Liberia: Who Is Civilized?

All businesses have been instructed to display the daily Central Bank of Liberia exchange rate.   

... Guest Editorial by Togba-Nah Tipoteh 

A civilized person is a person who knows himself or herself by knowing his or her  background, making it possible for him or her to be able to solve his or her individual and societal problems. 

The late Veteran Liberian Journalist Stanton Peabody was right when he published his classic article, called The Overamericanization of Liberia, because he focused on how Liberians learn to be Americans and, therefore, they can not solve Liberian problems. He showed how Liberians are copycats of the Americans. These are the same Americans who bought Africans to be slaves, lynched African-Americans and, with the backing of former USA President Donald Trump, attempted to overthrow the USA government on January 6, 2021. This racism in the USA is captured very well in the American movie, The Best of Enemies. 

This overamericanization of Liberia is seen in the present celebration of the landing of freed people of color in part of the physical space that became Liberia in1847. This bicentennial is not the bicentennial of Liberia because Liberia did not exist in1822. This bicentennial is the bicentennial of the landing of the freed people of color in the part of the physical space called Liberia from July 26, 1847 when Liberia was founded. The Centennial of Liberia was in 1947 and the Bicentennial of Liberia will be in 2047. The Centennial Pavilion was established in 1947 at the Centennial Celebration of the founding of Liberia. Now, you see that it is impossible to solve your problem when you do not know yourself!!!

Interestingly, some people were making fun of a Liberian woman who was talking about how she used her lappa to drive away malaria mosquitos from her home. The people were laughing at the lappa woman, saying that “she did not know the book; she did not have the sense to know how to get rid of the mosquitos and that she was uncivilized”. I know some “book people '' who tell their lappa wearing Mothers not to come to their offices. The people who were laughing at the lappa woman were the same people who were living in dumpiles because they were throwing their garbage just outside of their houses, creating garbage dumps. The dumpile attracted the mosquitos that bite people to give them malaria, from which some people die. No wonder, an Elder said “the garbage is all around, like the garbage  at the Center Street Graveyard in Monrovia, showing that people do not take good care of the dead and this is why they do not take good care of the living”.

On top of the bad sanitation problem came the Ebola crisis that took the lives of almost 4,000 Liberians. Then, there is the corona pandemic that continues to take the lives of more Liberians. Civilization is about saving lives, not killing lives!!! But Monrovia has become the most uncivilized part of Liberia through the dumping of garbage in neighborhoods, the buying and selling in the garbage at market places; the non-wearing of masks by most people and the overcrowding of public places, including religious houses and government buildings, not forgetting the "pupuing" and "pee peeing" in market houses. But with the poor maintenance practice, there is business as usual that keeps market houses dirty.

The people continue to laugh at  the lappa woman but the lappa woman is saving lives while the laughing persons are killing lives. The lappa woman is civilized while the laughing persons are uncivil!!! The lappa woman is a poor person and, like other poor people, she suffered a terrible public health situation without the ability to pay the hospital bill when she gets sick. 

The poor people continue to get sick and die from the bad public health situation. But the Liberian Business Association (LIBA) is busy asking the government for US$50 million to help Liberian businesses buy from foreigners, who, in the commercial sector alone, continue to have access to at least US$ million a day while nearly all Liberians remain poor, having access to at most less than USD2 a day when foreigners continue to dominate the Liberian economy (Annual Reports of CBL, LISGIS, MFDP, MCI, WB, IMF, AfDB and UNDP). 

This prevailing uncivilized condition that leads to the killing of lives can be prevented through the sharing of knowledge in ways that motivate people to take action through the Rule of Law to transform the prevailing injustice system into the system of Justice for All, the Only Way to sustainable Peace and Progress for All.