Thursday, September 1, 2011

NO LECTURE ON POLITICAL VIOLENCE; JUST HELP!


TQ HARRIS, JR.
 
If only a small percentage of the people now calling for violence free elections were to lend their voices to calls for Justice and Rule of Law, the appetite for violence in general most certainly will diminish and Liberia would be well on its way to full recovery. Instead, the recovery has stalled due to injustice, impunity, poverty and benign neglect. And the impending election is hardly a remedy whether violence free or not.
In fact anyone expressing genuine concerns regarding escalating election violence must be aware that appropriate action have yet to be taken since following the calamity-- mass rape, torture and murder  --that affected almost a half million defenseless Liberians. Now it has been eight years since the international community -- through the United Nations -- has practically taken control of the country, yet not one person has been held accountable for these atrocities. What message this sends to the young people?   
Is it possible to control or eliminate violence in a place where might-makes-right… where the people are absolutely powerless and impoverished… where the youth are restless and devoid of hope…and where the justice system is woefully inadequate? What other outlets are there to be heard or effect change? Should we succeed in removing violence from the impending elections, what effect will this have on individuals known to have committed heinous crimes but allowed to walk free and are rewarded handsomely?
What Liberians need most at this moment is RELIEF from the people who have terrorized the country for the past 25 years and dehumanized the entire population. We are trapped in fear and despair! To those who are listening, we are asking for OUTSIDE INTERVENTION, not sympathy or a lecture on campaign violence. We need HELP now!   
Who out there is willing to stand with the embattled citizens of Liberia and say to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Senator Prince Yormie Johnson that they must not participate in the impending Elections unless issues regarding the TRC recommendations are resolved? 
Who out there is willing to take the lead in bringing justice to the thousands of women that were brutally raped, or the countless numbers of people that were tortured, or the tens of thousands families that lost loved ones in the carnage?
Who out there is willing to provide employment opportunities for the 60% youth population, or assist with school fees, or ensure that our young people have at least two solid meals a day?
Who out there is willing to tell the current government of Liberia that political violence has multiple faces, therefore it cannot afford to govern through violence and expect the citizens to behave otherwise?
Who out here is willing to tell the Unity Party (UP) that it was wrong to impose upon the Liberian people -- just because it has the powers to do so -- a Referendum that is unconstitutional, unnecessary and untimely?
Who out there is willing and able to tell President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that the following are also manifestations of political violence?
·         When the Unity Party is the only political party financially capable of conducting an effective nationwide campaign, yet its sources of funding are unknown; that’s political violence!
·         When the country’s unemployment is above 75% and the ruling Unity Party insists on holding on to power; that’s political violence!
·         When the Unity Party uses its powers to ram through constitutional amendments for the sole purpose of keeping its presidential candidate in the race; that’s political violence!
·         When it is illegal for citizens to express grievances through public demonstrations unless they provide private security guards and sign documents accepting in advance personal liability for property damage; that’s political violence!
·         When victims of rape, torture and other horrific crimes have no redress, yet the government protects the perpetrators of these crimes; that’s political violence!
·         When the vast majority of Liberians are reduced to beggars due to downsizing and rampant corruption while the government looks the other way; that’s political violence!
·         When the internationally recognized Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommends, based upon its findings, that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf should not hold pubic office for 30 years; yet she refuses to cooperate and declares herself the most formidable candidate in the presidential race; this too is political violence!
My humble plea to those who are calling for violence free elections is that you not focus solely on the burning of cars, detaining of party officials, or exuberant partisans threatening journalists, but rather show balance in dealing with the distinct faces of political violence and the danger they pose to the larger society. Violence is violence regardless of whether it is carried out by an individual or a group. Where the President of Liberia uses her powers to squash the work of the independent Truth Commission because its findings are not to her liking, thereby condoning impunity and apathy for Rule of Law, it presents a moral challenge for those wishing to condemn others engaged in similar acts of political violence.    

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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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