IT IS NOW 17 years since our country had a relative rest from the furnace of 14 unbroken years of war—a war that killed over 250,000 people, displaced over a million citizens and sent hundreds of thousands into exile. The war disfigured thousands, created seas of bloods and mountains of skeletons. It rendered many children orphaned, charred critical infrastructures, vandalized our national resources and left the country doom.
IT WAS NOT until August 18, 2003 that the deal was done. Fourteen years earlier, bloodthirsty Liberians and their lords could not accept any plea to halt the bloodletting. Bundles of peace initiatives proposed and undertaken by Liberian interest groups and the international community fell on deaf ears. Fourteen years earlier, some compatriots saw the moment as an opportunity to loot, maim, disembowel, murder and destroy. It was a moment of unconscionable vengeance and counter-vengeance. The falcon could not hear the falconer. Tears went unheeded. Some Liberians wanted to disavow and disown their Liberian ancestry, since everything about the native land practically appear bleak, beastly, cruel and unsightly.
WITH PROVIDENCE’S INTERVENTION, coupled with the untired efforts of some peaceful Liberians and foreign friends, the beasts, savages and brutes dropped arms 14 years later. They did so under the canopy of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord.
THE CPA WAS not an empty shell. While the warring parties might have meant that Agreement to ease their entanglement from years of war and for the exchange of their guns for a power-sharing government that would quench thirst for political authority, as shown in the configuration of the interim government that followed, the crafters of the CPA were intentional and deliberate in setting the stage for lasting peace and democracy after the war. They did not make the provisions of the Agreement mere a power-sharing tool or a framework for disarmament from war. They made it a Bible of moral and political vows not for warlords, and also for the entire country and its people moving forward.
IN A SENSE, THE CPA came out as not only a mirror by which Liberians see the hideousness and savagery of war but also a roadmap to keep the nation’s feet steady and un-slipped from the trajectory of peace, stability, development and democracy. It is a sacred document that states, in other words, “Never Again Shall We Do This to Ourselves and Our Nation.”
THIS IS WHY we agree with River Gee Senator Conmany Wesseh in suggesting that we make August 18 every year as a National Holiday, a day this nation will remind itself about the horrors of our civil conflict—a reminder that will keep our emotions, your mouths, hands and feet away from anything that draws us to conflict and war.
WE SAY THIS because time has the tendency of healing wounds, deadening memories about even horrific moments in history. Just in 17 years since the end of the conflict, some citizens who don’t seem to be younger to remember the horrors of the civil conflict are acting as if they don’t know what war and conflict mean. They threaten the peace, some with their mouths and some with the acts that are anti-peace.
IT’S TIME TO sober up. Individual citizens must refrain from acts that border violence; for violence begets conflict, conflict begets hatred and hatred begets war. More so, the Government of the day must tame down the political rhetoric; for it is the government that bears the greatest responsibility for keeping the peace and stabilizing the country.
LET’S US NOT allow political emotions and ethnic hate and bitterness—emotions that spur out just to give one or two compatriots power to rule—to deaden our commitment to peace; commitments that we made 17 years ago never to return to conflict.
THIS CALL IS particularly necessary in the wake of the senatorial elections. Emotions are being charged as if we have forgotten that it was because of selfish ambitions of a few that got us embroiled into 14 years of war.
ANYTIME WE FORGET the horror of war, let’s look into the CPA and see not only the valley of war and rejection whence we arose but also the vows we made to ourselves to remain peaceful, civil, humane and patriotic in the sustenance of our democracy and recovery which are being tenderly cultured and jealously nurtured.
WE SAY ‘HAPPY CPA Day’ to all Liberians.