A wake up call to the White House.
Blessed are the peacemakers...
Political thought informs us that the fundamental goal of a society should be to ensure its own preservation. Without the state striving to ensure its survival and the survival of its peoples; the rationale behind the formation of the state or society should be called to question.
John Locke, for example, emphasized that people in the state of nature came together to form a mutual protection pact of sorts. This group, as a whole, then became obligated to protect each member of the group from external harm. Hence, without the group seeking to protect everyone, the group breaks its contractual obligation to that individual and, thus, becomes illegitimate.
The case of the Liberian state’s obligation to Liberians was called to question in 2003, when for the first time in Liberian history; Liberians marched on the streets of Monrovia chanting for America to help Liberia. Liberians called America "Big Brother” and news reports showed women and youth begging America to come to their rescue. In a nutshell, the reaction by Liberians was a clear indication that Liberians felt their state could no longer protect them from harm.
A Newspaper story wrote of Liberians crying to American reporters with statements like, "I'm begging to you,"... "We're dying here."..."Why can't the Americans come in to rescue us?” Joseph Siegle, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, who spent years as a relief worker in Liberia, echoed the cries of Liberians, by stating that intervening in Liberia's crisis was not only practical, but would be very well received. However, America’s response to the cries of Liberians has come short of certifying Liberians with lasting peace.
The present timetable of the Liberia Peace Agreement, its current implementation; and the numerous impediments to its enforcement indicates that Liberia might be thrown into the ugly vicious cycle of the past.
It is disturbing that only approximately 11% of the estimated rifles and pistols in Liberia have been handed over the UN. More troubling, is the fact that reports say that many of these returned arms are not in working condition and that some non-combatants have colluded with former fighters "to take part in the DDR program in order to claim the US$300 resettlement grant payable to all those who demobilize." And that "genuine fighters have been giving these non-combatants weapons and ammunition to hand in as they register themselves at the cantonment sites". Further, the frequent reports of intimidation of Liberians by militia could lead to an escalation of the current situation in Liberia.
In order for America to fulfill its obligation of restoring lasting peace to Liberians, it is essential that America take a new direction in its policy towards Liberia. America should set up an interim government in Liberia (headed by America) until some sanctity is restored to Liberia. It is important for America to fully heed the call of Liberians and restore peace in Liberia as opposed to the "un-peaceful peacekeeping" that has become the order of the day in Liberia.
An interim government, headed by the United States, patterned close to that existing in Iraq; would lead to lasting peace in Liberia. By America installing and overseeing such a government, Liberians can resolve their differences. The interim period would also serve as a "cooling period" where some sanctity can be restored.
The failure of America to fully heed the call of Liberians, and take steps towards the realization of lasting peace in Liberia, will be disastrous to all humanity; as the consequence could be another Rwanda like situation in Liberia. Also, it will be extremely regrettable that America shirked it's obligation to Liberia and Liberians when it had the opportunity to help.
From where I sit....
Solomon Myers hails from Buchanan, Liberia. He is a Political Scientist/Historian, currently based in Ottawa, Canada.
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