Throughout human existence man’s desire to be emancipated from bondage and subjugation has remained a continuous struggle. The quest for self-determination, specifically political in dependence is characterized by various sacrifices that demand sweat and blood.
For instance, a forth night ago the people of South Sudan gained political independence from the north of the country after more than three decades of bloody struggle that took away hundreds of thousands of lives, including the man who led the dream succession and self-determination Dr. John Garang.
One hundred and sixty-four years ago on July 26, 1847 Liberia made a turnaround and pronounced herself an independent state. The declaration of independence which was signed under the leadership of Hilary Teage at the First Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia followed abuses of all sorts, including territorial encroachments from the western, northwestern, central-north and southeastern parts of the country.
Since independence, this country has continued to champion the causes of many nations both in Africa and other parts of the globe to achieve self-determination in order to chart their own destiny. But freedom from subjugation and denial is irrelevant unless we as a people can attain the true meaning of independence.
After 164 years, this country is still struggling with illiteracy and underdevelopment, and can barely feed its people. The absence of early solid education backed by a nationalistically sensitized population seems to have placed us as a people into neo-colonialism.
Despite our years of self-governance, basic infrastructure is still lacking throughout this country with majority of the citizens unable to access basic health services and therefore die from preventable and curable diseases.
The use of the computer and access to the internet remains a luxury to many Liberians, particularly students at primary, secondary and even university levels. Despite our age as a nation, Liberia is still without full electricity or public libraries.
Real independence means the labor force of this country should be prepared adequately to take up jobs in every sector of the economy to drive our destiny. As it is now, foreigners still hold a firm grip on our socio-economic well being.
Our independence will remain meaningless as long as we continue to import basic commodities, including pepper, rubber dishes and slippers and papers. Political independence without economic emancipation is simply growth without development.
As we commemorate another year of independence it is high time that we as a people take a deep introspection in the midst of ongoing advancements by neighboring countries to attain the true meaning of independence where illiteracy, poor health facilities, importation of basic food and other commodities will become a thing of the past in this 21st century.