Dear Mr. Editor,
I write to respond to your Wednesday, March 29, edition of your reputable newspaper, with headline: “PYJ Names Ungrateful Liberians,” and to request clarification. The article mentioned my name among others in this context of ungrateful Liberians, and drew parallel from the Biblical story of the 10 lepers; affirming that “…none of them are yet to come forward to thank him,” [Senator Prince Johnson or PYJ] for saving their lives during the civil war.
I cannot speak for the other Liberians mentioned, but I cannot accept that I am ungrateful, in respect of the Senator’s affirmation. The Senator may have been misquoted with the mention of my name; or perhaps, just a casual oversight. I have visited Senator Prince Johnson’s home in Paynesville City long before the relevant edition and the alleged remarks attributed to the Senator.
He received me warmly, and introduced me to his family, friends and some old acquaintances there as a friend. I expressed appreciation then, in the presence of guests and family. I have also visited Senator Prince Johnson’s church, located in Paynesville behind the LBS facility. At the church, the Senator received me cordially and with respect, gave me seat in a place of honor. He even mentioned my name, in that Sunday’s radio broadcast, as a friend.
Most recently, in a clarification published in the Friday, March 17 edition of the INFORMER newspaper, I also voiced appreciation to the Senator for having saved my life and for his generosity – feeding all and sundry on Bushrod Island and surrounding communities during those difficult days of atrocity and pandemonium. I was constrained to seek safety at the Caldwell Base of the INPFL in October 1990, when I received information of the killing of my brother, the late P.K. Hage, on Du-port Road in Paynesville City, and the fact that I was a government official at the time, a group at very high risk of danger.
While seeking refuge at the Caldwell Base, however, little did I expect that General Prince Johnson would select me a member of his entourage to serve at peace talks and conferences encouraged by the international community. I accepted to serve along with other prominent Liberians, who were also at the base, to help restore peace and stability to our country. This, I believe, was the right and proper thing to do; behold peace from a state of chaos and mayhem in Liberia.
It might interest you to know Sir, that prior to Prince Johnson’s exile to Nigeria, he used to visit me at my Vai Town office, where I was also living at the time, more than once. I can therefore gratefully say, I did return and I have said thank you in many ways to Senator Johnson.
Incidentally, although the attributed narrative of the Senator did not mention it, one of the 10 lepers did return and expressed gratitude – Luke 19:15-19.
It can be recalled that to the one leper who returned, Jesus said, “…go your way, your faith has made you well.” I think my faith and my gratitude has made me whole; I have everything to be grateful for; I have no remorse and therefore nothing to apologize for.
As such, I am kindly requesting Mr. Editor, that an appropriate amendment or clarification to the referenced publication, and to the Senator’s alleged remarks, be considered for republication.
Many thanks and kind regards,
Very truly yours,
Isaac G. Wiles Jr.
A Grateful Liberian