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Children In The Streets: Who To Blame?

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The Liberian people unanimously expressed these days their disenchantment about the occupation of the various streets of the Liberian capital during Christmas and New Year’s days by kids. On radios and televisions, Liberians largely expressed their bitterness.

Liberians in general blame entertainment centers for children drinking alcoholic beverages during the season. On the defensive, entertainment centers said they are victims of circumstances. Mervin Page, Human Rights lawyer, blames the government for this unfortunate situation. The question now is: who is to be blamed for this? That’s the noise in the market.

On my way to work I make a brief stop at a Hatahee center in Paynesville Joe Bar. Here, the heated debate about the children drinking alcoholic beverages is on. The views vary, but all agree on the fact that seeing children in the streets with beer or stout does not represent a good image of Mama Liberia.

“Look let me tell you my man, I saw with my naked eyes children flipping 5 for 5. Now you tell me if you, as a parent, can in your sound mind, sell this kind of thing to your child. May be you are telling me that you can drink with your children together at home. If that is the case, you are another disgrace to this nation.” A young man with no shirt on, with sweat running down his black shining skin, says to a friend. His name is Arthur, and his friend’s name is Alpha.

“Listen to me Arthur, when you are debating, there is no need for you to start insulting your friend. I am not saying that it is a good thing for children to drink liquor. What I am saying here is that you are not supposed to blame the entertainment centers for this behavior of the children because for me, the first people to blame are the parents themselves.”

“You just told me that if I can drink liquor at home with my children, then I am a disgrace for this nation. Yes I agree with you because you use the word (conj) if, meaning that you are not sure of what you advanced. Now let me tell you that I am not those parents who do not care about the education of their children. I am a responsible, disciplinarian parent.” Alpha tells Arthur.

“What you mean by responsible parent or disciplinarian parent? We are talking about kids being in the streets with bottles of beer and you are here talking about parent being responsible or what kind of disciplinary. Look my man, talk with sense.” Arthur replies.

Alpha smiles and says: “It is because I am talking with sense that a crap, like you, can not understanding what I am saying.  I am simply trying to tell you that every thing is originating from we the parents, from the way we educate our children at home, from the way we discipline our children at home, and from the way we behave ourselves at home. If you educate your child properly at home, warning him or her against consuming alcoholic beverages, she or he will not easily drink such in your absence. If you guide your kids properly during these days, they will not get out of control. Lastly, if you don’t, yourself, choose the habit of drinking in the presence of your kids, they will not easily think of going there.” Alpha replies.

“Alpha, you are right. But I don’t think the parents can do it all.” Augustus, another member of the Hatahee center, intervenes. “I will blame the government for this regrettable situation that is showing a very ugly image of our country. If government had created recreation centers as Mervin Page said, this kind of situation wouldn’t have occurred. But here is a country where you cannot find any where to carry your kids for recreation. You are here talking about parents or entertainment centers being responsible for kids drinking alcoholic beverages in the streets. Let the government think of the kids. Government has to realize that it is its responsibility to entertain the kids during these great days of celebration.” He says.

Mary, commonly known in the area as Mama G, calls the attention of every one. “Listen to me please. You Augustus, why will you people always want to blame the government for your misfortune? Why? If you cannot train your own child home, you expect the government to do that for you? No. You should be shame of yourself when some calls you to say that your child is drinking liquor. It is a disgrace for you first before becoming a disgrace for the country.”

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