A Message to the Legatees of Liberia

By Ansu O. Dualu

It is my greatest honor to be able to write to you with the satisfaction and foresight that you will someday realize, if not now, that you are regarded in the highest esteem! Your youth is a complete representation of what is good in us; it gives us hope and inspiration we intend to leverage to birth a Liberian Renaissance for the transformation of our homeland. Brace yourselves, future generations; we have work to do. Only you can ensure that the work is completed in the direction that removes this self-imposed shame and disgrace of backwardness that has plagued our country for some 200 years! Immortality calls; which one of you will answer?

You live in an age of extraordinary endeavors, and your generation is presented with the most incredible opportunity to drastically alter our homeland’s direction; your current stance will define the future you inherit. Therefore, this period calls on you to think differently, be forceful on good governance issues, read relentlessly and expand your curiosity; do not be fearful of failure. Instead, you must tirelessly push to up your standard of living and achieve what seems like an impossible dream – a country rescued from the depths of despair and hopelessness and transformed into a self-reliant nation, guided by institutions and genuinely independent.

Stand firmly and united in your position, be smart but most importantly, allow nothing to shake the foundation of your aspirations. Clearly define the nation you want and embrace national struggles with the fearless innocence of your youth. Do not fragment your revolution for change; include all, especially your well-positioned compatriots in the diaspora. They will be your voice to the outside world. Moreover, it would be best if you did so with total control and only allowed the most prepared, the most discipline, the best and brightest amongst you to lead and define your principles and the direction of our society.  

Know this to be true: You are our society’s primary agents of change and progress. Have a scornful contempt for national failure, mediocrity, tribalism, manipulative political divisions, and that blood-sucking beast called corruption. Your stance must always side with meritocracy, judicial morality, impartiality, and a commitment to excellence and industry. No task is too small not to be accorded the highest degree of due diligence; each of you should pay attention to the details and play your roles to the best of your abilities.

Only allow what benefits the larger society to be accepted as a norm – avoid impropriety and be unwavering in your moral principles. Elevate the noble tenets of Liberian Customs and Traditions – persistently shun unsolicited outside influence. 

The youth must endure great pains now to gain the comforts of modernity for you and your children, but most importantly, to elevate your country to a place of dignity, pride, and true sovereignty.

Your generation is the only one who can do this. Corrupt politicians and their opportunistic foreign handlers thrive in Liberia’s current chaos – it maximizes their loots to the detriment of the more significant population. Fight against amoral behaviors without ceasing!

Be willing to lay down everything for the country you need, or you will be laid down for the chaos they desire! The former may be abrupt, but the latter is always slow and extremely painful. Always choose the former and stand on your principles. Remember to do this as a united front and never separately, for you are weak as individuals but strongest in your union. To be successful, you must bond as one to get the society you deserve. Always keep in mind that you must give up something of value to gain something of greater value. This is the only way.

Where the decks are stacked against you, the government makes peaceful assembly impossible, denies you social reforms and every opportunity for redress, and becomes heavy-handed, punching the air with thunderous fists as Jonathan Larson proposes: “Anarchy! Revolution, Justice, Screaming for Solutions, Forcing Changes, Risk, and Danger, Making Noise, and Making Pleas!” No matter what happens, you must win the day together, or you will lay the wreath separately. Don’t allow yourselves to get too weak to stand and face your tormenters; use your youth to strengthen your position so that no man is tempted to subjugate you against your will and deny you what is naturally yours.

Your youth is the catalyst for social reforms. Self-determination and self-belief must be the engines that drive your need for a transformative change in Liberia. The country and renewal we seek must first be birthed in the spirits of each one of us; be it a political, social, or economic revolution, there must be a oneness of vision contrary to the old traditions of bad governance that have kept our society so far behind.

Single Individuals working selfishly for personal reasons will not help the cause. Individual-minded people are your enemies! You must think and act as a group. Your generation must effectuate change en masse and push your national vision for it to take root. 

Each of you is unique in his glory; you must combine your glories and struggle in oneness and create a singular purpose that forever binds you and creates in you that patriotic spirit that brings about the egalitarian style of self-governance you deserve.

Struggle in truth, love, and revere each other and never forsake your kind for another. Your ideology must lay its foundation in loyalty, discipline, and allegiance to your country and each other; your obligations must put the group interests far above that of the individual. You must always subscribe to this belief: Country over everything! Sharpen your skills and remove every form of inferiority complex and doubt what you can achieve; you are more capable than what you give yourselves credit for. Apply yourselves more.

One cannot stress the importance of education more than you already know. Aggressively push to develop your technical skills. Learn the skills of your tormenters and surpass them. This is the only way you can protect yourself against their tactics. Know that these tricks are constantly evolving, and stay ahead of the curve. Your push for total independence and modernity is not a one-day affair, this is a life-long battle. There are forces constantly pushing against you; always have a fortified position – developing your mind is the most significant fortification of them all! Get comfortable with going on the offensive. Stop always defending; it puts you in a venerable position.

Keep your heads held high and stop pandering to people who work for you or multinationals who come to your country to exploit you. Demand what is yours and do not rest on your laurels; build upon them. It is okay to make sure competitors have a respectable fear of you. Make them think twice before they attempt to cheat you. However, ensure your youthful exuberance of carelessness and quick to action keep them in line and fair in their dealings; be willing to lawfully or forcefully act against anyone who conspires to torment and exploit you.

It is crucially important that you take a firm stance on national matters because “where you stand as a young man/woman will determine where you sit as an old man/woman,” as the African proverb goes. You hold your future in your hands, guard it with your lives and make the devil himself fear your wrath if he attempts to destroy a worthwhile future for you and your generations. 

Do not miss a vote, no matter how insignificant that election appears. Never hesitate to dissolve any government that operates outside the guidelines of the laws – amend your constitution where it does not meet the high moral standards you have set for your society. It is just, constitutional, and necessary for the stability of our society, our safety, and our sanity. 

Gain strength knowing that our ancestors will stand in awe and jubilation were you to bring about the Liberia they prayed and dreamt about all their lives. Heaven is watching and hoping you rise to the occasion. You have it in you to be the generation that turns this all around. So pick up the pieces and enjoy this poem to help awaken the patriotic spirit in you:  

I am a Liberian

I am a Liberian.

My domain stretches from the coastal plains of Cape Palmas to the grand heights of Cape Mount, up the rocky hills of Montserrado.

I claim L.I.B. because she’s all mine!

From the mighty Wologisi, higher up the snow-capped peaks of Nimba – my navel strings are buried deep within her endless rainforest.

I am because Liberia is, Liberia is because I am!

I am a Liberian.

Not because I am a Belle, Kissi, or Mandingo, but because I war dance as a Mano, Lorma, and Bassa.

Oh yes, the Kpelle, Gio, and Gola dabble in the traditions of our ancestors, but

if you were to listen keenly, you will also feel the ancient rhythm of the Krahn, Grebo, Kru and the Gbandi.

Not too far in the distance, the Congua, Dei and Vai sing along in one accord!

I am a Liberian.

I belong no tribe, yet I belong to them all – my Liberian fraternity is total!

We stand in absolute brotherhood because the love of liberty unites us here.

True, my allegiance is to no clan, no individual group or established “societies” but to All Hail, Liberia Hail.

I am a Liberian.

Allah, Jesus or our Ancestors may define my religion; yet my loyalty to Liberia remains indivisible.

Politics will not separate me from this one fact, nor will this Free Verse cover the entirety of my Liberian-ness.

Yes, the drumbeats of my village draw me closer, but my soul remains unequivocally clear in its proclamations: I am purely and unapologetically, Liberian.

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