BY: THE MOVEMENT SOLIDARITY & TRUST FOR A NEW DAY (S.T.A.N.D.)
Phone: (562) 394-0285 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite his impressive win at the polls, Charles Taylor could not and did not revive Liberia as president because this vicious warlord is responsible for the cold-blooded murders of tens of thousands of defenseless civilians. Considering this fact, is it likely that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – his co-conspirator - could succeed where Charles Taylor has failed? We are doubtful.
Seared in our memory are these haunting words: “He killed my ma, he killed my pa, I’ll vote for him.” Gripped with fear and grasping for straws, the Liberian people allowed Charles Taylor to become president. As everyone well knows, this only prolonged the misery. And regardless the level of Ellen’s contribution to the mayhem, her association with Charles Taylor has never been in doubt. That said; did we not again grasp for straws by electing her as the president? Why would anyone believe that a person so closely associated with Charles Taylor would be right to heal this nation?
The people of Liberia know full well Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are directly responsible for the rapes, torture, maiming and murders of more than 400,000 of our friends and loved ones. Yet Ellen has shown no contrition, compunction or remorse for her contribution, often downplaying the severity of this awful tragedy. Therefore, both these individuals are unacceptable as leaders or role models and will not be rewarded for their crimes.
The people of Liberia rejected Charles Taylor primarily because he murdered our fellow compatriots and wrecked the country’s entire infrastructure. This explains why in the fourth year of his presidency, he finally faced the people’s wrath, barely escaping alive.
The people have also rejected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf because she financed the brutal war that destroyed a generation, impoverished the entire population, decimated families, and turned Liberians into refugees and beggars. Ordering the NPFL rebels to bomb the residents of Monrovia is unpardonable. The question now is not if, but when will Ellen face the wrath of the Liberian people? Though the date may be unknown, the emotions are certain.
Feeling neglected and abandoned, the people of Liberia gathered their anger and dealt decisively with a grave injustice which many had conveniently ignored. This lesson must not be overlooked. The anger which led to the tumultuous events of 2003 still burns deep in the millions whose lives were disrupted by the actions of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Charles Taylor. But again we wait patiently, hoping and trusting that people of conscience will address this grievous injustice in the interest of peace. We’re hoping our international partners realize if Charles Taylor could not restore peace to this nation, neither can Ellen.
It is difficult to say with any degree of certainty when their penned-up anger will eventually erupt into a violent rage. However, one thing is certain: a large segment of the population believes Ellen in large part is responsible for their hurt, pain, grief and loss. Without justice being served, it will be difficult if not impossible for these individuals to forgive and forget; especially when Ellen continues to rekindle negative emotions by mishandling post-war reconstruction.
Ellen’s decision not to appear before the internationally-sponsored Truth Commission, but rather give priority to the release of a book intended to fund her retirement only adds insult to injury. This brazen attempt to exploit our dead further demonstrates her contempt for the Liberian people. Such behavior has the potential of reigniting the violence considering the current highly charged atmosphere. And her insensitivity places the entire population at risk. She fails to realize the violence unleashed as a result of her ambitious quest for power is the greatest man-made disaster this nation has ever known; its consequences no doubt will linger for decades.
It is understandable Ellen now finds herself in an extremely difficult position being a major contributor to the breakdown of this nation. However, it would be a crime on our part to allow millions to suffer in order to protect a single individual. Ellen knew full well her level of involvement in organizing and prosecuting the brutal war that produced deep-seated anger, hatred and suspicion. Therefore she should have seriously considered possible repercussions before seeking the office of president. Now as the President, she must lead, follow, or step aside.
No longer must we delude ourselves into believing Liberia can emerge from its quagmire without holding accountable individuals bearing the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This is why we can no longer stand idly by and wait for another deadly insurrection, which is certain to happen should Ellen continue to place her personal interests above that of the collective. And there is no denying it; this nation cannot and will not heal or be rebuilt successfully under the leadership of persons who organized, participated in, or financed the mass killings.
Therefore, peace-loving Liberians have mobilized under the banner Solidarity & Trust for A New Day (S.T.A.N.D) with the intent of bringing pressure to bear on the Sirleaf administration. It must implement the necessary changes in order to restore normalcy and reconstitute key institutions; preparing the country for a smooth transition to lasting peace and economic prosperity. The transition, however, must begin with rule of law.
We are honored that Honourable T. Q. Harris, Jr has agreed to serve as the leader of this grassroots Movement and be the voice of those seeking change without violence. We hope President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the interest of peace will listen to the voices of hope and reason. Her cooperation also will serve as a deterrent to those contemplating violence and discourage others from becoming foot soldiers.
May God bless these endeavors, endow us with wisdom, and grant us peace.
Welcome to STAND - the end of business as usual!