Let us first define the terminologies. Fronting is taking a bribe from a foreign businessperson to pretend that a business belongs to a Liberian when it does not.
Lack of patriotism means a total lack of love for one’s country and one’s own people, and lack of interest in the country’s progress. The unpatriotic person is purely there for himself or herself—or so that person thinks—and to hell with the country.
Why do we say “or so that person thinks”? Because only a fool can remain unpatriotic and believe that he or she is making progress. That kind of progress, achieved in an unpatriotic way, is not sustainable. Sooner or later, one will realize that one’s lack of patriotism is an exercise in futility.
What happened to all the people who, while in positions of power, unpatriotically favored foreign businesspeople and, for a pittance, gave them anything they wanted? In the end, the foreigners got super rich, while the unpatriotic Liberians, no longer in power, became poor and powerless.
Remember what happened to Charles Taylor and so many of his relatives and officials, who gave away Liberia’s forests for nothing. Where are they today?
Another example is President Samuel Doe with all of his officials who favored the Lebanese businesspeople and gave them everything they wanted. Where are they today and where are the Lebanese? Many of these Liberians cannot be found, while the Lebanese are richer and more powerful in our own country.
And where are the Liberian officials who during the Tubman and Tolbert administrations failed to empower their fellow Liberians in business, but favored foreign businesspeople? These former Liberian officials are gone and their descendants? They are missing in action while the Lebanese, Indians and their children have remained the captains of Liberia’s industry and commerce.
This is a long explanation to demonstrate the futility of being unpatriotic and indifferent to the progress and development of one’s own people.
Now what do we mean by unserious Liberians? All of the above. Because we know of no other country where this is done—where the people of the country favor foreigners to their own people. No, the people of all other countries are far more serious than we Liberians are, and put their people first.
So here we are in this rich country of ours, remaining persistently impoverished, even destitute and powerless, our children and young men and women “here-now” boys and girls on the streets, selling chewing gum, towels, old clothes and bitter balls, while foreigners are permitted to come here with nothing and within a few years become our bosses, rich and owning everything.
So where, we ask, is there any indication of seriousness on the part of Liberians in this rich country, where we allow other people to become rich while we remain perpetually poor, dependent and powerless?
All you who say you want to be president—president for what? To become rich—you and your relatives—while your people remain trapped in poverty and powerlessness? Remember, and never forget, that this selfishness that some of you candidates are pursuing, while the rest of your people remain poor, powerless and hopeless, is not sustainable. For soon you and your posterity—your children and grandchildren—will be in the same boat as the rest of us, while foreigners whom you will favor and permit to become rich, will be in control and while your people—your fellow Liberians—continue to languish in poverty and powerlessness.
So what is the way forward?
Better we decide, at long last, to start loving one another and our country! Start realizing that without LOVE for one another and for our country, we will make no progress.
But with love for one another and for our country, we will begin to make serious progress, because we will start empowering one another and all of us will begin making progress in every direction.
We will finally become a serious people, mindful of the things that matter to us and to one another, to become more focused on lifting up one another. In so doing, we will soon find that we are lifting all boats—Liberian boats—and Liberia, too, will be lifted up!
The bottom line: Let us start defending, helping, supporting one another, our fellow Liberians: start being more serious; start being more patriotic; start taking ourselves and our country more seriously.