Do not be Passive On-looker to the Prevailing Crisis in Liberia
(ULAA's New Year Day Message)
By Mydea Reeves-Karpeh
January 2, 2001
Editor's Note: The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), which got started in 1972 as the Liberian Student Association in the United States, is the umbrella organization of Liberian community associations in the Americas. It was founded on April 21, 1974, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to serve as a forum through which Liberians in the Americas could address their common concerns, problems as well as contribute to the social, economic, political and educational development of Liberia. Find below the New Year Message of the National President, Mrs. Mydea Reeves-Karpeh:
Like the Roman God Janus standing upon the threshold of a New Year, with one face looking over the passing year and the other towards the New Year, Liberians are wondering whether the New Year will lead to lasting peace or continued violence in our country. We must resolve to achieve the former. Howbeit, we extend to you our patriotic greetings and solidarity.
Thank you for your patience and steadfastness in supporting the struggle for justice, peace and the rule of law at home. We also thank you for responding to our requests to come to Washington DC for the Immigration Advocacy Day, New York City for the Democracy March and Newark City for the Democracy Conference. Our immediate cause in the USA is to ensure that Liberians in the United States may work legally through available immigration initiatives, as they continue to be major sources of daily bread for our people at home. We look forward to even greater support from you in the coming year. Liberians in the Americas have for 27 years, under ULAA's leadership, had a vision for a democratic, united and developed nation based on the rule of law and the respect for human rights. We still envision a new Liberia built on a solid, moral and material foundation cemented by democracy and development. Liberians at home and in the refugee camps continue to play meaningful roles in the effort to restore dignity and peace to our beloved homeland. One of the reasons ULAA has survived all these years is that we have consistently taken decisions based on the best interest of the Liberian people, and through it all we have remained non-partisan. The motto of ULAA is "Together, We Struggle for a Better Liberia."
As we enter this New Year, the challenges that we face as a nation and people are enormous. No Liberian or Liberian organization can afford the luxury of being a passive on-looker to the prevailing crisis in Liberia. The country's problems are evident--our country is without hope. The capital City of Monrovia remains without electricity and cluttered with ugly skeletons of buildings destroyed by the scars of war. Social services are almost non-existent in the country. There are few sub-standard schools with dismal test scores; a handful of under-staffed clinics with hardly any drugs; and, civil servants are owed salaries for many months. Notwithstanding, our forest resources are being depleted, while sale of rare diamonds and gold powder continue. In addition to economic and social hardships, sporadic violence and atrocities from the war without end can be seen everywhere. Little or nothing has been done about securing genuine peace and security, leaving hundreds of thousands of our citizens as internally displaced persons and "permanent" refugees.
The alleged illegal activities of the Taylor government in the destabilization of the peace and security in the West African sub-region led to the imposition of selective sanctions by the international community. Our people are now struggling to come to grips with the new image of Liberia as a pariah state. Recently, even Blaise Compoare has shifted and began to distance himself from Charles Taylor.
The apparent lack of accountability, transparency and good governance in Government operations and public disenchantment with the government's inability to address quality of life issues have led to calls for the resignation of the Taylor government. Sadly, the Taylor Government has lost our people's trust and confidence, at home and abroad, on account of reported violations of the human rights and civil liberties of Liberians. Four years of the Taylor rule has brought neither peace and security nor economic recovery and democratic governance. Liberia, therefore, needs a credible, democratic government of inclusion to reflect and respect our diversity, as well as focus on rebuilding our war-ravaged nation.
ULAA pledges its unflinching certitude to advance Liberian national causes at home and abroad. In this New Year, we ask that you please remain connected to your community-based Liberian associations so that in unity, and with perseverance, we can have a positive impact on the lives of our people and the direction of our country.
May the Almighty God shower blessings on Liberia and all Liberians.
P.O. Box 450493
Atlanta, GA 31145