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The Wave of Resistance to the TRC Report: Singing a New Song

Published July 10, 2009 on the Liberian Jornal

All of a sudden, Prince Johnson and his silver pistol, Benjamin Yeaten, George Dweh, Alhaji Kromah, etc have gotten pro bono lawyers to argue their cases simply because the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Final Report did not leave out our pepper bush –Ma Ellen or decorate her with sympathy as that shy and innocent princess who was mistreated by repressive rulers but tricked, fooled and duped by criminal gangs faking as liberators to whom she ran for safety. This is high level hypocrisy but there has been a pattern to this kind of behavior. Only the JJC in Liberian politics and novice to historical events will be surprise that people are sacrificing their credibility and consciences for the one who holds the highest job in the country.


All of a sudden, the focus of the discussion has changed and we are singing a new song. We are now picky on word choice-unedited, draft, unscripted… We now appear to have trouble understanding words like remorse, cooperation, warlord, etc. and find ourselves debating their meanings and timeliness. We have used these words all along, not so? But things are different now and all those who committed atrocities and other crimes have a cover-up and a place to run for safety.


All of a sudden, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been lampooned and jived as having credibility problems. Disagreement among some of its members and their inclination to put personal interest over country which should be expected of any group that is put together has been brought to the fold as reason why no one should take the outcome of three years of work seriously. How come these concerns were not raised long ago? How could all these people including the president appear before a group that they knew was not credible? What has changed since the president pledged her support to the findings of the TRC till now? Mrs. Sirleaf’s hopes in the TRC process which prompted her comments just few months ago “if those [TRC] recommendations call for a tribunal of some sort, or reparations, we will do that,” don’t seem to me that she saw the TRC as not credible.


I bet my neck, had the TRC final report recommended punishments to the extent of even public hanging only for Tom Woewiyu, George Boley, Prince Johnson, Alhaji Kromah, Khran Killer, Mano Tiger, Sekou Damante Conneh, Charles Taylor, Paul Vaye … and left out Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has managed to play the victim all along, the reactions would have been different. Most assuredly, they would carry Cllr. Verdier and company on their shoulders through the major streets of Monrovia and hail the final report as an abridged version of the new amplified Bible. This is not new; previous regimes had cooked up the same menu item. I am, and I believe many are so bored to death and regurgitated by this smelly, yucky stuff. And this is one reason why I am neither worried nor flabbergasted by the new waves of resistance to the TRC report. It is normal by our Liberian standards and part of our history.


But the best is yet to come. As some one has already predicted, resolutions condemning the TRC final report will soon start flying. Chiefs from the various counties will soon be mobilized to “hang” the TRC. You would see the youths being conjured to ostracize the one who attempts to strangle the only hen that is about to lay the golden egg. As many may come to take notice, the situation has always been suitable and fertile for pro-government rallies but fragile for any anti government demonstration. We are all witnesses.


As it stands, the Field Marshall, Rock One, Deadbody Trouble, Dirty Killer, Major Kromah, Spokesman Woewiyu, Glasco the Rebel, Tarnue Mawolo, Edwin Snowe and the rest don’t have to even crack their teeth. They are all under the Oldma’s wing. The government’s Public Relations Officer and other poor man lawyers will plea for them. Had “Major Taylor, our Leader” not being in stock already, he would have been protected also under the rock that has been provided by the presidential task force, and that rock is of course Ma Ellen. All of these “freedom fighters” will have no cause to worry about sentences or appearing before any court but sing with one accord the “edited” version of Liberia’s favorite praise song of the 90’s “I am under the Rock”

I am under the rock
The rock is higher than I
Ma Ellen hides me, hides me under the rock
Go the tell the TRC
I am under the rock
Ma Ellen hides me, hides me under the rock

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Editor’s Note: Dennis Jah, co-author of Notebook of a Warrior and The Longest Night is one of the many victims of the Liberian uncivil war living in the United States. He blogs about Liberia on http://dennisjah.blogspot.com and can be reached at dennisjah@yahoo.com

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