The Tragic End of Michael Allison: Tears and Ashes for Liberia
By: James Torh
The front and back lead pages of a photo in last week’s edition of our local dailies, spiked my blood pressure, made my stomach turn and sets my teeth on edge. I was depressed and could barely stand to read those papers. The sight and scene of that poor man lying on the beach like a sacrificial lamb seemed like a symbol of our inhumanity and banality of evil in our land.
What an anguish, terror and despair Michael Allison must have felt in those terrible moments; just because of his fearless decision, choices and brave step to let the nation and the world know of the cancer called corruption. What pains and horror his poor family and siblings must be going through as they see their precious son, brother, and uncle and nephew images reproduced for the consumption of the public.
In the aftermath of Michael tragic and mysterious death on the beach-an evil that overwhelmed us and beyond comprehending, even as details of investigation is ongoing-it is the graciousness of family members, relatives and friends, the most deeply pained and suffering that fill us all with awe. It is medieval barbarity and indeed cowardice and scaring.
The mysterious death of Michael Allison that shattered his family and our communities should define this wicked society on the podium of evil that haunts our country. What kind of chaotic and messy society without sanity. Here in Liberia, the ill at ease country of the West African region, where anarchy and antagonism angled, here where fools and misguided souls who do not understand and know the importance of professionalism and their savaging act and art dared.
There is yearning to understand as adult that a man whose life according to friends and family members was in danger-seeking and consulting on protection strategy-telling people including the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission higher ups that his life was not safe would leave to go and swim in late evening hours is painful to accept and difficult to understand but rather a tactic of barbaric ritual. Whatever the anger-and it must be red-mist. Empathy comes naturally to fellow Liberians and the entire country including Liberians abroad turned collectively blue and rage, have taken some of the ache upon themselves in the face of this evil on the sickening and deplorable death of our compatriot and need answers. What we forget, too often, is the kindness and resilience of this nation, of the people who comprise it. His death is ruthlessly and irredeemably rooted in his commitment, passion and determination to fight and expose the corruption saga at the capitol Building.
A friend working for the LACC told me that Michael had approached and requested in 2013 to serve as a facilitator for a joint workshop that was planned with General Auditing Commission (GAC) though that never came on. Why do they kill Michael? Why will these barbarians who don’t have any regard for human lives achieve by killing a frontline hero against the fight on corruption. The tragic death of Michael can be likened to the irony of a great warrior who fought several battles and conquered several territories, only to die in the rivulet in front of his house at the end of his career.
With the trauma of citizens and communities with their vigils and prayers just as the entire nation wrapped its arms around the bleeding heart and damaged families of Michael, the fabulous and shameless first branch of government that was and is at the front and center of the corruption saga has not utter a word or we have not heard a peep out to identify and console the struggling, unbearable and wounded family to express condolence and restore some sense of stability, normalcy and quicken healing. We think this is not smart on the part of the national legislature that pretend to be national leaders, deeply shameful, offensive to our values, traditions and political civilization, and particularly cruel not feeling pity and the lack of empathy which weigh the moral meaning and indeed which distinguishes us. It makes me sick and assumed many other Liberians. There may never be a trial, because there is no chain of evidence to be secured.
Amidst the wreckage and the darkness in our country, there are pinpricks of light, luminous. Indeed, amidst the hurt and the horror, pains and tears, there is an amazing grace. Ode to counselor Michael Allison, the fallen hero and fellow Liberian, this is a funeral song.