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Credits and Blames In the Liberian War

The Liberian war had ended and now it is time to claim prizes, rewards and credits for the roles individuals and groups played in ending the Liberian blood bath. But at the same time, no one has taken responsibility for the destruction, killings, armed robberies, rapes and wanton sufferings that Liberians went through during those 10 plus years. Isn’t it natural to take credit for the good and blame someone else for the bad? Of course it is! Even massacres and other inhumane acts that were recorded on tapes have thus far received no signoff or any one taking responsibility. Any attempt to tie any one to any of those crimes has received stiff resistance. The Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) which was set up as the name reveals to obtain the truth so as to pave the way to reconciliation and lasting peace can testify as to how difficult it is for people to take personal responsibilities but blame the other guy for bad things.

The challenges in owning up to our failures, mistakes, poor judgments, mischiefs, etc. can really take a toll on our personal ego although they shame our consciences. So the natural thing to do is to make excuse or justify our errors. All the war makers and their accomplices have very good reasons for engaging or supporting the mayhem which before the Rwandan war was the worst on the continent of Africa. For Taylor, his intentions were good: the goal was to institute American style democracy; For Doe, he had to defend his country that was invaded by rebels; For Ellen, she had no other options left in getting rid of a dictator. For Prince Johnson, well, he was fooled and also needed to do something to defend his tribe that was targeted for extinction by the Doe government. For Kromah, Boley, Konneh, an all those rebel leaders who came after 1990, this was the only way they could return home after being chased out by the NPFL war machine.

Not surprisingly, those who claimed credit for the peace we now enjoy are not in short supply. Nobel laureate Leymah Gboyee claimed she was able to lead a group of women who striped or threatened to strip down  and also withheld sex from their husbands or partners which forced various sex-starved stakeholders to sign on to the peace agreement. Her co-Nobel Peace Prize winner argues and even the Nobel Peace Prize Committee agrees that she has stabilized the country and maintained peace. For Dr. Sawyer, he traded corruption for peace which some of his hard code supporters have explained as allowing his interim government officials to steal, embezzle, rob or do whatever they wanted without being reprimanded as long as they joined him in persecuting the war against Taylor and his rebel NPFL forces. The combined forces of LURD and MODEL insist they should have all the credit for ending the war because they drove out tyrant Taylor whom even ECOMOG could not defeat. And the list of “creditors” goes on and on.

So with all the justifications and excuses while each claim credit for the good things, we still don't know what caused the war, who is responsible and evidently how we can avoid another war.

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