By Mengistu Eddie Wolokolie
This is a message of unity for our beloved nation. Today, the division continues to play an unfortunate role in the development of our country. Regrettably, our parents and our government are not putting the welfare of our society ahead of their egos and self-interest. This seems to be an ongoing cycle that continues to be passed down generation after generation. But, when does it stop? I know this may be a be cliché, but it speaks to us more now than when it was said years ago.
Former US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” As a child from this land, country, and continent, I propose this question to you, “WHAT CAN WE DO FOR LIBERIA? What can we do to come together and contribute to Liberia’s growth for generations to come? This question should be on everyone’s mind, regardless of your age, educational background, left or stayed before, during or after the war or if you live abroad.
We as Liberians are at a crossroad at this point in our country. We’re at a make or break moment of our future. This is the time where the generation should set the nation on the right course for our generation or plunge it into a free fall. This is the moment our generation and your generation can learn from our parent’s mistakes and take our nation into a brighter future for our kids. On February 4, 1968, Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached on the topic of a sermon he was titled “Drum Major Instinct.”
I know you are wondering what is he talking about and how does that relate to us currently? Please allow me to explain what I believe Dr. King was saying and how it relates to us as a nation today, your generation, your parents’ generation, and my generation. We as Liberians and Africans need to put the needs of our country before our own. What I mean by that is what are we leaving behind for our children and their children? Whatever decision you make whether young or old should be based on what is good for the nation and the continent as a whole.
If you are a young or old person in today’s Liberia, our thought process should not be about how much money we want to make when we get out of high school or college, it should be about how we can help our country and continent to be successful? I know you may feel like how does this guy who just came, living in America know about how life is in Liberia and is telling us how to live our lives?
He left and made a better life for himself but doesn’t want us to do the same. My brothers and sisters, I would say that is your “Drum Major Instinct” talking to you, I will also say that my coming and telling you how you should think is the “Drum Major Instinct” talking also to me. But I say we can beat that devil to the ground. Sisters and brothers, we cannot allow our ugly “Drum Major Instinct” control our bright future. There’s a bright future ahead of us, but we need to come together as one to create a better country for our children.
To all that are reading this now and later, your question to yourself and your fellow Liberians, is how we can prepare our children to make this nation and continent successful? Brothers and sisters, there are jobs, skills level, and occupations that can help lift us out of poverty and create a middle class in Liberia. These are some of the middle-class jobs that I believe we should be asking our elected official to help build to make this nation succeed for all Liberians.
These are some of the posts I think are necessary for any country to improve the lives of its citizens: Aircraft Mechanic, Automotive, Boilermaker, Brick Mason, Carpenter, Construction, Custodian, Electrician, EMT / Firefighter, Heavy Equipment Operator, Home Health Aide, Gardening, Landscaping, and Groundskeeping, Law Enforcement Skills, Machinist, Maintenance and Janitorial, Painter, Pipe fitter, Plumber, Truck Driver, Trash Collector, and Welder just to name some.
So, my challenge to Liberians abroad and in Liberia today is to go out and demand how this administration and this generation will provide these learning opportunities that will make a brighter future for Liberia? How will we have a country built on shared values instead of division? How will we create a state, that looks out for all its people and not just the select few? I want to believe that we have more in common as Liberians than what divides us.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.