On the eve of what is predicted to be a rude awakening to the harsh realities of a post-Ebola era, Liberian pundits (experts, specialists) from a variety of disciplines, over the weekend brought to light, the unpardonable level of backwardness that Ebola, the contagion (virus, infection) discovered in Liberia when it struck earlier this year. 

Unlike the country’s 14-year civil-war—that many Liberians blamed for almost everything wrong with their country—Ebola came and met the nation with little or nothing to work with—or to work towards, granted the society was struggling to get back on its feet after its civil war.

But a serious lack of a plan of action—that had kept most Liberians in the grips of ignorance and disloyalty to the nation—had long dogged (plagued, troubled) this nation and stymied (hindered, blocked) its progress. That situation, one of the panelists held, had been for most of the nation’s existence from the era of J.J. Roberts, (the nation’s founding father) right up to the present, an astonished audience was told.

What becomes of this country after the virus has been vanquished, (defeated, crushed) will be nothing short of a miracle, given the ‘big-shot attitude of most Liberians, those in attendance at Friday’s Ebola seminar at the Saint Stephens Episcopal Church in Monrovia, were told.

Whether a new leadership will point the way forward in a manner that will encourage this nation—or sadden its people—will be determined by whether a new leadership decides to act in the interest of all, rather than in the interest of a few who find themselves in control of the nation’s power and resources that more often than not, have been seen as belonging to such leaders—and to them alone.     

But, given the lack of a will to push for development and progress, and this nation’s inability or unwillingness to grasp any serious element (constituent, component, building block) of progress, it was difficult to see how such a passionless people might muster (put together, come up with) the courage and will to start from scratch and put in place whatever it takes to start this country on a progressive footing and keep it moving in the right direction.

An almost impossible task, most of the seminar’s panelists agreed, unless a massive overhaul of their nation’s system is put in place. That must begin with a change of Liberia’s psyche (mind, consciousness): the national structure—how it is arranged, or organized.

Dysfunctional Institutions

One need only review some of the issues raised by one of the first speakers, Dr. Vuyu K. Golakai, Dean of Liberia’s A. M. Dogliotti School of Medicine, who spoke about the health industry (or one that passed for an industry), to try and explain what is happening— or not happening, on the national scene.

He brought back memories of the Revelation Magazine of the early 1970s, when he reechoed the alarm of what the nation needs: “The health system is nearly dysfunctional and needs overhauling,” he declared.

“We must take a quantum leap into the future; not only to redeem ourselves, but to catch up with the rest of the world,” the medical-doctor and academician explained. “We must modernize our aged institutions.”                                               

“Ebola has shown us naked! We thought we had something; were somebody; going somewhere, though going nowhere; and had nothing. Now, after nearly 200 years, we are still a multiplicity of idiots, just talking over the radio.

“Equipment and drugs can be found locally, but they are stolen and sold. Drugs aboard trucks from Liberia, headed to Guinea and The Ivory Coast, must stop.”

 The “Peace and Development after the Ebola Crisis in Liberia” seminar was organized by the Liberia Chapter of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), in a belated observance of the International Day of Peace. Its moderator was Amb. Dr. Evelyn S. Kandakai, while Amb. Dr. Mary N. Brownell introduced the occasion.

Panelists included Dr, Vuyu Kandai Golakai, Ms. Shelly Wright, Reverend  Father James Sellee, Bishop Stephen T. Y Benda, Hon Meimah Karneh, Hon. Myrtle Gibson, Amb. D. Momo Taylor, and Ms. Jamaima AntieKollie. University of Liberia’s Dr. Emmet Dennis, and Amb. Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, founder of SUSUKU, were also in attendance and made some noteworthy comments.


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