Yes, that is what Liberia gets for being so good to Lebanon and tens of thousands of Lebanese who have made their riches in Liberia and, in the process, made their country, Lebanon, also rich.
And what, besides dominating our commerce and economy, and in the process, inflicting misery and poverty on our people, have the Lebanese done to Liberia? Lebanese men have for generations exploited our women, had thousands of children by them and, for the most part, abandoned not only the children but also the Liberian women, many of them former “wives,” and returned to Lebanon and married Lebanese women.
But that is not all: Many Lebanese men have raped Liberian women right here in Liberia, and gotten away scot free, thanks to a few Liberians in or close to power in our country, who have assigned to themselves the unholy and unpatriotic duty of being the chief defenders of Lebanese in Liberia!
But there are more atrocities (evils) that Lebanese men have inflicting upon Liberians: they have trafficked young and innocent Liberian girls to Lebanon as sex slaves. But our girls did not know this: they were fooled by these Lebanese traffickers who told them they were destined for lucrative employment in Lebanon. But once there, they were put to work under Lebanese “employers” in the most demeaning and inhumane conditions; while thousands of dollars due them in wages have been confiscated by these Lebanese traffickers, claiming that is their pay for bringing these Liberian ladies to “greener pastures in Lebanon.”
More beside, these Lebanese traffickers confiscated the Liberian girls’ passports, making it impossible for them to escape the enthralling chains of their traffickers and return home.
Yes, that has been the “thanks” Liberia has received from the Lebanese whom we have allowed to become rich—and powerful—in our country.
And where were the Lebanese during the worst health crisis in history to hit Liberia? They were largely missing in action, unlike the Indian and Fula communities, who contributed substantially to the anti-Ebola crusade. Yet several Lebanese firms made serious money from the crisis, including Mano Manufacturers that produced a commodity in high demand for the fight—chlorine. However, when that firm and Randall Street’s Charif Pharmacy were approached to help support a Special Edition produced by the Daily Observer in honor of Ebola Heroes, these firms flatly refused.
This newspaper has long called on successive Liberian administrations to change the dangerous status quo of foreign domination of the Liberian economy by making it mandatory that all foreign businesses have credible Liberian partners who can share the business and the wealth and, in the process, end the unilateral and perennial money-drain that foreign businesspeople, with the unpatriotic and corrupt connivance of Liberians in power, have inflicted upon their own people and country—turning Liberians into peons (the impoverished, laboring class) in their own country.
Now, after persistent reports in the Liberian media of the plight of several of these poor, exploited, enslaved Liberian young women, the slumbering Liberian government has seemingly awaken, and taken the initiative to bring back our girls.
A “high-powered” Liberian delegation, headed by Labor Minister Neto Lighe and comprising Immigration Commissioner Lemuel Reeves and a Police officer, left recently for Lebanon to work with the international police organization INTERPOL, to search for, rescue and bring back our girls from slaving servitude in Lebanon.
But what were our girls doing in Lebanon in the first place? Yes, there is poverty in our country, but people can still survive; for there are many Liberians who are willing to reach out concretely to help others in need.
That is why we do not find Liberians among the many Africans trekking daily through the Sahara Desert to Libya for the dangerous passage over the Mediterranean to Europe. They come from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and other Sahel countries, The Gambia, Eritrea, etc., seeking “greener” pastures in Europe.
We pray that this will be the VERY LAST TIME that Liberians will be found anywhere near Lebanon under such dastardly conditions. The plight of these innocent Liberian girls has proven that yes, Liberia is the lucrative and welcome home to Lebanese, but not Lebanon to Liberians! A hint to the wise is quite sufficient.