An Open Letter to President Charles Taylor

By Richard W. Harmon

The Perspective

December 3, 2001

Mr. Taylor: The history of the world is sprinkled with dictators, who while in power, trampled and crushed those who empowered them to lead. Most, if not all did this imbued with a sense of their own invincibility, but discovered much to their chagrin that indeed they were not invincible.

As a professed, learned man, it is needless that I remind you of the fate that befell some of these "invincibles". What puzzles me, and I'm sure many other Liberians, is why did you knowingly choose this path to disgrace? Given your record during the war years, it is hardly surprising that you turned out the way you have; however many Liberians had hoped, against all odds, that you would see wisdom in charting a course to stability for our beloved country, especially following so many years of carnage and destruction. As evidenced by current facts and circumstances, stability was the last thing on your mind. As a matter of fact, you had just the opposite planned for a war-weary population.

What were you trying to prove by experimenting with your adventurism in Sierra Leone? After ten years of carnage and countless, and limbless Sierra Leoneans, what have you accomplished? How much money was it worth to justify your evil deeds in a sister republic? Was the diamonds worth it? Will you ever say enough?

How do you calculate the suffering imposed on the Liberian masses, borne out of your insatiable greed for more and more wealth?

How can you justify abrogating the authority of the National Legislature to perform its constitutional functions? Is Liberia now a monarchy with you as the king?

You have appropriated all of the resources of Liberia as your personal property while Liberians struggle to survive daily. What gives you the right to live in splendor while your fellow citizens wallow in hopelessness and despair?

You have taken Liberia to depths that would have otherwise been unthinkable. You have single-handedly destroyed over a century of dignified existence and reduced our beloved country to pariah status amongst the nations of the world. You have succeeded in making Liberians wish for former president Doe.

You have surrounded yourself with sycophantic men, who wouldn't dare disagree with you, even if their lives depended on it. If they had some vestige of honesty or self-respect, or even love for their country, they would simply abandon you. But they are all pursuing short term gains, hence their willingness to sacrifice their pride and dignity on the altar of greed. The few men who have dared to disagree with you are either in prison, living in exile or dead.

At your behest, Liberia is now filled with underworld elements from many nations, some even linked to Osama Bin Laden. Why?

How much lower does Liberia have to sink to claim your attention? I daresay we probably cannot go any lower, because we've already passed the bottom.

You promised the Liberian people stability and freedom from oppression, however you have delivered the exact opposite to them, tyranny and suppression. No surprise here! They turned out just like the promises you made during the war, one agreement after another, broken and denied.

Regardless of how many levels of security you try to insulate yourself with, you're still afraid of everyone around you. You can't trust anyone. The Holy Bible says " The evil one flees when no man pursues". In other words, you are running from your own shadow. There's only one way to ensure your continuous security, provide a secure and stable environment for Liberians to live, work and pursue their dreams and aspirations. Until
Liberians know peace and stability, you will never know it either. Remember the old Liberian adage that says " The baby that says the mother will not sleep, that baby will not sleep also".

The solution to peace and stability in Liberia lies in your hands. To name a few:

1) Stop the war with our neighbors and reestablish our good relations
with them;

2) Remove your hooligans from the streets of Liberia and stop them from harassing citizens;

3) Ensure the rule of law in Liberia by allowing the legislature and judiciary to function independently from the executive branch as the constitution requires;

4) Repeal laws that authorize you as the sole authority to negotiate and conclude concession agreements for Liberia's resources;

5) Restore to Liberians what you took away from them - peace.

Remember, it is said that, "Where there is no vision, the people perish". You have demonstrated your lack of vision over the past three years, it is time to change. It is time to lead by being a good example, the people are tired of empty rhetoric. • e-mail:

• The Perspective • P.O. Box 450493 • Atlanta, GA 31145