DATE: 17 JULY 2009
SOURCE: All Africa (c) 2009
The Liberian Ambassador to the United of America, Mr. Milton Nathaniel Barnes, says the Liberian civil war was “an explosive purifying release of decades of suppressed emotions of hatred, envy, fear, doubt, and suspicion.” He believes “It is a sacred truth that as violent and all-consuming as our civil strife was, it was, to a large extent, a massive national catharsis.”
According to him, ” Liberia was born out of crisis.” He named the crisis as “the inhumane acts of slavery, the clash of cultures and values resulting in a military confrontation and conquest, social discrimination, exclusion and intolerance, tribalism and inter-ethnic conflict, and – most importantly – as subtle as it may be, the crisis of denial. It was this denial that caused us to proceed to building a nation on a defective foundation of lies, deceit, injustice, ignorance, corruption, ineptness, and ineffectiveness.”
Ambassador Barnes’ statements were contained in a keynote address he delivered at the opening of the 2009 convention of the United Bong County Association in the Americas (UBCAA) at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer on Broad Street here.
Amidst applause from his audience, Ambassador Barnes, the last finance minister under Charles Taylor, claimed “Liberia has had opportunities purposefully created by (and limited to) a calculating, ruthless few who exploited the chaos for their personal gains.”
He said, “Through fear, intimidation and the manipulation of the emotions and sentiments of tribalism and sectionalism, they effectively carved up our national wealth among themselves with no regard to the needs, hopes, and aspirations of our people. In several instances in our history, these exploitations have resulted in national shame, global isolation, and a threat to our very sovereignty.”
Barnes, who unsuccessfully ran for President of Liberia in 2005, noted: “All this is the result of consciously and unconsciously building our society on this faulty foundation of denial. At the end of the day, one can justifiably ask the semi-biblical question: Can anything good come out of Liberia?”
He named some of the costs of the Liberian civil war as “massive loss of life and destruction of property and infrastructure; displacement of a significant portion of our people; disease and epidemics; illiteracy; marginalization and violence against women and children; and uneducated, untrained, violent corps of youth and countless other ills.”
He said after all of the destructions, “It is now time to heal our wounds and build a future as one nation, one people.” He said Liberians should now search deeply to find anything good from the “madness of our civil strife.”
Earlier, UBCAA National President Joe Flomo Matthews, challenged his fellow Bong citizens to know that the people of Bong County are counting on us to serve as oasis of ideas that would bring about good governance and the effective use of allocated resources.” He thanked the New Jersey chapter for hosting this year’s convention.
Host chapter president Garnett Y.K. Gbamokollie welcomed his guests and challenged them to make the organization much more serviceable to Bong County. The three-day convention ended Sunday.
Culled from All Africa
2009: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive