Women: Liberia's Final Answer For Peace

By Edith Gongloe

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 22, 2003


Plato, one of the world's greatest philosophers, said: "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors". This is a wake up call for all well-meaning Liberians, especially Liberian women.

Liberian women have been silent and complacent for too long. It must now behoove us to get politically active and alter the degenerating trend of our society. It is a compelling fact that Liberia is today a failed state due largely to its long history of poor political decisions, often made by less than one percent of the country's population-usually men.

Majority of Liberians believe that politics is a man's domain. This concept has to change and now is the time. If we don't act now posterity will judge us as women.

Take courage in the knowledge that as a united front, Liberian Women can rejuvenate our failed state and restore its dignity. Therefore, we must build a strong and unwavering coalition among ourselves as individuals and women groups in and out of Liberia to brighten our dark and gloomy political situation.

Clearly, there is immense power in collaborative efforts when charting a political cause. We must be cohesive in advocating for participation at all levels of negotiations to find reasonable solutions out of the current quirky political nightmare.

Other women around the world have done it and so can we. Liberia must be included among the list of countries that have achieved a balanced gender-based government. While we are cognizant of the fact that we may not be totally prepared at this time to form a government like that of Sweden where the cabinet is fifty percent men and fifty percent women, we can make significant impact by engaging ourselves in the current political process in Liberia.
This is the time for women to spearhead the crusade to change the corrupt and totalitarian-like political culture of Liberia. The stagnant male-dominant political culture has destroyed every fabric of our nation as evidenced by the unfortunate military and political situation prevailing in our land today.

Consequently, we must not only be spectators but full participants with a new vision and political agenda grounded on high moral virtues. Let us begin with the ongoing arrangements in Ghana. Do not just watch the drama in Ghana but also make your voices heard as women. You can write your views to the BBC and various Liberian web sites. How many of us are even reading about the unfolding political events in Accra daily? We need to wake up. The culture of silence has caused greedy, selfish and unprincipled, functionally illiterate "politicians" to squander the resources of Liberia, leaving our people destitute and living at the mercy of international handouts. The same characters that heaped the havoc on our people have gathered again in Ghana, and we are watching instead of participating.

The stage is set for us to make the move! Can't you see? How about feeling it? Liberian children are dying and crying for help. Malnutrition is the standard health of Liberian infants and children today. In my mind, we as women can wipe the tears of our people and safe them from total destruction. Certainly we can put some smiles back on the faces of our people. Our history is replete with the blunder made by our male dominant leaderships, and the current crisis is a testament to this fact. Our old and young being led away to the slaughter house praying every step of the way for a liberator still lying in slumber? Wake up! This is the twenty first century!!

Oh forget it; I am just a mere dreamer of women's power with bigger dreams than kleptomaniac Taylor and his followers. Oh No! I am not dreaming! It's real! It's realizable! But only under one condition-a truly liberated and morally sensitized woman is the messenger sent to deliver our people. It could be you! Please! Don't shy away, it's a vision, grasp it and start to work.

We can make a significant difference in Liberia and we must do it now. Remember that delays are dangerous. Start now!

Clearly, this is a huge task. But remember the Chinese proverb that says "a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step". You must take the first step NOW! It is only those who risk going far will ever know how far to go. In my mind, one thing is certain, the invisible hands of God are holding on to us to simplify everything each step of the way. It may be a long walk to true freedom, but with compassion, conviction and determination, we can make it.

To succeed in this endeavor, we must develop theories based on moral and ethical standards. It is with this in mind, that I am compared to besiege you.

We must cultivate and maintain high moral values in ourselves, ladies! As succinctly put by a revolutionary, Sun Myung Moon of Korea, "the decline of morals has become a global phenomenon, and represents a serious threat to the future of mankind". The Holy Bible is also outspoken on the issue of morality. First Corinthians Chapter 8, Verse 18 says "flee sexual immorality. For every SIN that a man or woman does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his or her own body".

Using the Holy Bible and other teachings, we must fight to maintain morality as women. Simply put, we must respect ourselves by respecting our bodies so that others will respect and listen to us when we speak. Let our voices have weight since we must advocate for the voiceless majority.

Remember, one cannot give what he or she does not have. To advocate for moral virtues in our society we must first possess them.

This is not to castigate others who have had some challenges with moral judgment in the past. No one is righteous, for the Holy Bible says "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God".

Therefore, we are not insinuating that every woman must be an angel to join this crusade of women for positive political and socio-economic change. No! We are saying that we should examine ourselves and make amends for those negatives in our lives, if any, so that we will be equipped enough to effectively change the situation in Liberia.

I personally believe in the power of women to make things happen, if they so desire. Therefore, I challenge all Liberian women to begin to think about what contribution they can make to Liberia with the intent of making it habitable for us all. We must get involved politically so that we can adequately advocate for social policies that address critical issues exclusively affecting our women and children.

Henceforth, we must build and advance our capacities to positively transform our children, and the political and economic dynamics of our country. It is crystal clear that political decisions affect women and children more than any group. We have witnessed, and a majority of us have experienced, the horrible impact of monstrous political miscalculations made by men, which have ruined and altered our destiny in many cases. The scars are still too fresh and in fact more are currently being created on our innocent mothers and children who simply want a peaceful environment to live a normal life.

This is precisely why I challenge Liberian women to wake up. For decades we have trusted our men to make decisions for us as a people.

I leave you with these words: you will only have yourself to blame when remnants of what is left of our country, take its final collapse in the days or months ahead.