The people of Liberia empathize (identify, sympathize with) the government and people of the People’s Republic of China at the outbreak of this pandemic (deadly disease) that has hit their country over the past few weeks, leaving about 2,700 people dead and tens of thousands more infected.
Our Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, and her staff have already reached out to the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia to express their deep concern, and so has Foreign Affairs Minister Gbehzohngar Findley and his staff to the Chinese Government in Beijing.
Given the close and cordial relationship between Liberia, China and the two governments and peoples, we cannot keep silent while that country is in trouble. No! For today it is they; who knows who it will be tomorrow? It may be us or someone close to us. We all in Liberia know what our people say: When your neighbor’s house is burning, you don’t look the other way. You go there and get involved until the fire is out.
So we use this opportunity to commend OXFAM (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief), the British NGO, for reminding us about the coronavirus. Our Senior Editor, Joaquin Sendolo, in yesterday’s back page lead, told the world that OXFAM had donated 775 20-liter buckets with soap to the National Wash Commission through the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) as a preventive measure against the coronavirus.
We join the Liberian government in thanking OXFAM for this timely intervention, which we consider a wake-up call to the Liberian nation to take preventive measures to forestall an outbreak here.
We all remember what happened to our two immediate neighbors, Sierra Leone and Guinea and to our own dear Liberia in 2014 when the terrible Ebola virus hit, quickly ending the lives of over 4,000 Liberians and causing almost equal havoc in the other two nations, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Many nations, including the United States, China, several European, African and others, rallied to our rescue; and thanks to the dynamic, forthright and hands-on leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ebola soon vanished from Liberia.
Now it is China. We urge the Liberian government to find some concrete way to reach out to the PRC (People’s Republic of China) in order to reassure them of our deep and abiding concern about what is happening there. We throw out this question to the Liberian people and ask them to make suggestions as to the best possible response Liberia can muster in reaching out to our Chinese brothers and sisters and their government. Liberians can forward their suggestions to social media and to this newspaper and do so as soon as possible. Remember, Equatorial Guinea gave the Chinese US$2 million, while Cameroon donated over US$82,350 to assist Cameroonians in China to cope with the crisis.
What can Liberia do? Bai Best, Observer Managing Director, reminded us yesterday that “The mantra (sacred word, song, chant) of the Chinese is friendship.” So anything we give them will be highly appreciated.
Can we send them money? A package of chemicals, health and medical supplies? A list of concrete suggestions reflecting on what measures we took that helped us to drive out Ebola? Or can we send them an inspirational message reassuring our Chinese brothers and sisters that this, too, shall pass?
Whatever we do, let us do so immediately, sincerely and wholeheartedly, so that the Chinese will be convinced that we mean what we are saying or doing.
Let us do expeditiously (speedily) and passionately (with intense desire) whatever we decide to do, so that the Chinese government and people will be convinced that we mean what we say or do.
The Liberian health authorities also need to tell the Liberian people what they should do to prevent them from contracting this disease. Remember, the World Health Organization has already declared the Corona virus a “global medical emergency.” Let the health authorities tell the Liberian people what to do in the wake of this development.
As for us at the Daily Observer, we have already put out our bucket with chemicals and soap for each employee, customer or visitor to wash his/her hands before entering the office.