As we commence our weekly article for 2017, we offer you a heart full of peace. January brings the New Year and the annual right of starting over such as adopting resolutions, setting goals and looking ahead. Like many people, I look at January as a time of renewal, a time to look back, take stock and also look ahead.
Looking back, it is our hope that Liberia as a nation would spend more money this year on peace consolidation initiatives than it would spend on its military defense program because we would all benefit on programs that socially uplift young people and women.
Forward looking, Twenty Seventeen is a critical period that would make or mar our peacebuilding and peace consolidation efforts. It would make Liberia, if it conducts a free, fair and transparent election in which all accepts the results of the elections.
On the hand, it would mar and erode the peace progress over the last fourteen years if the conduct of the elections is contested and the results are unacceptable to all.
The participation of young people in the democratic process is crucial, as young people of voting age need to share their views, participate and vote. We need to keep our democracy alive if we want our democracy to thrive. The upcoming Presidential elections should be a pinprick to our collective conscience, reminding us that broad and peaceful involvement by all of us is a sure way that peace is sustained.
There’s an old Japanese saying that “for want a nail the steed was lost and for want of a steed, the horse was lost and for want of a horse the message was lost, for want of undelivered message the war was lost.”
It is on this note that we would like to encourage as well as mobilize all young Liberians to turn their passion for development (in 2017) into a passion for ensuring peace in Liberia. Young people need to come up with a new strategy for peace, as the generation coming behind would ask what we did to ensure global peace.
Throughout the rest of the year, the operations of our 20 volunteers in MOP-Liberia will gradually evolve from encouraging young people to contribute to this column (for which a sum of L$10,000 would be given monthly to each published article), to several capacity building programs for youths, including peace summer camp, peace entrepreneurship and managing other programs for the peaceful conduct of the presidential and parliamentary elections in October 2017.
This article would remain incomplete if we remiss to acknowledge The Liberian Daily Observer for the platform created through ‘Dialogue among Peace Messengers’ to promote peace in Liberia.
On love, peace and war, Martin Luther King Jr. said “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
In the End, he went on to say, “We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”
Until next week when we come to you with part 2 of “Harnessing the latent energy of youth for peaceful elections”, it is peace above all else, peace first, may peace prevail in our time.