A Reflection on American Ambassador McCarthy’s Recent Press Release Addressing His Observations from His Recent Trip to Several Counties in Liberia
By M. Nathaniel Barnes
Reading Ambassador McCarthy’s observations, I experienced a myriad of emotions. From disappointment and disgust of our government’s ineptness, greed and apathy to the humiliation that it would take a “foreigner” to hold up the proverbial mirror to our national consciousness.
In his press statement April 24th entitled “Questions and Priorities,” Ambassador McCarthy stated his commitment to being the U.S. Emissary, not just to Monrovia, but to all of Liberia. He describes his extensive visit throughout Liberia to rural county hospitals, including Telloyan Memorial Hospital in Lofa County, where he was appalled to discover that they have not received a penny of the U.S. $100,000 or more that legislators in Monrovia have reportedly appropriated for them. Furthermore, the Ambassador reported that his sources assured him that the desperately needed resources have been prevented from their intended purpose in such a complete manner that it is obviously the work of layers of authorities including members of different political parties at the legislature as well of officials of multiple government ministries. Admittedly, the American Ambassador is having difficulty contemplating how, in the face of such clear corruption, the U.S. government can justify spending the approved $40 million to build the promised state of the art National Reference Laboratory. He continued to detail a similar lack of accountability for funds contributed to most of the County Service Centers by UNDP.
This report is, at best, extremely disappointing and humiliating. In a “worst case scenario,” it is a signal of the total collapse of our social fabric. If we cannot do better in caring for our most vulnerable, what kind of people are we?
Upon further reflection, I am reminded of a folktale passed down through generations of the Cherokee Nation a principal indigenous group of the United States of America. As the story goes,
One evening, a Cherokee elder was teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. This battle that goes on between the two wolves is inside us all.
One wolf is Evil. He is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is Good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”
Wisely, the grandfather simply smiled and replied, “The one you feed.”
Not unlike the grandfather, the “Liberia Persona” harbors this “Terrible fight between the two wolves.”
Unfortunately, the Evil Wolf of corruption, greed, injustice, marginalization, apathy and ineptness has consistently won over the generations because it is the wolf that Liberians have continuously chosen to feed.
In fact, the Evil Wolf has been so well fed, that the Good Wolf of justice, compassion, humility, caring and love exists on the brink of death from starvation.
If we, Liberians are not careful, this continuous feeding of the Evil Wolf will push Liberia over the precipice into of an abyss of lawlessness, and un-governability. We must never forget that the power and ability to feed the Bad Wolf and the Good Wolf lies in the hands of the people.
We must demand better of our leaders and of ourselves. ONLY WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE OUR DESTINY; NOW IS THAT TIME!