On Tuesday, July 21, 2009, the Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration exercises embarked upon with immense support of international partners came to a close at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmun Street in Monrovia.
Truly a two-sided affair, with the physical now considered over following 14 years of destruction of lives and property, the psychological warfare still rages with children of poor parental backgrounds used in the process to the point of almost losing identities.
Without any formal application by any individual to be recruited for the latter, imposition has since been license to dehumanize others and render them frail before the eyes parents, relatives, their children and friend, using nothing less than terrorist tactics in the process.
Rejected in every form and color by the United Nations, it can be said unashamedly and truthfully too that this columnist remains a victim by the very act since nearly 15 years ago, with all forms of hurdles experienced as a professional journalist and nothing else.
Oh Democracy, how lovely and cherished is your ideals and ideologies! Is that all that one must lay down his life for the nation and be treated worst than a slave, knowing that Liberia is not the personal property of my parents or relatives?
Now, let us get to the bottom of the issue. Following my return in April 1990 from the Republic of Japan on a technical training program sponsored by that friendly government and having been seriously embarrassed by news reports at its Foreign Ministry there that the United Nations Compound had been vandalized by group of Liberians for reasons that were purely restricted to the Government of Liberia and not the august body or the Embassy that had been situated within its proximity, I returned and, as Managing Editor of The NEWS Newspaper then, advised citizens that war was not good.
Guess what? Many said that I had gone on a pleasure trip and had returned with nothing good to offer. Eventually, the war begun in Liberia on December 24, 1989, soon took hold of Monrovia and its environs, with the former witnessing mopping-up operations that few citizens got killed by stray bullets.
Helter-skelter becoming the sound of feet, those fortunate to have found themselves in areas they felt safe did so, with the die-hard whose faith in the Almighty God, coupled with free conscience for not having committed any wrong-doing against anyone caught in the very terrorizing affair.
Becoming one of the many to have later taken refuge on the Bushrod Island, controlled by then Lieutenant Prince Y. Johnson and the late Colonel Samuel G. Varney, a very long-time friend from Camp Naama where he was assigned as a Second Lieutenant and also very close friend of a brother-in-law, the late Captain Flomo Sakui, it can be fearlessly stated that the hospitality accorded me, with nearly all journalists seeking refuge there was quite appreciable.
It was there that I, for the first time during exchange of serious gun-fire among fighting forces, witnessed a military man preaching peace and democracy with big bulletin boards installed to educate the people.
Although having grown up in military barracks from elementary school days to graduation from high school, much fright was not in me other than been afraid of strayed bullets.
Through the ingenuity of the late Mr. Rufus Marmah Darpoh, a newspaper was established on Bushrod Island --- The TORCHLIGHT --- with the late John N. Elliott serving as Editor-In-Chief, while I became Associate Editor by way of simply throwing a coin in the air and whatever was chosen by two of us determined the position. Mr. Pete Kehler now in the Republic of Senegal, referred to as "The Boy From Maryland," became a Staff Writer, while Ms. Weade Kobbah Wureh and Major Chris Otulana served as consultants.
Later moving to central Monrovia to work as Associate Editor of The INQUIRER Newspaper before re-establishing The NEWS Newspaper together with the late Klon Hinneh, Veteran Stanton Peabody of the Daily Observer and I were the first two journalists to have visited central Monrovia for inspection, with permission of then Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Chief of Staff J. Hezekiah Bowen.
In short, following all of these contributions and not leaving the country until the cessation of hostilities, followed by another imbroglio that ended with the resignation of Mr. Charles Taylor from the Presidency, it remains puzzling to many why conditions have worsen than improving, no matter the immense professional contributions that have seen many come to power in the country.
Often said that if people refuse to sing your song, you must do so yourself, and against the backdrop of the many frustrating events bordering on insecurity to my human person as evidenced my the many attacks made on me and made public over the years, the final egg is about to burst and stink that medical scientists may have to conduct experimentation for its cure. This is by no means a threat but real truth.
The many ‘Ton-Ton Marquette’s in society who may have needed my services but cannot pay and are now been seriously exposed have since enjoyed their field day for no apparent reason, other than been one of the sons of the late President William Richard Tolbert, Jr. Worst is that the reported hanging of my Uncle, Flomo Kesselly in Slipway in 1982 which I have continued to highlight in the pages has turned many very green and about to be planted like grass, no matter the identified structures of injustice. This is also my fundamental human rights and will not, cannot be taken away from me until death.
My readers, sit and think on these questions. First, was I born in Monrovia? Is Monrovia the only place to secure job, especially as a journalist…..? Did I drop from the sky? Do I not have any responsibility as a father and grandfather? Am I a prisoner or slave? Was I ever or at any time involved in the past Liberian civil crisis? Am I a precious stone that must be kept or eyed every second? Did anybody other than my parents send me to school? Do I owe anybody anything? Wala hey!
Thus far, I am as clean as a sheet of paper in this country and I am not responsible for anyone who is spotty or has glume discoloration. Knowing what peace is, as well as democracy, I thought to only brief you the readers of what is taking place within the environment, since to begin kicking the dust may likely be misunderstood as trying to cause problem.
All civil society organizations encompassing democracy and human rights must therefore take note and equally be prepared to sponsor a press conference, if truth and justice must be served. The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is also being urged to pay keen attention to what is being said, since many have since begun standing very shaky ground and the last egg may soon burst.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. These are the little things that matter.