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Queen Elizabeth Ii and Jewel Howard Taylor of Liberia

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Newsweek Magazine Focuses Two Chosen Personalities – Queen Elizabeth Ii and Jewel Howard Taylor of Liberia: What An Impactful Recognition

Liberians continue to glow in the eyes of the international community and international institutions. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf first shot Liberia to postwar international prominence when she became the first Liberian and African female President. Her policies, fiscal programs and commitment to democratic governance, institutional integrity and human rights were reasons which led to waiver of Liberia’s debts to international financial institutions. Promotively, her policy for women participation in state governance has been so pronounced and thus creating a new chapter in Liberia’s politics that has earned for her a Nobel Peace Prize. Ellen is recognized as Liberia’s and Africa’s most influential and powerful woman. Who’s next?

Least expected to attract international recognition -not on the basis of any ignorance or non-substantiveness- but purely on the basis of political and international prejudices- is Senator Jewel Howard Taylor. As President Taylor’s First Lady, Jewel is always perceived as the shadow of her husband and therefore a possible threat to national and regional security-a reason why she continues to be held under international travelling sanctions. But developments in Liberia and Jewel’s political and interpersonal actions as well as her deep sense of commitment to Liberia’s development, peace and speak differently from perceived negative convictions held in powerful political and world circles.

Newsweek Magazine is a media institution with reputation that precedes it. Judgmental wise, it just doesn’t heap positivity and accolades individuals without indebt investigations and convictions. Its consideration of news items and feature of personalities has no frivolous link nor does it tolerate platitudes as third world media institutions. Bureau chiefs and feature writers’ search for news makers have always been in categories ranging from respectable to notorious world leaders and people who change the course of the world. When at all this magazine should capture less conspicuous people, its concentration is usually a negative script written on individuals or civilizations considered under its human interest stories or denigrating stories. Of course, the editorial board room must certified the story.

The Magazine June 4 & 11 2012 edition seems to be a special focus on personalities well researched who are transformers of world politics and shakers of the society in which they live. The two chosen newsmakers to grace the above edition are Queen Elizabeth II of England and Jewel Howard Taylor of Liberia. This edition, in the view of many analysts, is not in the ordinary. “With the revered Queen on the cover with four pages allocated to her and with the Liberian Senator given six pages positively dedicated to her, Newsweek might be conveying a message to Liberians that needs attention,” concludes a political strategist.

But why did this reputable and powerful world-power magazine choose Senator Taylor as a worthy news maker with her Majesty on the cover? Why do the two features carry conspicuous links? Analysis of experts who discerns Newsweek Magazine outputs inform this columnist that the U.S. giant media institution decided to run a profile on two notable women that withstood adversities and overcame them when the world expected them to shrink under protruding and depressive burdens. It was a thorough research done to by Newsweek to identify the British Queen and Liberia’s former First Lady. Both women shared common experiences though of different dimensions and horizons.

At age 26, Princess Elizabeth was still enjoying the life of a princess not expecting the great responsibility of governance especially so, at a critical time when Britain had just come from the pressure of war and had lost much of its empire and subjected to food rationing and austerity measures. Her uncle Edward VIII was expected to sit on the throne after the death of Princess Elizabeth’s ailing father King George VI. But he abdicated the throne by marrying Wallis Simpson, according to the Newsweek.

Great Britain is said to have been doubtful whether the young princess was capable of providing leadership at that critical time of British history. She braved into the leadership by being coroneted though Sir Winston Churchill expressed doubts of her fitness. But the Princess was able to restored hope to Great Britain. 60 years later, the British Queen has demonstrated that in the mist of adversities and un-expectancies, there is hope and the power of resolve to forge ahead and alter courses. The profile of this great woman which reflects her past is intended to provide direction and hope to despaired women.

Similarly, Newsweek Magazine’s six page feature on Jewel Howard Taylor presents a story of a greatly troubled woman whose life and future became complex and complicated- not by reasons of her own -but by alleged decisions and actions of Liberia’s 22rd President whose wife she became. The magazine revealed that Jewel lived in an environment shrouded by secrets, violence, subterfuge, and wars. More than that, it revealed the passion of a woman who believed in justice, democracy, and development; but caught in a triangle of love, politics, and military struggles -all in which she became an unknowing victim. Was there a future for her and the kids? Would she brace the challenges to forge ahead and alter course as the Young Princess?”

Newsweek reports that she forsook prosperity and rejected wealth at her divorce. She has been sanctioned by the international community; opposed un-necessarily; and forced into opposition by circumstances. Under these depressive conditions, Jewel seems not to be the despaired woman expected. She contested the race for the Senate in 2005 and defeated other contestants with the highest votes; thus claiming the Senior Senator position. Newsweek research has placed her as one of the crucial voices in the Senate.

The Bong County Senior Senator holds two masters degree and bagged a law degree from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia with Magna Cum. The power of resolve and moving interest in people has led to what Newsweek Magazine has described as “well liked across party lines.” Regardless of the turn of event in her bid to cling the position of President Pro-Tempore in a one vote advantage lead by Unity Party supported candidate, Newsweek reports that Jewel “doesn’t see President Sirleaf as an enemy.”

But to describe her as the second most powerful woman in Liberia after Ellen is an introduction of Jewel by Newsweek to the world of a woman they should expect to lead this West African state one day or perhaps after Ellen. Says Newsweek Magazine: “there is no special political treatment she enjoys. Senator Taylor remains one of the most respected senators and important politicians in the country. She is well liked across party lines and was the first opposition member to recognize Johnson Sirleaf’s Government after the push to boycott the recent elections which was marked by violence.”

The Magazine further notes that “there is now speculation that Jewel could even run for the president herself one day. Her term expires in 2014. If she wins reelection- the battle is expected to be tough-she would be in a good position to run in the presidential elections of 2017.” Newsweek quotes Maryland Senior Senator John Ballout, Jr. as saying “Jewel is no longer seen as Taylor’s ex-wife. After years of working together, we see her less and less as a former first lady.”

Analysts presume that with this new found interest in Jewel by a super power magazine, questions and debates may resume- this time outside the perimeters of Liberian politics -but within the international community as to whether the continued travelling sanction placed on her by the Security Council is still justified.

Some citizens of Liberia spoken to say it is an honor for Liberian women to be recognized by international sources and to be covered by a Magazine considered so prestigious. “First we came into international prominence through President Sirleaf; and now Newsweek’s coverage of Senator Taylor on par with the British Queen is stupendous,” says a source.

When spoken to, Senator Taylor said “my commitment to peace, unity, reconciliation, women and youth empowerment as well as democracy shall always be the hall mark of my political pursuit. There is currently a lot to do to move Liberia forward and I shall work along with President Sirleaf so that jointly we can give our people what they deserve. I am thankful to Newsweek Magazine and to Clair MacDougall for the Newsweek feature.” Well, it is Newsweek’s conviction that “as Taylor’s influence in Liberia wanes, Jewel is getting more powerful.”

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