The editorial of the Friday, January 24, 2014 edition of the Daily Observer captioned “The way forward for Liberian Raw Materials” did not go unnoticed. A variety of interposing occurrences distracted my mind, and withdrew my attention from writing earlier. Anyway, it is “better late than never.”
Undeniably, the concern expressed in this editorial that China Union is shipping out tons and tons of iron ore from the Bong Mines Mountain Range without establishing a manufacturing company to manufacture even a portion of the thousands of tons of iron ore, being extracted from Liberia, into zinc, steel rods or other finished products is also of paramount concern to many well-meaning Liberians,
I am in full conformity with the assertion that “the time has come in this country for us to say NO MORE OF THAT”, but the reality is that Liberia will remain in this state of backwardness and degradation as long as Liberian negotiators bargaining contracts with foreign investors on behalf of the government and people of Liberia exhibit more interest in receiving their ‘brown envelops’ than in seeking the well-being of Liberia and the Liberian people.
The editorial numerated three things that the Chinese have which Liberians lack: patriotism, hard work, and a sense of personal and national purpose. I would concord with the first and third, but not the second.
I have stated repeatedly that Liberians are not lazy. Without doubt most of the employees working laboriously at public and private entities, including the ones managed by the Chinese and other foreign nationals, are Liberians.
What can be asserted that is unquestionably true is that we, Liberians, have no love for our country and lack a sense of direction. It would be impossible to count the number of Liberians who are desirous of departing to the United States. Rather than put our house in order so as to enjoy “the bountiful blessings that the God of nature has bestowed upon us.” Liberians would prefer to reside in the U.S. or other foreign lands. Liberians are exceptional short-sighted; this is a blunt fact.
Regrettably, this editorial mentioned that the Liberian Finance Minister Amara Konneh is yet to make good his pledge to equip government offices with locally produced furniture but what is even more regrettable is that the officials and members of the National Carpenters Union, who are directly affected by this unfulfilled pledge of Minister Konneh, are sitting as spectators expecting their “rights and privileges” to be delivered on “silver platter.” Hardly nothing is heard of this union making conscious effort to ensure that Minister Konneh fulfills this pledge.
The way forward for Liberian raw materials to develop our own industries is to stop leaving our destiny in the hands of greedy and self – centered government officials who wish to see no change in the status quo owing to the gains they are reaping on a daily basis. The time is ‘Now’ when all Liberians must, not only through words, but actions such as peace marches and non-violent demonstrations, ensure that the bountiful blessings from God benefit Liberians, many of whom live in abject poverty, instead of a selected few.
Let me close with a quote from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. : “The ultimate tragedy is not the brutality of bad people but the silence of good people.”