Decoration Day is upon us again, to be celebrated on Wednesday, March
12. But for many families and for the WHOLE nation, it will be a sad
and shameful day.
We don't know how he got the tip off. But our Judicial Correpondent
Abednego Davis found his way this week to the Palm Grove Cemetery,
where many of the most prominent Liberians are buried, including
Presidents of Liberia, only to discover that 75 percent of the graves
had been looted, and the remains of many loved ones desecrated and
even burnt to ashes!
How many times are we going to ask in this editorial column, What kind
of people are we Liberians? It seems as though something terrible is
wrong with all of us.
We have a government that has not empowered its people economically
but instead, unconscionably gives every opportunity to foreigners,
from Residence and Work Permits to contracts, privileges and
You have the Legislature which viciously tried to punish the ONE
institution that has tried to make a difference–the Central Bank of
Liberia (CBL)–by empowering ordinary Liberians throughout the country
with money to open businesses and lift themselves out of poverty.
Our educational system, from primary to university–including the
highest, the University of Liberia–is in shambles; and now our sick
and suffering compatriots are languishing in hospitals and clinics
unattended because the nurses and health workers are on strike. (BAI,
ALASK, IF THE STRIKE IS OVER, PLEASE SAY HAVE BEEN ON STRIKE).
There are, unfortunately, even more woes among the living: Tens of
thousands of our young people–children and young adults alike–are seen
daily roaming the streets, peddling candies, biscuits, towels and
cold water when they should be either in elementary, secondary or
Counselor Varney Sherman reminded us in his Independence Oration eight
months ago that abject poverty caused the civil war, and abject
poverty remains a major problem throughout the country. Here again we
are reminded of what our Legislators–THE PEOPLE'S representatives,
tried do to the CBL; and one is bound to ask, What were they thinking?
Don't they have pity on the plight of the people they were elected
and are being paid to represent? Nope! They are representing the
foreign interests who control and dominate everything in Liberia.
So, if we do not care about the living, how on earth can we be
expected to care for the Dead?
The desecration of gravesites is nothing new in Liberia. Many
gravesites, especially the nation's leading one, Palm Grove Cemetery,
have been under attack for years by criminally minded people and the
homeless as well. To her credit, former Monrovia City Mayor Ophelia
Hoff Saytoma a few years ago erected a high concrete fence around the
Palm Grove Cemetery and put steel gates at all its entrances. But
because of the ineptitude (ineffectiveness) and shortsightedness of
both the Monrovia City government the central government, the
nation's leading cemetery–like all others–has been left at the mercy
of the indigents and thieves.
Reporter Davies quoted Monrovia City Corporation Supervisor Edward
Jarbah, who lamented that there is neither electricity nor security at
the Palm Grove. So the thoughtless, unscrupulous and wicked people in
our midst are left free to do whatever they want there. Hence the
great pain that many families are facing over the desecration of their
Beloved Dead this Decoration Day.
If the Ministry of Justice never had a challenge, it has one now: to
find and bring to justice those responsible for these despicable
(wicked) acts against our Beloved Dead.
Will the City government and the central government wake up and do
something to redeem the nation's honor? Will they muster immediately
the resources to fix the broken gates, install 24-hour electricity and
24-hour security around the cemetery so that this terrible national
disgrace NEVER happens again?
The Liberian media should not wait for an answer. We must keep
pressing the City government and the National government about this
disgraceful situation until something substantial immediate and
permanent is done.
We pray that all cemeteries should be given the same attention.