“Open Your Hearts,” to Reassure Diaspora Liberians

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“My two very young daughters already know they belong to River Gee County, birthplace of their father. All they need and want is to be reassured that they are Liberians.”

The issue of Dual Citizenship was one of the critical themes that the eminent Liberian medical practitioner, Dr. Dugbeh Nyan, on Tuesday dealt with in his inspiring Independence Day Oration.

He told his audience, including Liberia’s topmost officials from all three branches of government and the diplomatic corps that many countries around the world, including several African ones, are benefitting richly from dual citizenship.

Africans working in the advanced countries of the Americas, Asia and Europe remit billions of United States dollars annually to their home countries. But that is not all they do. They also help to engage actively in technology transfer from the rich nations to their home countries. The aim: to empower their own nations to catch up in the national development race. Dr. Nyan mentioned among these several African nations, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

“Open your hearts!” he challenged Speaker Alex Tyler and President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah, to do the right thing with bravery and passion to enhance Liberia’s development.

In so doing, Dr. Nyan pleaded with the lawmakers to remember his daughters, Lauraine-Ahoefa, 6, and Lynette-Akandeh (precious child in Grebo), 4. Every morning in the United States they want their father to tell them about River Gee, one of the remote parts of Liberia starving for agricultural, educational, health, public works, parks, computer technology and other modern amenities.

With his position in the American and world scientific communities, Dr. Nyan and his Togolese wife, herself an environmental and public health expert, will make sure to afford their children a sound education. One day these children will, like their parents, return home and share their education and experiences with their fellow Liberians and River Geeans.

The same can be said of all Liberian children and their parents, who became and are being highly educated in America and other parts of the modern world. Most of them, like Dr. Nyan, were driven out of Liberia by instability and war. His aims were primarily survival and a sound medical education. He, his wife and children one day want to return to Liberia to share their education and experiences with their fellow Liberians.

What we want to tell our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora is that they should begin now to join with their compatriots here at home in sharing some of their entrepreneurial capacity which they have acquired in the West and elsewhere. Come back home and engage in agricultural, educational, engineering, commercial, touristic and other investments. This will reassure the people on the ground that you are returning home not just in search of jobs, but to contribute concretely and independently to national development.

Here we must very quickly recall the most important theme of Dr. Nyan’s Oration: NO MORE WAR! In order for even ourselves on the ground to prosper or at least survive in our entrepreneurial undertakings, we need peace and stability. Peace and stability will give us hope for the future and cause us to strive creatively and diligently to expand, improve and develop our business enterprises. This alone can encourage our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora to come home and share with us their expertise, ingenuity and entrepreneurial prowess that would in a big way help to push Liberia forward.

But this can all be done only in an environment of peace—the peace that passseth all understanding, that makes all things possible, that will make it totally unnecessary for any of us to run again from our country, terrified and shattered by war.

With sustained and uninterrupted peace, we who are here struggling with our feeble enterprises would bide our time and work diligently until things get a little better.

“We are tired of running,” Dr. Nyan told his compatriots on Tuesday. Yes, all Liberians, no matter who or where they are, want to return and help develop our country.

Dual Citizenship would encourage them in no small way to believe, realize and be convinced that they are not only welcomed, but wanted to come and join in the transformation of Liberia into a modern, progressive and prosperous country.

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