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Liberia is my ‘Kpormeni’ (My business)

By Siahyonkron Nyanseor               Liberia

 

 

 

Sometime people like to find palava with me because they want me to tell them the true history of Liberia – not the fairytale ‘history’ they had us reading when our government minimized the significant role the original inhabitants played in the formation of our country. Due to my advocacy, every now and then, someone will make statements like: “You’re not in Liberia or you’ve not been in Liberia recently” – suggesting I don’t know what is happening at home; therefore, what I say is not based on facts. To me these are IGNORANT STATEMENTS!

 

Liberia is my Kpormeni (my business). I have the same rights you have to make Liberia my palava; so stop telling me to ‘mind my business’ or to ‘leave the people’s thing along’. Who people are you talking about when you make such statements? Am I not included as one of the people? Why exclude me? Oh, I see; because “The Love Liberty” didn’t bring my people to the ‘Green or Pepper Coast’ your ancestors re-named Liberty (Liberia)? If you say these things, you’re picking fuss with me, and I can dish it out, too!

 

If many of us had made Liberia our business, perhaps, those who claimed leadership their divine birthright wouldn’t be messing with us. I have much fish to fry in Liberia’s business like any Liberian, and if one chooses not to, that’s their Kpormeni, not mine! Badmouthing those of us who care enough to conduct research and base our writings with facts not ‘besah’ or ‘they say’; remember you made your choice and we made ours. People do things for many reasons. Some are personal, while others do so because of patriotism. It could be you’re too scared to ‘rock the boat’ or haven’t done your homework to contribute anything of substance to the dialogue, so you resort to cherry-picking assault – bringing up things that have nothing to do with the discussion.

 

This practice is very bad because you wind up appearing ignorant and unintelligent. I mean no disrespect or put down by using the word – ignorant. By being ignorant, I mean the denotative meaning of the word, which is NOT TO KNOW THE ISSUE, as opposed to the connotative (implied) meaning. Simply put, when one does not know the issue, they do not know it, period. One who does it makes fool of him or herself. They make matters worse by pretending to know.

Many Liberians fall into the category of ‘knowing everything’ as it pertains to Liberia. They are experts on Liberia! Some based their reasons on their social connections, education, relationship with the powers that be, and elitist status. Then they encounter one like me; and the only defense they have is, “You haven’t been to Liberia recently; implying you don’ know what you’re saying. How can one who knows me make such an arrogant and ignorant statement to me? Do I have to be in Liberia to know what is going on there? I consider the statement untrue for the following reasons:

 

1) I have vested interest in Liberia;

 

2) I have been involved with Liberian and African issues since 1968;

 

3) I have served the Liberian and African communities in the Diaspora as member and leader since 1968;

 

4) I became the historian of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) not by appointment; I became its historian because of my special interest to record the history for posterity;

 

5) Unlike most Liberians at home, I have 24 hours Internet service; in fact. my laptop is on 24 hours, and my cellphone, too has Wi-Fi and Internet privileges;

 

6) I read LINA Reports, the FrontPageAfrica, other Liberian related news magazines and international newsmagazines to keep up with what is happening in Liberia, Africa and the world; I am a regular contributor to many Liberian online web media, and

 

7)  I am officially retired. Therefore, I have the luxury that one who has to work 40 hours does not have.

 

Now tell me, how can I not be informed of what is going on in Liberia when God has richly blessed me with all these opportunities?

 

When I woke up this morning, the Lord directed me to get this off my chest because for too long now, defenders of previous and the present government have accused those of us who questioned our government officials for not doing those things for which they were elected or appointed.

 

I love my country. This is the reason I make Liberia my kpormeni (business). I cannot be a bystander when my people are dying like flies due to gross negligence by our elected officials.

 

It is arguments like the one provided below that I considered giving blanket support to a government that provides no essential services to its people. Instead they pay themselves hefty sums of money, while the people barely have food to eat on a daily basis; have no electricity, running water, good roads, sewer system, and modern health facilities. The person who wrote Dr. Lawrence Zumo email is defending the government that cannot defend itself. Now, you be the judge:

 

Zumo,

 

You never wanted USA to step on the soil of Liberia. Yet still, USA puts cash in the hand of the government to do its work. I do not know who you “telling” on to say you have documents to attest to your false story. Oh I see, you are just like Morlue [Morlu] who said that the government of Ellen was three times corrupt than previous governments while he was yet to sit down in his office.

 

Please take time with Liberians how you tell to them. By the way, who are you to have in your possession documents that are not yours.

 

If there is no trust in Liberian government, EU and USA would have listened to you. Praise God that the groups you are talking about act/do anytime upon the request of president [President] Ellen Johnson Sitleaf [Sirleaf].

 

You go to sleep, you been working all night.

 

(Name withheld)

 

That writer is among some of the people who do not see anything wrong with the Sirleaf’s administration, and do not want any of us to be critical of the government despite its failure to provide the needed services in 9 years.

 

The “…old adage (if you think education is expensive, try ignorance; if you think health care is not important, try an epidemic) has been around for ages but well it had to take that little bug, Ebola and its twin, “Egbola” (= the stark exposer and shamer of pretense and international acquiescence) to drive the message home. Even at that once Ebola and Egbola calms down it will be business as usual

 

“The common man/woman in Liberia knows s/he is on his/her own. S/He will do the best in due course for the children with whatever crumbs s/he can get.

 

“Thanks for the advice Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma [Chairperson of the African Union Commission] but with history as our guide, we don’t think anything substantial will change in those two departments long after Ebola and Egbola are gone,” wrote, Lawrence A. Zumo, MD.

 

However, there is a Liberian parable that says, “If the townspeople are happy, look for the chief; if they are not happy, look for the chief.” In this case, who do you hold responsible for their plight – the Liberian people or the chief who did not make them happy? To that I say, “In God, anything is possible”. Therefore, I pray that God will protect the doctors and healthcare workers that are helping our people; God will bless them, plenty!

 

In short, the poem provided below sums up my patriotic responsibilities and obligations for which I was born a Liberian; it reads:

 

It Wasn’t Any Choice of Mine!

I

It wasn’t any choice of mine to be born a Liberian! Anyway I thank God to be born a Liberian You see, I have never questioned why God ordained That I be born in Dukor, the Land of Liberty Out of the combination of the rising sun And the multi-color dust of the cradle of civilization.

II

In fact, I was born with diversity as diverse as The four cardinal elements, Air, Water, Fire and Earth I am all that I was created to be:

 

Klao

Bassau

Grebo

Kuwaa

Sapo

Dei

Gola

Vai

Mende

Kpelle

Lorma

Bandi

Gissi

Manlinke

Dan

Mah

Americo-Liberian,

and

 

Kongor

 

III

 

But most of all, A Native, Country, and a Civilized person

All of these I am proud to be called! For to be Native is to share something with the Land Also, the Land is referred to as Country To be Civilized, is the creative stage of our development

Which is common to all humanities This is what makes all of us, “KU-KA TONOR.”

 

IV

 

So, in the first place There shouldn’t have been any fuss About Native, Country, Kongor and Civilized Therefore, from here on

I need to send YOU this clear message If you think you are insulting me By calling me Native! Country! Kongor, and Uncivilized Is to forget that being born a Liberian

Wasn’t any choice of mine! It was ordained that I be born a Liberian

Of which I am proud; therefore, My message to you, my brothers and sisters It is in our best interest To celebrate our reunion Share in PEACE, the LAND called Liberia Learn to accept

And appreciate each other Because you and I are related through the Grace of God.

 

V

So from here on

 

All that I ask of you is to tell those who oppose Our union or re-union To hush, get out of the way or get lost Because I’ve truly seen what division has done To our once “Land of Liberty”

And its people Therefore, if you are not for PEACE and RECONCILIATION You need to excuse me Because I am on a mission to build a new Liberia

Where KU-KA TONOR will be our new battle cry.

 

VI

For God has shown me the ultimate truth Why He ordained that I be born a Liberian And to be called by all of my names: First, by Native And then Country Followed by Civilized, Kongor But most of all, To be a Liberian in all manifestations.

 

*Kpormeni means, “That’s your business” in Kpelle, the largest ethnic tribe in Liberia.

 

 

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 is on the market. Nyanseor can be reached at: siah1947@gmail.com.

 

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