‘We’re Closer Than Ever’

8
1900

Dr. Browne: “We have moved from physically attacking each other to attacking the political interests of the other… one notch toward civility.” 

Inspite of the civil crises that saw Liberians vent their angers against each other as a result of the massive inequalities that existed since the formation of the state, couple with the economic inequalities that is still being experienced since the cessation of hostilities nearly a decade and a half ago—the 170th Independence Day Orator, Rev. Dr. Herman Browne says Liberians are at the verge of being more united because they are now expressing themselves and having conversation around those things that once kept them apart.

Delivering his oration at the Centennial Pavilion in Monrovia on Wednesday, Dr. Browne said with those ‘healthy discussions around what kept Liberians apart (as Americo-Liberians vs Natives), the gaps of inequality and discrimination are gradually being bridged. He was speaking on the topic: “Sustaining the Peace.”

Since its formation in 19th century, Liberia’s history has been replete with the mark of inequality and since, the country to experience has had a turbulent and violent past when a very small portion of the population (5%) commanded political, economic and social influences over the vast majority.

“Americo-Liberians” – the descendants of freed American blacks – who established Liberia in principle as an act of emancipation, but in reality consolidated power for themselves at the expense of the indigenous population who make up bulk of the citizenry—ignoring their presence for over a century and at times engaging them in a very harsh and brutal ways, when the need for revenue generation (through taxation) arose. These and many more acts of discrimination led to the civil upheaval that engulfed the country destroying thousands of lives and millions worth of properties.

But without pretense, the Episcopalian prelate, at the Independence celebration, laid bare some fundamentals before endeavoring to reflect on what sustaining the country’s relative peace might entail.

For many years, Dr. Browne said, Liberians have avoided public discussions about the inequalities and social antipathies (gender, class, ethnicity, literacy) altogether. “Now, we are talking about them; they have entered the mainstream of public discourse, and often finding ways to address them. We no longer pretend that these are minor issues facing our society. Neither are we particularly quiet about them,” he said.

The prelate noted that such an occasion (Independence anniversary) that Liberians should seize to thank the familiar, the known and tried; whilst in good faith anxiously await to welcome the unfamiliar, the unknown, and the untested.

Dr. Browne said, “It is in our country’s cause, our national interest to secure the peace we now enjoy. And peace, not just for its own sake, but so that we might  preserve our fundamental civil liberties where our freedoms of democracy can flourish,  where our entitlement to justice can be more real than virtual; where our pursuit of happiness can be more easily realized; and where a wholesome, functioning, diverse society in which  all of us  feel we belong can be more realistically brought within our grasp.”

The eloquent young prelate said Liberians need to see and understand that, to this, “we are closer now than we have ever been. Don’t get me wrong. It certainly may not feel so, but it appears so.”

Dr. Browne, who is also the President of the Episcopalian run Cuttington University, noted that Liberians have moved a long way from fighting each other to working with each other. “We have moved from physically attacking each other to attacking the political interests of the other; undoing what matters most to the other.

“When we shift from the person to the person’s (political, social or economic) interest, we   shift the terms of the engagement one notch towards civility,” he said.

“Today is also primarily a day we set aside in our national life to look beyond government and her leaders, beyond politics and tribe, beyond the arrogance of creed or  gender, beyond the bread and butter issues of the day and the pathology of our daily lives  to something bigger, greater and higher than our individual lives: in  our country’s cause,” he said.

He noted that the independence celebration presented, in this year of national elections and amid an already raucous political contest, “a most public and rare opportunity for us all to pause and express our appreciation deep and sincere for  the work of this government, led by Madam Sirleaf, whilst looking forward to that of the next.”

He indicated that the national anthem shouldn’t only be sung from the lips, “but from within our souls the stirring words of our national anthem, do we not commit ourselves to lay aside every distracting loyalty, every vow or bond and work together, even in the face of clear and present danger, to defend without pretense our Country’s cause?”

Dr. Browne noted that the conversations around the inequalities and marginalization as well as how the country should be governed, are healthier. “This is healthy; and I believe that only in maintaining this peace can solutions with any chance of permanence be found.”

“The sustainable nature of the peace will rest in the way we live, talk, walk and treat  each other; and so forge the bonds of unity, that the interests of one will lie squarely and indistinguishably within the interest of the other. In this way, my self-interest is redefined less digitally, and made so connected with yours, that peace is more likely sustained.”

Meanwhile, many lauded National Orator for highlighting the struggle that country has gone through over the 170 years of its existence with the marginalization of some segment of the population; while the failures of one government after another to address the root causes of why corruption, nepotism and other vices has not only made our form of governance ineffective, but its failure to deliver any meaningful agenda that will impact the lives of most citizens.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Herman Browne is really a “poor” òrator. His speech is like someone unprepared, and does not know what to say. How can a people “move from physically attacking each other to attacking the political interests of each other”, and at the same time “closer than ever”???? Besides, in politics….THE STRUGGLE FOR POWER, isn’t it the political interest of the other people attack? What a dull and useless oration!!!

  2. This statement from Brown is in total contradiction to the present day reality of Liberia; he’s probably referring to those in Government. This is one of the most shunned government Liberia ever had.

  3. Somebody said this boy “is a big liar”! This seems to be a fact. You check this one out you should not be surprised to find out Herman Browne actually bought this his so called doctorate degree and became an overnight academic to head CUC via his late father’s connections within the Episcopal Church.

    No true pastor or true PHD holder serving as an orator would MESS-UP SO MISSERABLY to such degrading and very low ebb of contradicting himself.

    And this is the Dullard Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appoints as Chairman of the Board of such strategic state parastalal as LPRC, when such a chair should be occupied by a qualified Liberian national, with this “national liability” Herman BROWNE undergoing rehabilitation.

  4. Well, gentlemen, you are entitled to your opinion and so is Dr. Herman
    Browne, whether or not that he is connected to big name. But, it is
    not a good thing or exercise of one opinion or comments when you go
    so personal against Dr. Browne. What Dr. observed is obtaining in the
    Liberian society is not wrong at all. He knew of the discrimination,
    segregation, suppression, oppression, and down right to Domestic
    colonialism in the Liberian society, only concerned person like Dr. Browne,
    as to whether those vices that divide the people in the past, I hope not
    now, are wearing away. It is not a bad observation at all.

    Look at what President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had brought upon Liberians
    again. The Code of Conduct, in spite of all the constitutional provisions
    and the Laws of Liberia that deal with unethical and corrupt behavior,
    is intended to cause, as it is already, confusion and disruption of the
    ensure national Presidential and Legislative elections. It is, indeed,
    intended to divide and create animosity among Liberians as it is already.

    So, it is very becoming on every well meaning Liberian to opine that
    what used to set the people apart is going away. Today or even in
    Tubman era, such expressions as: “Do you know who am I? Do you
    know who you are talking to?” had all gone from among and midst
    of the Liberian society. Hence, if Dr. Browne shared his thought with
    the Liberian people, he 100% correct!

  5. P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. July 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Well, gentlemen, you are entitled to your opinion and so is Dr. Herman
    Browne, whether or not that he is connected to big name. But, it is
    not a good thing or exercise of one opinion or comments when you go
    so personal against Dr. Browne. What Dr. Browne observed is obtaining in the Liberian society is not wrong at all. He knew of the discrimination,
    segregation, suppression, oppression, and down right to Domestic
    colonialism in the Liberian society, only concerned person like Dr. Browne,
    as to whether those vices that divide the people in the past, I hope not
    now, are wearing away. It is not a bad observation at all.

    Look at what President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had brought upon Liberians
    again. The Code of Conduct, in spite of all the constitutional provisions
    and the Laws of Liberia that deal with unethical and corrupt behavior,
    is intended to cause, as it is already, confusion and disruption of the
    ensure national Presidential and Legislative elections. It is, indeed,
    intended to divide and create animosity among Liberians as it is already.

    So, it is very becoming on every well meaning Liberian to opine that
    what used to set the people apart is going away. Today or even in
    Tubman era, such expressions as: “Do you know who am I? Do you
    know who you are talking to?” had all gone from among and midst
    of the Liberian society. Hence, if Dr. Browne shared his thought with
    the Liberian people, he is 100% correct!

  6. No matter who give what speech, there are Liberian critics everywhere to say what they want to say. As Liberians, I think we should respect one another. Brown is a gentleman and a man of God.

  7. “Dr. Herman Browne says Liberians are at the verge of being more united because they are now expressing themselves and having conversation around those things that once kept them apart”. Yea right, because EJS allowed free speech and freedom of the press!

    Did the public orator know despite that on September 21 2012 she proclaimed “We are signing the Declaration of Table Mountain in order to underscore our message loud and clear, to advance a free press and freedom of expression not just in a Liberia but the entire continent of Africa”, a scorched earth policy was launched against the independent Mass Media in our emerging democracy? Well, the managing directors of “FPA” and “The National Chronicle” newspapers have information and exhibits of their ordeal, and perhaps, others have tragic stories to tell …

    No matter deafening noise from the echo chambers, EJS cannot own a process of freedoms which actually took off in the balkanized Liberia of the early 1990’s, and was concretized by the spread of internet use. Some would even argue that Liberians have been noisily expressing the need for unity before EJS was born. The same old, same old selfish reactionaries didn’t want to hear; they didn’t want to share joint – owned resources with the rest of the nation: Nothing changed in spite of a cascade of transformative visions.

    For instance, Dr. Edward Blyden was allegedly framed for infidelity and ran out of Liberia for suggesting substantive steps to bring together the Americo – Liberians and Natives for the benefit of all. And when Southeasters joined the struggle for justice by defending their space, not only that a war of subjugation and ethnic cleansing was waged on them, but some were vilified with taunts like “Peace was in heaven until the Kru man got there”. Apparently, peace refused to descend so we must “impose” it.

    Lastly, the overreach by self – entitled vested elites for tyranny of opinion – theirs, of course – contributed to the continuous resistance against meaningful change in Liberia. That’s how we brought war which scattered citizens to refugee camps, example, in Ghana. Yet, instead of reconciling those on the ground through opportunities to encourage the exiles to return, we divvied up the nation’s wealth with a handful, and went on a blitz of spewing choreographed double standards of group interest, group think, and group speak. Let’s stop the rash of praise – singing that make failed leaders believe they’re success stories. It has no other name but flattery!

  8. After Herman Browne’s FLATTERY UPON THE POWER-ELITE & SETTLER MENTALITY PREJUDICE AGAINST THE MAJORITY BACKFIRED he went running back to the Daily Observer to come up with this his DECEPTIVE and contradicting “ever closer” bullcrap!

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