Reminded of a book written by Louise Barnett on the life, death and mystic afterlife of American General George Armstrong Custer, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes is quoted therein as having said that “Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing.”
Against the backdrop of the quotable premises, it becomes a grudgingly preconceived allegation to have had the friend government of La Cote d’Ivoire to point accusing fingers at the Government of Liberia for having harbored individuals along borders of the two countries in attacking peacekeepers from Niger who were helping to restore calm to the former, resulting to the reported deaths of seven, including eight civilians.
Occurring at a time that thousands of Ivorians are being resettled, having fled from that sisterly republic out of political upheavals and warmly received on the Liberian soil for refuge for many months, gracefully attended to by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRCS), the Liberia Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration Commission (LRRRC), Save The Children (UK) and other local and international institutions, it becomes highly demeaning of the efforts applied by maliciously accusing the friendly and peace-seeking government of Liberia of creating the very fragile situation within the Mano River-Cavalla Union (MRU) a grands frais.
Undoubtedly with the continuingly restructured personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) been momentarily and strategically confined to areas of training until the exercise shall have been fully completed, prior to the gradual phasing out of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), it becomes a manufactured LIE for any individual or institution to point at the indefatigable AFL or members of the local security sector for creating havoc, as disciplined and democratic as they are being given appropriate basal dressing for the task ahead under Defense Minister Hon. Brownie J. Samukai.
International and local as the premises have been laid since 2003, witnessing UNMIL as the sole authority in restoring and preserving peace and stability in Liberia, in spite its involvement in more recent years into other civil activities in sustaining whatever progress has been made, where comes in trouble-shooters along the borders of the two friendly peoples and nations in recent days?
Granted the indictment, conviction and subsequent detention of Liberia’s 21st President, Charles Ghankay Taylor for 50 years in Great Britain for having committed war crimes, the nation cannot however continue to be entangled through various means by detractors in view of its proven belief and commitment to the four pillars of democracy encompassing participation, equality, liberty and sense of the common good, hard they may come to be fully understood.
Over the months and in spite identifying with the plight of brothers and sisters in La Cote d’Ivoire, generating the stimulus from the many decades of harmonious relations that reigned between Liberia and the sisterly republic, championed by the late President Felix Houphouet Boigny, with the establishment of the African Development Bank (ADB) further igniting relations not only in MRU member-states but the African region, it only becomes pure witch-hunt for one to outrightly accuse the Republic of Liberia of using its swept-soil as springboard to effect any destabilization in the sub-region.
Not in the least a spokesman for the Government of Liberia but simply from the perspective of been an advocate of peace, stability, democracy and progress, its official spokesman, Information Minister Hon. Lewis Brown has at least said the truth by underscoring that at no time will Liberia allow its soil to be used in destabilizing others, moreso with the accusation coming at a time that the nation is making tremendous progress at socio-economic development, accentuating what is known in Latin as Est modus in rebus.
Extremely involved as UNMIL has been and continues to be in safeguarding both La Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia against any form of aggression or infiltration by unpatriotic elements, amidst the political and military upheavals experienced in the former over the months, the latter, having since learned from its nearly 15 years of debacle, cannot now encourage repetition of acts in its presence, with the just-ended trial of former President Taylor remaining classic example of juridical actions.
It is at all no secret that since the political and military upheaval in La Cote d’Ivoire, resulting to thousands of refugees pouring into Liberia, mainly along its borders, just as the former experienced during its past debacle, local and international institutions have remained restless in providing needed care and support, moreso having been quite conscious of the UNHCR principles, emergency management, operations and support.
Saddled by comments from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon who has since expressed regrets to family members of the deceased, the closure of borders by the Republic of Liberia with La Cote d’Ivoire, apparently to allow serious border patrols in order to comb and dish out the “human driftwood” for disciplinary actions.
Currently, Liberia is busy with the gradual formulation and implementation of developmental strategies aimed at rebuilding the nation, with the infusion of more democratic, human rights and sustainable development ideals fast permeating established institutions and propelling citizens and residents thereat.
Recent months shuttling to the Ivory Coast by Liberia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Augustine Ngafuan, along with other high-ranking government officials to help resolve negative developments that had begun unfolding in Mali, suggests efforts since made by the latter in improving relations, after months of internal crisis the former that became resolved through the holding of democratic elections, thus bringing to bear reminder of an agreement reached in the mid-1990s in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria between the former Liberian and Sierra Leone presidents in which they vowed not to allow the use of their territories by anyone in destabilizing another within the sub-region, a ceremony witnessed by the late Nigerian President Sani Abacha.
Peace in Liberia, after all, means peace for Sierra Leone, Guinea and La Cote d’Ivoire, not war anymore.