Liberians Urged not to Repeat the Mistakes of the 1980s and 90s
(A Joint Statement by the Manos, Krahns, Mandingoes, and Dans of Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties, Liberia, Residing in the Americas - Issued on April 17, 2003)
We, the Manos, Krahns, Mandingoes, and Dans of Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties residing in the Americas, standing together as one family, appeal to our people at home in Liberia and elsewhere in the West African Sub-region to work together in search of a solution to the Liberian conflict. Let us not repeat the mistakes of the 1980s and 90s by allowing others to use us in their bid to seize or maintain power.
We co-existed peacefully before 1983. Not only did we respect and support each other, but also we intermarried. Like all people, we had our differences, but we always settled them within the framework of our family institutions. For these reasons, we lived in harmony.
Unfortunately, our unity struck fear in the hearts of those who sought state power for selfish reasons. So they sought to divide us. In fact, since the founding of Liberia, creating division among the indigenous people has been the ideal strategy to maintain political power. In this light, our people must know that December 24, 1989 was not an isolated event, but the highpoint of a carefully planned conspiracy. First, the conspirators set out to divide the people of Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties immediately after April of 1980. Second, during the December 1989 invasion, they provided the opportunity for Krahns, Dans, Manos, and Mandingoes to kill each other.
The conspirators set out to divide us in such a way that we would find it difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. Although aware of our differences, they knew that these differences, in and of themselves, could not destroy our unity. Additionally, the conspirators knew that, when tribal differences exceed bounds and rise to the level of bloodletting, irreversible mutual suspicions and deep animosity develop. So they exploited our differences to bring us to that point.
To ensure that the roots of their discord reach greater depths--that which we could never understand or overcome--the conspirators worked smartly and succeeded in causing the Manos, Dans, Mandingoes, and Krahns to spill each other's blood. But we want them to know that we have seen through their scheme and that we are working to free our people at home and ourselves of the web of mutual suspicions and animosity.
We do not speak of a conspiracy to excuse ourselves from the responsibilities for hurting each other. In fact, the actions of some of our own leaders paved the way for the conspirators. Not only did some of our own leaders violate the trust that once existed among our people, but also their actions caused physical harm whose wounds are yet to heal. In short, we are equally responsible for our conditions today as are the conspirators.
Nevertheless, we know that those who masterminded the destruction of our country not only made an intentional calculation to divide Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties and have us kill each other, but also continually fan the flame of division by wanting us to believe that the Manos and Dans are the enemies of the Krahns and Mandingoes and vice versa. The truth of the matter is that they want to maintain power and that the only way to do that is to keep us killing each other. Now, we want them to know that we will never again be used. We stand together, reunited and poised to break from the past.
Finally, we call on our fellow Liberians to join us in this spirit of cooperation. Let us come together to restore peace to our country and end the suffering of our people. We are especially calling on our friends from Lofa - the Lormas, Kissis, Mandingos, Gbandis, etc. - to settle their differences and work together to restore peace to their county and the country. Enough blood has been shed!
May God save our country!
William G. Nyanue, National President, Grand Gedeh Association in the Americas
Mai Quipu Yuan, National Chairperson, United Nimba Citizens' Council (UNICCO)
Ansumana Kromah, President, Liberia Mandingo Association of Georgia
Asumana Jabateh-Randolph, President, Liberia Mandingo Association of New York