The historical revisionists, many of whom are remnants of the outmoded, True Whig Party oligarchy think they have succeeded in laying blame on those we call the “Progressives” of Liberia. We often hear them say, Liberia was OK until April 14, 1979 when PAL and MOJA called for a rice riot. But what these right-wing reactionaries deliberately failed to tell our people is that April 14, 1979 was a necessity that happened through accident.
Suffice this to mean that April 14, 1979 happened not because of PAL and MOJA. It happened because of the decades of repression and domination by a cliquish social formation over the majority of our people. The increment in the price of rice by the Tolbert regime was just the last straw that struck the back of the camel and brought decades of social contradictions to a head. This is why the people in their hundreds took to the streets of Monrovia to express their discontent and indignation. It was not just a protest against the increment in the price of rice but also a protest against more than a century of subjugation by the so-called black settler elites called Americo Liberians.
That the people were patient for a very long time and allowed themselves to be denied political and economic participation in the nation. Everything that comes into being, exists, perishes and new forms are created from the bowels of the old. So as the totalitarian state despoiled the people, changes needed to take place, these contradictions eventually pierced through the surface and lead to a seismic shift in the people’s consciousness. This is what happened in the 70s. In the 1970s, the contradictions became heightened yet again, and the agitation of the progressives was only a subjective factor. And that even without Tipoteh, Matthews, Sawyer, Fahnbulleh, SUP, etc., the TWP would have still reckoned with the wrath of the people. The contradictions in the society had reached a nodal point so much that even a little scuffle between the police and petite traders would have created a social eruption. So to not deal with the objective conditions that led to the anger of the people, but choose to lay emphasis on the role played by the subjective factors is a cheap propaganda ploy meant to deceive the Liberian people through the butchering of history to feather the nest of an obsolete social formation.
—–Moses Uneh Yahmia
Main Photo: Dr. H.Boimah Fahnbulleh