For every time I hear comments that I see as politically explosive or combustible, especially considering where we are coming from as a nation, my heart bleeds in a psychological manner. And I also want to believe that the heart of every other person who is a patriotic and nationalistic citizen of this country experiences or has some idea on how it hurts me when these harsh utterances are made.
I must admit that the Liberian Constitution, the organic law of our country recognizes the principle of freedom of expression, among other basic elements intended to keep us together by sharing notes or exchanging both coherent and opposing views on crucial issues that interplay our religious and political lives as a sovereign nation.
There should be no argument about whether or not our constitution calls for a pluralistic trend of society as such is enshrined in Article 15 of the Constitution of Liberia.
But I wonder whether some people are actually mindful or aware of the parallel responsibility attached to the issue of freedom of expression.
For quick reference, the Liberian Constitution, in the same Article 15 also talks about what is involved or what happens in an event where someone makes comments/utterances that violate the constitutional rights of other members of the state.
Reports of comments amounting to threats to our country’s well-being, specifically peace and security are very counterproductive to Liberia’s emerging democracy. If at all there are people who think the essence of politics is to divide us then I beg to quickly register my disagreement before proceeding with this article.
Although some of the politicians and their political disciples to whom some of these explosive statements have been attributed continue to deny ever making them. But what I do know is that these comments suggest as if we have not learnt any meaningful lessons from many years of bloodletting in our country, a situation that was influenced by power greed, hatred, disunity and ethnicity and corrupt practices, among other vices.
Are we not calculating that one day the international community will pull out so that attention will be given to other troubled countries around the world or other places that may need the presence and assistance of institutions such as the United Nations, African Union, European Union and ECOWAS, in the case of any eventuality?
What do we really want in this country? When will we grow by building the culture of responsible politics, advocacy and love for our own country- where the interest and safety of the country will be permitted to triumph over falsehood, self-interest, gaining political popularity at the expense of the majority who cannot read and write, least to mention the ability to analyze and rationalize before passing judgment?
Please, do not misquote me because I must, again state that I highly welcome the rights of other Liberians to comment on political issues happening in Liberia. Because when any society creates a situation where the views of the public are suppressed, these people may bottle up their feelings for a long period. This is dangerous because those who feel suppressed may one day revolt. This may have moved John Kennedy of the United States when he said: ‘’those who make peaceful revolution inevitable will inevitably make violent revolution evitable.” And I want to believe it is based on similar principle that our country is today, under the current government providing some space for every Liberian to be heard.
We know there are still challenges that the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led- government needs to address, such solution cannot however be sought overnight because it is a clear issue that to build takes time while destruction takes a few seconds.
But where I always differ with some of these people is the manner in which they comment on national issues. Does it make any sense for us to be preaching the building of a peaceful and refined society after a period of civil war when others are, at the same time spewing out fire-liked statements to implant fear in our people, scare away investors and teach our children the highest degree of disobedience through the uncontrollable unleashing of vulgarity during political rallies or radio talk shows?
The issue is simple, if you do not like a particular candidate; you can quietly walk to the ballot box and vote against that person rather than to be obnoxious in referring to that candidate. This goes to every Liberian who is a participant in the electoral processes, both past, present and the ones to come in the future, especially those who owe allegiance to political parties.
I can freely make reference to the recent electoral activities in the country, especially Monrovia and parts adjacent, when a group of women who are supposed to set good examples before their children spearheaded what I will call a repellent gathering dominated by teenagers. I stood breathlessly for a while to see these beautiful women conduct themselves in such an unrefined manner and style.
Another issue has to do with a group of young high school graduates who pulled crowd near an entertainment center while celebrating their graduation program in central Monrovia recently.
‘’Nobody should think because we are in our graduation clothes so we can’t deal with anyone who will try us here, we are not stupid people and our hands not tied.”Remarked some of the fresh graduates, both boys and girls, with nearly all of them parading large bottles of beer as some of the older people started leaving the scene due to the uncontrollable attitude of these young graduates.
But these are people who are supposed to be future leaders of our country and at the same time singing the song of generational change.
Let me admit that calls for us (young people) to be provided opportunities so that we can begin preparing ourselves for future leadership challenges are not wrong. But the other side is that how will people trust and repose any confidence in us if some of our younger brothers and sisters graduating from the various institutions of learning are misbehaving in public places without any remorse?
I am sensing that efforts to restore our lost cultural and religious values, as well as building a discipline society may go in vein because some of the parents, especially women who are supposed to play key role in this national agenda are also running with terrific speed in leading their children along the path of disobedience and disrespect.
I am not writing this article to get at anyone or group of people, but what I am simply trying to do is to highlight what I see as a dangerous precedence that is being set in contemporary Liberian politics and democracy, especially without taking into account the implications of these things.
I want us to note that the expediency of trying to appease our political institutions and attempts to gain political relevance at the expense of a country that has less number of educated people by making explosive comments and teaching teenagers to be rude like the rough rude sea could be an executioner’s knife awaiting all of us in the future.
Let all of us remember that ashes fall on those who throw them.
The author can be reached through: email@example.com
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