LIBERIA: DEATH BY INSTALLMENT
(This insight was written on June 21,1996, in Houston, Texas)
Monrovia, in a manner of speaking, has become a jungle, a junglemade more dangerous by a certain death song, the rat-a-tatdeathsongs and whiz-bangs of AK-47s and other instruments of violentextermination of human life. Inside and outside Monrovia, thatcertain death song has drowned out the voices of mothers who cry andshed tears of blood. It's a death song that dogs their every step asthey carry their dead little, innocent babies like loaves of bread,looking for some quiet corner in the hell that Liberia has become tobury their kids, their sons and husbands. Unfortunately, Liberia'sdespicable, brutal vultures who pose as "warlords", will not grantthese women such dignity, even to the dead! Those merchants of mayhemare possessed by some satanic fury and hunger that is only calmedtemporarily by massmayhem and killings.
By Chido Nwangwu
Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.comand CLASSmagazine and The Black BusinessJournal
The combatants in west Africa's war-torn Liberia seem possessed bydemons, unyielding demons that feed on the corpses of children,women, teenagers and adults. For over seven years, at different timesin that country's post -1980s history, those gods of war have suckedin and recruited thousands of Liberians and taken hundreds ofthousands to their early death. They have also made meaningless thelives of millions of Liberians who have become refugees. Truth mustbe told that Liberian politicians, soldiers and regular folk, in manyways, personify those demons who have turned a once peaceful countryinto their play-pen in their sordid quest over "who will govern theLiberia." Through the logic of war, Liberia Africa's oldest republicfounded in 1847, and America's only colonial outpost in Africa hasbeen made ungovernable since December 1989. Since that terribleChristmas, Liberia's deconstruction has been a death by installment,hastened by a war without end, a war prolonged by armed gangs ofmorons, village idiots and rag-tag armies of zombies and goons intwo-a-penny-uniforms and camouflage wears.
Liberians inside the country have descended into the swamp ofsub-human existence and devaluation of all human life. In some sense,it's kill or be killed! Those merchants of mayhem are possessed bysome satanic fury and hunger that is only calmed temporarily by massmayhem and killing. Today, Liberians all over the U.S and abroad,whose Houston chapter honored me with the status of an "honoraryLiberian" cry and pray and work to end their pain. Unfortunately,here in Houston, they have two factions (or more). Such divisionswill not help in stopping the carnage that has made Liberia become,at best, a ghost of a nation and worse, a geopolitical non-entity.You ask, how did things come to this pass?
Why and how did this disaster befall Liberia? Without a doubt,special privileges which the monied, aristocratic, settler enslavedreturnees from the U.S had acquired and maintained against the nativepopulation's land and representational interests is a key factor inLiberia's cycle of wars and crises.
On the other hand, there are those who argue that the poorlyeducated late dictator in the 80s, Samuel K. Doe, a native born, wascarried away by his desire to right the wrongs of the past. Hisregime was very corrupt. He was inept, too.
Why are these points important?
First, to identify the role the colonial and post-colonialcontradictions in Liberia have played in its ongoing destruction isanalytic reasonable and valid.
Second, to continue to blame colonialism for the senselessslaughter of one's yesterday neighbor and defenseless children istotally unacceptable to me.
Third, what will President Bill Clinton do beyond pulling out U.Spersonnel and interest? Someone asked me a few days ago, why isBosnia more important and manageable for the U.S than its onlycolonial interest in Africa? First, I answered "Rush Limbaugh!" Sinceshe's someone who engages me in reasonable discussions, she knew Imeant the politics of Rush Limbaugh, not just the man but hisgravitas as the Republican party's 500 pound-ideological gorrila whoanimates a constellation of social and political forces on matterslocal and foreign.
Second, the "November 1996 elections."
Third, I cited the "images of death and Farrah Aideed in Somalia."It must be noted that many Nigerian and African soldiers who wereworking to save Liberia have been killed.
Fourth, I said "Liberia's rubber is no longer a big deal for U.Smultinational, Firestone."
Fifth, I demanded "why should young U.S Marines die in any theaterof war where the local leaders have taken absolute leave of theirsenses. The U.S has moral and economic interests in Liberia, but U.SMarines should not become shooting targets for Liberia's 'CommanderJohnson' and other local, conscienceless, phillistinic predators inMonrovia."
I added should the U.S intervene, it must be with MAXIMUM,blinding force. Why? No peace operation has worked in Liberia. Thevon Clausewitz strategy of war, specifically requiring the inflictingof such lethal, bending force on an enemy until he cries "Uncle" andtucks his tail between his leg should be brought into Liberia.Howitzers, F-14 fighter planes and techno-machines command theattention of the most foolhardy "General" from America's heartlandMontana through Iraq's Baghdad to Burkina Faso in West Africa.
It's a really shameful the "Generals" in Monrovia guys still donot care for the future of the likes of little Acha Peabody. Acha, aHouston resident, lives in North Houston with his hardworking,dedicated Liberian parents, Eric and Elaine. Eric is a computersystems specialist while Elaine is a member of the editorial board ofUSAfrica The Newspaper. She is also a teacher. I hope that someday,Acha, who's been to my office when he was barely three years old willsomeday before the end of the 20th century (yes, before the end ofthe 20th century), visit and play soccer in a peaceful, vibrantLiberia.
Otherwise, that young innocent fellow, like one million otherLiberian kids, will only have a sense of his heritage as anunpunctuated video of wars, communal wickedness and a tapestry ofabomination! Should we let that happen to Acha, and other kids? No!Let's recall also that it was on July 4, 1914 during his State of theUnion speech that U.S president Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) said:"Liberty does not consist in mere declarations of the rights of man.It consists in the translation of those declarations into definiteaction." This time calls for "definite action." What will you do tohelp end the tyranny of a blood-thirsty demolition crew and banditswho have made human life as expendable as a toothpick in the homelandof my friends who made me an "honorary Liberian"? Stay blessed.
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"I hope I have shown it is possible to show respect to English and Igbo together. Chinua Achebe added that "The situation may well develop in the future, in which the different languages of Africa will begin to reassert themselves," he added. "I have made provision for that myself, by writing certain kinds of material in Igbo. For instance, I will insist my poetry is translated back into Igbo while I'm still around."
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Obasanjo: Let me say this to you, when you put the question of 10,000 -- 10,000 people dying in Nigeria, of course, for a population of over 120 million people...." But USAfricaonline.com Founder and recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), Chido Nwangwu, who appeared on the same program as as a CNN International analyst (Africa) pointed out that "when (President Obasanjo) answered that in a country of 100 million that 10,000 people are said to have died, as if that was a small number, that in itself reflects a disconnect with the concerns of Nigerians. The second one is that when the risk is civil disagreement, the police are required to intervene in the country. And the deployment of the armed forces of Nigeria requires at least some consultation, however modest, with the parliament." Nwangwu, former member of the editorial board of Nigeria's Daily Times continued that "the third factor that is equally important to underscore is that the armed forces of Nigeria moved in for a punitive action rather than just containing a civil disagreement." He noted in USAfricaonline.com backgrounder "it was revealing and interesting interesting discussing Nigeria's issues with its leader - under the current circumstances of an increasingly out-of-schedule elections and the gathering storm of an impeachment process by a majority of the members of the National Assembly, predominantly by Obasanjo's party members." See rush transcript of the CNN International news program.
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