MONROVIA – While democracy is, by nature, a reinforcing agent of division, theoretically based on dogmatic preferences, it also has the tendency to divert national attention from the imperatives of harmony and collective development efforts, particularly when the citizens are consumed by the loss of the bigger picture seen only from nationalistic eyes. This is the case with 175 year-old Liberia torn by political marginalization for 133 years of hegemonic rule, 10 years of clannist politics and 14 years of politically motivated conflict. Even 19 years after the internecine conflict, the citizens are yet to come to terms with compelling need for unity and peace, largely due to hate and bitterness fueled by political cleavages—something that is ruining patriotic spirit and unity. The National Orator at the 175th Flag Day Anniversary, Rev. Lawrence Bropleh, noted that this has gone too far and it is time to pause and reflect more on what holds Liberians together as nation and people. The Analyst reports.
The Orator of the 175th Anniversary of the National Ensign of Africa’s oldest republic is summoning the patriotic spirit of citizens in the overall interest of their country.
Former Information Minister Rev. Lawrence K. Bropleh wants Liberians to “reflect a bit, putting aside politics, and realize that with unity we can move faster together in the overall interest of our country”.
He said Liberians must charge themselves with the responsibility to make patriotic and nationalistic contributions through the political and social decisions they make to the promotion of peace and unity for the country.
“Let there be no iota of ambiguity in the expression of the love we must exhibit for our Flag, for it represents our sense of belonging as a people to our nation Liberia,” Dr. Bropleh asserted at the well-attended Flag Day program held August 24, 2022 at the Centennial Pavilion. “Let us handle our Flag with great respect, for when we do that, we will handle Liberians with respect and our Nation as well. We must at all times seek the oneness of our nation.”
“Let not our quest for political power lead us down meandering roads of destructive engagements whose outcomes would be inimical to the survival of the ONE nation our Flag stands for,” he continued, adding: “We can’t afford to reverse the gains we have made since the end of our two civil wars that only brought prolonged suffering, increased the level of illiteracy, poverty and disease in the society and caused thousands of lives and properties worth millions of dollars to be destroyed, and in some cases, looted and vandalized.”
Rev. Bropleh who is President Weah’s Special Envoy and Advisor reminded Liberians that the path to development, national growth and transformation is irreversible, indicating further that the path to inclusion of all in the decision-making process, the path to availing the country to friendly partners and other nations and investors for economic and infrastructural growth are irreversible.
He indicated that the path to unhindered human capital development, the path to freedom of thought, association, speech and religious tolerance, are irreversible paths, admonishing citizens to remain on an irreversible path of respecting the rule of law and allowing our justice system to work independently for everyone, regardless of their social or political opinions, connections, alignment, and differences.
Dr. Bropleh said celebrate the 175th Flag Day should make Liberians remember that the flag represents an idea, and that it is not just a mere piece of cloth that is intended for decoration.
“Our Flag must be seen as symbolistic and symbiotic, it ties and binds us together,” he stressed, and opined: “As Liberians, our Flag stands as a Lighthouse, steering and guiding each of us to calm shores where our school going children will be taught in their civic classes the value of the Flag, how it stands for respect and not disrespect, dignity and not inhumanity, love and not hate, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence as a people, that symbiotic guidance that invigorates us to seek the ‘We consciousness’”.
“As patriots,” he said, “let’s hold the Flag in high esteem, knowing deep down in our hearts that it is our country that it represents. It is no argument that one of the many ways we can demonstrate true patriotism and loyalty to our country is by showing respect for our Flag. That‘s why for me, like many of us here, we take pride in flying the national ensign because we know it is a symbol of patriotism and loyalty to our country.”
He reminded Liberians about general and presidential elections coming in 15 months, and the need to keep the peace, watch the exchange of bitter words and not blows during the period of campaigning, and as elections will be held, votes counted and winners announced.
He expressed deepest conviction that no matter how bitter Liberian politics may be, the Liberian instinct should never be to find isolation in opposite corners, instead it must be to find strength in their common creed, to forge unity from great diversity, to maintain that strength and unity even when it is hard.
Rev. Bropleh said further: “As Liberians, a people united by a singular goal of seeking to live as a free and independent people from the humiliating bondage of slavery, torture and abuse, we can only remind ourselves that it’s only through unity, patriotism, love and co-existence that we can keep the light of freedom shining on the African continent.”
He said this was the true essence of the enormous sacrifices that forefathers and mothers made when they risked their lives through the Atlantic and daringly chose a path of return to their ancestral homeland in Africa.
“They chose to find a place – free of slavery and inhumane bondage – now called the Republic of Liberia, where after many years of work, they would raise the Red, White and Blue Flag with a white star in its canton (filed), representing the first independent state in Africa after suffering hundreds of years of slavery in the Americas”.
According to him, the returnees and the indigenous, after uniting and inhabiting this land for over 200 years as one people, and one nation, must not be seen again in this 21st century, tearing each other apart, and fighting against each other in a way that only sets the stage to bring our country down on the basis of our political differences.
“If we allow our political decisions, our religious differences, and other disagreements to continue to pull us apart rather than unite us, the consequences will be a broken society,” he noted. “If we allow disunity to put us against each other, rather than embrace one another, the consequences would be the lack of development, economic growth, education, quality healthcare, and prosperity for ourselves and our posterity.”
He emphasized that all Liberians, “no matter our tribe, our religion, political party, age, education and class, we belong to one nation and we pay allegiance to one Flag, the Red, White and Blue national ensign.”