Liberia: Leymah Gbowee 172nd Independence Day Speech: “A Reality that Lacks Gratitude”
After carefully going through the speech of this year’s orator for our 172nd Independence Day anniversary, on the theme “Together We Are Stronger”, it is indeed worth acknowledging the effort she made in presenting a vivid view from a cross-section of our country on issues that are hindering the strength of our nation.
Her novel insight on the stratification of politics in Liberia that has been crafted by our so-called politicians over the years and perhaps unconsciously being lived and practiced by the populace especially those with the partisan mentality cannot be overemphasized but recognize with keenness as an underlying threat to our nascent democracy and socioeconomic development. Her speech was undeniably filled with ongoing realities that our society is entangled with daily.
She asserted receiving emails from individuals on diverse thematic concerns, ranging from how to be a good Christian to domestic violence issues, to speak the truth and to do the typical “Leymah-style speech, straight from the heart”. All of these sound good and beautiful but the truth always encapsulates everything both the good and the bad or ugly. The truth always remains holistic and balance! In her attempt to present the “truth” to Liberians, she forgot to appreciate and perhaps point out the gradual but steady signs of progress we are making as a nation. All is not “black and white” in Liberia, there are also other colors that are keeping us hopeful about the “new Liberia” we all envisage.
When Liberians in Liberia converge in cities, towns, villages, communities, and homes, while others around the globe get much closer to their televisions or various social media platforms to listen to a national orator on the nation’s independence anniversary, they are doing so in the spirit of patriotism and nationalism. Attention given to such auspicious national event by the citizenry either strengthen their sense of belongingness or diminishes their commitment to Mama Liberia depending on the orator’s message for the people on that day.
This year’s independence day anniversary message seems to portray and unfold the truth about current happenings in our nation’s history as was mentioned early especially with regards to its political status but it lacks gratitude about the immediate past and present progresses our country is making to uplift Liberians out of poverty to prosperity. It is conspicuous that over the months we have been challenged with harsh economic situations as a people and nation but this cannot blindfold us from identifying the ongoing signs of progress we are making in some areas like security, human resource development, infrastructural and road development, and others…all in the interest of Liberia.
Making Liberia’s better and stronger also requires speaking with optimism about Liberia. For instance, a categorical remark like “…no form of justice” undermines the current reforms that are taking place in our judicial system and the continuous effort made by the Gender Ministry and other national and local groups in cropping gender-based violence in the country.
It is about the steady but progressive positive changes that are ongoing in our beloved Country-Liberia, of which many, if not nothing were mentioned to Liberians and the world at large; that ‘something good is coming out of Liberia’. Therefore, I vehemently say without any external force or interior motive nor political alliance, that the “172nd Independence Day Anniversary Speech” delivered by Madam Leymah Gbowee lacks the substance and ingredients of gratitude to re-enforce the hope of Liberians and renew their love and commitment to Mama Liberia in the spirit of patriotism at this critical juncture in the nation’s history.