Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Wish Center: The Liberian Government Must Implement TRC Report

The Wish Center

Source: The Liberian Journal

The Wish Center

Socrates (469-399 BC) is an enigma who is largely credited for the founding of Western philosophy (Kofman, 1998). Classical Greek mythology also credited him for the development of ethics. If one takes a closer look at what is obtaining in Liberia today, it has some semblance to the Socratic era. Instead of holding the status quo and accepting the immorality and corruption of his time, Socrates posited himself as the gadfly of the political establishment. This is a sort a sting fly, if you will. Justice for him was more important than serving in cabinet or ministerial position in the government of his time. He was wealthy in ideas, yet financially poor. But this man never crawled or sought after political power from the corrupt government of his time.

Unlike him, Liberians who favor the current political establishment led by Madam Sirleaf are somewhat angry with those pushing for the implementation of the TRC Recommendations. Like the epoch of Socrates, partial justice, is injustice. A just Liberia is one where laws are respected over names or people. On May 19, 2010, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, two parent human rights organizations added their voices to the many, calling on Madam Sirleaf to demonstrate leadership, and facilitate the speedy implementation of the TRC Recommendations (Story Link). For us, this key provision is far too important, than even the holding of a 2011 General and Presidential Elections. Furthermore, we are of the opinion that any success void of bringing to justice, those who in the pursuit of their own ambitions, nurtured death and destruction in Liberia, is a crooked victory.

Like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the Wish Center (Watch International for the Security of Humanity), wishes to add its voice, in calling on President Sirleaf, Prince Johnson, and those responsible for the implementation of the TRC Recommendations, to look beyond their personal ambitions, and put Liberia first. The triumph of Samuel Doe, who could not put his country first, by stepping down, is the closest reference to cite? Where is he? The fight of giving up one’s ambitions for the good of the public is an old but durable struggle.

Socrates, for instance, could have contested or simply avoided his execution. However, he did not. As an architect of the Athenian justice system, he had to comply with the decision of the legal body, which handed him his death sentence. Needless I mention the historical demystification that surrounded his conspiracy. The question is why should a society which was enjoying enormous freedom and democracy than any the world had ever seen; would a seventy-year-old philosopher be put to death for what he was teaching? Indeed, what could he have said or done that prompted a jury of 500 of his countrymen and women to send him to his early death a few years before his natural death?

Growing up in this bastion of liberalism and democracy, Socrates had somehow developed a set of values that put him at odds with most of his fellow kinsmen and women. A number of us fit in this historical context of Socrates. Because at a time when many of our own are belly crawling behind the establishment of the day, with the hope of getting jobs, we are preaching the sermon of justice for one’s country. For us, being rewarded with silver, gold, or power is not only meaningless in a country fraught with impunity, but a blatant disservice to justice everywhere. The ploy to keep rewarding those who have hurled death and destruction against the very justice system, they continue to perpetuate, is a rubberstamp legacy that advocates further impunity. Justice was not only meant to protect the few; but all, including the destitute, in an equitable just fashion.

Those who favor the Ellen-status quo, for whatever reasons, believe that the implementation of the TRC recommendations is not only unimportant, but doing so is contrary to those commissioners or parties of the Liberian conflict, who have not endorsed all, or some portion of the recommendations. Rubbish. Firstly, one common practice with august bodies is the use of simple majority. This ancient democratic practice is used in the Supreme Court, Houses of Senate and Reps, even in the Knesset and the chaotic British House of Commons.

In politics, there are unintended consequences. One Liberian soccer icon used to compare the unintended results in football matches to the breaking of crackers. It breaks off where one does not intend it to break. Let us imagine for a minute, a Liberia under a President Prince Johnson, or a Benjamin Yatem. But is a President Prince Johnson not as good, as a President Johnson Sirleaf? One paid for the destruction that the other carried out. Is this not a good reason why they all should be punished for their roles in the Liberian Civil War?

In order to discern some of the uninformed excuses that sympathizers alike have been lollygagging about, subsequent publication by the Wish Center, will look at the terms of reference of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. To debate is synonymous with Liberians. Everyone thinks he/she has something to debate about; even the hood-winkled thinks he/she too has a point. Below is the basis of our future debate.

In addition to truth-telling processes, it will be essential to consider appropriate justice mechanisms to ensure that perpetrators of serious human rights violations be held accountable and to dissuade would-be violators from committing future abuses.”

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang,

concluding a visit to Liberia, 9 May 2008147

It was mandated that government should provide the TRC with necessary funding and logistics needed to carry out its work adequately and fully; government should establish the independent national human rights commission as a matter of priority; facilitate a transparent national consultation to develop a long term comprehensive action plan to address past human rights violations and guarantee that victims fully enjoy their rights to truth, justice and reparations. The action plan should include a persecution policy and a reparation policy. In close cooperation with the international community, the Liberian government should adopt effective steps to ensure that all alleged perpetrators of crimes under international law are investigated, and if enough admissible evidence is gathered, prosecuted in accordance with international law and standards, and others.

Author’s Note: This publication was sanctioned by the Wish Center, a human rights organization that defends the rights of Africans everywhere. On the web, it can be reached at: On Facebook: , on Twitter: If you have further questions and concerns, please forward same to We are a donor driven initiative. ®

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

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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