Many Liberians, including the-now, hard-line proponents of dual citizenship, academics, intellectuals, politicians, economists, lawyers, former officials of the Liberian government (policy-makers & policy theoreticians), technocrats, professional diplomats and regular, ordinary Liberians, fled our country, then engulfed in a deadly, civil war and socio-economic and political tyranny. Others migrated long before the conflict, in search of the proverbial green pastures.
These Liberians, all of the Negro race, sought, took refuge and settled in Asian, European and North American countries, countries of Non-Negroid Peoples and dominated by their culture.
The Non-Negro inhabitants of these countries opened their borders, doors, and graciously, received and welcomed the Negroid Liberians seeking refuge from war, human suffering and death. These countries, and their people, non-negro, offered and delivered immediate re-settlement, financial assistance, temporal residence, political asylum, permanent residence, employment and granted citizenship, eventually; and:
- These Many Liberians, including their off-springs, sought/seek and became/become citizens of these non-negro countries.
- Attended/attend their schools, colleges, universities and vocational institutions; some, with financial assistance from the non-negro individuals, business houses and governments.
- Acquired/acquire high-level education, professional training and experience.
- Secured/secure high-paying jobs and positions in the private and public (government) sectors.
- Bought/buy expensive homes and live comfortably with conveniences and services made available by the sweat, blood and other sacrifices made by these non-negro peoples, with investment in retirement compensation.
- Yes, Indeed, many Liberians have, rightly, posted, will continue to post, in leading, world newspapers, heart-warming, successful life stories of hope, peace, security and dreams for the family future, from scratch; all because of and due to the profound generosity of their non-negro hosts.
Yet these, very same, Many Liberians argue, will argue, vehemently, to death against granting, at the very least, real property rights and ownership, let alone Liberian citizenship, to these peoples, only and only, because they are NOT NEGROES and/or not of Negro descent, during this 21st century worldview. Yes, these many Liberians are adamant in this type of discrimination based on race, by denying to non-negro others benefits and opportunities available in their country of origin (Liberia) that they, abundantly, enjoyed and continue to enjoy in the other’s (non-negro) countries.
This behavior is not only morally detestable and unfair, but also a violation of the Gook Book (Bible) teaching to “do to others that which you would like for them to do to you”, and a serious violation of our own belief systems and law, as expressed by the Charter and Universal Declaration of Human of Human Rights of the United Nations, international treaties to which we, as a founding, member-state, are willing and voluntary signatories.
I pen this disturbing, Liberian phenomenon, seeking explanation, rationalization, if you will, of this blatant legal/ethical contradiction; for, Liberians are, generally, considerate, good natured, kind, gracious, god-fearing, law-abiding, committed to and practice high standards of moral rectitude, with an opened heart and extended hand of assistance in love and peace to all others, friend, foe and stranger. What happened to our tradition of understanding and respect for the life-style, culture, of others?
I pen this, also, because many Liberians subjected me to an avalanche of mean, vicious and fallacious denigration, demonization, name-calling, ethnic/tribal bigotry and guilt-by-association, because in 2005, I responded to a newspaper article by a Liberian, BBC Journalist that reported that “. . . after 14 years of war, the influential Lebanese community is pressing to be allowed to take part (in the national elections of 2005). Liberia’s economy is dominated by the 4,000-strong Lebanese community, many of whom were born in the country. So strong is the Lebanese community that it is likely to influence (in fact, influences) major political decisions”. To this article, I responded that “Indeed, it is about time that these ‘Liberians’ of Lebanese descent who lived, worked, contributed immensely and continue to live, work and contribute to the socio-cultural, economic and political development for the betterment and advancement of our common country, the Republic of Liberia, be accorded Liberian citizenship with ‘all rights and privileges appertaining thereto’, if qualified”.
I pen this, also, because rather than come to terms with my simple, true and relevant, legal, reasonable and fair argument, the critics, many Liberians, apparently, in their effort to confuse our relatively-informed, played the emotional cards of the discredited notion of ethnic/tribal guilt-by-association, linked to ethnic/tribal politics, with such deceptive, irrelevant, erroneous, false, worn-out phrases and themes based on ethnic/tribal bigotry as “Gbala is so vehemently opposed to dual citizenship for his own (indigenous) natural-born Liberians . . . Gbala smiling all over Monrovia from Lebanese store to Lebanese store advocating Liberian citizenship for his trader friends . . . went to school together and now speak Krahn, Kru, Grebo . . . cognitive dissonance . . . Gbala as (was) a powerful member of Samuel Doe regime . . . Gbala to question the wisdom of the Negro Clause . . . Lebanese are the leading group of foreigners who have corrupted our society . . . Gbala advocating rewarding them with Liberian citizenship . . . Gbala as (was) senior advisor to Mr. Doe was quoted in newspapers that corruption was part of Liberian culture and as such it will be impossible to eradicate . . . Gbala as (was) a former official of government whose behaviors brought war to Liberia . . . it is advisable to exercise caution in challenging the position of any young Liberian . . . Gbala, where is this one (Reaction to Miss Pailey) coming from when we still have dual citizenship debate on the table? . . . Have you . . . talked to any black (man/woman) from Lebanon or how many Liberians do you see sleeping with Lebanese women?” Some of these may be issues for an educated discourse, but certainly irrelevant to the issue at bar.
This, indeed, is unbelievable and disgusting, to say the least.
By Bai M. Gbala, Sr.