Friday, 1 April 2011


Mr. Editor:

Today in Liberia, the popular saying, show me a person’s friends and I
will tell you who that person is, is being played out in the inability
of president Sirleaf to condemn the wholesale atrocities being
perpetrated by President Gadaffi against his own people. It is no
longer news that Gadaffi has unleashed an all out war against the
Libyan people simply because they have dare to ask him to leave office
after 42 years of, at best, eccentric rule over these most patient
people. Appalled by the atrocities, most credible leaders have rushed
to condemn Gadaffi and his dictatorial rule, but not president
Sirleaf. Glued to Gadaffi by all kinds of shady deals and dependent on
him to finance her shameless bid for a second term, (shameless because
she had sworn to the Liberian people that she was going to serve only
one term), Mrs. Sirleaf now seems tongue-tied and locked-jaw to
condemn Gadaffi, even after the Americans, with whom she claims to be
so friendly, had in no uncertain terms condemned Gadaffi and called on
other countries to do likewise. President Sirleaf could only say that
she hopes for an “amicable solution” to the Libyan crisis.

Amicable solution? This is either a most naïve or heartless statement,
or both; for what amicable solution can there be between a government
bent on staying in power by brutally murdering its citizens, on the
one hand, and the helpless and unarmed citizens, on the other hand?

Counselor Jerome Verdier of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
was one of the first to sound the alarm. He reminded the nation that
president Sirleaf had throughout her term forged a close relationship
with Col. Gadaffi resulting in benefits to a few, including “perhaps
the party of the president”. The counselor went on to warn president
Sirleaf that she is obliged not only to condemn the killings in Libya
but also to assure that “Liberia will not be a safe haven… for human
rights violators like col. Gadaffi”.

But sorry, counselor Verdier, President Sirleaf is in a bind. She
continues to be fed from Col. Gadaffi. That is why she continues to
hesitate in condemning Gadaffi. The United States and the
international community as a whole must take not that respect for
human tights and respect for the correct position of the United States
does not matter to president Sirleaf when her selfish and parochial
interests are at stake. It is certainly true: show me a woman’s
friends and I will tell you who she is!

Look at some of the President’s other friends: That conservative US
Senator, John McCain, whom she supported against our own brother
President Obama; and the renegade president, Gbagbo, who she supports
against the internationally recognized president Ouatarra. The
president should be warned, however. If she thinks she can go against
the will of the Liberian people in the forthcoming elections – as her
friends Gadaffi and Gbabo are doing to their people – if she thinks
she can do such, she is making a sad mistake. Liberians will stand up
for their rights and ensure that their choice in the elections will be
the one occupying the Executive Mansion.
By: S. Civicus Barsi-Giah
Intellectual Class