberian Playwright & Artist/Scholar

This open letter was prompted by the recent pronouncement made by Liberian terrorist warlords including incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Prince Johnson, and many supporters of mayhem in Liberia, declaring their candidacy and intent to run come 2011 presidential and general elections in Liberia. Obviously, the defiance of the President and her supporters regarding the recommendations of the TRC sets the unfriendly tone for political chaos and uneven playing field for all participants during the scheduled general elections in 2011. Consequently, it is mandatory that the verdict of Liberian terrorist warlords be determined before that time in order to ensure peace and security and the return to genuine democracy in Liberia next year.

Also, this letter is intended to request the American Government and people to make amends with the Government and people of Liberia for America’s dubious role in fueling the Liberian Civil War that led to the death of more than a quarter of a million Liberian citizens.


Dear President Barrack and Mrs. Michelle Obama:

This is an SOS call from me to you regarding the suffering of post-war Liberian citizens living in Liberia, as well as Liberian refugees residing in foreign lands such as the United States of America, Europe, Australia, and on the continent of Africa. My main reason for writing you is because Liberian citizens at home and those in the Diaspora are being held hostage by Liberian warlords like Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Prince Johnson, and many others who have committed heinous crimes against the Liberian people and humanity and who are still parading the corridors of power in Liberia with impunity. At the present moment, these war criminals have out rightly refused to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), on grounds that the Act that established the TRC along with its recommendations is 'unconstitutional.' Therefore, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Prince Johnson, and many others, have announced their intent to run for public office during the forthcoming presidential and general elections in 2011, especially when they were banned by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission not to participate in politics in Liberia for thirty years. In addition, the proper peace and reconciliation mechanisms have not been put in place in post-conflict Liberia as yet; therefore, the climate is not ripe for free and fair presidential and general elections in Liberia in 2011. However, smooth political transfer of power may be realized when the fate of Liberian terrorist warlords has been determined through constitutional means and with support from the international community. Consequently, this may ultimately and hopefully lead to the arrest, indictment, and prosecution of perpetrators of war crimes in Liberia, so that they may be tried at The Hague for atrocities they committed against the Liberian people and humanity. In this case, there will have been justice done; and the political playing field would then be even; and Liberians would be prepared to participate in free and fair presidential and general elections.

Mr. President and Madam First Lady, it is the living truth that these culprits financially and morally supported the Liberian Civil War and they subsequently actively participated in it and committed atrocities beyond proportion. Consequently, that led to the death of more than 250,000 Liberian citizens. Unfortunately, the Liberian terrorist warlords and their supporters are the same ones who took over the helm of the Liberian State in cohort with international peace negotiators from the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This power-sharing arrangement was made by virtue of their being belligerent warlords who held all of us at gun point and also because they refused to cease hostilities if their demands were not met by international and local mediators. Therefore, the decision to allow culprits to head the Liberian Government was definitely in contravention of the Constitution of Liberia and it was against the will of the Liberian people as well.

However, power-sharing was allowed because the Liberian people were weary of war and they hoped that the perpetrators of human carnage would eventually reason and give way for true democracy to flourish after their first six year term of office was ended. Sad to say, these war criminals have remained inflexible and they continue to inflict suffering and economic hardships on all Liberians with impunity and without end. As a result, these violent prone Liberian citizens have intentionally stalled the truth and reconciliation process in Liberia at this time because they do not want to be arrested and prosecuted for the atrocities they committed during the Liberian Civil War. In addition, they have also dampened the hopes of Liberian refugees who would like to return home after general elections are held in 2011. This is because millions of Liberians (including myself) feel insecure living under the gavel of Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her terrorist supporters based on Mrs. Sirleaf‟s and her supporters‟ previous involvement in financing and abetting mayhem in Liberia.

Also, Liberia is being presently re-peopled by immigrants and ethnic groups from other West African states based on ECOWAS’ protocol while Liberians are lingering in refugee camps and dying from various curable diseases and sicknesses. These migrant workers and immigrants are non-Liberian citizens and they are gradually occupying the hinterland of Liberia and are displacing Liberians in their own country. As a result, there are numerous unresolved land disputes in Liberia at the writing of this open letter to you. Hence, if this kind of strategy continues for the next ten to twenty years, the new population of Liberia will be significantly different in terms of our history and culture and the deprivation of bonafide Liberians to own land on their own Native soil. Further, the Sirleaf Government continues to inflict hardships on all Liberians in terms of lack of Government control over prices of goods and services in Liberia; lack of employment opportunities and high unemployment rate; high death toll due to the lack of basic public utilities and mental health and medical services, as well as the lack of good communication networks, farm-to-markets roads, and public safety. In addition, post-war Liberians are deprived of the basic prerequisites of modern life, such as safe pipe-borne drinking water, electricity, well staffed schools, hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation programs for former combatants and child soldiers and civilians who were traumatized by the civil war and by the atrocities they witnessed over the past twenty years.

Most of our children sit on bare floors to learn without the convenience of having desks and chairs to sit on in most of our classrooms. There are no culturally relevant textbooks and the educational system continues to project the hegemony of the minority Settler group that constitutes the ruling class of Liberia for nearly two centuries. Additionally, the educational system continues to neglect the history and culture of indigenous Liberians. Consequently, this type of educational system is creating more division among the Liberian people. In essence, it further suppresses the under served of the Liberian society and it puts most poor and uneducated Liberians at risk of being easily overpowered by alien cultures, and by self-hatred and self-dejection. Presently, ritualistic killing is on the rise as well and armed robbery is also a big safety factor to reckon with because many of Liberia‟s child soldiers and former combatants were not properly rehabilitated. As a consequence, there is a very high crime rate in the country and Liberian citizens are living in fear every day and night because they dare not speak up against Liberian terrorist warlords and their supporters for fear of reprisals. Also, it is my belief that the Sirleaf Government neglected to properly rehabilitate former combatants and child soldiers so that they may have readied fighters whenever they once again decide to terrorize the Liberian people if election results do not turn out in their favor.

In addition, humanitarian aids provided through the good will of the international community are being mismanaged and not used for their intended purposes. Hence, there is a high degree of misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance in Liberia. In other words, officials of the Sirleaf Government are abusing their authority in order to achieve their desired result of getting rich over night and to perpetuate themselves in power. As a result, they carry out unlawful acts that cannot be legally justified or that conflict with the laws of the land (the Constitution of Liberia). Furthermore, the recent outright refusal of the Sirleaf Government to recognize the will of the Liberian people through the recommendations of the TRC is indeed practically the same as failure to meet legal obligations as the 'elected Government' of the Liberian people.

Also, due to the recent pronouncement made by Mrs. Sirleaf and her supporters, all Liberian refugees living abroad, as well as Liberian citizens living in Liberia, are concerned about national security issues, and Liberians are also concerned about the outright defiance and unconcerned attitude of Mrs. Sirleaf and her cohorts with regards to the inalienable rights of Liberian citizens and the mandates of the TRC. In this light, I strongly believe that there cannot be presidential and general elections in Liberia when there is a hung verdict concerning the fate of Liberian terrorist warlords who are holding hostage the Liberian peace process, especially by not recognizing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations. Against these backdrops, it is safe to ask a battery of questions in order to arrive at the core of the argument of whether or not the TRC was an illegal and unconstitutional set up:

(1) If the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were 'unconstitutional' then when, why and how and for what reasons was it set up?

(2) Did Mrs. Sirleaf and her cohorts not know the TRC was an 'unconstitutional' set up
prior to the commencement and implementation of the functions of the TRC in Liberia and in the Diaspora

(3) If the TRC were 'illegal,' then from where did the TRC get seed monies to operate?

(4) Did the Sirleaf Government not provide funding for the TRC during the course of
the Commission‟s existence?

(5) Or, if the Sirleaf Government provided funding for the TRC to operate, then why
was it pumping Liberian Government funds in an 'illegal' and 'unconstitutional' body?

(6) Who appointed the Commissioners of the TRC and from where did the TRC get its
mandate?

(7) What is so 'unconstitutional' about a body being set up by the Liberian people to
resolve their national conflict?

(8) Which is more unconstitutional, to unite Liberian citizens and restore the rule of
law; or to divide and murder Liberian citizens through the force of arms?

(9) What was more unconstitutional than inciting Liberians against their own Nation
State so that they might take up arms and kill one another in cold blood?

(10) What was even more unconstitutional than to purchase weapons of mass
destruction that cost the precious lives of more than 250,000 Liberian citizens due to
the greed of Liberian terrorist warlords to regain political and economic power?

(11) Further, what was more heinous a crime than to recruit children between the
ages five and above as child soldiers and as innocent killing machines, so that Liberian
terrorist warlords might rule Liberia in contravention of the Constitution of the
Republic of Liberia?

(12) Besides, what was so constitutional about the formation of interim
governments outside of Liberia and outside of the Constitution of Liberia?

(13) What is the position or role of the UN, AU, ECOWAS, and the United States of
America, with respect to the implementation of the TRC recommendations in Liberia?

Further discussing the issue of constitutionality, it is safe to state at this juncture that Liberians accepted the various peace accords and power-sharing arrangements over time because Liberians were tired of war and they wanted peace. Thus, it was not because the ECOWAS, UN, or AU peace accords were constitutional in Liberian terms; but rather, it was because Liberians wanted peace. Of course, at that time Liberian terrorist warlords who are now crying in the name of ‘Constitution’ did not cry out to say it was 'unconstitutional' to set up interim governments in Abuja, Accra, Banjul, and Freetown and to select a group of supporters of heavily armed warring factions to hold prominent Government of Liberia positions as their spoils of war. Mind you, these are individuals who committed atrocities against the Liberian people and humanity and they insisted that they would not drop their arms unless they were rewarded with big Government jobs. Hence, most of the power-sharing schemes were designed to keep Liberian warring factions in business instead of striving to end the Liberian Civil War. Thus, these 'peace deals' became a lucrative business between peacekeepers and belligerent parties to the Liberian conflict at the expense of the precious lives of Liberian civilians: particularly women, children, teenagers, and the elderly.

Against this backdrop, Liberians accepted power-sharing terms like bitter pills so peace might prevail in Liberia. Therefore, Liberian terrorist warlords should definitely not be crying that it is ‘unconstitutional’ for them to abstain from participating in politics after they have brought so much death and destruction upon all of us. In other words, it is impossible at this stage of the Liberian peace process for Liberian terrorist warlords to cut their own cake and eat it. They must be willing to make amends with the Liberian people at this time and they must understand that the process of peace and reconciliation requires a spirit of give-and-take. In addition, banning Liberian terrorist warlords is constitutionally justified because these war criminals committed atrocious and rebellious acts against the Liberian State and its people; consequently, they are a threat to the safety of the Liberian society and people and they are also a threat to themselves.

Therefore, it is indeed constitutional to prohibit from running for public office Liberians who have committed treasonous acts and insurrection against the Liberian State, particularly when they have admitted to committing atrocities or when it is glaringly clear they abetted lawlessness and human carnage inside and outside of Liberia (including the Republics of Sierra Leone and Guinea for instance). Their unlawful acts were in contravention of the Constitution of Liberia, as well as the safety of the Liberian Nation State. Further, they also breached international and humanitarian laws by carrying on massive murder of hundreds of thousands of Liberian citizens. However, one major reason why these Liberian terrorist warlords believe they can get away with the atrocities they have committed with impunity is because Charles Taylor was arrested and charged with war crimes by the Sierra Leone led UN War Crime Tribunal because of atrocities he (Charles Taylor) allegedly committed against the people of Sierra Leone and humanity. Liberia does not have a UN led War Crime Court. As a result, Charles Taylor and other Liberian warlords have not been charged for the crimes they committed against the Liberian people because the Sirleaf Government has refused to give credence to the TRC recommendations that call for setting up a War Crime Court to formally charge and prosecute Liberian terrorist warlords and their supporters.

Also, Liberians fault the United States Government through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the 'mysterious release' of Liberian terrorist leader, Charles Taylor, who spearheaded the mayhem with help from Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and many others whose names were submitted for prosecution by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As a direct consequence, the connivance of Liberian terrorist warlords with the CIA and other Western and African nations later led to the death of more than a quarter million Liberian citizens. In this light, these culprits who are now ruling Liberia committed treasonous acts against the Liberian State and people and we find that their atrocious acts are unconstitutional and that they should therefore be prosecuted with the full force of the laws of Liberia and international humanitarian and human rights laws.

In view of the foregoing, the United States of America should take responsibility for her actions in fueling the Liberian Civil War by 'releasing' Liberian terrorist leader Charles Taylor from maximum prison in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1985. Mr. Taylor himself confessed at his hearing in July of 2009 in The Hague that the American CIA secured his release from prison. Based on this event and circumstance, Liberia today is grieving the loss of more than 250,000 Liberian citizens, with thousands of Liberians lingering in refugee camps in African and Western and Far Eastern nations. Also, many Liberians would like to return home but they fear reprisals from Liberian terrorist warlords who are currently in power. As a consequence, there is a huge death toll among Liberian refugees due to the deplorable living conditions in which they are entangled around the globe, such as: economic hardships and lack of good medical care; due to feelings of disappointment about not being able to return to their homeland when the war was supposedly declared ended; and also due to separation from loved ones over a protracted period of time. For instance, my wife and I have not seen our eighty-year old mothers for more than thirteen years and we were unable to attend the burials of our fathers who were past eighty-five when they died while we were in exile because of safety issues.

Therefore, Mr. President and Madam First Lady, I would like to call upon you on behalf of millions of my countrymen and women to impose economic and political sanctions on the Sirleaf Government until the recommendations of the TRC can be implemented before presidential and general elections can be held in Liberia in 2011. The main reason for this clarion call is because the atrocious acts Liberian terrorist warlords committed against Liberians and humanity were unconstitutional and they indeed are in contravention of the charters of the United Nations, the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States, as well as in contravention of international humanitarian and human rights laws. Thus, the continued presence of these terrorist warlords in the Liberian society at this time is subjugating the Liberian people to continued duress and psychological torture and trauma. It is also promoting the institution of lawlessness as the acceptable culture of Liberia and is replacing democracy with human carnage and disrespect for the dignity of the human person.

Mr. President and Madam First Lady, this is the catastrophic situation in Liberia today. International negotiators made the wrong decisions by entrusting the security of the State of Liberia and the lives of the Liberian people into the care of culprits who committed mayhem in contravention of the Constitution of Liberia. Thus, it can be likened to the owner of a herd of goats giving a leopard his goats to keep while he goes on a field trip. Hence, it is obvious that no goats will be left by the time the owner returns from his field trip because leopards prey on goats! Therefore, something must be done now to save the Liberian nation and its citizens from the frigid grips of gruesome murderers and perpetrators of injustice in Liberia. In this connection, it is important first for the recommendations of the TRC to be recognized by the Government on the ground; and that the Government will exercise its good will as a democratically elected Government of the people of Liberia to immediately begin the implementation of the TRC recommendations in the genuine interest of peace and reconciliation in post-conflict Liberia. For, to do otherwise, demonstrates on the part of Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that her Government does not stand for peace and reconciliation in Liberia.

In view of the above mentioned, Mr. President and Madam First Lady, now is the time for the American Government and people to save the day and make amends with the Liberian nation and people for the atrocities the United States partly abetted by releasing or not re-arresting Charles Taylor who was jailed in a maximum Plymouth prison cell in the State of Massachusetts. He was awaiting extradition for embezzling $900,000. Thus, as a result of his 'release' by the CIA Charles Taylor‟s terrorist actions caused the death of more than a quarter of a million Liberians. As a result, Liberia and its citizens experienced more disaster as a consequence of terrorist attack than the American nation and people did on September 11, 2001. In view of the foregoing, the atrocities that Al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden inflicted upon the American people can in no way be compared or measured to the atrocities and mayhem Liberians experienced under Charles Taylor, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and other Liberian terrorist warlords and their supporters over the span of twenty years.

For an example, when Al-Qaeda used 19 hijackers and attacked by aircraft hijacking, mass murder, and suicide attack on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 between the hours of 8:46 a.m. to 10:28 a.m. via UTC-4, in three different locations (New York City, Arlington County, Virginia; and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania), it was reported that America lost approximately 2,973 victims, and 6,000 injured. Now, compare the American figure to the Liberian figure of more than 250,000 victims, more than 100,000 injured, and more than 1 million people displaced in their own homeland and in refugee camps around the world! From these projected figures, Mr. President and Madam First Lady, I am sure you now understand why Liberians are nervous about elections being held in 2011 when major hurdles to the successful accomplishment of the peace and reconciliation process have not been resolved in Liberia.

Further, I need not remind you, Your Excellencies, that Liberia is the Israel of the Black Race; that Liberia along with Haiti and the Empire of Ethiopia was the Beacon of Hope, of Black Independence and of Self-rule. Liberia was a peacemaker and an original signatory to the charters of the League of Nations, the United Nations, the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States, among many others. In addition, Liberia contributed troops to the UN's efforts to end the civil war in the Congos in the early 1960s and Liberia spearheaded human rights cases at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the best interest of the Black Race and in pursuit of the total liberation of the African continent.

All these great contributions and Black symbolism that Liberia represents will go to waste if your Administration does not move swiftly to restore constitutional democracy and the rule of law to post-conflict Liberia through the Democratic Party of the United States and with Concressional bipartisan support. In this light, you can be a great help in restoring peace, genuine democracy and the rule of law to post-conflict Liberia by enforcing and recognizing the TRC recommendations in order to help bring to justice perpetrators of mayhem in Liberia. Hence, by so doing, this will also be in line with America‟s ardent desire to rid the world of terrorists and perpetrators of human carnage.

In conclusion, I thank you, Mr. President and Madam First Lady, for your patience and I look forward to a speedy and favorable response or resolution to our problems in Liberia. In addition, I am forwarding you this letter via mail and a copy of my most recently published book entitled: Conflict Resolution and the Concept of Change: A Reminder to the Truth and Reconciliation Process from the Liberian Perspective. It is my ardent wish that this book may inform you about the plight of the Liberian people, and I hope it may also subsequently authorize you to make an informed decision that will be in the best interest of the United States of America and the Republic of Liberia, respectively.

Respectfully yours,
Joseph Tomoon-Garlodeyh Gbaba, Sr., Ed. D.
Exiled Liberian Playwright & Artist/Scholar
April 4, 2010, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U. S. A.

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Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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