Tuesday, December 14, 2010

US EMBASSY IN MONROVIA URGES ITS CITIZENS TO BE ALERT

Source: Running Africa
The US Embassy near the Liberian capital Monrovia says it is strongly encouraging all US citizens traveling to Liberia to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to enable the Embassy contact them in the case of emergency.
This statement was apparently prompted by and is contained in an unclassified email emanating from the Warden at the Consular Office in Monrovia on Thursday, December 9, 2010 in which the Embassy said it received " two separate reports of physical and verbal intimidations aimed at female U.S. citizens."

According to the email from the Warden at the US Embassy in Monrovia," in both incidents the victim was approached by a group of men identifying themselves as Liberian who threatened to sexually assault them."

The Warden's message continued by saying, "efforts by other US citizens to intervene were rebuffed by the group of men. The intimidators stated that they were only doing what Americans do to their women."

The US Embassy email, however, noted that "the situations were resolved by the US citizens quickly department the area. No individuals were physically injured in either incident."

The Embassy is urging US citizens to maintain " a high degree of situational awareness. The Embassy strongly suggests that you not verbally or physically engage the offending individual(s) but rather remove yourself from the situation and notify the police and the Embassy immediately. Allowing one self to be baited into a physical or verbal altercation will only amplify an already bad situation," the Embassy's email statement urged.

It is unclear if the incidents mentioned were random acts by some criminal elements or if the Liberian National Police received a formal complaint. No location of the incidents were reported either. Over the last few years the US has deported a number of Liberians who were convicted of various felonies with the jurisdiction of the US.

Liberia is, however, considered generally "friendly" towards the US and its citizens and is a close ally.

Liberia is not on the US State Department's Travel Warning or Travel Alert inspite of what the UN Secretary General calls "the fragile security situation". Liberia is recovering and rebuilding from a decade plus civil war with the assistance of a United Nations Mission known as UNMIL. The second democratic elections are scheduled for 2011.

However, as of December, 3, 2010 the neighboring state of Guinea is still on the list of countries for US Travel Warnings. The US. Department of State continues to warn its citizens of the risks of travel to Guinea as the political situation there remains unpredictable. Following the confirmation of the election of long time opposition leader Alpha Conde by the Guinean Supreme Court, the state of emergency was lifted last week. The US. Embassy in Guinea is still open but children of US citizen employees of the Embassy in Guinea have not been authorized to return to their post.

On the security situation also in neighboring La Cote d'Ivoire, the US Ambassador to the UN Dr. Susan Rice, in remarks at a Security Council press stake-out on December 7, 2010 said, "... United States is obviously very interested in and invested in peace and stability and democracy in Côte d'Ivoire, and we are worried about any development that could undermine peace and democracy, and we think it is important that there be clear and unified statements and actions by the international community that reinforce respect for the results of the elections and reinforce our already considerable commitment of effort and resources to the maintenance of peace and security in Côte d'Ivoire. That certainly is the interest of the United States, and many, many other delegations expressed the same interest."

Following a run-off election which pitted outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo against opposition leader Alassane Ouatarra, the West African nation remains embroiled in political "funya-funya". The international community is backing the "winner" Mr. Ouatarra and is asking Mr. Gbagbo to step down to which he has so far refused.

The countries of Liberia, Guinea, La Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone which all border Liberia belong to the Mano River Union (MRU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The US. State Department Alerts and Warnings are issued for countries world wide which might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence or frequent terrorist attacks. Other conditions might also include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks.

U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security.

By Emmanuel Abalo

EAbalo@RunningAfrica.com

Philadelphia, PA

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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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