Liberia celebrates its 173rd Independence Anniversary in two weeks—a timeframe that makes the country the oldest black Republic—and yet both the leaders, the masses, the educated and the non-educated are unanimous in the view that the country’s age does not worth it in terms of transformation compared to younger nations. As July 26 draws nearly, the debate of whether or not there is reason to celebrate is refreshed, and one of Liberia’s eminent citizens, Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, has cleverly described the paradox and oxymoron, “Rich but Poor Country” that haunts the country from the days of old. In a rather poetic open letter, she laments the woes of Liberia, as The Analyst reports.
Last year’s Independence Day Speaker, Madam Leymah Gbowee, electrified the nation with her famous speech that described three categories of citizens responsible for Liberia’s social, economic and political stagnation and deprivation–Ruling Position, the Opposition, and the No Position.
She’s not qualified for a speaker for the Independence Day this year—and in the near future—but she has found a way to still be heard as the nation celebrates its 173rd Anniversary.
She has written a letter to Mama Liberia. She has refreshed national memory not only on her speech last year but also on intractable issues bedeviling the nation’s progress and development.
“Dear Mama Liberia,” she wrote. “This is your daughter Leymah. I decided to write this note to you today to express my heartfelt gratitude for all that you have done for me and my brothers and sisters.
“I recently realized that I have not been as appreciative and loving as I should be. You have given me and my brothers and sisters your best, and all we have done in return is complain about how much hardship and suffering we are enduring.
“A few days ago, I sat in the company of some individuals who are supposed to be our cousins (West Africans). I was extremely heartbroken as I sat and listened and argued as they described my Mama Liberia. They called you a failure, with failed children; they called you a mother who is endowed with so much wealth but with no intellectual ability to transform the wealth for your children’s good. As for your children, they described us as party-goers, headless, visionless souls who are doomed. You see Mama Liberia; I defended you. I tried to defend my brothers and sisters, especially the ones that you have entrusted with managing our homes and assets, but my voice was drowning in the sea of allegations that were being levied against you and all of us.
“I was sad, angry, disappointed, and left in a state of “what the hell just happened”? I had to admit that the truth hurts, oh yes it hurts!
“I know for a fact, Mama Liberia, that you are wealthy, but that you do not have the intellectual ability to transform the wealth for the good of your children is not true. What I know for a fact is you are a patient and loving mother.
“You have given your children the chance to manage your wealth with the hope that they will ensure their brothers and sisters, the ones without power would be catered for, but what you see repeatedly is how your trusted children mismanage and take all for themselves.
“You have tried the ones educated in the best schools outside of the land yet they failed; you have tried the ones educated at home, they failed; you have even tried the ones who promised to take care of the powerless ones because they were born powerless, they have also failed.
“You watched sadly as your trusted children use the wealth to abuse the powerless ones, your young sons become their errand boys, whilst your young underage daughters are abused and used for peanuts daily.
“Education and healthcare are the least of their worries; they have transported their children to the finest schools in other lands and can afford to fly out to the best hospitals when they sneeze. Justice is not a word in the vocabulary of your trusted children. They are callous, careless, and reckless in their lifestyles and their utterances. Their attitudes have made you the laughing stock of your peers in the sub-region and region.
“Mama Liberia, I know, as a caring mother, you wonder where did you go wrong in the nurturing and care of your children. To say you are weak will be doing you a disservice. I repeatedly have read and seen how you discipline and revoke all the stolen wealth from your trusted children, but somehow, there seems to be no learning system. Trusted children repeatedly make the same mistakes as their predecessors.
Mama Liberia, I want to use this letter to apologize for all that my brothers and sisters and I have done in recent years.
“I want to assure you that I will always speak up for you. I will use all I have in my capacity to help educate and mentor the next generation of transformative leaders.
“Mama Liberia, I believe in you, and I know that you will stand tall again amongst your peers. I firmly believe a day is coming, and that day is not so far that your wealth will benefit all of your children and not just some of your children. In a few years, your children will be proud to say I am a child, a descendant, and an ally of Mama Liberia.
“Mama Liberia, sweet Mama Liberia, know today and always that I remain loyal to you.
“Happy Pre-Birthday, and thank you for never giving up on your children.
“Leymah, A Blessed Daughter of Yours.”