I have a concern I have not been able to put out of mind. Roughly two months ago, I heard Benoni Urey give a speech. In it, he stated that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf did not have the country at heart. (Patently hypocritical, I would say, coming from Charles Taylor's right hand man.) The part that bothered me, however, was when he said this:
"If we allow this woman to finish her term in office, it will not be good for the country".
I am wondering whether the government's security apparatus and/or the Justice Ministry took note of that statement. I would think it was tantamount to treason, as it suggests that she not be allowed to end her term in office. No one is 100 percent or even 70 percent satisfied with the performance of this or any administration for that matter; but we are a civilized people and MUST follow the democratic process.
Relatedly, I've also noticed the longing for the return of Charles Taylor in this country. He is still very much revered, with Liberians fond of calling him “our Papay”. Only a few short years ago, Taylor was awaiting a shipment of arms via the Freeport of Monrovia. He had a diabolical plan to go "from street to street, house to house," threatening to empty Monrovia. Liberians cried out to God for mercy. The arrest of the shipment forced him to leave the country, hence the peace we now enjoy.
How is it now that today, Liberians are praying for his return? Even so-called 'pastors' held a prayer service for his release on the eve of the announcement of his appeal verdict. After having cried out to God for an end to the war, are we now wanting Taylor back? Do we realize it is a slap in the face of the God who heard our cry and moved so powerfully on our behalf?
We sound like the Israelites: "This Moses fellow brought us here into the wilderness to starve… At least we had meat in Egypt!"
So we have some economic hardships. Is that a reason to wish for Charles Taylor’s return? So that rice can return to $30? Who says the dynamics will be the same this time around?
But not to worry. Benoni Urey is standing by to take full advantage and scratch that Taylor itch…
…Which leads me to my next question: Why did the UN take Urey off the travel ban list? AND the assets freeze list?
“Urey’s business activities, and the profits gained from them, would appear to suggest that civil conflict in Liberia would have a significant negative financial impact on him”, the UN Panel of Experts concluded in 2013.
I have to laugh out loud at this one. Yes, but of course. The same "significant negative financial impact" it had on him, DURING the civil conflict. Let's see… Maritime, LRC, the diamonds, wow. Civil conflict is not good for Mr. Urey. It really left him broke, poor and starving. His family is really catching hell!
Does the UN really think that people are stupid?
Who let Taylor out of a maximum security US prison? Why would you take a man like Benoni Urey off the travel ban AND unfreeze his assets even as YOU pull your troops out AND just before an election? Knowing that he is fully capable of destabilizing this country, thanks to the thousands of guerrillas they left here standing by for a return? Do you now hear the kinds of statements he is making?
Word of advice to the UN as well as the US: you are fond of throwing the rock and hiding your hand; creating Frankensteins you then have to put away. If you continue to play games with Liberia's security, the chickens will come home to roost for you, and history will judge you accordingly. Oh yes, you will play the victim like an Oscar winner, completely ignoring the cause-and-effect factor. But we know better. Sadly, it is the innocent people who tend to suffer the consequences of your “didibah” (Liberian parlance for shady dealings).
Of course, our government and people have been too blind to see that we will NEVER grow our own rice if USAID has anything to do with it because it means they can no longer sell that US$50 bag of rice. As has been said before, a nation-state is a huge business. Why would our overseas supplier want us to start growing our own rice? Steady stream of revenue lost!
So you see, Liberians, the answer to our problem is not Charles Taylor. The answer is growing our own food. Taylor did not have a magic formula. He just had manipulation and a little luck which then proceeded to run out. It is as simple as ABC that if you produce it at home, it is cheaper. If you import it, it's much more expensive. Unless the opportunity cost is too high, which is not the case here.
“To the faithful, you show yourself faithful… but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd” (Psalm 18:25-35).
So my people, do not be ungrateful and put God to the test, lest He answer you in full.