Yesterday, October 24, was United Nations Day, the date on which this global institution was birthed. The United Nations, founded in 1945, out of the ashes of World War II, by 51 countries came into being as a result of the resolve of the international community to never again return to the past. The Second World War or World War II, as it is commonly referred to, was horrific and resulted in the deaths of over 50 million people twenty million alone from the then Soviet Union.
As a member of the Allied group of nations, Liberia contributed a small contingent pf soldiers to the war effort. However, Liberia’s greatest contribution came from the rubber produced right here in Liberia. Additionally, the Roberts Field Airport served as a rear guard base in support of the Allied campaign in North Africa. Thus, it was by no means surprising that Liberia played a key role in the formation of the United Nations organization.
Secretary of State, Clarence Lorenzo Simpson, Sr. headed the Liberian delegation to the Dunbarton Oaks conference in Dunbarton Oaks, California, USA. The distinguished Liberian female Angie Brooks Randolph even served as President of the UN General Assembly and later served as Assistant Secretary-General of the nascent United Nations Organization. In less than 20 years after its founding in 1945, Liberia was to dispatch a contingent of troops for peace keeping duties in the Congo. Altogether, Liberia contributed a total of 500 troops that served under UN command in the Congo.
Little was it realized then that Liberia, a founding member of the United Nations would become so torn and wracked with conflict that it would require the intervention of the United Nations over a sustained period to restore calm and normalcy to the country.
The UN is today committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. Indeed, it can rightly be argued that the United Nations body, despite its shortcomings and imperfections, it has nonetheless made the world a much safer place and enhanced cooperation among nations of the world.
This newspaper recalls that in years back, all schools were required to observe and celebrate United Nations Day. As part of civics taught in schools, students from the elementary grades through high school were required to learn and sing what was called the United Nations song and the words went like this:
We are United Nations facing tasks too long undone
Our eyes set on the future our labor has just begun
Our task to set men free, to give all Liberty
To build for men throughout the world one great fraternity
The law of Love will conquer bursting hatred’s narrow bounds
By sacrifice and service there’ll be wealth the world around
To enlarge our understanding, elevate the common man
Though Faith and Hope and Love, all three
One Brotherhood of man
Noble words indeed which should resonate with all leaders of the world, especially Liberia. As true Christians, we believe that through “Faith” meaning a living faith that sees all men as equal in the eyes of God, a faith that seeks to transform the world around us by transcending the narrow bounds of race or ethnicity, a faith that provides a moral compass for the nation, a hope that inspires courage and drives away despair and a love for country that eschews greed and self-gratification and glorification, a nation can achieve progress.
As the UN observes its 70th anniversary of its founding, the Daily Observer salutes the Secretary-General and staff of this world body as it strives to maintain international peace and security. The Daily Observer remains ever mindful of the enormous contribution of the world body to the restoration of peace in Liberia.
Similarly too, the Daily Observer commends the Government and people of Liberia for contributing troops to serve in the UN Peacekeeping mission in the sisterly Republic of Mali. As we hail their contribution, we recall also those Liberians who served with the UN Peacekeeping mission in the Congo during the 1960s.
As we join in the celebrations of United Nations, the Daily Observer also calls on the Government of the Republic of Liberia, led by President George Manneh Weah, to hasten the establishment of a war and economic crimes court for Liberia. As a member state of the UN, Liberia has obligations under international treaties to which it has acceded. One of such obligations is to hold to account those responsible for violating international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
We shall not be true to ourselves and our nation if we fail to build a just society founded on the rule of law. A society in which impunity is the rule rather than the exception and in which disregard for the rule of law is the norm, that society is bound to fall apart sooner than later. And this is what we must aggressively seek to avoid-a return to the bloody past.
Over the past decade, UN troops provided for the security of the Liberian state and they did so effectively until their mission ended recently with a complete pullout. Now Liberians are left to provide for their own security. But troubling signs are emerging suggesting that if care is not taken, the country may indeed find itself on a very slippery slope that may again require UN intervention. We hope and pray never!