Ensuring Liberty And Justice For All!

By R. Wesley Harmon

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

June 25, 2003

And they came in large numbers; the young, the old, politicians, piety, civil society, but again their efforts were to no avail, as the Great Deceiver spun yet another yarn of twisted half-truths.

"We will talk and talk and talk about the talks", these are the words of Charles Taylor made several years ago. Here we are, many years removed, and we are still talking about the talks. Peace talk after peace talk, Charles Taylor always gets his way. He plays the international community like a fiddle because he knows there are the Kufuors, the Chambases and the Obasanjos that will protect him at the expense of innocent Liberian, Sierra Leonean, Guinean and Ivorian lives. In their warped minds, those lives are expendable to perpetuate the reign of one of the most brutal dictators the world has ever seen. If it were up to these men, Charles Taylor would be allowed to continue his murderous adventurism indefinitely, hence their facilitation of his hasty departure from Ghana to escape the arrest warrant issued by The Sierra Leone Special Court. No sooner had he arrived back in Liberia, and bodies begun to pile up, at last count over 400 innocent Liberians.

One of my favorite quotes is "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". I often wondered how long it would take? How many children had to die? How many women raped and slaughtered before some good men would rise to the occasion and challenge Charles Taylor’s perceived supremacy at fomenting evil? One of his favorite statements is "No one is more mischievous than me". Well, David Crane has proven to be a little bit more mischievous. He dared to take on the menace of Charles Taylor. Hooray Mr. Crane!

The innocents salute you, Mr. Crane, for your resolute approach to dealing with this scourge of the earth that is Charles Taylor. The timing of the release of your indictment was perfect. To think that this man would have been masquerading as leader of the Liberian people, signing yet another peace agreement that he had no intentions of honoring is just disgusting. The unfortunate part is that he was given a safe exit out of Ghana, rather than being arrested and carted off to prison like the indicted criminal that he is. He was given a reprieve by his compatriots, to live free another day, to foment strife. But the hunter has now become the hunted. Now he will know what it means to live with the threat of real prison life hanging over his head. This time it will not be like Boston.

To enhance the possibility of arresting Mr. Taylor, a reward needs to be posted for his capture. He is entirely surrounded by individuals who would sell their mothers, if the price were right. They would jump at the thought of reaping such windfall. Moreover, posting a reward would also mount pressure on him and keep him preoccupied with trying to save his neck, thereby limiting his ability to make trouble for Liberians.

Contrary to what The Ghanaian and Nigerian leadership believe, the overwhelming majority of Liberians see Taylor in only two useful categories, either dead or behind bars. And would like either realized sooner rather than later. Liberians are a war-wearied people, whose suffering seem to have no end. Peace has proven to be elusive as we grapple with one warlord after another. Each warlord has an agenda that does not include the Liberian people. It will be a real travesty of justice if Liberians have to endure yet another tenure of warlord-ruler. It would be very unfortunate for the Liberian people were either Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, LURD, or Movement for Democracy in Liberia, MODEL, to overrun and capture Monrovia.

Neither LURD nor MODEL has proven to have a better track record in protecting the lives and property of civilians, than the thugs of Charles Taylor. And if this is what Liberians have to look forward to than we are in for another roller-coaster ride, unless Mr. Taylor steps down and submits himself to The Court, and an interim government is allowed to be seated to lead the country back to democratic elections.

The process of transition could all be made possible if The United States Government chose to intervene in providing leadership and logistics for a stabilization force. The purpose of this force would be to ensure disarmament of all combatants, support peace-building programs, as well as provide security for the conduct of free and fair elections, thus ensuring liberty and justice for all.