— Transitional justice advocate, Jeremiah Swen
Jeremiah S. Swen, founder of the Alliance for Transitional Justice of Liberia has taken the country to task, believing that because of the noncompliant posture of the government to adhere to the full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, the country is being placed in a situation that undermines accountability, healing, reconciliation and the impunity.
Swen recalled how currently, Liberia serves as an unhealed and injustice society, unable to project sustainable peace,
He added, “As a fragile society, Liberia always lives in the unbalanced space of corruption, nepotism, under-development and unemployment of its citizenry due to the limitation of foreign investment and donor funding.”
For this, Swen observed that there will be no serious investment from multilateral institutions and industrial countries when “impunity reigns as a king and corruption as a queen.”
He made the observation on Friday, November 22, when he served as a guest speaker at the first fundraising information session of the Education Transforms Lives Foundation (ETLF), a non-for-profit organization that is intended to eradicate poverty through the power of quality education.
Swen informed his audience that due to the wrongs in the country, “we need to revisit and intervene, especially by tapping into the strategic nature of education.”
On the theme, “Provoking Our Self-Commitment Toward the Provision of Quality Education for Children’s Empowerment,” Swen described quality education as a medium to defeat illiteracy, ignorance and poverty to project sustainable growth and development.
He recalled that during the past decades, the world witnessed an insurrection of violent and deadly proportion that devoured the Liberian’s population.
“During that time, we removed the pen and all education-related instructional materials from the hands of our youngest generation to the extent that we immorally breed a new philosophy of death, sustained by illicit drugs, and dangerous substances.”
He continued, “Vicious destruction was introduced, instead of vision and ego, and our adolescent and youth (ages 8 thru 15) were masters and vampires of death.”
Swen added, “Some of the youth were the engines and instruments that sustained the unpatriotic actions of warlords, who exploited their talents; victimized them by becoming the vessel that victimized others. But, this must be accounted for so that we change the course of events.”
According to Swen, the worst war to befall Liberia is the declaration of political and violent oppression by uniformed state security against uniformed students, who only seek quality education to defeat poverty, ignorance, diseases, hunger and underdevelopment.
He said that the authorized action of vandalizing the premises of schools, inflicting pains and body bruises on minors ages 12-16, which the nation witnessed during the 27th Memorial of the notorious Octopus invasion (1996), clearly point to tyrannical rule, and lack of nationalistic consciousness by the government to uphold Article 1 and 17 of the 1986 Constitution, and Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution says: “All power is inherent in the people,” while Article 17 says: All persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to assemble and consult upon the common good, to instruct their representatives to petition the Government…”
“Among us and somewhere in the shadow of anti-liberation, some perceived that the act of the government was driven by emotion of miscalculation that is false from the infamous St. Peter Lutheran Church’s massacre (1990) to the King’s Town sporadic murder, where today, impunity has overshadowed our nation. But don’t be deterred, justice shall triumph over impunity” Swen declared.