Liberia faces its most serious national crisis since the 14-year civil war, with the deadly Ebola toll dramatically rising. Last Thursday night alone saw the demise of 20 patients from only one quarantine center, at ELWA Hospital. But even more alarmingly, we lost a staggering 47 citizens within a few days in Margibi County!
This leads all of us to ask, What is happening to our beloved country? We have never before seen anything like this. An even more desperate question arises: just as Liberia is on the verge of finding a new source of revenues—petroleum—to begin finally a serious development initiative, we are struck with the deadly Ebola virus that plunges everything in the country into disarray; and more besides, is killing our innocent people in droves.
Is there something sinister in all this? we are compelled to ask. Is this a plot against Africa, beginning with Liberia? Is there anyone or any nation determined to frustrate any progress Liberia makes or attempts to make to pull itself out of 167 years of struggle for survival, growth and development?
We are again compelled to ask, Is there anyone viciously eying our petroleum and making sure that the country is in disarray as they negotiate for the remaining oil blocks, so that by the time the Ebola crisis is over and the nation is ready to commence in earnest its development initiative, the petroleum would be all gone, sold to foreign companies and nations, with no Liberian participation, thus mortgaging utterly in vain the future of our children and grandchildren?
This is why a week ago we said in an editorial that this was the wrong time to sell oil blocks. Who can focus seriously on such intense and critical negotiations when so much else is going on in our country? The president of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), Dr. Randolph McClain, denied that four of our remaining oil blocks are being sold; yet NOCAL executives travelled to London last weekend to examine the auctioning bids for these oil blocks.
The Liberian government must be very watchful of how it disposes of the national assets in a hurry. As we have said for generations in Liberia, “Hurry, hurry bursts trousers.”
But that is what many foreign nations and companies want, for Liberia to burst its trousers, as we have done with our iron ore since 1946 and rubber since 1926, so that we remain a net exporter of these resources, without value added, and are to date not able to produce a rubber band or steel rod. So, in spite of all these resources, we have remained perpetually naked, poor, hungry and underdeveloped.
And now, to make matters worse, Ebola that is decimating our population, driving foreigners from our shores, cutting off air travel, slowing down the government on every front and creating disarray in the country.
We know that the President and many of her lieutenants are working assiduously to deal with this crisis; and we pray that their efforts, and those of ourselves and all the others, including the international community, will bear fruit and, in the shortest possible time, flush out this terrible virus from our country.
Liberians cannot, must not succumb to this deadly virus, no matter where it comes from. All of us must roll up our sleeves and meet this foe with ALL our might and, as we sing in our National Anthem, with valor unpretending, until Ebola is extinguished and eradicated from the Liberian landscape.
The way to do it is first to understand and accept that Ebola is real and no joke. We must then take every precaution by washing our hands constantly, cleaning our homes and surroundings, avoiding body contact with anyone, and also with sick people. Health workers should wear protective gears. All who are suspected of having contracted the virus should seek immediate medical attention; and everyone should avoid going near or touching an Ebola corpse.
And as soon as someone dies the Health authorities should be immediately contacted to remove the body.
Heeding these pieces of advice would drive Ebola far from us and soon, very soon, our nation will be healed again.