MONROVIA – The cover page Artwork (illustration) of the seven-chapter fictional Book of Allen G. Dahn, born in 1977, depicts the ‘forgiveness’ he’s preaching through the Book: an armed man and a civilian (with no weapon) are discussing.
By: Samuel G. Dweh, Development Journalist (Education)
Anybody reading chapter one of the Book, titled Painful Forgiveness, will realize the Author is his story’s major character “Sayon Weah” and Sayon’s father, Curtis Weah, represents the Author’s father whose biological father was beheaded, in real life, by rebel soldiers when the Author’s family was in a large group (exodus) of people leaving Monrovia (Liberia’s Capital) and heading to the Monrovia-Kakata highway for refuge.
After orchestrating the murder of the boy’s father, the death squad commander gives order to one of the boy-soldiers to take Sayon away and murder him at a place known as THE PLACE OF THE SKULL. But the child-soldier befriended Sayon, gave him a Pass (paper) with the signature of the death squad commander, advised him to escape through the forest and ask for his (child-soldier’s) relatives in the first town he will meet along the way.
The Author narrates his refugee life, through his character Sayon, in Ivory Coast’s refugee camp and his reconnection to his biological mother (Sayon’s mother). He comes to general life of all Liberian refugees in Ivory, and how the United Nations Commission on Refugees (UNCHR) later facilitated return of Liberian refugees who wanted to come home.
The Painful Forgiveness was launched at the Dr. Solomon K. Jarpah, Sr. Multi-Purpose Building, Carver Mission, ELWA, July 9, 2023.
The Author’s Remarks were preceded by gospel and secular songs and poetic recital by some young colleagues, and Remarks came from Special Guests.
Some of the Special Guests were: Pst. Joshua C. Sonpon, Principal, Carver Mission Academy; Mr. Melton Yolco, official of the Best Brains International University and Carver Christian University; Mr. Justyn D.W. Tobeh, Jr., Principal of ELWA Academy; Mr. Other Othello Cheabow, Toe Memorial Institute, Grand Gedeh County; and Mr. Samuel G. Dweh, former president of the Liberia Association of Writers (LAW), and a freelance development journalist, with special interest in education.
Besides Special Guest Samuel G. Dweh, each of the other Special Guests promised to buy copies of the Book.
“It seems Author Allen G. Dahn and I are born under the same star of literary writing,” Special Guest Samuel G. Dweh began his Remarks. “My first published work is about Liberia’s civil war, and Allen G. Dahn’s first book is about Liberia’s civil war. My Book is titled The Dyed Star—Liberia’s Civil War story, four hundred and fifty pages, written during my refugee day in Ghana. But the refugee experiences are of Liberian refugees in Ghana, where I had spent eleven years—nineteen to two thousand and one.”
During his Remark, Author Allen G. Dahn said the inspiration of writing the book came from his experiences during Liberia’s civil war.
“We need a national healing related to our Country’s war. And we must promote reading culture in Liberia,” the Author said.
Next was launching of the Book.
The Chief Launcher of the Book was the Representative of District #6, Montserrado County.
During his remarks, he stressed national healing of Liberia’s civil war.
On his depiction of national healing, Representative Enders explained the story of a woman whose Pastor had killed one of relatives during the civil war.
“She had to forgive this Pastor,” he said.
He also spoke about the Author’s educational service for his institution.
“The Author today had served as Teacher of my school.”
The Chief Launcher pledged to purchase ten copies of the book for each of his institutions, and paid for copies for invited guests who didn’t have money at the launch.
Special Guest Samuel G. Dweh had interview with the Author after the program. The Author went down memory lane on his family’s civil war time experience and his personal experiences.
“During the start of the civil war in 1990, my father was by government forces because he was of Nimba County. He was murdered along with other captives. I was standing by his side when he was being taken away. Before that day, my cousins and my uncle’s wife had been killed in the Lutheran Church massacre in 1989. My father was a medical practitioner who worked at John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center, in Sinkor, and ELWA Hospital in Paynesville.
He also said his uncle left the World, similar to the way his father left.
“My uncle was in the Armed Forces of Liberia, but he was murdered by his squad members.”
On how he left Liberia, Author Dahn said: “My mother escaped with my siblings and me to the Ivory Coast in 1993 when some armed men attempted to recruit my brother and me to join the rebel group and revenge for the death of our father. I spent five consecutive years in Ivory Coast during that Country’s civil war. From Ivory Coast, I went to Ghana.”
After some years in Ghana, he returned home to contribute to the development of his post-war Country.
“I got a job as Computer Science Teacher at the Carver Mission in 2015. I am currently the Administrative Assistant at the Principal’s office, where I am charged with lot of responsibilities.”
He had served as many educational institutions and taught English Language, creative writing, and other subjects, he told the interviewer.
“I served as General Secretary at the Christian Foundation—Liberia from 2010 to 2015. I also taught at other schools, including Prime System and Blessed Hope AG,” he said.
Later, he connected to Rev. Samuel Enders prior to his become a member of Liberia’s National Legislature—a non-government official during that time.
“During the Ebola crisis in Liberia in 2014, I worked with Rev. Samuel Enders’ team for sensitization and distribution of relief items. That was before he became Representative of District number 6. I also worked with his vocational Bible teaching team.”