The Pain And Anguish That Took Over Me

By James Torh

The Perspective

November 26, 2001

It was on Monday the 19th of November 2001 in the morning hours that my mobile phone rang - "Is this James"? I said yes. "Ok, I just call to inform you that one of our Liberian sisters was murdered last night", said the President of the Liberian Refugees Association in Senegal. I hurriedly got dressed and joined him and few other Liberians to see where the body was dumped. Yes, it is horrible to think and imagine how a fellow Liberian was brutally killed - her eyes were blurred out, face was bruised and body had terrible cuts. There I stood with deep sorrow, grieving spirit, heavy heart with my hands folded on my chest, biting my lips hard, struggling to control the tears in order to prove my manhood. There I stood speechless, struggling to pierce the thoughts of the trauma and the muted euphoria that haunted me. I then began to ask the Lord - why this tragedy has befallen my country and its people? Why do you permit this to happen to us? Why Lord? Why?

The next day, we went to the police to report the case and ran to the press to bring this to the attention of the government and the public about this heinous crime that needed the prompt intervention of the authority to investigate this heinous crime. But the story of this refugee girl is typical of thousands of Liberians who left their country because of war that was launched by criminal-minded men who used murderous politics to maintain power and wealth. Indeed, this is a classic example of what happen to Liberians in the sub-region who faced humiliation, subjected to degradation and disgrace for being Liberians. Carrying an unwanted burden of a pariah regime at home, Liberians in the sub-region are viewed as rebels, and carrying a Liberian passport means that you should be looked down upon. This is our trouble!

But what deeply troubles me for which I am disappointed is the rubbish thrown out by politicians in Monrovia who have turned logic on its head, spew garbage and write defensive series to parrot the crime of Taylor and his disciples. It is unfortunate for my country that some of my fellow countrymen in the bosom of Taylor and getting a few dollars, ostensibly are comfortable to continue to sin against humanity. The question is that those who engage in big and indecent lies are blind to the reality that Liberia, under the rule of Charles Taylor and his lieutenants, is a pariah state and a stranded society where nothing works? Why should they pretend when the lives of our people have been ruined, our nation is held hostage, society has been wrecked and our people remain embittered to the cruel and nasty leadership in the history of our country. Maybe they need to know that Liberia is a disgrace on the face of the globe under the leadership of a criminal who broke jail and surfaced in a border town with an AK-47 and butchered innocent people for power. How must Taylor be stopped?

I went to visit a Liberian family some few weeks ago and saw a seven year-old pretty little girl born in exile. Her mother asked her" go and greet uncle James". She came close and said "hello uncle". I responded, hello and how are you? I interrupted her and said, oh! You are beautiful and a nice girl. She said "thank you". I continued the conversation and said, I want you to go home (Liberia) to see your country and meet the rest of your family members. Guess her response! She said, " I want to go home but only when Charles Taylor dies". I broke into cold sweat that even angels in heaven want Taylor removed. Indeed, this is the reality of the madness in my country. The sad fact is that though Liberians have unfairly carried the burden of humiliation, they refused to go back home. Ironically, it is better in the refugee camps and being in exile than going back to Taylor’s Liberia. What a pity!

Since Taylor took power there are documented reports of his engagement in fuelling the war and horror in the sub-region. In Sierra Leone, his Excellency is accused of being behind the horror that sunk that sister country into irredeemable depth of tragedy and poverty. Taylor is in Guinea inflicting pains on innocent people. His men are found in Cassamance helping the rebels in Senegal. He sent his men to Ivory Coast to help Robert Guei and staged a coup that failed. Today he is linked with Bin Laden. Liberia is now a centre of destabilization and a training camp for the exportation of terror in the region. So, where are we as a nation and people to begin to gather our pieces for the rebuilding of our lives and country when our leader is busy with terror?

I look forward to the day when our bitter experience will be over and our joy and peace as a nation and people will be fulfilled when we - from Cape Mount to Cape Palmas, from Mount Nimba to Putu Mountain - shall meet and with our tongues and hearts to sing: All Hail, Liberia Hail... This Glorious Land Of Liberty Shall Long be ours. • e-mail:

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