Jesse M. Cooper, Sr.

Responding to Jesse M. Cooper, Sr’s Critique of my new book, ULAA vs ULAA – Triumphs, Chaos and the Death of Courage and Ideas.

Posted April 24, 2023
by Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

I read with profound sadness the trash written by one “Eminent” Dr. Jesse M. Cooper, Sr., who pretended to be a critique of my new book, ULAA vs. ULAA – Triumphs, Chaos and the Death of Courage and Ideas, yet fell flat on his face for the absolutely dismal work he did in his so-called analysis of my book and the various chapters.

Even though this guy did not buy my book, and with no shame, borrowed another person’s book to do his little critique, which I have nothing against, but am proud to say that other serious and respectable Liberians – PhDs, non-PhDs, and ordinary people bought my book, and are still buying my book overwhelmingly to read what I have in it about ULAA – the first book of its kind written about ULAA by another Liberian.

Sadly, this guy, Jesse Cooper, who couldn’t wait to stand out as the person – the bulldog in waiting to attack Sungbeh and his book did not dispute any of the researched issues raised about ULAA, such as the organization’s obvious lack of a sustainable plan and policy, ULAA’s painful lack of courage and new ideas, the association’s history of infighting, the lack of accountability and transparency, the organization leadership’s role as a dreadful apologist for bad governance, the support of past and present Liberian presidents, and their hustle to get government jobs.

So, if ULAA is behaving badly and has deviated far from its role as an advocate for the oppressed and marginalized in society, the most consequential question Liberians need to ask themselves is, ‘Do they need ULAA around to make their lives miserable as it already is, has ULAA outlived its relevance, and can ULAA be made accountable to answer to its hardworking due-paying members who upkeeps this organization?

These are important questions critics and supporters of ULAA ought to ask the leadership to get ULAA to the drawing board to answer those they swear they are representing in the diaspora.

As a Liberian and a writer, I strongly believe I have the right to critique ULAA, which is a risk I am happy to take which comes with the territory knowing that pro-ULAA people out there like Jesse Cooper and others will take me on to protect their baby known as ULAA.

Had I written glowingly about ULAA and heaped flattering praises on the leadership as the best thing to ever come out of Liberia since the introduction of Barrolle and IE sports clubs into our lives as our national past times, I would be Jesse Cooper’s favorite writer, and my book would get his endorsement.

Unfortunately, I don’t operate that way, I don’t fit in his prescribed box, I write with passion and conviction, and I am not a crowd-pleaser, I am not looking for his endorsement.

Truth is, I am not looking for Mr. Cooper’s endorsement to get people to buy my book. As of this writing, my book is selling very well.

Mr. Cooper went from one chapter of my book to the other in his criticism and was in disagreement with every written word which proved to me that the book got on his last nerves and affected his ability to be unbiased, fair, and open-minded.

The political website, the Liberian Dialogue, which I have been running and kept up with my own funds for over 20 years, did not miss his criticism.

The introduction of a book, any book, is the definitive part that fills in early on the background details and the argument that the writer formulates throughout a book.

Jesse Cooper even attacked the introduction in my book, because it did not follow his prescribed guideline as to how an introduction should be written. The path I took in the introduction was meant to explore our – Liberian people’s burning desires to organize themselves wherever on Earth they called home, which led to another burning urge by Liberians in the United States to organize ULAA in 1974.

Personal anecdotes were added to the book to tell a story about political events in Liberia that happened around me in school and outside of the school environment when I was growing up, which are relevant today and intended to show modern-day ULAA a way to find the courage to stop the abuse that students encountered today in schools and classrooms in the Liberian society.

Mr. Cooper attacked the chapter that dealt with Nathaniel F. McGill, titled “ULAA’s McGill Problem.”

Did ULAA and its leadership team not overwhelmingly endorse Nathaniel McGill’s shenanigans, and even accepted his so-called pledge of $100,000, and promised to give ULAA an additional $300,000, during the association’s 47th inauguration ceremony of the newly-elected president J. Shiwoh Kamara in Pennsylvania on March 26, 2022?
Is this not the same Nathaniel F. McGill, who as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, built an over-the-top mausoleum for his deceased mother at a time when the Liberian people were encountering difficulties living in their own country?

Is this not fair game to include this tawdry behavior in a book about ULAA, the so-called advocacy organization? So, who is ULAA advocating for, McGill or the Liberian people?

Jesse M. Cooper, Sr., was churlish as they come, profoundly disappointing, dishonest, blindly partisan, protective and loyal to ULAA, and unreasonable in his monologue when he noted “ First, Sungbeh did not contact or interview past and present ULAA officials to make the content of the book more relevant. When I contacted Eminent Siahyonkron J. K. Nyanseor, Sr., the official historian of ULAA to write this book report and commentary, he told me Sungbeh did not contact him: yet, he used several of Nyanseor’s primary works.”

Where in any kind of writing – scholarly and non-scholarly where it is mentioned that citing and quoting the work of the original writer also requires personally interviewing the original writer?

Do I have to personally interview Mr. Nyanseor – even though I cited his work, referenced him, and credited his work properly as required by APA, to give credence and credibility to my work?

Did Jesse M. Cooper not read in a section of my book where I mentioned that I contacted several ULAA leaders for an interview for my book but got no response from them?

Did Mr. Cooper not read in my book that I publicly acknowledged Dr. George Toto, for his knowledgeable assistance with a part of the book regarding the leaders of ULAA and their county of origin?

Or, is Jesse M. Cooper blindly cherrypicking and pandering to Mr. Nyanseor to fall into his good graces as being on the same side of his failed criticism of my book?

Regarding the history of ULAA’s Council of Eminent Persons. I did not copy sentences and paragraphs. I cited the association’s website and acknowledged its history, the founding year, and the founding state and analyzed the rest from my own perspective.

Jesse M. Cooper writes: “ULAA’s Council of Eminent Persons’ history was copied by Dr. Sungbeh without obtaining verbal or written permission from the organization or any of its leaders. Instead, he made some comments here and there on the document. This is plagiarism!”

Plagiarism? Please!!!

Do you know what you are talking about, Mr. Cooper?

I am strongly anti-plagiarism. I am a thinker, a writer, and a man of ideas. Unlike some who will copy and paste and draw from other people’s hard intellectual work to write and claim it as their own, I write from my own strength and ideas. So, let’s get it straight right now.

A guy like me who has been writing political columns for over 40 years, has written books, my 4th book, and has written and edited academic papers, and taught, assisted, and advised doctoral students, and sat on dissertation panels, I know more about plagiarism than you can count your ten fingers and ten toes. So, let me hear my ears!

Jesse M. Cooper, I have done my part. Do your part by writing your own book about ULAA. There is more work to be done. I am awaiting your book. 


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