EDITORIAL – Protest on Independence Day is Most Unpatriotic and Uncouth

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE Council of Patriots (CoP) to return to the streets of Monrovia in protest against Government is the most bizarre and unpatriotic thing any Liberian can do. Even the most radicalized militants, who willfully maim and cruelly kill in line with their beliefs and struggles, do observe certain important days as some kind of respect for culture, religion and history. It would be the highest point of recklessness for any group of Liberians, for any reason whatsoever, to desecrate our National Day in the name of protesting “bad governance” or venting anti-government frustrations.

A LITTLE OVER a month ago, the same group – CoP, caused the assembly of the largest opposition group in recent memory and their “Save the State” mantra attracted an appreciable amount of support from the independent civil society and ordinary Liberians. Besides their own missteps or over exuberance or grogginess to radicalism they were unable to hand-deliver directly to government representatives their petition on the day of the protest. They had to do so days after in circumstances some pundits still ponder. Days and weeks later, the public began to see the same group embroiled in accountability crisis, prompting prominent members part Company with the original base, citing deviation from original intent. But that is not the important point now. What is concerning and mindboggling is that the Council of Patriots are threatening to return to the streets, expressly to disrupt the peaceful celebration of the country’s Independence Day, July 26.

THE “PATRIOTS” HAVE not been making secret the intent. In a press conference last weekend, the group, which is made of the country’s major political parties, announced that it would mobilize its base to return to streets for a nation-wide protest covering all counties from Wednesday, July 24 which is one day to the Independence Day of Liberia and to remain in the streets until its laundry list of political demands are met.

WE DON’T HAVE qualms with any Liberian or group of Liberians protesting for their rights. In fact, Liberians in their thousands supported the Council of Patriots’ last demonstration. But for this round of protests scheduled on the week of the country’s Independence Day, apparently with the intent to disrupt the quiet of the day and raise the temper of the public, we are in total disagreement. We vehemently oppose it to the letter, and we condemn any such thing on and before July 26.

IF THERE IS any time in the national calendar on which Liberians deserve peace of mind, tranquility and harmony, it is July 26 each year. This is the day our forefathers declared we were free and independent. It is our collective birthday as a people and nation to cherish. Yes, there might be issues about our independence and about the fact that our age does not commensurate with the level of transformation and development we have. But who can negate and disrupt the celebration of his birthday because he is not satisfied with achievements in life?

EVEN WHEN LIBERIA declared itself independent on July 26, 1847, everything was not rosy. In fact, the colonial agents were still fully in charge of things and all that constituted the requirements of independence were not in full supply. We still had independence anyway and, like other independent people, we ought to take pride in it; we deserve the beauty and necessity of its solemnity and tranquility.

TO PUNISH THE current government or contemporary Liberians for the culmination of 172 years of political failure and economic neglect is imprudent, unjustified and silly to say the least. And if there is any reason to ignore this fact, thinking that serial street protests are the solution to the woes we know from the days of old, July 26 should not and must not be the ideal time for it. On this day, Liberians deserve the peace and order to properly reflect and rationally reset for the national challenge of healing wounds of politics and the failure of governance.

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