For the past few days, a group of people from several Liberian organizations have been protesting on the streets of the capital. The groups represented are mainly groups involved in speaking out for children and youth. They are CYFC – Child and Youth Friendly Cities, MARCH FOR JUSTICE, SAFE SPACE, and others. These people are protesting rape in Liberian and its lack of consequences in the justice system. They want rape declared a NATIONAL EMERGENCY.
After a TV media presentation recently, the group began to protest peacefully. This is an account by my friend Edwin Olu Bestman. He has also written a book called, “Raindrops” which is now being sold on Amazon, in which he graphically ex-poses the crime of rape and its ongoing indifference in the present government.
“The protest was peaceful. We went to the foreign ministry office where the president (Weah) works, but he sent somebody to meet us. We were later told he did not come in to work. Our president calls himself ‘feminist in chief’, but he doesn’t care for the Liberian people. We sat in the hot sun, chanted and cried, but nobody came to hear our petition. We moved to the capitol building and lawmakers ran away. Only a representative came to listen to our petition,” said Edwin Olu Bestman.
Earlier today this is what took place, he continue, “in continuation of the three days anti-rape civil march in Monrovia, we assembled earlier this morning (August 27) around the Spring’s field (Fish Market) to await our colleagues. While at the Fish Market, the Liberian security apparatus brutally resisted our peaceful gathering.
As we persistently moved to the American Embassy using the Chessman Avenue in the Sinkor belt, we were again attacked by the state’s security! Those securities whose duty is to safe-guard every peaceful protesters life, heartlessly fired tear gas at us. We swam and crawled in dirty swamp water. Sadly, some of our colleagues fainted; others sustained severe injuries while being chased like mice by those security apparatus. Others were arrested and taken to the headquarters of the Liberia National Police for reasons best known to themselves.
By disallowing our peaceful assembly today wasn’t just a clear violation of one of those inalienable rights of every citizen as laid out in article 17 of the 1986 consitiution, but it’s a gross contradiction to modern democracy. In a nutshell, Liberia’s democracy is bankrupt!
Sad time in our history, for behold, the self-proclaimed feminist-in-chief has failed us. We will not stop until the issue of rape is addressed!!” Edwin Olu Bestman.
This comment appeared on Edwin’s wall this morning after he was struck on the head. His hand was injured and his cell-phone was smashed.
#NO to rape
#NO to SGBV
This is a poem that Edwin sent to me via Messenger a few weeks ago.
Protect the Liberian Children
Dear Mr. President:
Last time I wrote you a message from my heart begging for a minute to have a conversation with you. But those who came across the news from my emotions threw it peacefully in the dust-bin leaving me with dead hopes. Here I am again, sitting sadly, penning another heartfelt message that you can consume at any appropriate time.
Dear Mr. President
Let your mind roll through the length and breadth of Mama Liberia, and tell me what it says. Does it speak of a place where children can grow properly, and joyfully dance to the tune of success?
Does it speak of a place where dreams can be achieved or buried?
Does it speak of a place where violence is condemned or accepted as a culture to unworthy men and women?
We live in a country where Mama’s children are raped, beaten, tortured and murdered on a daily basis with no account.
We live in a country where love has escaped for centuries and backwardness has never found an escape route.
We live in a country where little ones and grown-ups go missing every 24-hours leaving their pa-rents with faded dreams and unending tears.
We live in a country where future leaders are sodomized because that’s the gateway to employ-ment.
We live in a country where ritualistic killing is on the verge of damaging our cultural heritage.
Mr. President. Can’t you hear the voices of the afflicted? Those mothers and fathers ran your campaign and elected you into office.
Haven’t you seen the sadness a Liberian child sleeps with? Formation is 0-0-1, then insecurity is knocking on their door.
Before I drop this ink that speaks about hidden issues, let this message reach your high table for
verification. Mama Liberia is tired of being used, disappointed, dusted, discouraged, and mal-treated.
Edwin Olu Bestman
A poet, philanthropist and civil engineer
Thankfully Edwin is not seriously injured, and the ones arrested have been freed, but their resolve to continue this protest is undeterred.
—By Wendy Bryce