Liberian Historian and Political Science instructor, Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu says the lack of support to Liberian writers is attributed to the narrow interests of the nation’s political leaders.
In a recent interview with the Daily Observer, Dr. Guannu, whose History texts are widely used in Liberian schools across the country, said leaders of different regimes in the country had always wanted writers, especially those writing history, to “Dance to the tune of their music.”
According to him, as writers seek support, the powers that be would be interested only in writers’ outlining the achievements the leaders. These leaders are not interested in objective and unbiased writings, but only in those that sing the leaders’ praises. The result is that writers get little or no support from the national government.
He said this is evidenced by writings some do whereby they give false information about people who did nothing good in the interest of the state but are nonetheless made to look good in the public eye.
“We writers are not supported because government wants us to praise them for what they do not do,” Dr. Guannu stressed.
“These politicians want us to join their political parties before they can support writers, and we who want to be objective cannot have the support since we refuse to go by what they say,” he continued.
He said he had been able to publish his books through assistance from friends and because of his own passion to write.
Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu has published History books including A Short History of the Liberian Republic, Liberian History Up To 1847, Liberian Civics and Liberian History Since 1980.
Other supplementary papers include Perilous Problems of Liberian History, Inaugural Speeches of Liberian Presidents and Liberia & U.S.: A special Relation.
Dr. Joseph Say Guannu was born in Sanniquellie, Nimba County. He began his education in St. Mary’s Catholic School along with late personalities including Edward Beyan Kesselley and Emmanuel Gbalazeh.
When he entered 7th grade, Dr. Guannu left for Monrovia and he enrolled at St. Patrick High School where he graduated and later entered the University of Liberia.
He won a scholarship and travelled to the United States where he attended the College of Great Falls in the state of Montana. There he completed his Bachelor’s studies and later enrolled at the Fordham University in New York, where he earned his Master’s then Doctorate degrees.
Upon earning his PhD, Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu chose to teach in Glassborough University in New Jersey.
In Liberia, Dr. Guannu has worked at the Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the United States, and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.
He currently teaches at the Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County and the University of Liberia Graduate School. He is the director of Conflict Resolution & Peace at Cuttington.
He has won awards including Who’s Who Award in the Education in America and Who’s Who Award in the World.
Dr. Guannu’s success in his academic and professional sojourns has been driven by three factors including discipline, determination and sacrifice.