The repercussion of a protracted bloody war is a long-term psychological warfare in which survivors and those born shortly before the war and those born during and shortly after the war have to go through psychological trauma. Those survivors react to post-war livelihood in a variety of manners, which include but not limited to extreme anger, dishonesty and lawlessness. Anger, arrogance and dishonesty breed lawlessness.
Psychological trauma is a result of the war and the lack of proper clinical treatment and counseling for the survivors. This has caused posttraumatic stress disorder to almost every Liberian including government officials. As a result of posttraumatic stress disorder, physical changes took place inside the brains and to the brain chemistry that affected war victims and survivors’ reasoning, thereby arousing anger, aggressiveness, sexual abuse, rape, alcohol and drugs abuse, domestic violence, dishonesty, and childhood trauma, which can lead to a violent behavior, while others such as those who govern the victims and war survivors, as a result of their dishonesty, violate the human rights of the latter.
Now that we have briefly discussed the psychological perspective let’s discuss the indicator of anger, dishonesty, arrogance and lawlessness and how they play out and affect our everyday’s lives and our society in general.
In the homes, in the communities, in the streets, market places, work places and etc one can see how anger, dishonesty, arrogance and lawlessnessare played out. In the streets mostly, lawless behaviors are in the open. At work places, arrogance by bosses, sexual harassment and bullying are commonplace. At home domestic violence and children’s disrespect parents and violent behaviors toward parents are on the rise. Violent approaches to local and national issues are becoming a phenomenon. Dishonesty in our society is what breeds rampant corruption among both rich and poor and weak and powerful.
We see police brutality almost every day either by orders of government officials or by police discretion to use excessive force, even when the suspect has already been subdued. The people’s anger increases and behaviors change, and they become recalcitrant when they hear and see those who supposed to be examples of civility and honesty go on corruption spree, making medical trips while the poor have no access to quality health care.
Let’s discuss elements that form the basis for this article. Anger is not an instant thing; rather it develops over time and persists as long as it is not worked on properly. Anger comes about from various reasons. The anger we discuss is a result of the protracted bloody war. From the war perspective, people who were born before, during and after have different degree of anger but they all share one thing in common. And this is why they are all victims of the war. Those who were born during and after suffered from the war and have to go through the same thing their parents went through when they were in their mothers’ wombs.
This is aninborn effect. Ninety five percent of the 65 percent of the Liberian youth population is angry. One reason for this could be 85 percent of them are unemployed and most of them lost their parents in the war.
Dishonesty is another common enemy in our society. Ninety five percent of Liberians is dishonest. There is a phenomenon concerning honesty versus dishonesty. Liberians correct one another’s mistakes-meaning that if someone happens to forget his or her valuable belonging, that belonging is taken away. This act Liberians referred to as one of the simplest act of dishonesty that is mostly practiced among ordinary Liberians.
This simplest act of dishonesty is the bedrock for corruption practiced in the government. Corruption today as reported in the local and international media and by human rights groups, is the worst in Liberia’s history, and Liberia and the current administration are rated the most corrupt in the world, though this cannot be independently proven.
Lawlessness has taken root in Liberia, and the reason is obvious as briefly analyzed in the beginning of this article. Lawlessness was experienced in Liberia but at a low rate. However, lawlessness climbed when war broke out in 1989. Most of those in government today were part of the planning and execution of what thrusted Liberia into anarchy. Although the war ended and lawlessness plummeted greatly, Liberians still experience violence mostly by youths and slightly by adults and some public officials. When the laws are not enforced and people who commit crimes are allowed to go unpunished, the nation becomes a state of no law.
Laws are made to punish criminals, but where impunity becomes the norm, lawlessness becomes the order of the day in the society. There are no laws when laws are not enforced.
Following a wave of violence and lawlessness in Monrovia last month, President Sirleaf, upon her returnfrom abroad,expressed concerns over “wave of intolerance, indiscipline and repeated threats of violence in the Liberian Society especially among young people to express disagreements.”
President Sirleaf said young people “use the methods used by young people to express disagreements- the setting up of roadblocks, assaults on other citizens, damaging private and public properties, locking up of instructors, hurling rocks at police, and even preventing fellow students from attending classes, respectively.”
However, while it is true that President Sirleaf could be in touch with realities, it is advisable that government realizes its weaknesses and mistakes before it can realize its strength.
This means we all should acknowledge the fact that all the forms and methods of violence President Sirleaf listed are the result of theprotracted bloody war and the lack of proper rehabilitation and counseling. For this reason, it is not late for the government and all stakeholders as well as well-meaning Liberians to begin programs that would correctthese problems. Reconciliation should be given thoughtfulness.
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