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Published 02/14/2008 on Bushchicken.com

Dear Dr. Fahnbulleh,

I attended the town hall meeting in Philadelphia sometime last month where you spoke as government’s representative dispatched to the USA to dispel speculations that the Government of Liberia (GOL) has identified some Liberians in the USA as enemies of the state. Wow! It is quite a bit incomprehensible to see Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh who has made all the big show and loud noises to end up as something close to running errands for President Sirleaf. But that is none of my business; in whatever capacity you are working, it is service to our country – something I believe all of us want to do. Frankly speaking Dr. Fahnbulleh, I was not impressed with your team’s reason for coming to the USA or holding the town hall meeting. It is one of those undertakings of the government that leaves me to wonder about the priorities of our first post war elected government. But let me come to that part later.

Off the back, I was disappointed that you have not been able to outgrow that Sierra Leonean, Jamaican or whatever the foreign accent for all these years. Identifying with foreign identities as a way of proving superiority is of the past. In time past, educated Liberians often were associated with foreign backgrounds because in their minds our country was not good enough to produce brilliant scholars and other experts. For example, good soccer players were thought to have had “Ghanaian backgrounds,” and educated Liberians were always associated with foreign or Congo origins or having being schooled in a foreign country. So as a way of promoting that “foreign” identity, many would copy a pronounced foreign accent whether “American series” or whatever click they could put in their speeches to make it sound outside Liberia . So to hear you still sticking to that accent because you “went to school in Sierra Leone ” is so disgusting and a put down for our country. It is unnerving to me the same way I was unhappy with a Grebo girl I met in Camp Buduburam , Ghana who, because of her beauty and fair color skin said she had a Mauritanian background. It is this attitude of associating any thing outstanding as “outside Liberia ” that drives me nuts. Those days are gone; we know better now to still think that a foreign identity is a mark of superiority and high intelligence. During the question and answers period at the town hall meeting, you bragged about your inability to speak any of the Liberian languages/dialects in spite of your Grebo and Vai parentage yet you relish a sierra Leonean accent. This is upsetting.

There are a number of things you have not outgrown and a foreign accent is the least of them. Even as Security Advisor in a democratically elected government, you still boast of your gorilla trainings and your involvement with a lot of killings which you call arm struggles and revolutions. In your gesticulations during the meeting, you raised your right palm above your head and made your fingers in such a way that look like you are about to pull the trigger of a fire arm. Although I had been traumatized by the war, I was not afraid of your war-like gestures. I knew they were all flow show and big bluff. I believe many in the gathering were aware of such flares just as I did. We heard all those “big smoke no fire” actions from you even at a time when Taylor lay siege of our land and we all docked or ran like little crickets.

After all these years, I observed that you still don’t keep genuine eye contact during your presentations as you did in the past as a show of your “militancy.” Many who followed your style also look over the heads of their audiences as they address them or hang their heads up in the sky as they walk. Such disconnect between you and your audience sometime shows in the way you relate to the “masses.” It showed much more during previous successive elections. Let me hold it at that.

But the issue that is more important than your accent or your show of militarism which drove me to write this open letter is the reason for you and your team’s visit to America or holding town hall meetings in Philly and DC. At the beginning of your “assurance” statements you yourself trivialized the seriousness of the so-called embassy memo yet you and your team chose to come to America to investigate and hold town hall meetings here and there. As you stated, if an email from a yahoo account is so trivial, why did you waste money, time and other resources to follow it up? I bet, if this socalled Nippy memo had to do with the Liberians in Guinea or Ivory Coast you wouldn’t have gone to hold town hall meetings on camp kola in Guinea or in Toulepleu in La Cote d’Ivoire . But because this is America where since childhood we were made to believe that money grows on trees, the government of Liberia has made the United States one of her offsite stations. Government officials upon appointment/election make it their first order of business to visit the USA so as to stamp their supremacy over their own people and galvanize their political prowess.

Doc., in order to empower our people, we need to instill in them both in words and actions that Liberia is an independent country that is able to stand on its own instead of ever nurturing the ugly concept that Liberia is a step child to the United States. Running to the USA every now and then just shows that as a country, we are nothing or incomplete without the United States . As leaders, the government should invest in its people and build up their self esteem as a nation.

You said a number of things that I was so displeased with. First you tried to justify with a cold heart your engagement in a number of wars that killed many of our people when you patted yourself on the back as a freedom fighter and revolutionist and not a war criminal, taking cues from the late Yasser Arafat “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” This is no different from the excuses for murder coming out of the mouths of a psychopath like Prince Johnson who claimed he did not offend anyone during the war or Killer Thomas Woewiyu who calls his NPFL rebel bloodletting a “just war.” We have lost so much in the many senseless wars that it is so painful for anyone to justify any of them being it the Nimba Raid, the First War, the Second, Butt Naked war or whatever savagery that destroyed our country and its people.

Secondly, you made excuses for the nefarious statements “level Monrovia and we will rebuild it” when you opined that Ellen’s mouth is not a gun and therefore her words were harmless. Even Mrs. Sirleaf had ostensibly apologized for ordering the deaths of so many of our citizens. For her Security Adviser to come back almost three years later trying to make excuses for those statements is not only faceless but a slap in the face of genuine reconciliation and national healing.

Your partner Mrs. Medina Wesseh in my view did extremely better. Unlike you, who adopted a “bring it on” mentality, she was down to earth but firm and pragmatic. At some point she could admit “I don’t know” or “I don’t have information on so and so issue.” Even when she said that there is a fiber optic cable under the Atlantic Ocean to supply telephone (Landlines), something I am not sure about because fiber is a newer and very expensive technology to be wasted, I understood that she was admitting her shortcomings. She did not speak as an authority in telephony but was only relating what she was told. I liked the way she conducted herself because she did not put on a “know it all” attitude that you demonstrated.

I hope I did not offend you. I thought to write as I promised since I was not given the chance to ask a question or comment during the town hall meeting due to time.

Thanks for reading. May God bless our country and help steer its destiny.

Yours truly,

Dennis Jah
Bensalem , PA

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