Across the country, supporters of the ruling party are beating the drums of war. Physical attacks on members of the opposition have become the order of the day; and the recent attack against Telia Urey, an opposition candidate for the District 15 by-election, was not the first.
The acrimony that preceded the death of Representative Adolph Lawrence, in addition to the increasing economic hardship in the country, have given the opposition the political upper hand. Instead of strategizing a comeback, the ruling party is taking the violent route.
The international community will, as always, take the diplomatic route. Firstly and foremost, the U.S. Department of State, along with other missions in Monrovia, will begin to issue travel alerts ahead of protests and any foreseeable violence. The American Embassy in Monrovia will do its best to urge all parties to show restraint and to protect the hard-earned peace that Liberia has enjoyed over the last two decades. Other diplomatic missions in the country will follow suit.
Then instead of taking note of the warnings, the Liberian government and its surrogates will push back. The Americans are trying to frame Liberia in a poor light, they will say. ‘The Americans cannot meddle in our affairs and tell us what to do!’ They will add.
We here at the Observer would like to sound the alarm – help Liberians open their eyes and see the writing on the wall so that when trouble comes, we cannot claim (as we did before) that it somehow caught us by surprise.
In every community, supporters of the ruling party are on unpaid, self-employed security watch against perceived opponents of the government. Every criticism, even objective ones, is perceived as opposition if not enmity.
What is most dangerous is that in some quarters, the debate is being framed along tribal lines. A conversation that started off as political and economic has turned tribal.
We want Liberians to be aware that just as we all – CDCians and opposition alike – are feeling the economic pinch at the markets, so will we all be running with loads on our heads should this country descend into civil conflict.
A repeat for the record: we will ALL be running with loads on our heads should this country descend into civil conflict.
Bullets have no idea as to who is Congo and who is indigenous; who is a CDCian and who is opposition.
As we are running with loads on our heads and the foreign press swarms in to capture the story, we will be calling upon whom? Ah yes. Those pesky, intrusive Americans – now we’ll call them our ‘traditional allies’ – to come to our aid. But wait. We said we didn’t want their advice, remember? We said their ‘interference’ was not welcome in our domestic affairs as a sovereign nation.
We behave like children. Short-sighted and stupid. What are we depending on as we are beating these drums of war? When you say you don’t want someone’s help, then have your sh*t together. But we behave as though the international community has an obligation to feed us. They do not. That is our job. Liberia’s stupidity is outstanding. Even our other African neighbors are moving forward. And here we are still being breast fed by the international community at 172 years old.
You will forgive us. The current situation necessitates our candor.
Suppose, given the global nature of the economic woes we face, the international community is not able to come to our aid this time? Then what? Suppose Donald Trump decides he does not have the time to pamper “shithole countries”, as we’ve already been so eloquently described? Suppose the European Union has its own problems to deal with and is war weary and cash-strapped?
Suppose on the other hand, there are predators (whom we shall not name) just waiting for the opportunity to properly loot this nation of all of its diamonds, timber and other coveted natural resources while we kill each other on behalf of politicians with houses and children in the United States? Naturally, it would be in the predators’ best interest not to end the conflict but to prolong it. And as we know all too well, enough is never enough.
How can our executives be so sure that they will escape the barrel of the gun?
We here at the Observer would like to inform the government and people of Liberia that the tay-tay water nah dry.
It is time to walk on our own two feet. If we return to war, this time there may be absolutely no one to help us. Other countries, even our neighbors, have better use for their money in these globally trying times.