( -William Shakespeare)
In the introduction to our support article to Mr. James Torh’s (Remembering April 6, 1996 . . .), we held that “we wrote (from a ringside seat, so to speak) of and about the two men – Alhaji G. V. Kromah and Mr. Charles M. Taylor”, principal actors of those Liberians who brought “hell on earth, in Liberia” and the Liberian people.
The brief history below is about our former President, Mr. Charles M. Taylor.
As students during the 1970s in the USA, we – G. Moses Duopu, Tom Woewiyu, the late Tambakai Jangaba, Charles M. Taylor, Siahyonkron Nyanseor, Simon Nyanford, Nyondueh Monokomana, Ignatius Clay, Bai Gbala and other, Liberian students, too many to name here, marched the streets of the major cities of those United States, including the UN Plaza, New York City, preaching and advocating peaceful Change – reforms, transformation in our country, Liberia, as leaders of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, Inc. (ULAA), while accusing, rightly, our political leaders of “wallowing in the cesspool of corruption”, political tyranny and the denial of basic civil liberties.
Reflecting, recently, on the final verdict, by the Special Appeal Court For Sierra Leone in upholding the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Mr. Charles M. Taylor is criminally liable for “Crimes against Humanity” committed in the Republic of Sierra Leone and that he, Mr. Charles McArthur Taylor, must bear the penalty of 50 years in prison, will be felt far beyond Mr. Taylor’s lifetime in prison; for, that verdict is a negative reflection not only upon his family, friends, his and our home country, Liberia, but also upon the many members of ULAA, patriotic and dedicated to peaceful, pluralistic, competitive, democratic, political process.
On that day of announcement of the final verdict, I watched the televised video of the delivery. “Tears came to my eyes as I watched ‘Charlie’ sat serene and dejected, with a hopeless look of ‘no-where-to-turn’ in his eyes, probably at the end of a colorful, flamboyant, charismatic life”, I wrote to a common, political comrade-in-arms.
Perhaps, I reasoned and concluded that, Mr. Charles M. Taylor, now a transformed/conformed rebellious, revolutionary, did not or has not read Alexis de Tocqueville (one of history’s political thinkers/historians) that “in a rebellion, as a novel, the most difficult part to invent (or predict) is the end”, particularly, the “end” of Mr. Taylor’s adventure into the Republic of Sierra Leone.
At this point, I reflected, also, on some of our ULAA gatherings USA, during which “Charlie” (as he was called among friends) had always been and was flamboyant, demanded dominance and center-stage, although he was only a member, not an official of ULAA until 1980. One incident came to mind. ULAA members, officials and delegates had gathered here, in Atlanta, Georgia, for a national conference to inaugurate the elected president for 1980 & 1981. Mr. Taylor was elected chairman of the ULAA Board of Directors for this period.
At a breakfast table in a motel, in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1980 were the late Tambakai Jangaba, Mr. Taylor and Bai Gbala. Mr. Jangaba posed this question:
“Gentlemen”, he asked, “in the light of our activities here, USA, suppose, just suppose, we – ULAA – succeed in being elected and assume political power in our country, what type of government, in terms of political ideology, philosophy, will we institute or pursue”?
Mr. Taylor, who was engaged in consuming pancakes and eggs, dropped his fork and knife, looked straight in our eyes and said, “look, you guys, Bai & Tambakai, are college professors, book people; I do not care about communism, socialism, democracy, etc., etc., but dollars, dollars and at the top of government”.
This brief Essay, written and published during Mr. Taylor’s NPFL-insurgency (“Taylor’s Bloody War”, in his own words) in November, 1995, was or is a “Memorial”, a Reminder to our Friend & Brother, and former comrade-in-arms, Mr. Charles M. Taylor.
With Bai M. Gbala, Sr.