The Case for Serious Political Activism.
I may not be marching in the streets of the United States anymore as I have done in the past, my focus has been on the writing and intellectual side of progressive activism, which led to the founding, hosting and funding of this website, The Liberian Dialogue since 2002 (from my pockets and limited financial resources), which drives my ideas, my thoughts and the thoughts of others.
When Liberians ask the sarcastic question as they have done frequently, 'what have you done for Liberia since you been in the United States?'
My answer has always been my small contributions of marching and protesting in the streets of the United States with others to save lives and make Liberia a democratic and prosperous country, and my other small contribution is the founding and funding singularly of this website which is visited by millions worldwide to keep Liberia on the minds of people everywhere, to drive the discussions and to effect needed social, economic and political change in my country.
However, from Atlanta, Georgia to Washington, DC, etc, etc, I together with countless other brave Liberians walked the streets of these continental United States chanting and holding placards that held descriptive wordings of the plight of my people, our people, and our country that stemmed from over of a century of political grievances that my (activists) colleagues and I wanted to change.
It didn't matter which Liberian government and which Liberian president was in power at the time.
We marched endlessly and passionately and did what we had to do to get our message and our political grievances out in the public to internal and external sympathizers, political leaders and policymakers to keep our issues on the front burner of world opinions so that these individuals can make the hard decisions needed to help our people and our country.
The catalyst that unified us in our idealized mindsets was our presumptive target - the sitting President of Liberia whom we believed failed to lead, failed to curb political corruption, failed to create jobs and opportunity for Liberians, failed to respect and uphold the ultimate importance of political institutions and failed to make Liberia a safe and prosperous place to live and raise a family.
We did not receive financial paybacks from the government of Liberia to end or scale back our protests, as the current protesters in Liberia (ICOP and COP) have alleged to have done in their efforts to pocket the dividends and win the attention of President George Weah, which is the opposite of fighting for a just political cause.
The student/community leaders and activists of the 1970s in the United States, and the student/community leaders and activists of the 1980s and 1990s, brought with them passion, focus, guts, and an unabashed determination to fight for genuine change in Liberia.
During our protests rallies in the United States, we didn't only match in the streets of America to change governments in Liberia, we led signed petition drives that freed students and student leaders from prisons, and helped to free those lingering in prisons waiting to be executed.
We lobbied for some of those students to travel to the United States, and we also lobbied for fair immigration policy for our people in the United States.
We fought for good governance in Liberia, also.
Whether we succeeded in the eyes of our ungrateful detractors in our quest to change the nation's cabal of corrupt, visionless and unproductive political leaders through protest rallies to help our people - to make Liberia safe and prosperous is left to individual interpretations, and certainly, can be debated.
You can say all you want in terms of dismissing and disrespecting activists of the past through negativity and the virulent badmouthing of these political activists in the United States of the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s because some are not household names, some never went to prison in Liberia, some did not attend the University of Liberia, and some were never a member of the alphabet-driven student political parties.
Whether it is in Jerusalem or Germany, the United States or elsewhere where Liberians took to the streets to protest a bad, dictatorial, visionless, inept, corrupt and unproductive government; activism is activism, and those involved must be embraced and respected for their courage and sacrifices.
These individuals are unsung heroes and heroines who set the pace for dissident protest rallies today for Liberia and Liberians in the United States and the homeland.
In this day and age of Facebook activism and the ubiquitous presence of Facebook 'talk show' hosts, which activists of the past never had are enough reasons to have a focused and unified message to make things possible.
With every threat of a protest march (after one that was abruptly aborted for another) coupled with a loose, uncoordinated, undignified and undisciplined message, and charges and counter charges of paybacks from the government only to later announce the need to have another protest rally, waters down the meaning, the thirst and the effectiveness of another protest rally.
The Council of Patriots and the Independent Council of Patriots and their leaders, sadly, are not doing a good job.
They are a disservice to political activism.