The death of Mamadee Diakite, one of the fiercest talk show hosts of our generation came as a great surprise to many, especially those of us who interacted with him in the last days of his life.
There can be no doubt that Mr. Diakite, whose presence in the Liberian media landscape was relatively new, left an indelible mark in the practice of journalism which he cherished, promoted and defended according to the best of his ability.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Mr. Diakite’s journalism career was his firmness against social injustice, his love for the truth and the ability to express this without fear or favor made him a towering figure among his contemporaries.
Clearly, Mr. Diakite’s ability to search for the truth for the benefit of humanity placed him in an enviable but difficult situation. But he defied the threat of intimidation which often serves as obstacle for freedom of expression and decency. In effect, Mr. Diakite understood the environment in which he operated and therefore equipped himself in the armor of legal knowledge to meet the challenges of our time.
Yet, Diakite was a man full of confidence and vision not only to realize his God-given potential, but also to contribute to the growth and development of his beloved country Liberia in which he had enormous faith that with the right leadership, coupled with collective patriotism, Liberia’s progress was irreversible.
Indeed, Mr. Diakite’s loyalty to Liberia was unquestionable. He repeatedly used the phrase “The Mother Land is getting better” to assure the listening audience that despite the inadequacies in our national life occasioned by frequent political wrangling among different interest groups, there is a window of opportunity for Liberians to consolidate peace and build upon the progress made over the years.
Admittedly, Mr. Diakite’s message was not welcomed in some quarters. Consequently, he became a target of verbal assaults and name calling ostensibly to dissuade him from shedding light on societal ills that threatened to reverse gains made over the years.
Soon, it became clear that the man Diakite was a man of his own world who did not only delve into national discourse for the sake of argument, but rather his thoughts were deeply rooted in his conviction that national questions could only be effectively addressed when we agree to dislodge ourselves of the prejudices and hatred while recognizing that the common denominator which is Liberia is placed above all else.
Defending such principles as Mr. Diakite did is a task every conscientious journalist should endeavor to protect and promote at all times.
As we reflect on the many contributions made by Mr. Diakite in the course of his journalistic sojourn, one cannot but rejoice over the out pouring of tributes to his memory by people from all walks of life who gathered at his residence to pay their last respects. This is a testament that the Diakite who appeared detested by the tiny minority, was immensely appreciated by the majority.
And as the books of condolence are opened by the family and the Press Union of Liberia respectively, let us use the occasion to celebrate Mamadee’s life and remember all the fallen Liberian journalists who consistently played their part in moving the country forward.
Rest in Peace my dear friend.