Who Set The Standard?
By Madain Zodoan
August 7, 2001
I read with amusement, Peter Kieh Doe's platitudes floated on the Internet about The Perspective's laudable efforts in informing the world about the actual happenings in Liberia, as well as his bizarre invectives, insinuations and barrage of calumnies against one of Liberia's foremost female journalists, Musue Noha Haddad.
A popular Liberian parable says when bathing in the bathroom, if a crazy man enters and runs away with your wearing and you run behind him naked, you'll also be considered as a crazy man. Against this backdrop, I don't expect The Perspective to dignify the barking of a dying dog. In my view, so is the case with Peter Doe, the notorious street corner writer in Monrovia who's now floating fallacies on the net for crumbs.
Peter Doe feebly claims that Musue Haddad is not a journalist, but an amateur photographer. He, however, miserably fails to give his own professional identity. The question then comes: who is Peter Doe? Is he a journalist or just a contractual writer? Who's setting the standard? Is it the Press Union of Liberia, the only authentic umbrella organization of all bonafide Liberian journalists at the moment? Who crowned Peter Doe as a guru on journalism in Liberia that he's now making a futile attempt to pass judgement on accomplished journalists?
By what standard does he qualify his brand of journalists? Does a literary scavenger with a clogged logic have any authority to pass judgement on others? In any case, just for argument's sake, let's buy Peter Doe's platitudes in the market place of irrationalism.
In his judgement, Musue Haddad is not a journalist, but an amateur photographer. Even if it is true that Musue is not a journalist as Peter Doe claims, does that forfeit her right to speak out against perennial human rights violations in her native land? Under the Liberian constitution, is it only journalists who are allowed to deliver speeches and speak against the ills of the society?
Musue raised fundamental issues which have already been globally documented. No amount of irrational shrieking by the like of Kieh Doe will dissipate the abysmal degradation Liberia has plunged to, if the regime does not institute the necessary corrective measures to at least whitewash its image.
Thanks to the white man's ingenuity, Peter Doe might now have an audience outside of Liberia, but in Liberia, he's considered an empty drum that is just causing obnoxious noise; he has no audience simply because he has over the years, been falling for crumbs so much that he no more has the moral strength and will power to stand for anything. To make matter worse, he's now loyally serving his newly found benefactor who has also declared that he's down and so, he fears no fall. Evidently, it's an unholy alliance of demonic duo.
You know when the human mind reaches such barren desert of demonization, normal value system is pathetically inverted, hence what is generally accepted by civilized people as good will definitely be considered by such characters as bad and vice versa. That is why I am not surprised about Peter Doe's vilifying of Musue Haddad for focusing international attention on the appalling human rights situation in Liberia.
But can the emotional outburst of a schizophrenic literary dissident already drowning in a sea of opprobrium smear the character and credibility of a seasoned journalist of international stature? To begin with, Peter Doe is not an accredited member of the Press Union of Liberia. Which credible media institution has Peter Doe ever gained full employment with in Liberia?
So as a renegade writer who is willing to work for the highest bidder, I am not surprised when Peter Doe claims that Musue Haddad, the award-winning Liberian journalist is not a journalist.
Such expression is typical of Peter Doe's tilted mental disposition, especially when discussing pertinent national issues of complex exponents which are clearly beyond his comprehension due to his confused mind-set.
But one thing is certain: Peter Doe's misguided smear campaign will in no way discard Musue Haddad's credentials as one of Liberia's foremost female journalists. By walking on the eye-soring streets of Monrovia and chorusing that Musue is not a journalist will not take away the diploma she earned with honors from the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in 1994, following two solid years of studying journalism at that reputable West African institution; it will not erase the fact that while leaving the walls of the GIJ, Musue received the prestigious Nelson Mandela award as the best student in photojournalism.
Where was Peter Doe, the self-styled journalist when Musue was declared JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR '98 by a panel of experts appointed by the Press Union of Liberia in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day that year? In that same year, she won the photojournalist of the year award from the same Press Union award committee.
Again, an independent panel of experts declared Musue as Photojournalist of the Year '99 during a PUL award night in March 2000. Why Peter Doe did not protest at the time? Is it because Musue is now uncovering the hidden skeletons in his benefactor's closet?
Why has Peter Doe, the professed journalistic icon not even won a pen from the Press Union of Liberia? Any professional who is actually worth his salt must be adjudged favorably by his peers. Let Peter Doe cite one in his favor.
What I know about Peter Doe is that wherever he has been, he has always demonstrated his mental imbalance and chameleonic character. This was evident during his days of student politics at Tubman High. But his grotesque behavior became even worse at the University of Liberia before earning his barren BA in political science. He has never been to any journalism workshop, let alone an institute of journalism. A Peter Doe utterance that Musue is not a journalist will not erase the fact that in August 1998, she was one of 22 journalists from around the world invited by the United States Government to tour the U.S. under its International Visitors Program, neither will his slander discard the history of Musue's trip to Ethiopia in November 1999 at the invitation of the UN Economic Commission for Africa during which she ably covered the international women conference. Although Peter Doe doesn't recognize Musue because she has spoken against the pariah regime, the UN recognized her as Liberia's foremost female Journalist for which it invited her.
As I said earlier, Peter Doe has no credibility in Liberia. His illogical outburst has no intellectual cartilage to challenge Musue's most recently earned credential as a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow in journalism from the University of Maryland, or her prestigious diploma in human rights education from the Columbia University in New York. Rather than an innate mind like Peter Doe casting aspersion on the character of well-meaning people, just to gain favor and pennies from his beleaguered benefactor, he should carry on the trade he knows best - illogical writing.
Five years ago when Peter Doe was anticipating alms from the venerable Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, he regularly conducted fictitious opinion polls which consistently put Mrs. Sirleaf at the top of potential presidential candidates; at the time Ellen was serving as Assistant Administrator of UNDP and Peter Doe naively thought that the Iron Lady would shower her hard earned money on him as Charles Taylor is now doing for him with his blood diamond money from Sierra Leone.
Sensing his chicanery, Mrs. Sirleaf refused Peter Doe's mischief; he swiftly turned to Alhaji Kromah from whom he received some crumbs and fictionalized Kromah as the possible winner of the 1997 elections. At that time Charles Taylor was the devil Peter Doe didn't want to hear his name; now he's deifying Taylor because his pot is boiling. Peter has no conscience; he's a confused mind with an extremely parochial perception of national issues. Peter Doe does not see beyond his nose.
When Tom Kamara's New Democrat weekly was thriving, a near-starving Peter Doe desperately scampered there and begged Tom for a freelance writer position. At that time he was fond of defending Tom in public places, but when that veteran journalist fled Liberia for fear of his dear life, Peter Doe began denouncing him. He's a man who always bites the very fingers that had once fed him.
Peter Doe is a self-proclaimed journalist who lacks integrity and whose illogical writing has always proved to be his waterloo, for which he's yet to find gainful employment with any credible media institution in Liberia. He's a consummate political hustler of fragile conscience who chases the dollar wherever it is. Yesterday it was Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, later it was Alhaji Kromah and now it is Charles Taylor.
Peter Doe did the same thing to Milton Teahjay, the man who redeemed. It was through Teahjay that Peter Doe got his first full time employment at the Ministry of Information to do government propaganda. But as it is characteristic of him, he betrayed Teahjay, abandoned him and scurried to the highest bidder at the time - Joe Mulbah.
You know, Peter Doe's zigzag character reminds me of some of the emerging trade in the developed world nowadays. For example, in Japan, there are professional mourners who are hired to cry at funeral. Once their fees are paid, they assemble at the funeral and cry for someone they don't even know. So is the case with Peter Doe; he's a professional praise-singer who has a myriad of flatteries in stock. The unfortunate thing about him is that once you disagree with him in the practice of his moribund trade, he denounces you. Despite Peter Doe's outburst, well-meaning professionals are proud of Musue Haddad's bold stance, because already she's on the favorable side of history unlike Peter Doe who is always ready to go with the wind in the name of few dollars.