Thursday, August 5, 2010

ELECTION 2011: THE BATTLE OF GOOD VERSUS EVIL

By T. Q. Harris, Jr.

Election 2011 is more than an exercise in Democracy; rather, for the vast majority of Liberians, it is a desperate struggle for survival…an all-out Battle between the forces of good and evil! It’s a fight for the heart and soul of a nation! This is a defining moment! Therefore no true son or daughter of the soil can afford to stand idly by and watch.

Liberia - West Africa 
In a deadly attack on the Liberian population of 3.5 million by so-called liberators, not less than 200,000 men, women and children were massacred. Thousands more maimed and psychologically damaged. Countless numbers of women were violently raped and abused as sex slaves. And there are those who were tortured, beaten and permanently scared.

Liberia civil war - over 200,000 people were killed
The brutal 15-year war forced more than a million people from their homes. Tens of thousands fled for their lives into refugee camps throughout West Africa and beyond. Many today are still living in horrible conditions afraid to return because the people responsible for the deaths of their loved ones are now ruling the country. And the deafening silence on the part of the international community regarding war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Liberia has given cause for concern.

So egregious were the crimes perpetrated by the warlords and their co-conspirators that the mention of their names even now strikes fear in the hearts of many Liberians. Knowing this, they continue to threaten and intimidate the larger population. This is why Liberians are eagerly looking forward to the 2011 election. It offers the best opportunity to create a Tribunal that will hold accountable persons bearing the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity which will lay the foundation for Rule of Law and Accountability. Moreover, through free and fair election, Liberians will have a shot at changing their fortunes peacefully and putting an end to impunity.

Most of the killings were carried out by children as young as 5 who were given drugs, guns and ammunition and turned loose on the population. Now they have become young adults but have yet to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. The future of this generation of Liberians has been destroyed by individuals driven by greed, selfishness and blind ambition. There is no doubt the effects of this calamity will linger for decades.

This is an example of how those who have broken the law, dehumanized the population, and wrecked the entire infrastructure are currently holding Liberia hostage: Following cessation of hostilities in 2003 the idea of a truth commission was proposed by Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and others as a critical first step toward national healing and lasting peace. Not long following her inauguration as the president, Madam Sirleaf established the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). International resources, including veteran expertise were mobilized to assist the Commission’s work. Approximately US$10 Million (Ten Million United Stated Dollars) was invested in an elaborate undertaking to determine the best way forward. The process concluded 4 years later with a comprehensive report which contains sweeping recommendations. (TRC Final Report: https://www.trcofliberia.org/reports/final)

However, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, THE IRON LADY, has rejected the TRC report and refused to implement the recommendations. She is unwilling to discuss the atrocities but has instead used the report as a wedge to further divide the Liberian people. Why? Because the Truth Commission has recommended that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf not hold public office for a period of thirty (30) years, due to evidence related to her direct involvement in the carnage that killed and maimed more than 300,000 men, women and children, including 5 American Nuns.

But it is obvious Madam Sirleaf has no intention of acknowledging her role in the disaster, nor will she implement the TRC's recommendations without being forced to do so. Last January she launched her reelection campaign while addressing the National Legislature. “I will be a formidable candidate,” she declared. The President is even willing to provide cover for persons who have committed unspeakable atrocities if that will keep her in power. Impunity has yet again trumped accountability. This no doubt is dangerous!

The President’s behavior is a clear indication of how difficult - if not impossible – it is to restore normalcy in post-war Liberia under the leadership of persons who are connected in any way to the senseless destruction of lives and properties during the 15-year war. Faced with limited options Liberians have opted for election, believing it offers the best remedy. Should this fail to produce the desired results, the alternative is obvious.

In conclusion, reelecting Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the Presidency would be an endorsement of the status quo and a return to business as usual. Her government has failed the Liberian people! After five years of governance, graced by massive international support and goodwill, the Sirleaf administration has yet to produce a clear national agenda. The population is mired in hopelessness and despair. Chaos and lawlessness aptly describe the current order of business, as corruption spins out of control. Oftentimes one has to wonder if anyone is in charge. The legal system currently is in total disarray. Those who planned, financed and executed the 15-year carnage have not yet been brought to justice, and there is no plan to heal the nation. U.N. travel ban and assets freeze have yet to be enforced. Furthermore, persons guilty of rape and torture continue to elude justice; their victims have no redress. The issue of land dispute presents a clear and present danger. A large percentage of the population survives exclusively on remittances from abroad. Unemployment poses a serious threat to national security. Liberians in the thousands go to bed most nights hungry. There is increasing restlessness across the nation. And the presence of U.N. Troops gives a false sense of security.

It is time for a change! It is time for a fresh new start!! Surely it’s time for visionary leadership!!!


_______________________________________________________________________________The Author: T. Q. Harris, Jr. is a member of the Free Democratic Party (of Liberia). He is expected to be a Presidential candidate in the 2011 Election. Mr. Harris in 1997 was the Vice Presidential nominee of his Party. He’s currently the Chairman of Liberian Contemp UPS. For more information: http://www.tqharrisforpresident.com/; http://www.friendsoftq.org/; liberia1@charter.net; and Phone: (562) 216-3177

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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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