By Harold G. Tarr (October 12th 2005)
"... In my view, Lebanese feel, think and believe that they are superior over the black Africans. If they become citizens, they will exercise their beliefs over us, the Liberians, by buying all of our land. Lebanese, in the name of religion, believed that we, the black Africans are inferior and should not marry their daughters but they should marry to our daughters. Are you mindful of what is happening in Sudan today between the white Arabs and the Christians black Sudanese in the South? I hope this should be a first lesson for you. ....”
I have read with interest and deep concern, your augments favoring Lebanese becoming citizens in Liberia . I want to emphatically say that there is not much of a gap between you, John P. Beh and Frederic F. Kpaye age wise in Grand Gedeh County . Much of whatever you may say today, politically, will be misconstrued by many Liberians to be the consensus of many Krahn people. I would therefore, suggest that you should leap before you jump.
To me, the issue of Lebanese becoming citizens in Liberia , because they are the backbone of Liberia ’s economy is not enough. Lebanese becoming citizens in Liberia goes deeper than just what you have written. Firstly, let me define Lebanese in a Liberian sense. Liberians consider all North Africans as well as Asian Arabs as Lebanese. When we the Liberians, permit one Lebanese to become a citizen, we will open a Pandora box by permitting all Arabs to become citizens in Liberia because we can not distinguish Lebanese from other Arab.
What you failed to realize is the people who wrote the Liberian Constitution are people with sound minds, good judgment and the experience they had under the whites in America . In my view, Lebanese feel, think and believe that they are superior over the black Africans. If they become citizens, they will exercise their beliefs over us, the Liberians, by buying all of our land. Lebanese, in the name of religion, believed that we, the black Africans are inferior and should not marry their daughters but they should marry to our daughters. Are you mindful of what is happening in Sudan today between the white Arabs and the Christians black Sudanese in the South? I hope this should be a first lesson for you.
Firstly, if the Lebanese are sincere to become citizens in Liberia , they should permit inter-racial marriage, the beginning of a true friendship. Inter-marriage will bring cultural harmony, political association, economic sharing and national stability. Through social interactions, there will be a sense of oneness.
Secondly, are you willing for Lebanese to purchase Krahn land for agriculture purpose and place them on reservations? Certainly, if the Lebanese buy our land, there will be no Krahn tribe, because, they will displace and place Krahns on different reservations.
Thirdly, employment, just how many Liberians are employed by Lebanese that you know off hand? It is without doubt that you know that I have worked with the Liberian Labor Ministry for three years as a Deputy Minister of Labor for Administration. Liberian Labor Ministry is responsible to oversee the employment in the private sectors. In many of the Lebanese stores in Liberia , Lebanese only employed their wives, sons, daughters, brothers, cousins, uncles and perhaps, under age Liberian girls who are prone to succumb to the Lebanese men sexual advances. Lebanese do not employ responsible Liberian citizens. Is that socio-economic development for the Liberians?
I can vividly recall that the President of International Trust Company ( ITC ) wrote the Labor Ministry to send a name of a qualified Liberian to replace the outgoing Vice President as part of the Labor Ministry’s Liberianization Program. Mr. Duopo sent the letter to me to search for a qualified Liberian and make a recommendation to him. After a thorough search, I recommended Mr. Joseph Acquoi who had been working with ITC for years and also qualified and was next to the outgoing Vice President. When the Chairman of Lebanese Community in Liberia heard the news, he recommended a Lebanese man through Honorable Tuan Wreh who was a Lawyer for ITC . Mr. Wreh together with Moses Duopo accepted the Lebanese man’s recommendation when I was in Nairobi , Kenya on Labor Seminar. You and I know why.
As in an article featured by the BBC NEWS on the Internet ( BBC NEWS, UK EDITION, Friday, July 22, 2005 ), Correspondent Jonathan Paye-Layleh, a Liberian, wrote” that Liberia’s economy is dominated by 4,000-strong Lebanese community that it is likely to influence, in fact, influences major political decisions.” Is this a good idea for Lebanese to continue control our economy and influence major political decisions? If only 4,000 Lebanese are influencing Liberia ’s major political decisions, what will happen if Liberia naturalized one million Lebanese? I believe it is but a time to put Lebanese domination of Liberia ’s economy to a halt. We have many qualified Liberian businessmen to control our import/export, real estate brokerage, hotels, restaurants, etc.
Did you know that there were two Finance Ministers of Lebanese born Liberians and what they use to do to the civil servants and the army personnel? While we, in the foreign service, could not get pay for months and years, they will first process and pay all Lebanese vouchers that will come before them. And you and I know why. Since you have not named the Lebanese Liberians who and you went to junior and senior school together, I will not name the two Lebanese born Liberians who were Liberian Finance Ministers.
I believe the issue of Lebanese becoming citizens in Liberia be thoroughly debated on National and International level for sometimes.
About the Author:
Harold G. Tarr is a former Liberian Ambassador assigned to the Republics of Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Niger from 1984 to 1990. He holds three academic degrees. BA, Business Administration from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota, MBA, Masters of Business Administration from Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Taxes and BSC, Bachelor Of Science Telecommunication Management from DeVry Institute of Technology, Addison, Illinois. He was a Deputy Minister of Labor for Administration from 1981 to 1983. Five years in the Registrar’s Office at the University of Liberia. He was employed as a Clerk/Typist and rose as an Administrative Assistant to the Registrar