Sadly and surely enough, it was a “Black Sunday”- a day that should have been the Lord’s Day not only for Liberians west of the Ghanaian Capital, Accra somewhere in a place called Buduburam, but those back home and the rest of the Christian world.
Sadly enough when our brothers and sisters were attacked by Ghanaian Police as early as 4am on February 13, 2011, under the guise of restring law and order following what was reported to be a ‘riot’ among them at Buduburam, it was binding on us all as Liberians the world-over despite the situation, to mourn such a ‘Black Sunday’’.
Instead, it was all condemnations and castigations of those brothers and sisters of ours in a strange land as if we all do not belong to the same nativity. For the Administration of Liberia to have hastily and strongly condemned Liberian citizens in a foreign land only on the basis of first hand information without first being cognizant of the fact that those at Buduburam were Liberians first and then refugees, was the highest degree of insensitivity and disservice to the people of Liberia who elected it.
Without first conducting a preliminary assessment/investigation of what was reported by our “Ambassador” to Ghana, who had earlier publicly released a flimsy account of the situation at Buduburam at the time, to understand the level injuries, destruction, death, torture, as well as the humiliations and uncertainties which characterized the move by the Ghanaian State security on the refugee camp, the government chose to dispatch a team of investigators into that country.
However, as Liberians awaited the findings from the government’s team of investigators, sadly came the negative description leveled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh against his compatriots during a news conference on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. Make specific reference to the unfortunate February 13 situation at Buduburam, the Liberian Foreign Minister described Liberians as “indiscipline, and have uncontrollable attitudes.”
“Whenever one leaves his country to seek refuge elsewhere, he or she must abide by the laws and norms of that country. But our people behaved as if to say they were at home (Liberia). They were told by the Ghanaian authority not to have their installation program, but they demanded that it was their rights to elect and install their officers elect,” he noted.
Even if Dr. McIntosh’s insinuation is something to accept, was it prudent for the government of Liberia to issue public condemnation of its citizens without first assessing the situation and diplomatically engaging the Ghanaian government? We do remember similar attack on our brothers and sisters in March of 2008 at the same Buduburam when the same Ghanaian State security brutalized, injured, arrested and detained, only for this same government to go against its own citizens with volumes of condemnations without first assessing/investigating what actually went wrong among the Liberians.
Even if these Liberians ever went wrong, condemning and pre-judging them guilty only exposed them to further risks in Ghana. We swear to God, the Almighty in Heaven, the Ghanaian Government would never have even thought of what our government did had such situations been the reverse. No way; No way; No way, a diplomatic note to the Liberian Government for the protection and welfare of Ghanaians here would have taken precedence, while all others follow.
We believe that some of our brothers and sisters brought back home from the United States by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and were now working here as ministers and other high profile officials do know very well that despite the misbehavior of American citizens around the world, the government of the United States wholeheartedly believe in their citizenship. When one American citizen is touched in any part of the world, the whole of the U.S is touched no matter what crimes he or she may have committed-this is the truest responsibility a government must shoulder and this is what makes America the most powerful nation in the world, and Ghana-‘always the best’ in Africa..
May we also commend the political leader of the Congress for Democratic Change, Ambassador George Weah for publicly taking the Ghanaian government to task on a Ghanaian Radio Station- Citi FM in Accra for the way it handled the February 13 incident at Buduburam. Weah expressed the hope that the Ghanaian government and those responsible for the Camp would do their best to keep Liberians safe in that area, noting that whatever occurred would be investigated well so that it did not provoke further conflicts.
Amb. Weah also challenged the Ghanaian authority that it was its responsibility to ensure that the human rights of Liberians were protected. We strongly accept the fact that the position presented to the Ghanaian government and people on a Ghanaian radio Station in Accra by Amb. George Weah should have been the official position of the Government of Liberia, other than demonizing its citizens in foreign land, further exposing them danger.