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Tribute to the late Philip N. Wesseh

A true master member of the inky fraternity. PNW. Gone home

He lived and believed in the search for the facts that make the news. The truth requires earnest labor to arrive at.

In the 1980s the young Philip Wesseh wore his badge of honor as a proud pressman or journalist working with this new independent and very respectable paper called the Daily Observer.

He began his professional media journey under the repressive regime of strong man General (Samuel) Doe who converted from military to become a civilian ruler following a multiparty election in 1985.

Now, it would take one full semester for the young minds to understand the media context under the government of Master Sergeant Doe. Further lectures would be needed to undertake a regression analysis of the media under the Doe regime at the time. But this was the regime under which Philip (the Gina) began his media journey wearing his badge with P n D as a young man.

By that time many of us who lived and loved the search for news and facts and labored for the truth were leaving the country and giving a shy goodbye to the journalism profession.

But the media terrain would slump further down the abyss when the civil war broke out. The crisis brought its own interruptions and there were various attempts at peace. This is not the subject matter under discussion though.

But what is at bar is the young man Philip N Wesseh returned, or he never left. The philosopher will ask did he come, or did he go.? The Kru Brabbie, papay, giant of a media at heart, surfaced and this time with the new kid on the block. THE INQUIRER.

As true to the inky fraternity as he could be, he kept his paper just focused on getting factual news and hard news.

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Many other papers came along; The New Democrat and the Observer returned. FrontPage Africa, The Analyst, Heritage, Plain Truth, Chronicle, New Dawn, and the New Republic among several others.

 I have not been in the classroom for a while to refresh my notes, but one thing is and was certain is that Philip Wesseh’s Inquirer was steadfast independent and most importantly factually reliable. That is old school.

When Prof Wole Soyinka wrote “The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka” published in 1971 he may not have had PNW in mind. Philip in this instance was the man. The man had died when they dissemble or disembodied his newspaper. They took away his best it was said. They paid them more money and they had them rival his establishment.  The man died then.

Today we come to bow our heads not in shame but in praise that though they may have attempted to hack his soul, the butcher missed him. Diabetes kicked in. Attempts were made to restore the health of the physical, but the man and his identity had died.

We salute the courage the man had when he persevered to stay. How many years in the market.????..only God knows how many people, government and private sector owed the institution debt for newspaper ads.

The man persevered and went to Law School at the University of Liberia and became an Attorney at Law.  He used his knowledge of the Law and media practice to elevate the conversation many days with Tmax Jlateh on 50/50 or the Truth FM or ELBC super morning show many mornings before radio multiplied on nearly every spectrum on the frequency modulation of our radio sets.

Here was my krarpee, the man was a staunch Methodist and enjoyed his Kru songs. Saw him one day at Trinity United Methodist Church. In the heart of Kru Ville…I believe it was his church…he actually told me…he knows God spoke Kru …cause the hymns were more beautifully rendered in Kru.

He said to me once, “your ma was Kru woman why you did not learn Kru?” I asked him if he knew my ma. One big laugh and he said, ” I must not lie, I only heard you say her name was Mleda, so that much I know.”

So, we will allow the popoliopo to go on and the giant ‘gissefankoh’ of the media. Philip N Wesseh to exit the stage as Shakespeare said. All life is but a stage. They say they tried to kill you …but you would not die. We will not let them kill your name. You will have and have had your spot well carved out…write on bro.

Did the man die? He lives. Sleep and take your rest. By: Amb medina A Wesseh

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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