New Thinking With Joe Bartuah

Joe Bartuah

Joe Bartuah

The Imperatives of Introspection  part II

Some readers might be curious about my insistence on soul-searching. Soul-searching is imperative because once again, our country is at a crossroads. We are in the second decade of the 21st century; two democratic elections involving the presidency have been held and a very crucial transitional process is underway. This transitional process is very crucial, not only because for the first time in decades, Liberians would be holding an incumbent free presidential election, but also in 73 years by 2017, the prospect of a peaceful transfer of power from an outgoing president to an incoming president is imminent.

At the same time, a peculiar feature of predatory politics seems to be rearing its grotesque head in our society, to the detriment of the larger Liberian society. When such awful situation looms, soul-searching is imperative. Each of us must begin to prick our respective conscience by posing some hard questions. What type of Liberia do we envisage, or intend to bequeath to our children and posterity? A Liberia in which vibrant democracy blossoms, or a Liberia in which might makes right?

Even though we have gone through two presidential electoral cycles, it must be noted that democracy is more than mere electioneering; it’s life-time values to which the Liberian people have overwhelmingly committed themselves, not an ostentatious event cunningly designed for international acceptability and the perks associated with it; what we all need now is to sincerely collaborate in internalizing such values rather certain elements employing scare tactics to intimidate and distract Liberians from this nobler path. In a vibrant democracy, conscientiously objecting to the trappings of the status quo shouldn’t spell doom for anyone, or be synonymous with imperilment, be it compatriots or foreign residents. Predatorily pouncing on those perceived as “enemies” tends to debilitate the fabrics of our arduous democratic process, thereby torrentially eroding the confidence and aspiration of the ordinary people in the very system.

For 14 unbroken years, Liberia went through an unprecedented conflagration, because power addicts and wealth scavengers were involved in deadly duels to wrestle power from one another; the disastrous result of those gloomy episodes was that more than 250,000 precious lives were lost, due to such senselessness. If it were natural for death to spare a people, it would have spared the Liberian people for at least 250 years, just to make up for all the lives that were prematurely incinerated during the senseless upheaval.

But because natural dynamics does not work that way, nature continues to take its course. Against this backdrop, all Liberians—whether highly or lowly placed–must say a resounding NO to and vehemently reject any semblance of predatory politics, which has the propensity to artificially imperil the lives of their fellowmen. To better understand this vile, shady practice called PREDATORY POLITICS, it’s better to briefly depict or characterize it:

Characteristics: Predatory politics is essentially fueled by some attributes of fake divinity, whereby one becomes delusional, or is perceived by his or her fanatics as a sort of God’s anointed. Of course, such false sense of divine approval tends to render those who harbor such myth supercilious, imbuing them with a sense of entitlement. When such false sense of entitlement goes into the psyche of a people, they cease to be public servants and then insist on being unquestionably served or virtually worshiped. The most ominous aspect of such scenario is that the fanatics of the so-called anointed one tend to perceive any criticism of their “anointed one” as a sort of “abomination”, which they callously believe, is punishable by death, since in their inverted reasoning, opposing God’s anointed is tantamount to opposing “God.”

Effects: Predatory politics is a gross disincentive to democratic vibrancy, because it seeks to destroy what it clearly has no capacity to create; it’s toxic and has corrosive effects in rendering any society moribund. In many instances, predatory politics is cunningly camouflaged in democratic robe, yet engaged in sordid deeds that are manifestly anathema to basic democratic precepts.

Historical Reflection: Historically, spasms of predatory politics had in the past, been introduced by power addicts within the Liberian political theater. Can someone still remember President Edward James Roye? What did his assailants say killed him? DROWNING!!!! Just imagine a group of people led by a former president—the first president for that matter—who had the guts to resort to mob action against a sitting president couldn’t give him adequate protection as he reportedly awaited “trial.” The fairy tale, as later narrated by A. Doris Banks Henries, who was married to the Monrovia cabal, was that Roye had tied a heavy amount of money (British Pounds?) around his body and was attempting to run away; incredibly, he was swimming towards a canoe (boat?) in order to flee to Sierra Leone.

And what happened? The dethroned president “drowned!!!!” That was way back in February of 1872. And so obviously, “drowning” is not a new official “cause of death” within the Liberian political theater. Was there any independent investigation to determine the actual cause of President Roye’s death? Not to my knowledge; he simply drowned.

Just as predatory politics has multiple characteristics, so, too, are its multiple modes of victimization. In other words, predatory politics had in the past, taken varied forms in this country, ultimately victimizing the majority of the Liberian people and the country itself. Remember the Fernando Po slave-trading crisis, which was euphemistically dubbed “forced labor” in subsequent years? Many of those involved in alerting the League of Nations about this human trafficking and dehumanization were banished to the notorious Belle Yalla to die and most of them actually died in that jungle before the League of Nations could even pay a scanty attention. Two leading legislators—F.D.N. Morias and Didwho Twe who had spoken against this callous inhumanity in parliament were expelled by the notorious Joint Resolution of the Liberian Legislature. The two outstanding lawmakers’ expulsion was also a flagrant violation of the constitution because their comments were constitutionally protected.

 

In 1955, Samuel David Coleman was victimized by predatory politics. When he and his well-learned son were murdered, the Tubman regime claimed that Coleman had opened “suppressive fire”—to borrow the late Joe Tate’s diction—on the security forces. Was there any independent investigation? Not to my knowledge. Moreover, was “The Plot that Failed” actually a plot, or a mere orchestration by Tubman’s security operatives to prey on an outspoken opponent of the autocrat? Was there any independent investigation to determine the authenticity of the so-called plot? Not to my knowledge.

In 1981, Major-General Thomas Weh-Syen was returning from an Invincible Eleven-Barrolle football game in Buchanan when his vehicle tires were punctured by Samuel Doe’s security operatives; he was arrested and charged with a “socialist plot” and a few days later, he was victimized by predatory politics. Two years later in 1983, General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa was adroitly manipulated by predatory politics and whisked off his position and politically ostracized. By 1985, he, too, was cannibalized by predatory politics. In 1998, Samuel Saye Dokie and his wife, his sister and nephew were abducted and burned to death in Gbarnga; like S.D. Coleman, Dokie was also victimized by predatory politics.

What is shocking is that in spite of all the pillaging and devastation that Liberia went through, all in the name of DEMOCRACY, predatory politics is daring to bounce back in pouncing on perceived enemies. This is untenable in this age of cyber revolution, which has radically revolutionized the dissemination of information. Whether one is highly or lowly placed in the Liberian society, “If you see something, say something,” to borrow a U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s mantra.

Being apathetic to predatory politics is akin to being on a boat and seeing someone perilously rocking the boat without raising concerns. In such a scenario, if you remain indifferent and the boat eventually capsizes, everyone will be affected. Because your precious life and the lives of all others aboard depend on the smooth sail of this proverbial boat, even if it is the captain of the boat who has the legal authority to ensure its smooth berth that you see recklessly rocking the very boat, take a stance, because your apathetic reticence might be astronomically costly. In like manner, if you see some mischievous kids in a community playing with fire in a neighborhood, don’t be indifferent, because your indifference and their carelessness could also affect you and your families by setting your home ablaze.

Every ten years, most countries around the conduct census; in undertaking such exercises, attempts are made to enumerate all the living souls within a given country, not just the millionaires and billionaires, or the most powerful that are counted. During democratic elections, do candidates campaign for the votes of only the rich people, or has there been any instance in which the American dollars have lined up to exclusively cast their votes for candidates? To me, these are all indications that human resources are the most indispensable of all natural and artificial resources.

For example, when the United States conducted its first national census in 1790, there were only five million inhabitants, but today, the U.S. is the most industrialized country in the word, with more than 320 million people residing in this sprawling country. In a course of 240 years from independence, the great people of the U.S. have been able to make such developmental leap because they have been scrupulously keeping their people safe and fiercely protecting their fundamental rights, not by clandestinely bludgeoning those who care to voice out their misgivings with the status quo.

It is through those inspirational policies that the lowly and highly placed members of vibrant democratic societies have been able to work together for everyone to optimize their potential, not through covert victimization. Liberians have had enough; for 14 years, our country was a perilous hell-hole during a senseless upheaval. Having experienced such unprecedented disaster, wealth and power addicts must not allow their lust for an elusive petrol wealth to further petrify an already devastated country. A society tends to be static and regressive when people are overwhelmed by apprehension; people become despondent because in such scenario, they tend to lose their creative capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship.

In closing, we must all muster the courage to denounce predatory politics for the evil it portends, for the dehumanization and despondence it generates and the disincentives it engenders for democracy. Family members, relatives, friends and all other associates of the Allisons and Greaveses ought to be reassured that their security is indeed, rest assured, that they too, won’t be victimized on account of their views, which might not be to the liking of wealth and power addicts.

 

 

Some readers might be curious about my insistence on soul-searching. Soul-searching is imperative because once again, our country is at a crossroads. We are in the second decade of the 21st century; two democratic elections involving the presidency have been held and a very crucial transitional process is underway. This transitional process is very crucial, not only because for the first time in decades, Liberians would be holding an incumbent free presidential election, but also in 73 years by 2017, the prospect of a peaceful transfer of power from an outgoing president to an incoming president is imminent.

At the same time, a peculiar feature of predatory politics seems to be rearing its grotesque head in our society, to the detriment of the larger Liberian society. When such awful situation looms, soul-searching is imperative. Each of us must begin to prick our respective conscience by posing some hard questions. What type of Liberia do we envisage, or intend to bequeath to our children and posterity? A Liberia in which vibrant democracy blossoms, or a Liberia in which might makes right?

Even though we have gone through two presidential electoral cycles, it must be noted that democracy is more than mere electioneering; it’s life-time values to which the Liberian people have overwhelmingly committed themselves, not an ostentatious event cunningly designed for international acceptability and the perks associated with it; what we all need now is to sincerely collaborate in internalizing such values rather certain elements employing scare tactics to intimidate and distract Liberians from this nobler path. In a vibrant democracy, conscientiously objecting to the trappings of the status quo shouldn’t spell doom for anyone, or be synonymous with imperilment, be it compatriots or foreign residents. Predatorily pouncing on those perceived as “enemies” tends to debilitate the fabrics of our arduous democratic process, thereby torrentially eroding the confidence and aspiration of the ordinary people in the very system.

For 14 unbroken years, Liberia went through an unprecedented conflagration, because power addicts and wealth scavengers were involved in deadly duels to wrestle power from one another; the disastrous result of those gloomy episodes was that more than 250,000 precious lives were lost, due to such senselessness. If it were natural for death to spare a people, it would have spared the Liberian people for at least 250 years, just to make up for all the lives that were prematurely incinerated during the senseless upheaval.

But because natural dynamics does not work that way, nature continues to take its course. Against this backdrop, all Liberians—whether highly or lowly placed–must say a resounding NO to and vehemently reject any semblance of predatory politics, which has the propensity to artificially imperil the lives of their fellowmen. To better understand this vile, shady practice called PREDATORY POLITICS, it’s better to briefly depict or characterize it:

Characteristics: Predatory politics is essentially fueled by some attributes of fake divinity, whereby one becomes delusional, or is perceived by his or her fanatics as a sort of God’s anointed. Of course, such false sense of divine approval tends to render those who harbor such myth supercilious, imbuing them with a sense of entitlement. When such false sense of entitlement goes into the psyche of a people, they cease to be public servants and then insist on being unquestionably served or virtually worshiped. The most ominous aspect of such scenario is that the fanatics of the so-called anointed one tend to perceive any criticism of their “anointed one” as a sort of “abomination”, which they callously believe, is punishable by death, since in their inverted reasoning, opposing God’s anointed is tantamount to opposing “God.”

Effects: Predatory politics is a gross disincentive to democratic vibrancy, because it seeks to destroy what it clearly has no capacity to create; it’s toxic and has corrosive effects in rendering any society moribund. In many instances, predatory politics is cunningly camouflaged in democratic robe, yet engaged in sordid deeds that are manifestly anathema to basic democratic precepts.

Historical Reflection: Historically, spasms of predatory politics had in the past, been introduced by power addicts within the Liberian political theater. Can someone still remember President Edward James Roye? What did his assailants say killed him? DROWNING!!!! Just imagine a group of people led by a former president—the first president for that matter—who had the guts to resort to mob action against a sitting president couldn’t give him adequate protection as he reportedly awaited “trial.” The fairy tale, as later narrated by A. Doris Banks Henries, who was married to the Monrovia cabal, was that Roye had tied a heavy amount of money (British Pounds?) around his body and was attempting to run away; incredibly, he was swimming towards a canoe (boat?) in order to flee to Sierra Leone.

And what happened? The dethroned president “drowned!!!!” That was way back in February of 1872. And so obviously, “drowning” is not a new official “cause of death” within the Liberian political theater. Was there any independent investigation to determine the actual cause of President Roye’s death? Not to my knowledge; he simply drowned.

Just as predatory politics has multiple characteristics, so, too, are its multiple modes of victimization. In other words, predatory politics had in the past, taken varied forms in this country, ultimately victimizing the majority of the Liberian people and the country itself. Remember the Fernando Po slave-trading crisis, which was euphemistically dubbed “forced labor” in subsequent years? Many of those involved in alerting the League of Nations about this human trafficking and dehumanization were banished to the notorious Belle Yalla to die and most of them actually died in that jungle before the League of Nations could even pay a scanty attention. Two leading legislators—F.D.N. Morias and Didwho Twe who had spoken against this callous inhumanity in parliament were expelled by the notorious Joint Resolution of the Liberian Legislature. The two outstanding lawmakers’ expulsion was also a flagrant violation of the constitution because their comments were constitutionally protected.

 

In 1955, Samuel David Coleman was victimized by predatory politics. When he and his well-learned son were murdered, the Tubman regime claimed that Coleman had opened “suppressive fire”—to borrow the late Joe Tate’s diction—on the security forces. Was there any independent investigation? Not to my knowledge. Moreover, was “The Plot that Failed” actually a plot, or a mere orchestration by Tubman’s security operatives to prey on an outspoken opponent of the autocrat? Was there any independent investigation to determine the authenticity of the so-called plot? Not to my knowledge.

In 1981, Major-General Thomas Weh-Syen was returning from an Invincible Eleven-Barrolle football game in Buchanan when his vehicle tires were punctured by Samuel Doe’s security operatives; he was arrested and charged with a “socialist plot” and a few days later, he was victimized by predatory politics. Two years later in 1983, General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa was adroitly manipulated by predatory politics and whisked off his position and politically ostracized. By 1985, he, too, was cannibalized by predatory politics. In 1998, Samuel Saye Dokie and his wife, his sister and nephew were abducted and burned to death in Gbarnga; like S.D. Coleman, Dokie was also victimized by predatory politics.

What is shocking is that in spite of all the pillaging and devastation that Liberia went through, all in the name of DEMOCRACY, predatory politics is daring to bounce back in pouncing on perceived enemies. This is untenable in this age of cyber revolution, which has radically revolutionized the dissemination of information. Whether one is highly or lowly placed in the Liberian society, “If you see something, say something,” to borrow a U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s mantra.

Being apathetic to predatory politics is akin to being on a boat and seeing someone perilously rocking the boat without raising concerns. In such a scenario, if you remain indifferent and the boat eventually capsizes, everyone will be affected. Because your precious life and the lives of all others aboard depend on the smooth sail of this proverbial boat, even if it is the captain of the boat who has the legal authority to ensure its smooth berth that you see recklessly rocking the very boat, take a stance, because your apathetic reticence might be astronomically costly. In like manner, if you see some mischievous kids in a community playing with fire in a neighborhood, don’t be indifferent, because your indifference and their carelessness could also affect you and your families by setting your home ablaze.

Every ten years, most countries around the conduct census; in undertaking such exercises, attempts are made to enumerate all the living souls within a given country, not just the millionaires and billionaires, or the most powerful that are counted. During democratic elections, do candidates campaign for the votes of only the rich people, or has there been any instance in which the American dollars have lined up to exclusively cast their votes for candidates? To me, these are all indications that human resources are the most indispensable of all natural and artificial resources.

For example, when the United States conducted its first national census in 1790, there were only five million inhabitants, but today, the U.S. is the most industrialized country in the word, with more than 320 million people residing in this sprawling country. In a course of 240 years from independence, the great people of the U.S. have been able to make such developmental leap because they have been scrupulously keeping their people safe and fiercely protecting their fundamental rights, not by clandestinely bludgeoning those who care to voice out their misgivings with the status quo.

It is through those inspirational policies that the lowly and highly placed members of vibrant democratic societies have been able to work together for everyone to optimize their potential, not through covert victimization. Liberians have had enough; for 14 years, our country was a perilous hell-hole during a senseless upheaval. Having experienced such unprecedented disaster, wealth and power addicts must not allow their lust for an elusive petrol wealth to further petrify an already devastated country. A society tends to be static and regressive when people are overwhelmed by apprehension; people become despondent because in such scenario, they tend to lose their creative capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship.

In closing, we must all muster the courage to denounce predatory politics for the evil it portends, for the dehumanization and despondence it generates and the disincentives it engenders for democracy. Family members, relatives, friends and all other associates of the Allisons and Greaveses ought to be reassured that their security is indeed, rest assured, that they too, won’t be victimized on account of their views, which might not be to the liking of wealth and power addicts.

 

 

 

Filed in: New Thinking

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