“The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind …” Marcus Garvey, Nova Scotia, October 1937.
The above extract from the full quotation caption “Emancipate ourselves from mental slavery” postulated by Marcus Garvey, the civil right activist and proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, is what some politicians, activists, in our Liberian society continues to rely on to gain or enhance their popularities. By conceptual clarification, to be limited does not necessarily imply unable to read and write. Of course they can read well by pronouncing words appropriately, but cannot write well. Some of them are even university graduate or students with undeveloped mind. To be limited also implies what the ordinary Liberians often described as “can’t read between the lines. Because of their intellectual limitations, they are vulnerable to the manipulation of intellectual politicians. Their behaviours manifest refusal to accept or embrace glaring facts that any reasonable person or objective thinker will embrace. They are people easily swayed or distracted by politicians. Arguably, to be limited intellectually mirrors a man unable to develop use his mind. In as much as the mind remained undeveloped, some politicians that have nothing to offer see that as an advantage to enhance their so called popularity. In other words, these politicians are using their minds by taking advantage of the limitations of these people. They are (some of these Politicians or Activists) fully aware that no reasonable or objective thinkers will accept what they have to offer in absence of substance and yet, they say it because, the limited ones will easily buy their lazy ideas. To be limited can be equated to Marcus Garvey assertion of being bound to be slave to the other man who uses his mind. The other man who uses his mind can be a politician. Let’s look at one or two examples. A politician is accused of buying stolen car or vehicle reported by the Embassy of United States of America accredited near Monrovia. Instead of responding directly to the police investigation, he instead mentioned that because he criticized the President, it is the reason why the police is after him. To the objective thinker or reasonable person, what has criticizing the President of the republic of Liberia to do with the investigation when the vehicle or car in question bears the official license plate of the politician publically admitted to? Shouldn’t he (the politician) aloof criticizing the President from the investigation? What purpose will it serves for the investigation after his admittance of the car carrying his official plate? Isn’t cleared that this politician used his mind as a tactics to target some of the people that are limited? Or isn’t he taking advantage of the limitation of some people to sway their minds from the scandal or allegation? This is how some of our politicians that have nothing to offer gain their popularities. Another activist was taken to court by the government so as to give account of his claims that the government hired assassins to murder the former managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, Harry Greaves, and eliminate other political opponents of the government and calling for a mass citizen action on March 11. Supporters manifesting the caption of this article demanded his unconditional release that to some extent connotes evading justice. Because of their limitations, they erroneous argued the concept of “Freedom of Speech” infringed upon by the government. This is how they manifested their limitations. Article 19 (2,3-a &b) and Article 20 & 21 of the , the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that Liberia subscribed to outlined two key categories of restrictions that limit freedom of expression: for respect of the rights or reputations of others; for the protection of national security or of public order or of public health or morals. These restrictions shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary. In other words, it means that the government as a guarantor of democracy has the right to protect the reputation of any of its citizen injured by another citizen as a result of freedom of expression. In the same vein, democracy provides the accountability and responsibility of any freedom of speech that endangers or threatens national, internal security or public order. Now whether supporters were aware of these provisions for which they closed their eyes suggest their limitations. They should have supported him in the court of law so as to make the case or provide poof. In absence of proof, it might interest you to wonder why the activist laid such claims against the government? The reason is simple. Knowing the limitations of the majority of his audience or supporters, he saw that as an advantage in order to gain popularity. In conclusion, you might want to counter the argument on grounds that all of us are naturally limited. Of course when it comes to profession, education, career, discipline, skills, talents, etc. we all are limited. However, being limited in this context does not necessarily enslave us to the other men that develop their minds. What will continue to enslave us is the assertion of Marcus Garvey. Ambrues M. Nebo, Contributing Writer