Liberia’s 173rd National Orator, Rev. Dr. Simeon L. Dunbar says while some Liberians are standing in the trenches here, “others are standing in unmerited riches and stolen wealth,” suggesting that Liberians remind themselves of their past negative, dark and distorted history not to repeat what continue to divide them.
“While some are standing in the trenches of BokonJeadea, others are standing in unmerited riches and stolen wealth. While majority are standing in the swamps of Gbayhdin, others are relaxing on the top of Mt. Nimba,” Rev. Dunbar, Founder and President of the Liberty Christian Center said in the Independence Day Oration Monday, 27 July in Monrovia.
Speaking on the theme: “Standing Together In a Time of Epidemic,” the Orator reminds President George Manneh Weah and his administration of a saying in Liberia: “Empty Bag Cannot Stand,” before questioning how do we stand together when some bags are empty and other bags and bellies are full and overflowing?
“Is it possible to stand together when some are standing on the sandy beaches of West Point and New Kru Town with daily sea incursions and growing cases of homelessness, while others are standing in luxurious hotel lobbies and reporting to work on Monday afternoon?” he asks further.
Rev. Dunbar wonders how Liberians can stand together when everyday future female leaders are crying and living in constant fear of abuse in a country where rape “is no longer an abomination but now a culture and way of life.”
Moreover, Rev. Dunbar ponders as to how Liberians can stand when at 173 years old when the nation is still dependent on donor monies that are no longer coming in, “and meanwhile corruption has become the standard way of life for the vast majority?”
“And most importantly, how do we stand together, when we are one nation, very divided with no liberty or justice for all?” he continues.
He notes that Liberians have sung numerous songs as a people over many years of democracy that align with their national situation.
Even to the most recent electoral process and smooth transition of power to a new government, he recounts that Liberians sang the praises of their leader and the very famous slogan: “Change for Hope.”
“Your Excellency, indeed the Change has come, now where is the Hope?
Our people from the Kru tribe will say “Ta bawuolo-kpaili ne wa” in Gio we say “Qwaa Zoe dui-ameh” the Mandingos say “Ja- yee-see- Nah Meni”, our Bassa people say “ Dehwodoe con day-dehor da” the Kissi will say “ or te da num doe” and the Kpelle people will say “Lallah-ca-Muh,” Rev. Dunbar asks.
However, he reminds Liberians that the fate of their nation does not only rest in the hands of the Government but rather in their hands as a united people.
“It is in our hands, in order to stand together in these troubling times, we need to consider the following underlying factors and re-examine them carefully.
What do we need as a people? We need to stand together in fighting the battle of discrimination and injustice in our society, irrespective of the status of the perpetrator,” he proposes.
Further, Rev. Dunbar suggests that Liberians need to do away with deep seated hatred for each other that only provides a platform for denying opportunities reserved by their laws for Liberians to foreigners.
“Can a nation love her neighbours more than herself? I say no as an answer. Empower Liberians first and foremost,” he notes.
He warns that Liberians “cannot stand together when [rumors] of illegal exploitation of our God given mineral resources by foreign nationals sponsored by unpatriotic Liberian citizens go without redress to the whistle blower complaint,” saying the government will only be undermining itself if such conduct is allowed to go unchecked.
Additionally, Rev. Dunbar cautions Liberians that they need to understand that Monrovia is not Liberia and America is not Heaven, adding that they should cherish what they have and help to make it better and transform the nation through their own hands.
As a people, he says Liberians must never forget that the peace they enjoy today came at a very high price of sweat, blood and tears by Liberians and their brothers and sisters and from intervention forces in the sub-region and other nations.
Therefore, he suggests that Liberians must deal cautiously in the maintenance of this peace which is more valuable than gold, diamond or any precious stone. According to Rev. Dunbar, it’s on record that United Nations/UNMIL invested 7.5 billion over a 15 – year period in keeping and maintaining the peace here.
To Liberians in the Diaspora, he reminds them that it has been over 400 plus years since Africans and Liberians have contributed immensely to the growth and civilization of other nations, noting that it is now time to return home.
“I say this to buttress the fact that every single conflict in Liberia in the past 50 years has been sponsored directly or indirectly by those in the Diaspora. Equally so, the current growth and development in our political and economic landscape is also being supported by you Liberians in the diaspora,” he observes.
The Orator cautions that never again must Liberians rebel against God and allow themselves to be divided along religious lines because they are all interrelated.
“We need to learn to be a cohesive nation with one mind, and put Liberia First. Never again must we be divided along tribal, political and sectional lines,” he pleas. By Winston W. Parley