By Johnson Geply
Past and present events constitute history. History is often recorded by the pen or the mind, never by a single individual but by many people, some of whom may live through it or witness such events that end up as written history or as oral history. As such, history does not lie due to the fact that it is narrated by many people. Yes, history does not lie but people do falsify it. People may choose to lie about historical facts either because they do not have full knowledge of them or because of selfish political gains.
With respect to Senator Dillon’s misguided criticism of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL), my progressive mind tells me that he is either in the two camps : (1) the distorted campaigners that want to decimate the crux of April 14, 1979, owing to their shallow knowledge and (2) the dedicated True Whig Party faithful bent on malicious propaganda for political reasons. However we the progressives are on hand to set historical records straight, counter falsehoods as well as distorted misinformation.
Senator Dillon, the masses were not “ignorant”, neither did the PAL and MOJA “exploit their ignorance.”
Dillion, let’s analyze President Tolbert’s Rice Price Policy. It is simple to understand: The Tolberts’ were producing rice locally on an industrial scale. So they came up with the price increase for locally produced rice so that they could make superprofit, as it were, at the expense of the downtrodden. Therefore, it is absolutely incorrect to say it was for the benefit of the poverty-stricken Liberians. No benefit(s) were there for the poor masses. It was indeed a case of crude farm implements (cutlasses and hoes) vs machines, mechanized farming of the Tolberts vs subsistence farming of the majority of poor Liberians. And it was obvious that subsistence farmers stood no chance of competing with the Tolbert clan.
Now, this is the truth about April 14, 1979. The street protest was not about rice per se. It was a revolution that was gathering momentum. But like the French Revolution, Chinese Revolution and every revolution in history the progressives “… out of relative obscurity were fulfilling their mission as a generation…” historically by guiding the Liberian revolution. The fact is every revolution has an intellectual wing which PAL and MOJA represented.
The intellectuals provide education for the other elements of a revolution; i. e., soldiers, workers, students, peasants, etc. With people’s social consciousness raised, all revolutions need a spark like the French Revolution had begun when Louis XVI increased bread price in 1789. Yes! Raising the bread price in 1789 set France ablaze, and the entire royal family was overthrown and guillotined. Similarly, the Liberian Revolution needed the increase of rice price to spark, the same way the Arab Spring began in January 2011 in Tunisia when a vegetable seller called Mohammed Bouazizi set himself ablaze frustratingly due to constant police harassment.
However, the tragedy of the Liberian people’s social struggle/revolution was that it was hijacked and disrupted on April 12, 1980, by powerful outside forces, which is why Liberia is in the political quagmire that it is in today with ill-informed opportunists occupying the political landscape, reaping the fruits of the progressive class.
Mr. Dillion, good politicians honestly give credit to those who merit credit, even if they are on the opposite side of the political divide. How dare you rubbish the contributions, sacrifices of the progressives in the 1970s and 1980s including the ultimate price paid by the revolutionary martyrs gunned down in broad daylight by the apartheid True Whig Party regime?
Note that it is impossible to sweep factual historical records under the carpet of political opportunism as well as reactionary tendencies because authentic, historical facts are like your own shadow in the sun; you cannot run away from them.
What you have exhibited is sheer ingratitude, for all of you that are jumping all over the place as “leaders” today are heavily indebted to the same veteran progressives you have come against. If the progressives did not “exploit the ignorance” of the masses that resulted in the overthrow of the True Whig Party (TWP) oligarchy, only God knows where you would have been today. I mean if the PAL and MOJA did not brave the terror of the TWP oligarchs to lead the “ignorant masses” on April 14, 1979, the precursor of the April 12, 1980 coup, whether the TWP would have allowed multi-partyism in Liberia is anybody’s guess given their recalcitrant stance in the face of inevitable realities at the time.
Dillion you need to honestly ask yourself, where can our dear country Liberia go without the progressives? You are seeing the country sliding into a valueless society day by day, torn apart by kleptocrats bent on primitive wealth accumulation which has made looting of public funds the “new normal” in public office. Only the progressives can usher in a Liberia that will work. The Liberian masses know who their true allies and leaders are. Their true ALLIES are the progressives. They are not “ignorant” of their suffering, so watch out for their protest votes very soon; for we the progressives will guide them again to show their “ignorance” in the ballot box so that the Liberian Revolution can be concluded –victory for the people–because the April 14, 1979 match is an unfinished project.
As draw the curtains on the issue, Mr. Dillion you should learn to tell history just the way it is. Don’t deny it because doing so means you will end up being discredited since no one has a monopoly over historical records. Aluta continua!!!