National Unification Day Celebration 2010

Last updated 01/01/2012

To celebrate our 2010 National Unification Day, ONE Liberia approached Liberians from a wide range of backgrounds to share a statement in written or audio/video form. Click below or scroll down to view each statement.

 

 

 

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Axel M. Addy

M. Nathaniel Barnes, Ambassador

Kenneth Y. Best

C. Patrick Burrowes, Ph. D.

Robtel Neajai Pailey

Benjamin Sanvee

Kimmie L. Weeks

National Unification Day
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

ONE Liberia wishes to thank President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for lending her voice to our celebration of Liberian Unity.

Unification Day
Axel M. Addy

Unification Day, a day of reflection, an opportunity for each of us to ask ourselves, given our history, given the many challenges to redefining our identity, and charting a new path – what are we doing in each of our lives, everyday, to unite us and promote a Liberia that our children and our children’s children can be proud of? If the story were to be told 50 years from now, how would history capture your contribution to the Liberia we all dream of? As we all reflect on this day, we can embrace a spirit of hope and be the positive change we want to see in Liberia. It starts with you, the good citizen, the respectful constituent, the good Samaritan, the caring neighbor, the helping hand, the smiling face, the warm hug to a child in need, the good citizen. As good citizens, embracing the essence of that which bonds us as Liberians, each one of us must teach one, be one, and inspire one to be one; a good citizen. Together, you do your part, I do my part, and all of us do our parts, to one day in our old age be written in history as good citizens. Liberia will rise again, only if you rise again. Happy Unification Day my fellow good citizen.

Axel M. Addy
Country Representative
Population Services International
www.psi.org

Statement of Unification
M. Nathaniel Barnes, Ambassador

The primary significance of unification in the new Liberian dispensation is that unification is the foundation of the emerging Liberian Renaissance. Unification is the bedrock upon which Liberians can move forward towards stability, peace and prosperity with a singularity of purpose.

A unified Liberia without regards to ethnicity, gender or social standing requires two primary drivers. The first is ownership. Unified Liberians must clearly understand that we must take ownership and responsibility of our common Destiny. Regardless of the sources or causes of our problems, we have to solve them together and equitably share in the benefits that those solutions will bring. The second driver is leadership. Leadership, not only in the traditional sense, but all Liberians must exercise leadership in their everyday lives. The leadership quality of self-discipline…the leadership quality of patriotism…the leadership quality of self improvement… the leadership quality of honesty and integrity…the leadership quality of tolerance. When we attempt to master these fundamental characteristics and behaviors, we will be in a more solid position to question authority and make demands of our leadership structures.

True unification will magnify the people’s realization of their value and power. When we are unified, not only will we select and elect leaders that are focused on the needs, desires and aspirations of all, but we will possess the power to change our chosen leaders when they fall short of meeting those critical needs. When we are unified as a nation, we can together build consensus to select our global partners with a focus on meeting our agenda as opposed to serving only theirs. When we are unified as a people, we can together build an environment of freedom tempered by responsibility; tolerance which embraces diversity; and justice in which no citizen is above the law.

Unification will allow us as a nation to embrace continuous reform within all aspects of our existence. We must at all times, henceforth, be engaged in reforming our practices, our laws, our institutions, and even our behaviors, whether we are dealing with issues of land or corruption.

Finally, as a unified nation, we will able to fully realize our power as a people. Then, we will not be satisfied with the status quo even when it represents an improvement over the past. We will aspire to even greater things. We must be able to envision a Liberia that will not only be a responsible member of the world community but a global leader in our own right. I believe this is our destiny!

National Unity: A Critical Challenge
Kenneth Y. Best

I would first like to thank One Liberia for organizing this important initiative to celebrate Liberia’s Unification Day 2010. Unification Day is important to all of us Liberians because it is the one day on which we should recognize the importance of unity and unification. The problem that developed from the beginning of the republic was that too many people were marginalized and this wasn’t really corrected until 1980. It wasn’t then either; but it led us to 1980 and also to the war.

The time has come for all Liberians to realize that we are one people and that we should do everything in our power to promote, encourage and foster unification and national unity, because in unity there is strength. We can do nothing in this country unless we are united as one people.

We should strive to develop our national character in the most positive way so that all of our people will feel themselves Liberians first and foremost, before they even consider themselves as individuals. And they should do everything possible to promote the national cause.

National unity is critical to the future of our country. Through national unity, we can achieve anything possible. This country is rich in human and natural resources. We should unite, become very serious people, hard-working, become focused and develop a very strong work ethic to be able to make the best use of the immense resources which our beneficent Creator has endowed us with.

So that’s the challenge on National Unification Day. Actually, we should strive to make every day National Unification Day. When we wake up in the morning we think Liberia; we think of ourselves as Liberians first and foremost, and do everything possible to make sure that in all our thoughts and actions, we serve the common cause — the development and prosperity of our common patrimony, Liberia.

Kenneth Y. Best
Liberian Observer Corp.
www.liberianobserver.com

One Mo’ Round, Liberians: Meditation on Unification
C. Patrick Burrowes, Ph. D.

Liberians, how can I say who we are?

Every generation must carve a collective answer onto stately columns, only to watch the bug-a-bugs and matches turn their monuments to dust and ashes. Lean too heavily upon the pillars of others, even our parents, and we will surely fall. And fail.

The journey forward begins within.

There are no prophets on the payroll of the United Nations, the IMF or USAID. There is no hidden codex in their shiny temples. No edicts from Sodom will save us from this wilderness. We are the messengers for whom we have been waiting.

Who are we?

The answer lies in the ancient cadences of village life, the habeas corpus of the court houses, and the “with sad regret” of the National Gazettes. It echoes, too, in the lingua franca of the markets, the calls of the carboys on the holeh-holehs. From Arthington to Zwedru after every football goal is scored, our communal chords touch Heaven’s floor. “Ah yah, one mo’ round, Liberia got the game.”

Those with eyes, come see us curtseying in the Grand March, buying mammie-put-de-peppeh at recess. And, after the official July 26 Oration is over, riding the riddem of the Army Band as one with fellow revelers, chanting “Care me hafway, care me hafway, care me halfway, ehn Ah will neva lee you.” Truth, wasting in the streets.

Let us, you and I, turn from Satan’s altar – this puerile and futile pursuit of purity. I am a Kru boy named Benedictus, a half-Chinese child in Lakpazee, a Muslim girl at Convent, my Krahn family came after the Congos. So what? Put my name in the pot, and build the table bigger.

All of our frailties some trace back to our fathers’ mothers’ fathers, insisting a stillbirth would have been better than birthing pain. Has there ever been a nation without its antagonisms, its angers, its antipathies? Ask Khufu. Ask Samori. Ask Mandela. How did Kemit thrive for 5,000 years while raising pyramids high above the sands?

This might not be the country you want, but it’s the one we got. Bruised, battered yet blessed, it is ours for the (re)claiming. All of it. All of we.

Yes to bridges and running water, but God knows we need healers of the spirit, keepers of the vision, chronicles of our story. Having mastered subtraction and division, can we now learn to add and multiply? And, who will teach us these lost arts – the children?

Friendships are by choice, so too are marriages, but this history that binds us could be our undoing. Coercion may compel conformity for a season, but never consensus. Without three legs the stool cannot stand – respect, understanding and, dare I say, caring. Learn my name, acknowledge my pain that in the pools of your eyes I will learn to see myself reflected, again.

Another generation, another crossroad. So, who do you say we are, Liberian?

The children are waiting. Speak. Act. Be.

C. Patrick Burrowes, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of Humanities and Communications
Penn State University at Harrisburg
Founder, liberiapedia.com

National Unification Day
Robtel Neajai Pailey

National Unification Day is not about superficially chiming to the same tune of patriotism and unity. That would be dishonest, at best, because the fact of the matter is we have a long way to go to coalesce. Unification Day signifies an opportunity for Liberians all over the globe to reflect on where we have strayed from our value base, from our humanity, and from our love of liberty. It is our opportunity to transcend the past, and embrace a future worth living, filled with personal, communal, and national transformation.

National Unification Day
Benjamin Sanvee

There are certain moments in the history of a nation, when a generation is called upon to rise above the negative vices that often tends to pull them back and turn diversity into strength. LIBERIA now stand in one of those defining moments, where UNITY and LOVE must now become the foundation on which we build a strong future. The fact that we have gone through 14years of civil crisis and have experienced an imperfect past, but yet have still survived, validates the resilience of our people and gives us the audacity to hope for a better future. On this unification day, let us remember those who perished during the dark periods in our history, and vow never again to use violence as a means to solve our problems. Let us bare truth to the fundamental belief that we are all our brothers and sisters keepers, because the cords that binds us together runs deeper and is stronger than anything that tends to divide us, for we are all ONE people, striving to build ONE LIBERIA.

Happy Unification Day and may God continue to bless the Republic of Liberia.

Benjamin Sanvee
Chairman (NuVsionPAC)
www.nuvisionpac.com

National Unification Day
Kimmie L. Weeks

Decades of hatred, lack of trust, revenge and intolerance have destroyed our beloved Liberia. The Liberian war marked the climax of all of these negative emotions. It brought us to our lowest point as a nation and caused pain and suffering as we had never experienced before. But the war also did something else – it was the fire we needed under our melting pot. Throughout the struggles of the war, Liberians at home and abroad faced the reality that it really did not matter what your last name was or what ethnic group you belonged to because we all suffered. It is also due to the war that many of us had the epiphany that we are indeed all simply LIBERIANS.

Of course, the melting pot is an ongoing process. We are not yet a truly united people, but we have made great strides in the right direction. As we celebrate Unification Day 2010 we must all take a moment (literally sixty seconds) out of our day to reflect on the meaning of unification in our life and what we as individuals can do personally to move the unification process forward. Maybe it’s forgiving somebody, or a group of people, who have done us great wrong. Maybe it’s giving somebody a hug who we would not have ordinarily spoken to. Maybe it is sharing what we’ve been blessed with. If we all take that moment to reflect and act, imagine the new more vibrant Liberia that we could create from these simple acts of love and unity.

I love LIBERIA and I love you all.

Kimmie L. Weeks
Executive Director
Youth Action International, Inc.
www.peaceforkids.org

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