EXCERPT FROM A SPEECH
Compatriots, [‘Compatriot’ means ‘Beloved Ones’], Friends of Liberia, Ladies and Gentlemen: [It has been many years] since our country was engulfed in a brutal and macabre war. This war, genocidal and pathologically traumatizing, bordered on the insane as it was fratricidal and resolved nothing, except to expose to the world how reckless and callous some of our people could become in their orgy of blood-letting and barbarity. You will agree with me that rarely in the annals of AFRICAN HISTORY has a nation been wrecked as our country. Our people, like very few peoples on the African continent have endured some of the worst atrocities known to modern times. Our land stands ravaged and our people disconsolate
We need to know the historical realities of our country and the nature of the incessant struggle of our people. We need to know the defenders of our people’s rights. We also need to know the charlatans and opportunists in order to save our people tomorrow from more of these tribal jacqueries. Finally, we need to know how we reached this point and who are the key myth-makers with their hidden agenda which is at odds with history…Thus, from the emergence of Edwin Barclay, the enlightened elements of the political elite controlled the state and sought to broaden participation by uniting with the assimilated natives and other indigenous elements. Barclay traveled throughout the hinterland holding courts with traditional rulers and taking the operations of government into the interior….[it was] Barclay and his progressive followers, moulded in the tradition of the great Pan Africanist, Edward Blyden. They were men with a vision of black unity and dignity. It was this tendency that was to influence all progressive nationalists in Liberia in the struggle against the conservative elements of the political elite.
Compatriots, as we are aware, no group in history has ever abandoned power without struggling to take it back…The struggle continue in the modern era with setbacks, betrayals and derailments; but the torch of progressive nationalism which Blyden, Barclay and others had held high would serve to galvanize all the progressive and democratic forces in the Republic.
Compatriots, the Tubman era was one of repression. This took the form of persecution, muzzling of the press, imprisonment and intimidation. Enlightened nationalists, students, workers and progressive intellectuals were hounded and victimised. But as each historical epoch ushers in men who are always ready to bear any sacrifice in defence of honour and liberty, so did the era of conservatism in Liberia bring forth men who were determined to resist the trend of repression and persecution.
These men were invariably members of the enlightened wing of the political elite, and they followed the path taken by Blyden and Crummel in the nineteenth century; of Reverend J.F. Dunbar, Faulkner, Juah Nimley and Dr. Morias in the first and second quarters of the twentieth century; of Barclay, Brownell, Christian Richards, S. Raymond Horace, Sr., Tuan Wreh, D. Twe and Kollie Tamba in the fifties; and of T.R. Bracewell — considered one of Liberia’s outstanding nationalists. Thus by the sixties, the struggle of the enlightened elements for democracy and nationalism had engulfed the students at the University of Liberia. The leaders of the students — Appleton, Telmon Wallace, Emmet Coleman, Quingar Harris et al — were arrested and charged with being fanatical followers of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. They spent months in prison and were subsequently released.
The conservatives, now engulfed in a continent where militant nationalism was destroying the citadels of colonialism and white supremacy, decided to banish from the Liberian political scene all those who were suspected of leaning even slightly towards militant nationalism. The trial of Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr. in the late sixties demonstrated that the conservatives were determined to sever Liberia’s links with an Africa in search of direction. The persecutions and the resistance which emerged nurtured the consciousness of a vocal segment of the Liberian people. While the students and the enlightened nationalists provided the vanguard in the democratic struggle, the ideological undercurrent for this struggle was for a long time provided by the intelligentsia. One such member of this group was the indomitable Albert Porte, who was the greatest crusader for democracy in Modern Liberia. Compatriots, those who struggle for liberty and social justice will always be above bigotry…Compatriots, our people need to begin to live again. Through their pains, sufferings and hardship, they deserve a better tomorrow. The impasse in our country only benefits the same characters who are ever willing to mortgage the nation
They have not changed! They will not change!! The people know them and thus their frustration is increased because they know that these men are searching for profit in rivers of blood and piles of skulls. They understand that these men, no matter whom they serve, are nothing but vultures, eager to pick at the empty carcass of the nation. These men do not have any social conscience; they do not have any loyalty to the people or to the nation, and like their counterparts in the past history of our Republic, they are willing and ready to trade the flag and our national heritage.
Compatriots, we have much work to do as a people. You have heard a bit of our history. The struggle for social justice, democracy and liberty can only be waged by men and women who are above bigotry. The struggle in our country throughout our history has been between men of honour and dishonourable men; between men of conviction and fickle individuals; and between those with social conscience and those who see the nation as a casino. We have to start the process of rebuilding and advancing by first rectifying our distorted perceptions of our history and understanding the various social forces and the role they have played and are playing in our country. We must together build a new nationalism, embracing all that is noble and honourable in our Republic. We cannot afford anymore to live in the graveyards of our historical agonies. Read full speech on www.ourliberia.blogspot which was delivered on in May of 2005: http://ourliberia.blogspot.ca/…/speech-by-dr-h-boima-fahnbu…
About the author: Born in Monrovia in 1949 to H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr (1925–1990s), and “Ma” Mary Brownell (1929–2017), Henry Boimah Fahnbulleh was educated in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, and the United States. He graduated from Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, having studied politics, philosophy, and history. He gained his graduate degree in politics from Howard University in Washington, DC, and his doctorate from George Washington University in political philosophy and international politics. He has lectured at the University of Liberia and also served as Minister of Education and of Foreign Affairs in the Tolbert and Doe Liberian governments from 1978 to 1983. He was a “prominent” member of the Liberian NGO Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) in the 1970s. It was during this period that the decision was taken to change the Liberian university calendar from the calendar year (roughly February–November) to September–July/August. He lived in exile in Europe, spending some time in London, from 1983 to 1990 and from 1997 to the early years of the 2000s. Fahnbulleh has written and lectured extensively on Liberian politics, editing the book Voices of Protest: Liberia on the Edge 1974–1980, published by Universal Publishers in 2005. Fahnbulleh’s sister is singer and human rights activist Miatta Fahnbulleh.—wikepedia
Main Pic: Dr. Boimah Fahnbulleh Jr, www.africanexponet