Individuals at different times in their lives choose to celebrate a year, a month or a day… this is primarily because that period has a significant meaning to that person. 2003 may not be the only period in the history of Liberia, but 2003 was the period that would determine Liberia’s fate in the comity of nations. If 2003 had not been done properly many of the milestones we celebrate as a nation and people would not have happened.
In my life 2003 is special period that would begin with his curiosity about what we intended to accomplish – would later morph into a father-daughter relationship. I praise God that I got to know Chair B or my pa (as I would affectionately call him) in 2 categories (a politician and a father).
As a politician I would put him in a class with the late Mandela; Nelson Mandela is celebrated globally for his generosity of spirit-the ability to forgive even after great wrong has been done.
Chair B’s generosity of spirit was what Liberia needed in 2003-In his online tribute to Chairman Bryant Chief Cyril Allen called him “Even Tempered”, I believe without a doubt that God knew this was what Liberia needed to come out of the abyss of war.
As a politician he would validate the work of ordinary women-never playing the class or social status card. Even when we accused him and/or disagreed on policies and the handling of affairs he never tried to divide us. He would listen patiently, seek clarity and calmly explain his prospective. Today, Liberian women can brag globally about their role in the peace proves because he give us the visibility; we can brag globally about having a rape law, because of his belief in a woman’s right to life, justice and empowerment.
At the personal level I got to know a keen listener, a God-fearing man and a father who believed in, and cared about, my life, my work and my children (asking specific questions about their welfare, especially after my sister’s death) and always wanted time with them. I would get to know a man who had no space in his heart for grudges.
After his release from prison, I remember sitting with him talking about his detention and subsequent release-he sat quietly with a smile on his face allowing me to talk and then finally said; “Leymah my joy is that God vindicated me and I have no bitterness. Leymah sometimes you need to learn to ‘let go”…Little did I know that the ultimate test of your lesson on letting go would be at this moment, the time of your death.
Tonight, I have come full circle in my friendship and interaction with you. I thank you for loving me like your own child, I thank you for the times you honestly advised me about life; I thank you for your patience with my childish questions and ranting. I thank you for opening your heart and home to my children and I.
Our last conversation was April 12, you called to check on me and made me promise as usual to take of myself, the children and stop talking big big things in the people’s business. I promise to take care of myself and the children; I will do my best not to talk big, big things in the people’s business.
Rest in Peace Pappy, Rest in Peace Chair B. Rest in Peace, the biggest Barca fan I knew; rest in Peace my gentle hero. You did your work, you finished your course… it is not the length of your days that I count, but the quality of your earthly journey.