LU Abuses Power

By By Gbe Sneh

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 30, 2004

It’s a new day. We ought to be rethinking the methods available to vent our grievances to the authorities, and to the public at large. The latest "fiasco" staged by the students at the University of Liberia (LU), in the name of demonstration to demand the reopening of the institution, among other grievances, is a clear abuse of a "sacred" public recourse - peaceful demonstration.

The deployment of armed ex-combatants mingled with an angry mob at a grievances audience granted by the Chairman, Mr. Bryant, the threats to his safety, to the point that he was wisked from the auditorium by the police and UNMIL forces to protect him, is a savage and thuggish act. The LU students union is utterly wrong with this shameful and very dangerous approach. For this, they have to be referred to take "Peaceful Demonstration 101" taught by the Market Women.

The students union should know better. Victims of violence from prior repressive regimes, victims that the community has shown sympathy for, visions of stampede university students falling over the cliff to their deaths still lingering, the union, especially its leadership, should become wise rather than "wise guys". We are striving for peace. All public demonstrations must be peaceful. A public rally is the most powerful tool available to the citizens; it is a sacred and national treasure, and must not be abused. Our institution of higher learning, our brain source, LU, over the years has been looked upon as the guardian of our Constitutional Right to Assemblage. Their exercise of this right must be exemplary, for what message would they be sending to their little brothers and sisters in the high schools; the younger ones who usually follow in their footsteps.

So Mr. Bryant gives you "cheek" by saying, "... I will not go and steal to reopen the university". That you unveiled your assortment of posters in retaliation should have sufficed. Chairman Bryant surely would have gotten the message. He would have realized that he had just "put his foot in his mouth". The joke would have been on him, and you would have clearly won. Instead, following that up with a belligerent move, like you did, was totally out of place, as that allowed the Chairman to steal your thunder and the joke reverting to you. See, now you are being branded as thugs and savages. Is that what you want? No.

Rethink your methods.
It's a new day.