One of the greatest enemies of progress in Liberia has always and continues to be the perceptions Liberians harbor for each other. The negative trends such perceptions take continue to keep our country at bay, thus keeping the nation and us divided and disunited, and retarding development and progress. Even when efforts are being exerted to expose our country to growth and development, there are individuals who harbor the belief that once they are not a part of that effort or initiative, nothing should succeed or be achieved-whether in the nation’s interest or not.
There are equally other individuals, most especially those within the perimeter of the Presidency who, because of selfish objectives, make dark representations of those they perceive not only as threats, but enemies of the Presidency and government. And because of the Leader’s explicit confidence in these characters, believability in whatever said to her is very high.
I know what I’m talking about. This is because I am equally guilty of this perception problem. Initially, my perception, as well as those of some of my senior friends in Monrovia about the New Dawn Newspaper was that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Benoni Urey and the American Billionaire Bob Johnson were all behind this paper.
Little did I know that my perception was not only wrong, but very myopic, considering how the paper is structured, as well as its contents and the caliber of journalists and their determination to make progress at their accord.
The level of journalism being practiced so far by the paper since its appearance on the newsstand further disabused my mind of the personal feelings I had initially had, so much so that I am now contributing to the column, LOOKIN’ INSIDE FROM OUTSIDE.
Though our Liberian society is gullible, those of us who have some leverage over the others, in terms of education, must be able to provide understanding on issues arising out of perceptions for our “one-way traffic citizens.”
For example, on Monday, March 23 a discussion on the various newspaper headlines on the verdict of the Angel Tokpa murder trial ensued among some professional individuals in my presence in one office on Capitol Hill.
Unfortunately, the New Dawn Newspaper was singled out by most of these so-professionals and a few employees of that public office, as being anti-Ellen because of the caption: In Angel’s Murder Trial: Public Sentiments Influence Justice.
They even branded a few individuals negatively with various attachments. That was not surprising any way. So you see how perceptions make minds very little in understanding issues. People who should know better could not even make any good analysis of a newspaper headline and its accompanying photos. Mine you; they could not even read the story before jumping into conclusion.
Even in the various ministries, agencies and public corporations, heads go against their own deputies and other members of the workfare because they perceive them negatively. And this most often paralyzes the operations of the institutions leading to failure. If our growth and development as a nation must be achieved, we must always receive each other with open arms, as is being done in the United States.
We must see ourselves as none, but only Liberians, and that whenever “one of us is touched, all of us are touched.” Let’s learn now, if we had refused before, to positively address the issue of perception, to outcast disunity, violence and under development.
Our leader must also spearhead this process and must no longer allow herself to be carried away by sentiments and vices that sour her administration’s domestic relations.