As a youth, I have always been fascinated by HISTORY, especially, with the knowledge and zeal used by those who are gifted in passing on the information. At that young age, there were three persons that made such an impact on me as far as history is concerned – they were, my maternal grandmother, Vahnboeh Waydeh Verdier, my mother, Kpan Sarkpah Mardea Worhwinn, and a cousin of ours, who we referred to as Sergeant Moore. I do not have the slightest idea why my cousin was called Sergeant Moore. Based on my recollection, he never served in any army or Militia. Up until this day, I can’t remember Sergeant Moore’s given name. But of the three that I mentioned, it was Sergeant Moore that had the greatest influence on me regarding the history and politics of Klao (Kru), and African Liberians in particular.
Our community was in the Camp Johnson Road vicinity – to be exact, it was then – the unpaved side of Clay Street towards BOQ (the Bachelor Officers Quarter for the military). Among the children in our community, I was the one selected to re-tell the stories either by my grandmother or Sergeant Moore. Perhaps, it was due to the interest I showed by paying attention to every details or I was too inquisitive. Of all the stories Sergeant Moore told us, Didwho Welleh Twe (1879-1961 / Presidential Candidate in 1952) and Plenyono Gbe Wolo (1883-1940), were the ones that had lasting impact on me. And it was from him, I first got the indoctrination or belief that the Klao (Kru) people were the first to bring civilization to present day Liberia (Are mo jade Kwii deh tee – in Klao Language meaning, We are the ones who brought about civilization).
This indoctrination was reinforced throughout our lives. It was like a badge of honor. We respect every human, but never took filth from anyone; besides, our parents reminded us that nobody on earth was better than any of us. It was this pride that almost every Klao child was armed with. For example, most Liberians considered us as a “fussy people, who will never tell you, we will fight, instead, I will beat you.”
As the understudy of Griot Sergeant Moore, I developed interest and appreciation for the history of African Liberians. From here on, I made it my business to acquire vast knowledge about HISTORY – especially, the history of African Liberians; since ours was either marginalized or not told at all.
Among all of the stories Sergeant Moore told us, the two that had lasting impact on me were the stories about Welleh Didwho Twe (1879-1961) and Plenyono Gbe Wolo (1883-1940), the son of the Paramount Chief Gbe. At another time, we will touch on the legacy of the first African Liberian secretary of the True Whig Party (TWP). But for now, let me share with you the reason Didwho Twe’s story needs to be written in our history books. Rabbi Nachum Yanchiker best states the reason:
Do not become embittered by waiting and tears. Speak with calmness and serenity and do as our holy sages have done – pour forth words and cast them into letters. Then the holy souls of your brothers and sisters will remain alive. These evil ones schemed to blot out their names from the face of the earth; but a man cannot destroy letters. For words have winds; they mount up to the heavenly heights and they endure for eternity.
These words explained the essence of the man called D. Twe. He was referred to as D. Twe because Didwho is “Country” name, therefore, did not deserve the appreciation of the ruling elites. Didwho Twe was good for Liberia, but Liberia was not good to him. He was like most local prophets who are rejected in their own home.
Pagis Document (4)
Former Rep. Welleh Didwho Twe
Montserrado County, RL
Who was this D. Twe that Liberian History has forgotten?
First, let me give you the description of him by Clifton R. Wharton, Charge d’Affaires ad interim, to Secretary of State of the U.S.:
“…The Edwin Barclay regime which came to power after the King-Yancy debacle saw Didwo [Didwho] Twe, a member then exmember of the Liberian legislature, as the evil genius behind the Kru resistance. Twe viewed himself as the chief spokesman for his people.
“Edwin Barclay was the illegitimate son of a prominent Liberian family who rose through the ranks of Liberian politics. He was born in Brewerville, Liberia in 1882; became an attorney in 1904 and a Counsellor of the Liberian Supreme Court in 1911. He also served as professor of mathematics at Liberia College. He was secretary of education from 1910 to 1912. He later became a judge of the first judicial circuit court. From 1916 to 1920 he served as attorney general and as secretary of state to Charles D.B. King from 1920 to 1930. He became president after King and Yancy resigned because according to Liberian protocol, the president should have gone to the speaker of the House of Representatives, J.N. Lewis of Sinoe County but for unexplained reasons, J.N. Lewis was absent from Monrovia and returned to Greenville. In the absence of the speaker, the post went to the fourth in line, the secretary of state, Edwin Barclay. The British consulate stationed in Monrovia at that time in one of their numerous dossiers described Barclay as “very touchy, hot tempered and impulsive:
“In April 1932, Didwo [Didwho] Twe wrote to the American minister to Liberia (the equivalent of US Ambassador back then) saying that he feared deportation (*emphasis is mine, see the explanation below) because of his role in exposing abuse on the coast and because of his absolute refusal to be coopted by the Barclay government. According to Twe, Barclay made dire threats against “educated Africans”. On May 1, 1931, in the presence of Hon M. Massaquoi, Rev. D.W. Herman, Mr. G.F. Sharpe, Chief Kpade Boi, Dappe Togba and himself, President Barclay said to Paramount Blogba Togba…”I will burn down the whole Kru Coast, if you don’t stop talking about white man, white man”. According to Twe, Barclay warned, “You take it from me as an order and send word and tell your people that I say there will be only two months of peace on the Coast and no more.” When Twe attempted to interject, he was supposedly told: ‘You damned civilized natives who ought to be leading your people properly are misleading them”.
[*The “feared deportation”, which Twe alluded to was a practice used by the Liberian authorities to remove Easterners away from the sea coast into the interior as punishment]. This was the same practice the Afrikaans used against native South Africans in South Africa.
“As it did of most “educated Natives”, the British consulate had a low opinion of Twe. In 1935, they described him as “an astute but unscrupulous individual” who had been expelled from the Liberian House of Representatives during King’s presidency. In 1927, eight years before the British dossier on Twe, the American legation had made a careful compilation of the extant facts of Twe’s life”:
“Their description of him:
“…He was a member of the Settra Kroo tribe, (and) was born in Monrovia. There is no record of the exact date of his birth but he appears to be about forty years of age. He started his education in Monrovia under Miss Mary Sharpe, an American missionary, and Doctor Paulus Moort. In 1900 he went to the United States for further education and remained there up to 1910..Congressman William W. Groot of Vermont helped Mr. Twe to obtain an education, and Mr. Twe attended St Johnsbury Academy at St, Johnsbury, Vermont, and the Rhode Island State College of Kingston, Rhode Island. After the Congressman’s death, Senator John T. Morgan of Alabama and Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) became interested in Mr. Twe. It is very unfortunate that both Senator Morgan and Mr. Clemens died before Mr. Twe could finish his education. I have been told that Mr. Twe, while in America, contributed articles to the “American Journal of Psychology” edited by Doctor G. Stanley Hall and to “The Boston Transcript”. Since 1910 he has been a district commissioner for a number of years on the Sierra Leone frontier and has assisted the Anglo-Liberian and Franco-Liberian boundary commissions. At present, he is assistant to Mr. Robert A. Farmer, American Engineer, in constructing a coast telephone system…” (Clifton R. Wharton, Charge d’Affaires ad interim, to Secretary of State, January 28, 1927, USNA,RG59,882.00/762(microfilm M613,location 10-14-5.)
Now, let me give you Wreh, Dunn and Holsoe’s account of Didwho Twe:
Didwho is pronounced as DEE-WOO. “Twe was born in Monrovia on April 14, 1879 to Klao (Kru) parents. He was light in complexion, with a cicatricle on his forehead, a mark that distinguished people of Klao ethnic group from other indigenous tribes. [Welleh Didwho] Twe received his early education from the American Methodist and Trinity Episcopal institutions, as well as Patsy Barclay Private School. Also, he graduated from Cuttington Collegiate and Divinity School in Cape Palmas, Maryland (Liberia). In 1894, a US Congressman by the name of William Grout assisted Twe to travel to the United States to further his studies. During his stay in the United States, Twe attended several institutions, which includes, St. Johnbury Academy in Vermont, Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, Rhode Island University, where he
received his Master’s degree, and later studied agriculture at Columbia and Harvard universities” (Tuan Wreh, The Love of Liberty: The Rule of President William V.S. Tubman in Liberia, 1976, p. 48 & Dunn & Holsoe, Historical Dictionary of Liberia, 1985, p. 177).
Tuan Wreh stated further that, “Twe returned to Liberia in 1910. In 1912, President Daniel E. Howard appointed him to head a special commission to investigate and settle an Anglo-Liberian boundary dispute in the western province of Liberia. It was in this position; he gained first hand experience regarding the treatment of African Liberians by the ruling elite. Having served in these capacities, he was later elected member of the House of Representative from Montserrado County in 1927. While in the House, Twe introduced several legislations that were considered controversial by the ruling elite. For examples, he introduced legislation to abolish the forced labor activities, the pawn and porter systems practiced by the government and the ruling class.” Tuan Wreh, The Love of Liberty: The Rule of President William V.S. Tubman in Liberia, 1976, p. 48)
Twe and Tubman had one thing in common; both men were once married to the same woman, Araminta Dent. Tubman, the younger of the two men, had been her husband before Twe. (Ibid)
Twe was one of the individuals responsible for the League of Nations’ investigation of President Charles D. B. King’s Administration for its involvement among other things, forced labor practices in Liberia. This action by Twe and others led to the resignations of President King and his Vice President Allen Yancy. However, Twe was expelled from the House of Representative for sedition; when in fact; it was for his advocacy on behalf of African Liberians’ human and civil rights.
The Secretary of State, Edwin J. Barclay, succeeded President King. But when Barclay became President, he wasted no time; he went after Twe and those individuals viewed by the ruling elite as “Troublemakers.” Several attempts were made on Twe’s life. As the result, he was forced into exile in neighboring Sierra Leone. In exile, Twe proposed for a revolution to be carried out by the Kru people in order to establish a “Kru Republic”. His aims did not materialize, and when he taught it was safe to return to Liberia, he did so in 1936.
Upon his arrival in Liberia, certain members in the Barclay Administration tried to influence President Barclay to have Twe arrested. However, with the help of Twe’s supporters and a so-called compromise reached (to refrain from engaging in political activities); he was pardoned.
But due to Twe’s commitment to end the Settlers’ political and economic control of the country and the African Liberian population in particular, he
continued to speak out against the violation of their rights as citizens of the Republic. And in 1950, Twe and his associates formed and registered the United People’s Party (UPP), which was later named the Reformation Party (RP). The party nominated Twe as its presidential candidate to oppose Tubman in the 1952 General Election. During the campaign, Tubman sensing defeat by Twe and his African Liberian supporters resorted to the use of the strategy of tribalism against Twe and his followers. Tubman accused Twe of tribalism and called him an “inherent traitor, a consummate liar, a senile visionary, a sophisticated bigot and an intransigent egotist.” For the second time, Twe’s life was threatened. Candidate Tubman went after Twe and his supporters.
During this period in Liberia, PRO officers were everywhere – they could be found in almost every family. These PRO officers were like a Gestapo. Some of them held the position for the monthly salary (money) they received, and others for the “power” and prestige the position gave them. As for the majority, they did so out of pure ignorance and “misguided patriotism.”
Most of the traditional leadership at the time, especially, tribal chiefs were on President Tubman’s PRO payroll. In their comparison of President Edwin James Barclay to President William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman, “Tubman is the man we want” is the song they sang. To them, he was humane, kind and generous. Furthermore, he was viewed as the first President who appointed “Country people” to high positions in the Liberian government – even if it meant that it was to his advantage. One of Tubman’s achievements they used to talk about was the construction of compound for traditional leaders. The compound was located at the corner of Warren Street and Camp Johnson Road. At the compound, there was a big house that was referred to as “Native Mansion.” I don’t know whether that was the original name, but that’s how it was called. Tubman’s relationship with the indigenous people, along with his leadership style, won him many admirers. In praise of Tubman, one such admirer was a paramount chief who went on to say:
“President Tubman really turned this country around. We tribesmen can now mix up with the civilized people freely and nobody is looking down on us. We can now eat at the same table, shake hands and dance with the civilized men and women. God will bless him to live long. We want you to be President until you die”. (Area Handbook for Liberia, 1972, p. 196)
President Tubman did just that – he died in office after 27 years in power.
Tubman had a protégé called Jacob Seyon. Seyon was a Klao (Kru) man that the people referred to as “Cummin Seyon”. The name was a short cut for Commissioner Seyon. Also, Tubman had a security network that was in the habit of harassing Twe’s family, relatives, friends and associates. Jacob Cummings who was related to Oldman Teah Jlay Tor, a cousin-in-law of Twe
(Tor was married to Mama Blede, Twe’s cousin) play the role of Chief Investigator. It was alleged that whenever Tubman’s securities were looking for Twe to arrest him, he used to hide at Tor’s Coffee Farm (the present location of the Club Beer Factory).
According to Tuan Wreh:
“In the course of his flight, Twe barricaded himself on his rubber estate as Tubman’s security forces combed the territory. The Krus (Klaos) in Monrovia, Twe’s staunch supporters, circulated the tale that during the period when he was being sought, he magically transformed himself into a white cat at his farmhouse and serenely looked on while the security forces searched in vain. After his escape, Twe told the American press that he had literally taken to the woods and remained there for four months, his protectors being ‘two beautiful and trustworthy maidens, whom the friendly African chiefs had provided for me’. The final stage of his flight into British territory was by canoe” (Tuan Wreh, The Love of Liberty: The Rule of President William V.S. Tubman in Liberia, pp. 56-57).
As one of Tubman’s chief informer, Jacob Seyon, and a Deputy Police Director named William Tecumbla Thompson used to conduct searches without warrants, whenever they felt like it. In the process, they would harass, physically and psychologically intimidate and abuse family members, relatives and friends of Twe and Tor, which at times resulted into imprisonment. Additional victims of Tubman’s Gestapo tactics were, Edwin J. Barclay, S. David Coleman, Paul Dunbar, S. Raymond Horace, Nete-Sie Brownell, J. Gbaflen Davies, Booker T. Bracewell, Thomas Nimene Botoe, S. Othello Coleman, etc. Later on in the 1960’s, former Army Chief of Staff, General George Toe Washington, a law student named Frederick Gibson, Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr., and scores of others were Tubman’s new victims. (Ibid, pp. 67, 78-79)
Such Gestapo tactics along with the PRO network was Liberia’s McCarthyism. It was used to destroy the reputations, livelihoods of prominent Liberians such as Didwho Twe, Nete Sie Brownell, Tuan Wreh, S. Raymond Horace, and Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr.
Due to these Gestapo tactics, Twe felt that his life was in danger, so he went into exile in Sierra Leone prior to the election, and without any serious opponent, Tubman won the election. He was inaugurated on January 7, 1952 – for the third time as President of the Republic of Liberia.
From here on, Tubman instituted network of security agencies to make sure no one dare oppose him; up to the time of his death, most Liberians thought he was invincible. His picture was everywhere. He ran Liberia like a police state.
During this period, everyone was watching everybody else to report to him. One could not say a word about Tubman without him knowing about it the next day. He had many of our parents and grandparents on the Liberian Government payroll. They used to call their position – Public Relations Officers (PRO). But the Liberian people had the right meaning for it; they referred to them as – People Reporting Others (PRO). Albert Porte, Nete-Sie Brownell, Bill Witherspoon, S. H. Raymond Horace and Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Sr., and a host of others who were opposed to Tubman were victims of his unregulated power.
Apologists of the ‘Old Order’ who mismanaged the country, accused those of us who are attempting to correct past mistakes made out of ignorance as ethnicists or tribalists. When in fact all we have done and continued to do is to include the contributions made by African Liberians in the history of Liberia. Yet, our accusers see the pride we take in knowing who we are as tribalism, troublemakers or “pushing up fire.”
The venerable Pan Africanist Marcus Garvey provides a better explanation to our plight. He wrote:
“Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people, but vigilance, self determination and vision of the future has been the only way oppressed people have realised their freedom.”
Vigilance is an important virtue of seeking the truth when it involves the history of a people. The truth is undeniable! While many have tried to revise or reinterpret Liberian history to suit the narrow interest of a ruling political class, we are certain when the time reaches, history will exonerate us, and pass judgment on those who place the interest of their group above the interest of the entire nation and its entire people. At that time, we will come to know the true ethnicists or tribalists – the Settlers or the African Liberians. African Liberians have always had their own narrative of history that has been passed down from one generation to the other. In the case of the Klao (kru) people, this was done in many ways. Some of the ways our history was handed down to us was by our parents, grandparents, family members or the village’s Griot.
For example, the name Welleh is Didwho mother’s first name. It is a cultural practice among the Klao (Kru) ethnic group for a male child to bear (or be identified) by his mother’s first name, which in the case of Twe – Welleh Twe. In my own case, I am referred to as: Worhwinn Jglay or Worhwinn Kpa-kay. It is the opposite when it comes to a female child. The female child is identified by her father’s first name. For example, my sister is Jugbeh is referred to as Torborh Jugbeh. My father is TeTee (his mother’s name) Torborh Korlah Nyanseor. This cultural practice establishes a “very special”
bond between the male child and his mother and the female child and her father.
This special relationship between a mother and her son was captured in the book titled: A Narrative of the Negro, written by Leila Amos Pendleton (1912): It reads:
Of the natives of western Africa a missionary has said: ‘Whatever other estimate we may form of the African, we may not doubt his love for his mother. Her name, whether she be dead or alive, is always on his lips and in his heart. She is the first thing he thinks of when awakening from his slumbers and the last thing he remembers when he closes his eyes in sleep; to her he confides secrets which he would reveal to no other human being on the face of the earth. He cares for no one else in time of sickness; she alone must prepare his food, administer his medicine, perform his ablutions and spread his mat for him. He flies to her in the hour of his distress, for he well knows if all the rest of the world turns against him, she will be steadfast in her love, whether he be right or wrong.
How wonderful must be the women who can inspire and keep such deep and constant love and devotion in the hearts of their children!
All lovers of humanity earnestly desire the civilization and redemption of the entire continent of Africa, and many plans to that end have been suggested. Speaking of these, Didho [Didwho] Twe, a native African, and a man of great culture and discernment, has said: ‘A new form of Christianity for the African race will develop from the present commercialism. The initiative of this great change will come from men of pure African blood–Africans in appearance, Africans in body, Africans in spirit, Africans in pride, Africans in thought.’
Honorable Twe expressed similar sentiments in his famous July 26, 1944 Independence Day Oration. It reads:
As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so the great revolutionary forces which have influenced the progress of mankind have always come from the east and marched westward, but never from west to east, nor from the north to the south. The ancient civilization of Africa marched from Egypt to the West. ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews?’ Said the three wisemen. And from the east Christianity marched westward. When Mohammed lifted his sword he pointed it to the west and Mohammedism marched from the east to the west. The Pilgrim Fathers planted Anglo-Saxon civilization on the North American Continent not in the north, nor in the west,
nor in the south but in the end from east. American civilization and American democracy marched westward. To fulfill her destiny, Liberia must turn her back to the east and march westward.
According to Twe, the Tubman Administration gave hope to the Liberian people for a better future; since his administration is the first to come from the east of the country, it will follow the evolutionary course of development to usher in the progress needed.
When Tubman was first elected, it is said that Twe and other indigenous people felt that the Tubman Administration could bring about the changes that they long awaited. They had this belief because of the positive relationship with which Tubman had with the indigenous population. In his hometown, he was considered a friend to the poor. In other quarters, he was known, as “Poor man Lawyer” because he represented those who could not afford a lawyer’s fee free of charge. But little that Twe and the majority of the people knew that all along Tubman had others plans – motives that were not in their best interest.
During Tubman’s first term, Twe supported him. Those who knew both men considered Twe as one of the architects of Tubman’s famous Unification Policy. However, it was the slow pace by which Tubman and the True Whig Party (TWP) was going about to fully include the participation of indigenous people that made Twe and his followers oppose the Tubman Administration.
They did so by forming a political party called Reformation Party of which Twe was selected its standard bearer. During the 1951 Presidential Campaign, one political commentator wrote, “Didhwo [Didwho] Twe, a Kru running against Tubman for the presidency, used an old distinction to rally his followers, and Tubman found it necessary to deny the implications of the distinction in an election eve broadcast”. This is what Tubman said about Twe:
But Mr. Twe refers in his acceptance speech to Americo-Liberians and aborigines. Who are or ever were Americo-Liberians? Certainly not that band of stout-hearted men who gave us, under God, this goodly heritage, its name, style, and title! If any set of people were ever full-blooded Liberians and nothing else but Liberians without any other qualifying word or antecedent, it was they.
Mr. Twe and his adherents complain that for hundred and four years of the independence of this country, no aboriginee had had the honor of being President of the Nation. Whom does he call aboriginees, he and his dangling group of a fifth of the Kru Tribe? I protest! I contest his supercilious misconceived notion. H. R. W. Johnson, Daniel
Edward Howard, Charles Dunbar Burgess King, Edwin Barclay and William V. S. Tubman are all aboriginees and indigenous people of
this country, for we were all born, bred and reared here” (Area Handbook of Liberia, 1972 – 48).
“…He and his dangling group of a fifth of the Kru Tribe” is one of the tactics implored by members of the TWP when challenged. Twe or his ancestors were not the ones that came up with the distinction! So, why was Tubman protesting when it was his ancestors who made the distinction? Twe had nothing to do with it. This kind of attitude exists today whenever the subject about the inhumane treatment of African Liberians by the Americo-Liberians is discussed.
For example, in the Constitution of 1847, which was drafted by Professor Simon Greenleaf of Harvard University, the “people” he referred to in the Bill of Rights did not include the original inhabitants of the area named Liberia. As a matter of fact, the rights of the original inhabitants were never considered in their equation.
When the Constitution was drawn up, the “people” included neither the original inhabitants nor the recaptured Africans referred to as Congo People. The Declaration of Independence reads: “We the people of the Republic of Liberia, were originally the inhabitants of the United States of North America.”
The “people” referred to here, meant the settlers! Let me go a step further; the Constitution denies the original inhabitants the right to their OWN land. CHECK THIS OUT! It is stated in the Constitution that:
The purchase of any land by citizen or citizens from the aborigines of this country for his or their own use, or for the benefit of others, or estate or estates in fee simple, shall be considered null and void to all intents and purposes (Ibid.172 – 73). The bold emphasis is mine!
Even President Arthur Barclay mentioned about this distinction in his First Inaugural Address of January 4, 1904. He attempted to find a solution to the “Native Problems” in his Inaugural Address. In the address, he asked the following two questions which he later answered.
“Two questions have for many years agitated and vexed the minds of thinking citizens: –
1. How can we best develop and utilize the resources of our hinterland?
2. In what way can the Government best satisfy, control and attach the native populations to the interest of the State?
“Of these questions, the first interest more the Americo-Liberian population, intent on material prosperity; but the latter is most important. We cannot
develop the interior effectively until a satisfactory understanding with the resident populations is arrived at.
“The efforts which we have, in the past, made to coerce these populations by arms, have deservedly failed. Government must rest on the consent of the governed. (Italics original). We made a great initial mistake in the beginning of our national career. We sought to obtain, and did succeed in grasping an enormous mass of territory, but we neglected to conciliate and attach the resident populations to our interest. Our present narrow and jealous trade policy, initiated in the sixties (referring to the 1860s) has had the worst possible effect upon our political relations with the outlying native populations. (Italics original). Take for instance the Manna and Gallinas territories, formerly a part of Liberia. Why did we lose these? Because we neglected to look after and conciliate the populations. We thought their wishes and desires unworthy of serious considerations, and after ending the situation for many years they detached themselves from the interest of Liberia, and carried their territories with them. The same thing happened with respect to the territory below the Cavalla, and although we regarded the secession of those districts a great national loss, we have never drawn the proper lesson from the incident and we are still inclined to proceed on the old mistaken lines. Our old attitude of indifference toward the native populations must be dropped. A fixed and unwavering policy with respect to the Native, proceeding on the lines of interest in their local affairs, protection, civilisation and safeguarding their institutions when not brutal or harmful, should at once be set on foot. (Italics original). (The Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of Liberia, 1848 to 1976, 1980 – 190-191).
Based on the above, I have difficulty understanding why Tubman was so enraged with Twe’s restatement of the problem. This mistake was made in the beginning when the country was established. It is stated in the original document the settlers adopted. But what Tubman and his ancestors failed to acknowledge was the fact that land has always been the basis for which nations go to war. Like in most human societies, including the aborigines, the basis for the survival of their society, too, was the land. The land provided not only a home for them, but it was also the source from which they got those things necessary for the satisfaction of their needs. Land itself was never the property of one person. Ownership of land was always in the hands of the village community as a whole, which divided it among the various households as required. And alongside village ownership of land, there was individual and personal ownership of such items as cattle, chickens, tools, weapons and huts (Justice, Justice: A Cry Of My People, 1985 – p. 30). Therefore, war was inevitable. It was not because the aborigines were “savages” as they are portrayed in the History of the Settlers called Liberian History. Most of these wars were fought over the violations of the inalienable rights of the aborigines of the place named Liberia. It was these same rights that Twe and other
aborigines/indigenous people fought for, and continued to fight for today. This practice has not ended. In the 21st Century, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is repeating the same MISTAKES that President Arthur Barclay mentioned in his inaugural address in 1904 – 110 years ago.
In short, I challenge all righteous people to write and speak the truth in order not to become the VICTIMS that Pastor Martin Niemöller described in his POEM: “When the Nazis Came for Me”:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no-one left
to speak out.
Elder Siahyonkron Nyanseor is the Chair of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. He is a poet, Griot, journalist, and a cultural and political activist. He is an ordained Minister of the Gospel. He is Chairman of the Liberian Democratic Future (LDF), publisher of theperspective.org online newsmagazine and Senior Advisor to the Voice of Liberia newsmagazine. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut will be on the market soon. He can be contacted at: Siah1947@gmail.com.
NOTE: Siahyonkron Nyanseor, J. Kpanneh Doe and Ray Martin Toe will undertake a research project to write a Biography of Hon. Welleh Didwho Twe. We are appealing to the public to provide us with the names of individuals we could interview or sources that may be helpful in our research. Our contact information is:
The Didwho Twe Project
P. O. Box 491112
Lawrenceville, GA 30049
(404) 468 – 2440 firstname.lastname@example.org