I read your 2 articles on Sande and the hot button issue of female circumcision. I personally prefer to call it female circumcision instead of FGM, because that is what it really is. Many female initiation societies across West Africa are apparently giving up this practice and substituting some other ritual for the surgical removal of the clitoris, for example in Mali and Senegal. As a debate, to play devil's advocate, I could think of several arguments to stop or gradually phase out the practice that you did not mention in your articles. It is still unclear how widely practiced female circumcision still is in Liberia, since the whole process is clouded in secrecy, and as you mentioned, Sande practices have evolved over time and are still evolving to meet new challenges.
Just for the sake of argument....
1. Can a minor- say a 5 or 6 year old girl (or even a 10 or 12 year old for that matter) really make an informed choice on this matter of female circumcision, or is it something imposed on her by adult women, that she might later regret? There is a reason for the age of consent laws- people have to have a certain level of experience and maturity in order to make informed decisions.
2. What about complications during childbirth? Not from the actual removal of the clitoris, but from the practice of stitching up the labia to only allow a small hole for urination. This practice- the stitching or sewing up of female genitals- has been associated with female circumcision in some African societies in the past. As you know there are a whole wide range of practices.
3. What about this argument- If you believe in the existence of God, and believe that God made both man and woman in his image, then it was God who designed the female body to include a clitoris, and who are you to argue with God's design and to say in effect that God made a mistake, and that part of the body really needs to be removed? If you don't believe in the existence of God as a creator, but believe in evolution, then the same argument applies- the human body has evolved over millions of years to include features for specific reasons. The pleasure of sex is basically the bodies way of encouraging the species to reproduce itself, and the male and female genitals play a large role in this important task.
4. I am confident that no one knows exactly how or why female circumcision began. Myths probably exist on this topic that I am unaware of. However, to claim that someone who is circumcised may in some way be more hygienically clean, doesn't seem to have any basis in reality. Where is the evidence?
5. I have had girlfriends (for example in Burkina Faso) who were circumcised. I cannot say that their sexual appetite was diminished, but it is probably not the same for everyone. Would anyone like to
publicly admit that their sex drive has been weakened because of female circumcision? Generally no, but there are a few memoirs out there from places like Sudan, that argue this. In other words- people
should have a choice in the matter in my opinion. I was circumcised shortly after birth in a hospital setting- however, male circumcision is radically different than female circumcision because with the male
only the foreskin of the penis is removed, not the head of the penis which has many more nerve endings, similar to the clitoris.
SO, I completely agree with you that it feels like Liberian culture has been abandoned, and it needs to be supported, but I feel like that in terms of the NCT,[National Cultural Troupe]that process of abandonment actually began during the later part of the Doe administration, and it had just gotten worse since then. Do you think Taylor cared about culture? His fighters stormed Kendeja and murdered Krahn dancers like the acrobat Jacob Dweh. Were they ever punished for this? No.
Even though women suffered the brunt of violence during Liberia’s 14 years carnage, Africa’s first female President continues to work against the establishment of a Liberian war crimes court. Rather; she has only settled for a so-called Truth forum that will further humiliate victims of rape and sex enslavement by dragging them yet again through a public ordeal that ultimately holds no one accountable.
If the president is unwilling or unable to use rule of law to protect women, what real protection can she provide them?
Is the President for her own selfish gain using the women of Liberia?
Whatever her strategy, I would like to admonish the President that any attempt at delaying justice in the hope that time will eventually diminish the severity of the pain suffered by the Liberian people is a serious miscalculation.
Liberia cannot and will not heal unless those responsible for the rape, torture, maiming, as well the coldblooded murders of our friends and loved ones are held accountable. Failing to deal with these sensitive issues only prolongs the start of genuine reconstruction.
Bernard Gbayee Goah
President, Operation We Care for Liberia
Truth shall not hide. Where are all Jezebel's praise singers today? Blyee where are you? Anthony Kesselly where are you? Useless ULAA and Gaye Sleh where are you? All the Keita's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Kromahs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Duckly!!!!!!!!!!!!, etc. Folks, during the late President Doe regime, ULAA, UNICO, and other Liberian ethnic organizations were very vocal against his regime. Ellen and Taylor, Sawyer, and the rest of the criminals were highly celebrated by ULAA leadership. When they took power, they injected their trainees like Kessely, Gaye Sleh and others to subvert the unity of these organizations thereby effectively transforming and reducing ULAA, UNICO, GGDAA , and others to mere social clubs and propaganda tool for the criminal enterprise.
As a son of Nimba, I am very disappointed at the agents of the criminal empire who are currently leading UNICO. They are so morally bankrupted to the extend that they would elect not to invite intellectuals who are fully armed with the dialectical and historical analysis of our crisis but rather invite feeble minded political opportunist to speak at their conventions.
Why has all the so-called diaspora Liberian ethnic organizations remained silent on the dismal record of the criminal enterprise? Why has UNICO remained silent on the death of all the Nimba elders largely as the result of Ellen’s satanic war? Why has GGDAA remained silent on the abuse of their fellow citizens at home by the criminal enterprise who masterminded the brutal death of the first truly aborigine president of Liberia--- the son of Grand Gedeh? Is it because Doe was a Krahn man? Why are these organization treating Ellen crimes differently? Why the indifference to Ellen? Why? Someone please answer.
Regarding ULAA, it has become an effective propaganda tool for the criminal enterprise. Gaye and Collins must understand that the people of Grand Gedeh will not forgive them come 2017 for aiding and abetting the criminal abuse of their fellow Grand Gedeh citizens.
Gbowee aided and abetted the criminal enterprise, now ruling their victims like an abused child in Monrovia. Now that Ellen is gradually paving way for her son Rob's presidency, Gbowee is desperately trying to position herself as a human rights advocate.
Gbowee stated during her 2011 endorsement of Ellen Jezebel Johnson Sirleaf that Ellen has done a great job for women. Gbowee and Ellen are both culpable for the current sufferings of our people. She is not an ordinary observer but a partaker.
Fortunately, some of us are not stranger to this cheap tactics. Gbowee had the opportunity to seek forgiveness form the Liberia people during the 2011 election by not supporting Jezebel but instead, she continue her same old mojo in which she used our innocent mothers, sisters, ants, and daughters in 2005 to help elect Jezebel ( Ellen). We will not be fooled by her cheap political move.
I have had the opportunity to share penal with Lymen in New York during one of the screenings of Prey the Devil to Hell. She and Ellen' vision of peace is development above and beyond accountability. They advocate empty peace. Let’s just get along, an irresponsible notion of blanket amnesty. Do you think we will get along with people who murdered our people, stole our humanity, and deny us basic necessities of life and arrogantly refused to reconcile with us. Absolutely NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For me, no amount of development can compensate for the merciless loss of my fellow Liberians. Someone must account this time. The time is now!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The philosophy of let-bad-gone-be bad-gone has aided and abetted the cancerous problem of impunity in which, perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as economic criminals are currently ruling their victims in Monrovia like a bastard child. Oppression and suppression----No rule of law--No basic social services ( light, safe drinking water, hospitals, etc) ! Gone are the days for people to use Liberia for their selfish political interests. Read more:
Mr. Editor, I would appreciate if you could share my views and opinions on the crimminal trial involving the Paramount Chief of River Gee County that was adjoined on Monday December 21, 2009 over the death of Abdullah Bah. My heart, prayer and thought go out to the deceased family and may his soul rest in peace.
This case started to draw my attention when it was reported that one of the accused was a close relative to a very important Political and Peace advocator in Liberia. Each night as I listen to the PODCAST stories on the investigations, I was hoping that all those named in the investigations would be brought to trial and the State prosecutor would produce substantial evidence against those in the case. But to my greatest surprise the due process of law in the Liberia legal justice system was never carry out and the court and jurors managed to produce a guilty and death sentence on an innocent paramount Chief. Justice delay doesn't mean justice would not prevail.
After listening to the State Prosecutor (Nkrumah Teekay) post verdict comments, his explanations did not contain evidential evidence to convict this innocent paramount Chief. The PODCAST interview with Star radio clearly reviews and shows no proven connection and enough evidence to convict the Paramount Chief. As a Liberian in the USA, I strongly believe in our (Liberia Justice System) justice system, the due process of law, the right to a free and fair trail, the right to file a motion base on a defense council observation to relocate a trial, jury selection without bias to favor any side and on top of that, I also believe in direct and circumstantial evidence. As the world monitor and watch this case, our justice system, due process of law, proven evidence before conviction and human right reputations are on the line.
This convicted Paramount Chief is a victim of missed justice due to missing pieces of important evidence and due process of laws that were never carry out. As a Liberian, I would like to appeal to the Minister of Justice, The Supreme Court of Liberia, The Human right Group, The people of River Gee County, family members of the Paramount Chief to seek a retrial in this case.
A crime was committed and an innocent man was killed and now another innocent Paramount Chief is being sentence to death without proven, justifiable evidence and due process. I hope the Higher Court in the land would accept his defense council appeal and allow a retrial that would subpoena and bring all evidence, those who participated in the initial investigation and those who were named in the initial investigation for a full trial. I hope the Ministry of Justice would help its field investigators gather all direct, circumstantial and forensic evidence surround the case. Until then, this Paramount Chief is a collateral victim of this crime. In an investigation and trial systems, the heart of a case is the presentation of evidence. Witness do lie, but the evidence don't.
Thanks for the space,
Liberian Students Union in Egypt pleas to Unity Government at Home
December 18, 2006
We the Liberian students are faced with extreme hardship due to the failure of our government in fulfilling her part of an agreement that was in the 70s. Students studying at Al-Azhar Mission should be benefitting from a bilateral scholarship agreement between the Government of Liberia and
their Egyptian counterparts but over the years previous governments have not fulfill her part of the agreement.
We call on the Unity Party led government to come to our aid as we strive to get quality and better educations.Our monthly per diem is eighty seven Egyptian pounds (LE87.00) which is equivalent to fifteen United States Dollars (USD$15.00).This amount is just not enough to provide transportation, books and essentials such as soap, toothpaste and food.
During the application process at the Ministry of Education, the Director of Scholarship; Mr. Mohammed M. Kiazolu told us that, it is a bilateral scholarship and that government will provide us with monthly allowance but that is yet to happen. It was stipulated on those forms given to us but quite interestingly our government is yet to fulfill her part of the bargain. Let it be made clear that, it is not only the Unity Party-led government but previous governments were not fulfilling their part of the agreement that started in the 70s. Since the inception of this bilateral scholarship program between the Government of Liberia and the Arab Republic of Egypt, our past governments were not committed to fulfilling their part as per the agreement. We also call on the government and other educational experts to re-visit the scholarship agreement between the two countries.
We are appealing to her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her government to come to our aid if we are to achieve our goals and contribute to the development of our beloved mother land. The development of any nation depends on the human resource of that nation. Another major problem we are faced with is that,our high school diplomas and West African Examination Council certificates are not been
accepted at colleges and universities in Egypt.We have been to the Egyptian Ministry of Education seeking admission but we were told that, there is no educational link between the two countries.If you were a high school graduate from Liberia to Egypt you will have to start from Elementary upward which is not in the interest of our educational system as a country.
We call on our government to re-visit the agreement previously signed to allow us study in both Arabic and English at other premier colleges and universities in Egypt instead of Al-Azhar Mission only.
We can be contacted through this e-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +20107103578 and +20120364393.
A civil war victim take on corruption in Liberia
George Everett | August 28, 2006
If anyone ever sustained hurts during the crisis in Liberia, I am one. And one who should lift up his hands for War Crime Tribunal, I should be one. But then I try to judge myself if this will bring an end to impunity. I wonder if people like Ellen Johnson, Amos Sawyer, Cyril Allen, and Tom Smith, church forget the last name, Charles Brumskine, etc who sparked up the war will be taken to the tribunal. Also we have all the self-imposed generals who dragged the conflict into ethnicity. I can foresee that those who sparked up the trouble that killed my daughter, my brother, my mother and my father will become the judges.
The best way we can resolve this issue is to forget it. TRC will open more wounds. War Crime Tribunal will be bias towards certain individuals. And so the best thing is to forgive one another.
I understand the frustration and the embarrassment of many Liberians. Why will the other generals remain at large and their Chief be in prison. They should also understand that Taylor being in the Jail cell today was not based on the crimes he committed in Liberia. He is in there because of the greedy diamond crimes he allegedly committed in Sierra Leone.
I tell you that there are some days when I think of going back to Liberia then the question comes to mind. Who am I going to? Yet we all have to go back and rebuild the segment in which we were born.
What I think we need in Liberia today is community empowerment through education and self-sustainability. The past leaders killed the country. They did not help rather they destroyed us. We should think of getting out of the shackle of depleting the nation's resources and going into
other countries to buy properties. I can name few leaders in Liberia who have properties in Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Morocco, and the Gambia, not to mention the US. Build other countries while Liberia remains underdeveloped. While the other nations are moving forward we should not move backward. The great US did not set up war crime tribunal
after their civil war. Nigeria did not and they all are moving forward today.
Why African Americans in the U.S.A don't respect us?
Morris Sheriff | June 8, 2006
I am a self constructive Liberian wishing all Liberian to come together as one, even though we all are not equal, but we can be united in diversity. Tribes are irrelevant to unity, whether a Mandingo, Kru, Bassa, or the like, we are all from God, the Almighty. Let us respect each other, and others will have respect for us as a Liberian. For instance, the African American over here in the U.S.A doesn't respect us because they believed that our ancestors betrayed their forefathers by selling them as a slave. So, how can we change their minds away from these fallacies? In order to do so, we must love one another as brothers and sisters. We have to come together by showing each other LOVE and CARE. Then, such courtesy will become contagious and flow through their minds, hence build that "Lost respect" for us.
May peace continue to rain on
How good is Johnson-Sirleaf Administration 'First 150 Days' Report?
The Liberian Government on Monday, April 17, 2006 issued a status report on what it called the "First 150 Days Action Plan." The strategic plan comprised of four major pillars, "each of equal importance", the document contends.
The four components include:
(1) expanding peace and security,
(2) revitalizing economic activity,
(3) rebuilding infrastructure and providing basic services, and
(4) strengthening governance and the rule of law.
My Disappointment over the Taylor Arrest
I am very disappointed over the arrest and turn over of Mr. Charles Taylor to a War Crime Court in Sierra Leone; for allegedly committing a crime against the people of Sierra Leone. My disappointment comes because Mr. Taylor and some eminent Liberians who are now enjoying the immunity of Political/Administrative positions in the present Liberian Government killed and brutally mutilated Liberians (more than two times) the amount of people killed in Sierra Leone.
If Taylor is to be tried I think it is only fair that he's judged for the atrocities he and the rest of Liberian Warlords commitment against the Liberian people and not for a crime committed in Sierra Leone. Let the Sierra Leonean Warlords be judge likewise for crimes they committed against their own people. If that is not the case I will assume that the UN and the International Community do not regard the lives of the Liberians who were killed by the senseless war Taylor and his supporters/financiers brought on the Liberian People.
Submitted by: Paul K. Kennedy
Washington, D.C. USA
Send your comments at [email protected]
Who is J. Milton Teahjay to the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of Liberia?
By: Paul K. Kennedy
Who exactly is Juojulue Milton Teahjay to the Congress for Democratic change, is he an Advisor or a mere "Gravy Seeker"??????
I am curious to know due to the numerous threatening remarks (with potential to break the fragile peace process in Liberia) Teahjay continues to make remarks that are often linked to the CDC, by Liberians who may not know Teahjay's exact role and position in this party. I want an immediate response to this question from CDC,
I will begin by giving applauds to Ambassador George Manneh Weah for a job well-done, (administering sound leadership within the CDC since his elections as this party’s standard-bearer). I was very glad when the Ambassador spoke these words; "I am pleased to announce that the CDC (Weah's party) will not exercise its option of taking the matter to the Supreme Court.”
Ambassador Weah is and has been a peace loving Liberian who has demonstrated this in several ways to the world, in his work as United Nations Peace Ambassador and most recently as a standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change, CDC of Liberia. In his everyday life, Ambassador Weah strives to promote peace, human rights and justice amongst humanity and not to promote violence of any kind.
When visions of the formation of a political organization came to us, we dreamt of an organization that would represent the interest of the Liberian people and not of ourselves; we dreamt of rebuilding the peace and stability once enjoyed by the Liberian people and not of creating conditions that would break peace arrangements or result into war; we dreamt of rebuilding the Liberian economy and empowering the Liberian people through the provision of economics, political and social services and not of accumulating personal wealth and enriching ourselves; more over, we dreamt of an organization that would promote peace, human rights and justice and not to promote violence amongst the Liberian people; and finally, we dreamt that our efforts, our time and our resources will contribute constructively to the development of our country's human and material resources, by creating a political arrangement that would fully participate in the policy making and administrative process in a transparent new Liberia and not destroy the human and material resources that are already very limited in our country.
In every stage of our dream, George Weah featured as a permanent icon and symbol required in fulfilling our typical Liberian Dream and that’s why we stood firmly around him in this process. We've never imagine Teahjay anywhere in this dream, as he is a very corrupt and incompetent person who has aways aimed at jumping into political arrangement by making flaunt and rhetorical statements. I am very concern because Teahjay wants to destroy CDC in the process of creating a scene that would make him a part of the Unity Party's Government; just as he displayed during the
My involvement with CDC began sometimes in June of 2004, when some progressive young Liberians and myself residing on the Eastern Coast of the United States of America, specifically in the States of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, (Washington, DC) decided that it was now time for young people to get totally involved with the Liberian political process. Considering that, we as young people have never had our fair-share in political decision making in our country; though we are often victimized by decisions made on our behave. Over and again, we have seen the same group of people rotate in political positions to administer our nation's wealth; not considerate of young people who may have the qualification to participate in this process.
Liberia, coming from a 15-year civil war, which devastated all modern infrastructures including education and health care delivery mechanism; would required young people(who paid a higher toll of the civil crisis) to fully participate in the rehabilitation and reconstruction process in all aspects of the Liberian society, including policy making (the government). Upon this we decided that we as young people form a political organization that would represent us in the National Elections given that, we would not be considered or giving the opportunity to lead an already-existing political organization in the country. We proposed and began working on the formation of an organization to be called the “Liberian National Congress” setting the African National Congress, ANC of South Africa as a Model.
In the process of recruiting young people in
J. Milton Teahjay is not one of those names I remember seeing on the list of young architects and engineers who designed the model for the formation of CDC. How then did he become a member of this organization that we've carefully designed??
I have read multiple articles and heard of speeches made by Teahjay in
Therefore, I am writing this article to Mr. J. Milton Teahjay asking him to explain his role in CDC to the Liberian People; members of CDC and other colleagues who sympathized with our party. At this point, we are completely confused of how he Teahjay joined the CDC and have since become a major spokesman and decision maker of this party. We will decide further actions base on Teahjay's response to this article. As his remarks are raising concerns and have the ability to destroy the future of CDC as an organization and us as founding members.
The Liberian Elections: Who to vote!
Saah Porter email: [email protected]| Fri October, 14 2005
Thanks for your info. From the results we have seen so far, it appears that Liberians had a difficult time in choosing a new president. The preliminary results justify that majority of the voters could not come to a unanimous conclusion. As a result, each voter voted for his/her candidate base upon specific issues. For example, Mr. Weah supporters believe that he is not a member of the "old group Politicians," he understands the suffering of the common people, he has contributed to the development of the nation, he is a millionaire and therefore he is more likely to not engage in corrupting the nations wealth. For these reasons, they believe that his repetition shows that he is the best man for the job. Mrs. Sirleaf supporters see her as a unique character that can bring development to this devastated nation through her international experience and her economic skills.
Mr. Tubman supporters hold similar belief because of his United Nation reputation. In addition, Mr. Brumskine popularity as a lawyer and a well-known businessman has also attracted some of the voters. Ethnicity is another factor that has divided the voters. Mr. Koroma for example attracted many voters in Lofa County because of his ethnic affiliation with the Mandingoes. There are also others who attracted voter because of ethnicity reason. Finally, there are other reasons that prompted voters to vote for other candidates as where.
With these differences among voters, I perceive complications in the electoral process in the next couple of days. Weah who is now in the lead has been criticized for his academic deficiency. His main rival, Mrs. Sirleaf has also been blamed for supporting the war that killed many and wreck the nations economy. Others have been accused of waging war, which added insult to injury. Nonetheless, the remaining contestants who have not been accused of any major issues lack the support of the massive.
These factors above outline the complications that lie ahead of us in the coming weeks if no one candidate gets the fifty plus one majority vote for the presidency.
With this expectation, it is very important that Liberians all over the globe exercise patience and seeks remedies for what lies ahead of us in the next few days.
I am not concluding the final result, but I am anticipating that the electoral process will continue to the next stage base upon the results we have seen so far, and I assume that there will be some complications due to the division among voters and the volume of contestants.
My hope is that one candidate gets the number of votes needed for the presidency in the next few days. However, it is of very importance that we prepare for another plausible solution if our wishes are not met.
I encourage all voters and contestants to make a unanimous decision and arrive at one prestigious goal.