By Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor
‘Stand up for your rights’
The foundation of democracy is safeguarding the freedoms of expression, movement, association, and assembly. After all, God gave us FREE WILL to think for ourselves, and the Ten Commandments to guide our actions. Through His merciful grace the Lord also granted joint dominion of all resources and creatures on land, sea, and air to all His children, but the persistence by others to seize every inheritance solely for themselves is the main driver of misunderstanding and conflict. Professor Thomas P. Anderson underscored the point in his book as follows: Politics in Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. According to him: “Political violence and … near chaos are the result of the increasingly desperate struggle of certain entrenched groups to retain land, prestige, and power at any price”. But all of these things are in violation of natural law, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore, it wrong for anyone or government to oppress others what God has given freely to us. Not only is oppression abhorrent, it provokes anger, hatred, and causes commotion. And no amount of excuses or rationalizations by the beneficiaries of oppressors would resonate with the oppressed, or convinced them otherwise.
To show that our advocacy for the dispossessed has been an ongoing struggle, in our October 4, 2013 article entitled “Blind Faith in Man” we stated an irrefutable fact that positive change in a dynamic society requires putting the denizens and country before personal interests. It therefore behooves avoiding errors of the past as a mean of satisfying majority of the people who have been distressed due to bad governance. Refusal to pay heed to these admonitions usually yields unbearable human catastrophes worse than the current pervasive poverty and political discontent being experienced at home. Invariably, this has been the practice of most African leaders, and of which past Liberian administrations, and the present Unity Party government is no exception.
And in the same article, we quoted a veteran Liberian political analyst who said:
The Unity Party government can be compared to a stubborn child; steadfast in mischief, who does not pay heed to parental and divine advice until trouble descends.
All of this has to do with “Blind Faith in Man”. In a nutshell “Blind Faith in Man” is defined as belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination. It is like a blindfolded person walking towards moving traffic not realizing that danger lies ahead.
The article posited that faith is hope in spite of hopeless circumstances, for faith in God ensures that one never doubts Our Father, or He can do in one’s life. Hence the faithful is absolutely convinced that God will do whatever promised. Whereas, putting trust in man as opposed is a recipe for failure. This brings us to faith without work. Nevertheless, faith without work (action) is dead. According to James, “… as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26); faith without works is dead because the lack of works reveals an unchanged life or a spiritually dead heart. Basically, Paul says the same thing in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. James contrasts two different types of faith—true faith that saves, and false faith which is dead.
Which means that Liberians can pray all they want regarding the ungodly things that are taking place in our country, without action, it will be like the stubborn child; steadfast in mischief, who does not pay heed to parental and divine advice until trouble descends.
“Get Up, Stand Up for Your Rights”. Fellow Liberians, remember no condition is permanent, but fools do not know. The point here is that no amount of foreign public relations or using the Liberian people’s money for damage control when things fall apart will help either. The Liberian people are no longer at ease! God has a way of dealing with injustice in the world. Fighting injustice has been a continued struggle throughout history. In fact, God used prophets Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah to warn disobedient leaders and their people about the dire consequences to them if they do not change their ungodly and wicked ways. The warning is to us too. Because there are too many ungodly things going on in our country, and we cannot afford to be bystanders. True change will take place only if we obey God, continue to speak out, preach, and publicly protest against the existing evils: corruption, abuse of power, and death squad murders. There are lot of things to be mad about; for example, the Tokpa rape case, the Gbollie murder case, the Kromah murder case, the Allison death case, the pregnant Zayzay alleged suicide in a police cell, and the Greaves fake drowning death. These are just too many inequities to sweep under the rug!
In speaking to the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL), Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh called for “an Independent Board of Inquiry to investigate the numerous societally vexing cases in the interest of justice and peace for all Liberians.” He informed the “Council that such urgent action can prevent violence by conducting investigations that bring out the truth for justice to prevail… When the government brings in a pathologist to do investigations and then the government brings another pathologist because credibility remains lacking in the pathological investigations, then an Independent Inquiry becomes necessary… When the government investigative machinery complains about lack of relevant logistics for investigations, then an Independent Inquiry is necessary. When government statements are contradictory with respect to the choice of pathologists, then an Independent Inquiry is necessary. (Tipoteh Eyes Religious Council to Probe Vexing Issues in Liberia – FPA, February 28, 2016)
Then on March 10, 2016, Rev. Victor Moses King, Rector of St. Augustine Episcopal Church said, “…I think it’s time for ministers to stand up for the truth and not keep quiet. I urge the family to leave it with God; every truth will be uprooted…God moves in a mysterious way and every truth stuck to the ground will rise again… and it is time for the minister to not keep silent.” (FPA, March 10, 2016)
We willingly and wholeheartedly concur!
These events suggest that Liberia is heading in the wrong direction again; a direction in which citizens do not have the right to question or hold their elected officials accountable for illegal behaviors in accordance with the laws of the land. Groups are now emerging to resuscitate the ugly days gone by – when coerced and bribe - induced resolutions to show support for the president and company were the order of the day; and an accused person was pronounced guilty before his or her case made it to court. Our memories are failing us. Instead of speaking loudly against ongoing crimes, we are beginning to fall back into the practice that almost brought about our demise. Why can’t we learn from our recent history?
Well, as a reminder, let’s reiterate that history has proven this point over and over - that no matter what the powerful may plot against truth – truth being a universal principle will remain the same today, and tomorrow. The only exception is that there will always be individuals who by choice or influence will want to tamper with it in advancement of their own individual interests, and those of the powers that be they are beholden to. However, these characters from Orwell’s “Animal Farm” need to know that there is nothing abstract about truth; it is as self - evident and concrete as night following day.
We love and cherish participatory Democracy that promotes contending ideals which helps society become better; instead of promoting “one size fits all” mindset that supporters of President Sirleaf and the Unity Party government of Liberia are about: the mantra of “You are either for us or against us”! This approach wants all Liberians to dance to the beat of the drums of Sirleaf and Company. For instance, the idiom, “Politics makes strange bedfellows” reminds that political interests can bring together in an unholy alliance people who otherwise have little in common. Typically, they enter into these unyoked partnerships with people they do not share the same values or political philosophies, and in which the only rationale is a common desire for the perks, and privileges of limitless power. But the powerless can’t wait for others to do what they ought to do for themselves, and, on that note, we suggest they listen carefully to the lyrics of Bob Marley’s song, “Get Up, Stand Up” as a clarion call.
In addition, Liberians should remember that “patriotism” presupposes standing by the (commonweal, as in “We the People”) nation and not the powers that be who enrich themselves at the expense of the nation. Unfortunately, there are those who would use all types of deceptions, including fallacious arguments, to befuddle others. Of course, these individuals use emotional appeals - rather than reason - to distract their audiences from listening to the burning issues at stake. Such tactics are employed by many, including regime paid scribblers of the Liberian listservs. They use this approach to confuse the real issues; they resort to personal attack – criticize their opponents personally instead of debating the points of argument; they engage in slanter – persuasion through inflammatory language, and they indulge in strawperson subterfuge – distorting or exaggerating their opponents’ ideas to make theirs seem stronger. (Central America: Opposing Views – Recognizing Deceptive Arguments)
In this regard, we will NOT allow our oppressors and their supporters to conduct business as usual. The PURPOSE of God cannot be thwarted, the law of nature won’t be ignored, and Human Rights guaranteed by a Charter of the General Assembly of the UN will not be violated with impunity. As for the scribblers of unaccountable governance we know who you are so henceforth you unwholesome practices will not work with us. Many of us are prepared to unambiguously counter the rants, diatribes, and apologias of unpatriotic servants of midnight ‘brown envelopes’ (bribes), who labor to their own eventual detriments and that of the Liberian people. However, these individuals ought to understand that no condition is permanent for ‘’Truth crushed to earth shall rise again’’. Undoubtedly, the resilient invincible spirits of the dispossessed remain unbowed, unbroken, and in the words of Chay, Chay Polly, “That me again, O”! And, why not? There’s really nothing anybody can do about our unconditional love for country.
About The Author: Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor is man of God; former Chair, Vice Chair & Secretary of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. He is a poet, Griot, journalist, and a cultural and political activist. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut can be obtained at: Kiiton Press – www.kiitonpress.org. Nyanseor can be reached at: email@example.com