Fear Nothing, But Fear Itself
(Statement on the Arrest of Tiawon Gongloe, Esq. issued by Friends of Charles Brumskine)
Posted April 26, 2002
The news of the arrest and detention of Counselor Taiwon Gongloe, an outstanding Liberian human rights advocate and a fair and objective observer of the Liberian situation has been met with widespread repugnance throughout the United States and in Liberia. This action serves another blow to the quest for freedom and justice by the struggling people of Liberia and those living abroad who long for a return to their native land.
Nearly every day, the lives of Liberians become more perplexed by the careless actions of a government that vowed to serve the interest of the people. Each day the people of Liberia wake up to a new reality - arrest, intimidation, torture, poverty, deprivation and other form of human degradation.
What is so surprising about the arrest of Mr. Gongloe is that in his public utterances he has been truthful, analytical and objective. He dared to challenge the government of Liberia to live by the rule of law. Whether he was speaking before officials of government or at some other public forum, he gave an objective assessment about the situation in his country, and the truth seems to be a crime in the present Liberian situation.
He challenged the Liberian Senate to carefully study the constitutionality of the declared state of emergency imposed by President Charles Taylor. He delivered a speech on the role of civil society in working towards a governing mechanism in the Mano River Basin. He dared to be a voice for the voiceless in a country where the freedom to speak is no longer a right of anyone.
But he must not be alone. All Liberians, whether those living under the yoke of repression in their own country or being forced to live in exile because of conditions at home, must rally to the Gongloe Cause and the cause of all others who have suffered because of their desire for justice, freedom, equality and peace.
We must now breed more Gongloes if we are to wrestle our liberties and save our country from any further destruction. The tactics of intimidation, harassment and violence will have to give way to the rule of law. While civility is gradually eroding from the face of the Republic, there are those who are prepared to sacrifice anything to restore freedom and justice in our country. This is why we must support Mr. Gongloe and all others who speak the truth.
In a recent speech in Atlanta, Georgia, Counselor Charles Brumskine called for an approach that identifies a common agenda and a common front to bring about a new engagement of the international community in the Liberia dilemma. This strategy is a necessary and paramount ingredient of our national survival.
In recent weeks, the government in Liberia has been trying to design a scheme and an approach to the international community to lift sanctions against the government. With the continued abuse of human rights, destruction of our forest reserves and continuing imposition of poverty and hardship upon the people, the chance of sanctions lifting seems remote.
Even under the present state of chaos in our country, the government is sending its foreign minister and the so-called “sanction begging” delegation to Washington. We must make a consistent and determined effort to immediately call the U.S. Congress, the White House, the State Department and the United Nations to bring pressure to bear on the Taylor government until Tiawon Gongloe and any of the remaining human rights activists are released. We should urge officials of the US government not to meet with foreign minister Monie Captan and his delegation and request that they be confined to the twenty-five mile radius of the United Nations- prohibiting them from traveling in the United States, a country based on freedom.
We shall also tell these sources that the sanctions against Mr. Taylor must not be lifted until he lifts the sanction on freedom and liberty that his administration has imposed on the Liberian people. At least, his sanctions come up for periodic review but the people of Liberia have no such relief at this time.
Mr. Gongloe is making a great sacrifice- going to jail for speaking the truth. We can show him solidarity through a telephone call to the United Nations, and the United States government.
We call on all peace loving Liberians to rise up against the despicable acts of oppression meted out to our people. No one will relieve Liberia of such tyranny but Liberians themselves. If we remain complacent Mr. Taylor and his accomplices will destroy the hopes and aspiration of our people. The devastating poverty, daily humiliation and death are squarely due to the policies of Mr. Taylor and his ministers. How long will they participate in subjecting our fellow citizens to such cruelty while most of their families live in luxury in foreign lands?
Finally, let us not let down Mr. Gongloe and all the oppressed of Liberia. As the dark curtain descends on our nation, our prayers are with him. May God bless him.
These are the telephone numbers to contact the various offices to protest this behavior:
White House 202-456-1111
State Department 202-647-7371
Rep. Ed Royce 202-225-4111
Sen. Joseph Biden, Jr. 202-224-5042
Of course, you should also call the Congress Person of your State, and ask them to help bring pressure to bear on President Taylor.
Submitted by: Friends of Charles Brumskine
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MODHAR Calls for the Release of Human Rights Lawyer
Political Activities For The Attainment Of Peace And Development In The Mano River Union Basin
Testimony on the State of Emergency, Sanctions and Arms Embargo
Consolidating a Democratic Political Culture in Liberia Towards 2003 Elections - Prospects and Challenges of the Liberian Media
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