In Liberia, Cultural Heritage Is Not A Priority

5
2004
The remaining ruins of the ancient Kpaiyea fortification wall in Yealleh, Zorzor District, Lofa County.

For many countries, being endowed with a rich cultural heritage is not just a blessing but represents an opportunity to boost tourism.

But that’s not the case with Liberia, a country vastly rich with lots of abandoned cultural heritage, lying in ruins across the counties and without any care.

“The current situation, which is the result of several factors, has put this tangible cultural heritage at greater risk of extinction if nothing is urgently done,” says Darius D. Gweh, Director for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism.

Mr. Gweh cited examples of the Belleh, Dey and Gbi Languages.

“If they are totally lost, part of history will be gone forever and difficult to recover. The continued endangerment of our cultural heritage is not a good sign for the present and future generations,” he said.

Kekura Kamara, president of the Liberia National Cultural Union, added that cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes that are inherited from past generations and passed on to future generations.

He added that cultural heritage provides a sense of unity and belonging and allows us to better understand previous generations and the pre-history of a country.

The Ruins

Although Liberia is an early signatory to UNESCO cultural convention concerning the “Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage,” the country has not even ratified said treaty, localized since 1972. This international treaty was created to identify, protect and preserve cultural and national heritage around the world.

Article 5 of the 1985 constitution of Liberia calls on the government to preserve, protect and promote positive Liberian culture, ensuring that traditional values, which are compatible with public policy and national progress, are adopted and developed as an integral part of the growing needs of the Liberian society.

Despite this clause in the constitution, successive Liberian governments have not done much to fulfill the aspiration of such a clause.

Notable among the many memorable ruins and heritage sites includes the 400 plus year-old fortification wall in Lofa County, as well as the home of Africa’s first elected president, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, which should have been turned into a museum, replicating its exact structure in the 1800s. It is now used as the law library with little care.

MandelaHouse.jpg
The late Amb. T. Ernest Eastman’s home, along the Tubman Boulevard in Congo Town, housed several members of the South African resistance against apartheid, including the late Nelson Mandela and Hugh Masekela, during the 1960s.

There is also the late Amb. T. Ernest Eastman’s home along the Tubman Boulevard in Congo Town, which housed several members of the South African resistance against apartheid, including the late Nelson Mandela and Hugh Masekela, during the 1960s. Before the house was gutted by fire about a year ago, the bed and all other things Mandela used were reportedly offered to the government of former President H. E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; but her government did not act on the offer in a timely manner, thereby losing all the artifacts to the fire.

Also, the OAU village in Sanniquellie, the birthplace of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union), has been abandoned. Five years ago, it lost its heritage value after undergoing extensive modification.

In addition, memorable cultural heritage items like the Vai script and the book “Legends of Liberia” are seriously missing in Liberian schools.

Monument to the Birthplace of African Unity, Sanniquellie, Liberia (Courtesy: freewheely.com)

Mr. Kamara added that, in this day and age, it is unfortunate that Liberia’s post-war governments have downplayed the promotion and protection of the national cultural heritage.

“We must understand there can be no strong sense of nationalism where a strong sense of cultural identity and appreciation are lacking. Therefore, the government needs to step up and do better and preserve the cultural heritage,” he said.

Dr. Elwood Dunn, a renowned Liberian historian, said the preservation of cultural heritage is very important for educational purposes and for promoting tourism both internally and externally.

“It would be good if the government could lead; but if not, organized citizens within civil societies should take the lead. If well-organized, resources could be tapped both internally and externally, these cultural heritages will become sources of revenue.

“Individuals and families have a role here, for they own some of the properties we are talking about. Citizens of Sanniquellie should take the lead in restoring the OAU monument of Tubman, Touré, and Nkrumah. I know a wealthy businessman in that town who could alone do that job if appropriately approached,” he said.

Mr. Kamara describes the current situation as a wake-up call and one that needs government’s urgent attention. He said: “We are people because of our cultural heritage, whether tangible or intangible. I still don’t understand why the promotion and preservation of cultural heritage is not a priority in this country. It is a sad situation, but that’s the reality. We are a very unique group of people who must care for our cultural heritage, which will not only be a source of revenue, but pride.”

Cause of the problem

The primary result of this situation is, since the founding of this nation, due to the lack of a national cultural policy to promote, preserve, support and safeguard the country’s cultural heritage. “Currently, we don’t have a nationally adopted culture policy and this has been the case since the country’s independence. In the absence of such policy, the promotion and preservation of our cultural heritage will not be a priority,” Mr. Gweh said.

The only known cultural policy of Liberia was written by Mr. Kenneth Y. Best and published in 1974 by UNESCO. It was never adopted, despite calls to do so at that time. Another problem is the continued low budgetary support for the Department of Cultural Affairs & Tourism at MICAT, which is in charge of the responsibility of protecting, safeguarding and promoting the nation’s cultural heritage.

According to Mr. Gweh, “it is not that the culture department has not tried; we have but cannot do much when the cultural department has been be left underfunded. We have plans to rescue some of these neglected tangible cultural heritage pieces but we cannot do anything in the absence of money. Their hands are tied in that department. The political will and well-being has to be there from people who have the authority to make the change in the promotion of our cultural heritage,” Mr. Gweh said.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. You kaffirs defiled everything Joseph Jenkins Roberts and the Republican Party of Liberia stood for. How the True Whig Party took over is beyond me. They destroyed the superior Coloureds and got destroyed by Affies who could never be capable of running Liberia. NOT ONE PERSON WAS SHITING ON THE BEACH OR IN WESTPOINT FROM 1848 TO 1899 OR ANY POINT BEFORE 1980, EVEN WHEN AMERICO-LIBERIANS RAN IT. Liberia only worked under minority rule.

  2. *** I know Liberian history because I am both an American and Joseph Jenkins Roberts was one of my kind. Not my exact kind but a Hybrid, nonetheless. I am a Afro-Eurasian/Eurasian-Negroid of African-American, Nordic European and Japanese descent. I am also an ethno-nationalist. As to why I hold ethno-nationalist views, I will explain further. Specifically, Joseph Jenkins Roberts was a Quadroon. A second generation Black-White Hybrid. His father was a Welsh man, a Celtic European from the United Kingdom who came to the USA. His mother was a mulatto, 50% White and 50% Black from America.

    Currently, in the United States Of America, there is an ongoing extermination order being carried out by the White supremacist regime that has held power since Lyndon Baines Johnson. Blacks and Hybrids alike are being killed by White police forces and White citizenry. Whites call the police on Blacks and Hybrids intentionally, hoping the cops will come and kill the person because the Whites know how fatal a police encounter can be for one of us. No matter how offensive this will sond, the truth is the truth: Afrocentrists tell us that we were all kings and queens. To that question, I say: If we are supreme, why are we not victorious? How were we slaves for nearly 500 years if we were superior above the Whites and the Asians. They have a clear biological or tactical advantage that we have never had or that we had previously but have lost.

    It is clear to me what is true. The White man and the Asian man evolved in deadly cold climates and hunted for food in a land with scarce food or resources. The strongest and the fittest of them lived and those who were not strong died off/were killed by the environment. 16,000 years of being evolutionarily tested by seasonal variation and the Ice Age gave them traits over generations to survive. They needed to plan how they’d survive the seasons. The man of the family needed to hunt for food and the woman was the matriarch of the family. The man was the provider and the family was the most important unit of the community. The nuclear family was a vital building block. A foundation on which the tribe stood. All of the European tribes were comprised of tight-knit stable two parent families. When classical Rome fell 2,000 years ago, the Eastern Roman Empire rose. Today, it is the Vatican. This is the most imprtant thing Africa needs to know: The Roman Catholics unified all of Europe under religion. There were tribes in Europe like their are tribes in Africa today. Religion across Europe changed this. I am not in support of mythical religion but my point is this, All of Europe had one purpose under Catholic influence: Serving God. Tribal identity dissolved in Europe naturally and tribes were replaced by nation-states where all the people in one area were all one united people with one language and one culture. Europe was organized under these influences. From tribe to nation to race, Europe progressed in a unified identity. Now, in this time, 2018, some Whites have a new unified view: Race. “One Race, One Nation. Where your people are, your borders are.”

    Why Europeans succeeded over everyone is simple. It is not because Whites are loved by their God:
    1) Evolving to a deadly near-arctic environment.
    2) Eugenicist in-group breeding.
    3) Stability of the family.
    4) Working together and planning to acheive complex tasks.
    5) A unifying goal that eroded European tribal identity.
    6) Inventions
    7) Wars and expansion of territory to acquire resources and put them to use.
    8) Tactics, abstract planning, thinking before they act, deterring gratification. Working for the greater good and not serving themselves at the expense of the citizens while their nation remains poor.
    9) Conquest and the domination of Africa by using what they learned over thousands of years, using African resources to fund their empires and build their nations.

    If Europe never pillaged Africa, World War I and II would never have happened, Europe’s power would never have grown, all of Europe would have less ornate statues today and European companies that have existed since 1600 – 1700 would not be so comfortable today in the 21st century. The fatal mistake of Africa is that rather than take this view and adapt to survive, Africa remains poor and falls into Communistic dictatorship or in the hands of foreigners, like the Chinese today in Africa.

    Africa is so massive and so rich that just a small span of colonization by Europe for less than 200 years made Europe and Britain so rich and beautiful today. Africa is the second largest continent. Now imagine an Africa with no borders, one ethno-nationalistic identity and one army. Africa would be an overnight superpower one of the most powerful nations. Africa will soon have a population of 4,000,000,000 by the end of this century. Imagine an army of 2.5 billion trained men. There’s enough uranium for tens of thousands of nuclear warheads to be built in defense of this new nation. There are enough diamonds and gold in Africa to industrialize all of Africa There are so many Africans in Europe and Africa is so large, Europe could fit in Africa six or seven times. It would be an immediately swift conquest. 700 million and declining vs 1.4 billion and counting. Your people could make these people capitulate and make them teach you science, mathematics, eugenics, genetic enhancement, climate manipulation to create colder climates, how to make bunkers, military tactics, hydroponics, how to make fertile farmland, how to desalinate saltwater and turn it into drinking water, etc.

    I am a Hybrid like the ones who lead Liberia, before my time. They were classical liberalists with a Centrist political view who in their words felt “it was their duty to “civilize natives” and make them citizens if they follwed Christ.” I am a National Socialist and I see reality. Africa is hot. It is a hot land with diverse fauna, wildlife and fruits. It is easy to survive in this type of environment. It doesn’t take planning or tactics to find a fruit in Africa. If does take planning and tactics to find Caribou or Ox in the winter time, in near-Antarctica level temperatures while also trying to avoid being killed by a pack of Wolves, every generation, for 16,000 years. Anyone in that environment who made a mistake would perish. There was no evolutionary margin of error. No room for mistakes. Only the best of the Whites and the Asians survived the Ice Age and passed their genes to the next generations. This is why they were clever and cunning. This is how they raped and pillaged all of Africa. It’s also how they are the favored person on Earth. When you have power like, you shape the world’s views. If Whites never had this opportunity, they would not be so favored today.

    What worked for the White man and the Asian man of 16,000 years ago can work for anyone else living today. The answer is simple. Hybridize and relocate to a land with seasonal variation or adapt the climate of Africa to have seasonal variation. The second one is not possible with today’s science. The first one is possible today with current genetic engineering science and selective miscegenation + eugenics but why should anyone hybridize? There are not enough Whites and East Asians alive to hybridize with. Hybridization is critical. Whites, Australoid Aborigines and Asians evolved from the Africans over 90,000 years ago. To start from the beginning would take 90,000 years. Not one man has 90,000 years of time available to himself to engage in such undertakings. We must hybridize further and use racial alchemy to change the charateristics and traits of our kind and the Africans to adapt them like the White and the Asians have adapted over 16,000 years. The fittest must rise, the smartest and selfless must lead. The weak and the selfish should not.

  3. I am also an extension of the ones who founded and established the Republic of Liberia. I am a die-hard Liberian. Do let us circle back to our country, Liberia, i.e. Elections & Identity Politics, 1847-2018. In the beginning, there was ONLY the Republican Party or True Liberian Party, established by an educated minority group, i.e. the ‘‘ status quo’’, the seat of government; the Political Capital is Monrovia. Everyone else was sent to live ‘up river’ or in settlements. There are reasons why.

    Historic Time-line
     Republican Party or True Liberian Party, 1847-1870 [23 years of minority rule]
     True Whig Party, 1870-1872 [2 years of majority rule]
     Power Sharing between the Republican Party & the True Whig Party, 1872-1892 [20 years]
    This resulted in two [2] Presidents, Joseph Jenkins Roberts [1848-1856, 1872-1876] and James Spriggs Payne [1868-1870, 1876-1878] serving two [2] non-consecutive terms.
    Why? Due to total incompetence and lack of good governance by majority rule!
    Also, switching parties started with President Daniel B. Warner [1864-1868] and continues since into our most recent 2017 elections. Warner joined forces with the Whigs, having rankled over his party’s failure to give him a 3rd term as they had done for Presidents Joseph Jenkins Roberts and Stephen Allen Benson.

     True Whig Party, 1892-1980 [88 years of majority rule]
     1980-2018, the rest is our history; the Republic of Liberia is where it is.

    Most everything can be explained. This is how the True Whig Party [TWP] took over… Apart from these historical facts, True Whig Party Liberians have long suffered from an identity crisis.
    WE used to be ROCKS, WE used to know who we were, now we don’t.

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