Saturday, March 16, 2013

Debate: Henry Boima Fahnbulleh jr. Vs. Samuel D. Tweah jr.



H. B. Fahnbulleh[PhD]
                                                 

Introduction: Although these articles are dated from 2005, they nonetheless make for great reading about the larger questions and contexts of recent Liberian History, between two intellectuals who passionately discussed the issues in their country, and Liberia's descend into chaos, the last decades of the 20th century which preceded Tubman despotic 27 years rule and the rise of Doe and Taylor in the 21st century.


A reply to one Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. : A Critique of the Bluster of a Charlatan
By H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Jr.


We must accept the fact that there are many political hustlers out there who will spew invectives with the hope of relieving themselves of the pangs of frustration and depression in their Sisyphean quest for the fulfillment of some ambition. Thus, we are not surprised in the least by the effusive rendition of threadbare arguments and gossip by this individual called Samuel D. Tweah, Jr.

We know these types and their appetites and thus threat with scorn their vaunted boast of being the new revolutionaries. These ones are mere political fortune hunters who dabble in catch phrases and inane clichés, making a pretense of knowledge with elementary logic and disjointed arguments! These are the political laggards we have to confront in an effort to interpret our history to the people and give future generations an understanding of what actually transpired and not the inflammatory cavils of delusional wiseacres.

I would have rather Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. come out and say who he is and at what level he has participated in the struggle for social justice in our country since he makes allegations with broad historical implications. We had to inquire about this character from our sources back home and were not surprised by what we found out. It is true what people say: a flunky will always be a flunky! This character trades loyalty for money and thus cannot understand why certain people struggle in politics because of conviction based on firm principles. His boastful bluster that “George Weah and the new breed of revolutionaries will pick up after the Mwalimu” will fade as certainly as it must considering the reality of politics in West Africa and he will move on in search of new masters as is his practice.

One can spurn these pretenders who fawn before anyone with power or money, but one thing must be taken into account: the nonsense they write will find a way into the gossip mill for a short time and become the talk of those who have never taken the time to find out the truth. Against this background, we must offer a critique, scathing and merciless against these boastful nonentities with their “Mickey mouse” logic and rabid rhetoric. This is our task and this is what we will now set out to do!

We dismiss insults because of where they come from. In this case, we must laugh at the insulting charges of “inconsistency,” “mercenary,” “propagandist” and the other comical descriptions of a man who lacks any conviction. He wants to claim political relevance by referring to me as “HB,” when I have never heard of any character by the name of Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. The use of “HB” is an indication of familiarity and is employed by my political friends, trusted cadres, militants and relatives. I do not know this Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. and do not relish a perfect stranger or moronic poltroon calling me ‘HB.’ This pretense of familiarity is cheap and detestable. It alerts us to a chronic character defect.

The question then becomes: why waste time on such a character? The answer is simple. This man belongs to that category of empty braggarts, purblind in their grasp of historical developments and desperate to become politically relevant by commenting on things of which they are ignorant. These are the political dregs of our society who now and again throw up platitudes and absurdities which they think constitute knowledge. These charlatans, who have mouths bigger than their brains and thus talk and write before they think are more comedians than serious political analysts and thus we are wont to regard their gibberish with that witty dismissal of Shakespeare in King Henry IV: “It would be argument for a week, laughter for a month and a good jest forever.”

The man argues that “Fahnbulleh is afflicted with Progressive nostalgia.” But what is wrong with holding on to a tradition that only rock-ribbed reactionaries vilify in their fanciful notion that the progressives are responsible for the destruction of Liberia without an understanding of the historical fragility of a state that was built on the bestial exploitation of the majority of the people? Is it any wonder that we are saddled with a chronic incomprehension of the unfolding of the historical dynamics that forced backward elite to gamble and then falter in its attempt to coerce and pamper at a time when “consciousness had spread through the population?” And which were the social forces that helped spread this consciousness? The denigration of PAL and MOJA by this political laggard who dabbles in what a sociologist has called “the McDonaldisation of knowledge,”--that is to say the taking and carrying of hastily prepared things for consumption—must alert us to the pervasive ignorance among many of our people.

Consciousness-building is not an act of mechanical improvisation but a dialectical process founded on praxis and undertaken by those who put their lives on the line in confrontation with hostile social forces. PAL and MOJA were in the vanguard of this process and thus the call for a united front of the progressives at this time to continue, not only the quest for state power as an instrument of societal transformation, but to undertake the task of rapid consciousness-building and enlightenment. This, if undertaken, will stop the drift of young men and women to the assemblage of fortune hunters coalescing around any political jester.

Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. berates me for praising those I condemned in the past. Why must I not change my position on people if the circumstances have altered? In life, no one is totally evil or totally good. We must be flexible in dealing with people and not allow bigotry or intemperate rage to blind us to different realities. We are not intolerant bigots and thus we do not stick to rigid positions when dealing with human nature. In the past if there were reasons to condemn colleagues, we did so not out of any malice, but with the hope of correcting certain negative behavioral patterns. We also accept criticism, but that founded on keen introspection and principle. This is not accepted by such as Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. For this charlatan, once you have condemned someone, you must always condemn that person even though contrary arguments or facts are presented. And this individual wants us to believe that he understands elementary logic? What an empty show-off!

Listen to this man and see how his poor logic reflects his poor historical understanding: “Condemn an object in one breath, uphold it in another. Resign from the LPP yesterday, berating Togba Nah Tipoteh and feuding with Amos Sawyer, rejoin the LPP today to ‘gather the forces.’ Lambaste Ellen Sirleaf yesterday as a lady who as finance minister under Tolbert ‘presided over the wastage of millions of dollars for the OAU Jamboree at a time when the Liberian people were struggling for basic health care;’ celebrate her today and say that ‘I would normally not come to her defense but since some want to condemn her as part of a collective, I will defend her.” Does this Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. realize that he is writing about developments that spanned twenty years? Does he not understand that people grow up and come to understand the world better? Does he now want to take a comment about Madam Sirleaf made in 1985 and a statement in her defense made in 2005 as proof of inconsistency? I thought we were supposed to be more reasonable in our judgment as we grow older? One would have thought also that we have passed the age of dogmas where the rigidity of ideas and opinions is construed as evidence of wisdom!

On the issue of differences with compatriots Tipoteh and Sawyer, this is permissible in the context of our struggle. They understand the necessity for criticism in a political struggle. This is always a healthy exercise to ensure that no one becomes a demi-god with rigid ideas of right and wrong. As political activists, we have never subscribed to the cannons of certain types of evangelism that see criticism as heresy. We start from the premise that we are all mortals, subject to all known human frailties. It is in this context that we must constantly subject ourselves to criticism and self-criticism. This must be done in order not to allow for the emergence of that convoluted uppishness that sanctions the monopoly of truth and rule by one man and thus the drift into tyranny, ex-communication, banishment and elimination of perceived enemies. Again, as regards compatriot Ellen Sirleaf, I have criticized her over the years and will continue to do so if I find fault with her political pronouncements and behavior. But I will also give her credit and defend her whenever it becomes necessary. I bear no hatred towards her as an individual and do not see why she should not be defended in certain circumstances.

Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. goes on to ask: “Did not his over-inflated hatred of Charles Taylor provide a catalyst for bringing progressive forces together in 1997? Or does Fahnbulleh now fear George Manneh Weah more than he once dreaded Charles Taylor?” The first question makes no sense. It is patent gibberish and could be due to the cranky state of mind of our ardent poseur who specializes in specious arguments bordering on tawdry sophistry. This man is wrong to categorize my principled opposition to Charles Taylor as “over-inflated.” When one considers what Charles Taylor did to Liberia and Sierra Leone and the attempts now being made to drag him before the International Court, it becomes absurd to refer to any condemnation of him as “over-inflated” except one believes the lie that Charles Taylor’s banditry was synonymous with the liberation of the Liberian people.

As to the issue of fearing “George Manneh Weah more than he once dreaded Charles Taylor,” one can only laugh with contemptuous derision. Is this man really serious or does he only relish the play-acting of a clown? Who is George Weah in the political history of Liberia for anyone to fear? This simple footballer has been ‘conned’ into entering an arena that he does not understand and will regret his act. Now he spews the absurdity that the many fortune hunters have drummed into his skull that seventy-five percent of the Liberian people are behind him! Poor George Weah, he is a living proof that there is a sucker born every minute!! These rascals who are urging him on have their eyes on the little money that he made through raw brawn.
But then again, the footballer understands nothing about African politics and naively believes that the rented crowd his money can buy constitutes firm support for him. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. must explain to us the huge crowds that meet Charles Brumskine, Winston Tubman, Ellen Sirleaf, Varney Sherman, John Morlu, Roland Massaquoi, Rudolph Johnson, etc. whenever they appear. He must explain to us how those in the rural areas who have been without electricity for the past fifteen years or more are fascinated by his George Weah? Does he not know that these poor neglected masses care less about elections because they are not interested and have never understood the state or their responsibility towards it? Is this man following the registration process back home or is he daydreaming as usual?

George Weah will be lucky to get ten percent of the popular votes if elections are held in October. The reason is simple: many of those who dance behind him are not people who will hold on to their votes because they are determined to give victory to what ‘Samuel D. Tweah, Jr.’ terms “new generation hero presently catalyzing the forces of radical and progressive change in Liberia.” The situation in Liberia is one of survival and many of the perennial dancers behind the assortment of presidential candidates will sell their votes for a paltry dollar or two. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. should take time off from his job and travel to Liberia for a few days. I can vouch that he will return chastened and will then stop this comical chest-beating. Frankly, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., I have never considered George Weah as a force in Liberian politics.
Long before you and others decided on your tricks to swindle this poor chap by pushing him into the nightmarish arena of Liberian politics, I had discussed this issue in England with one of his female sympathizers. I told her that the man would be used and dumped by the many hungry hustlers around. My argument was based on an understanding of the man’s chronic limitations in all spheres and the forces he would be up against in Liberia and the sub-region. I argued then that many in Africa, except those who have only been following soccer, regard George Weah as a political joke. Unlike you and others who flatter him on a daily basis, most Africans are scandalized by an illiterate neophyte adding to the mockery of an Africa already marginalized because of irresponsible and shortsighted leaders. Let me give you an insight into certain political realities.

George Weah has a little money and thus he can pull a crowd any day. But so can Brumskine, Winston Tubman, Sherman, Sirleaf, etc. The difference is that the others are seasoned political actors who understand the fleeting attraction of the people and thus they have identified groups, institutions and parties that can be used for maximum effect. In the case where there is no party, an effort is being made to galvanize a politically active sector for an independent option. This is political savvy.

In the case of you charlatans who are hovering around George Weah to live off his sweat, there has not been any strategic approach to the poor chap’s ambition. Why throw him into the ring months before the elections when it is obvious that the fellow cannot stand the bruising battle of political debates, cross-examinations, critical and malicious gossip and last but not least, that unique Liberian propensity to ridicule with biting sarcasm? What shortsightedness is this that throws a lamb among wolves and hyenas? The campaign has not even started and already people have seen the inadequacy of the poor chap.

He cannot answer questions at meetings; cannot get the registration of his party; still has to deal with the discreet comments in certain quarters about his French citizenship; the gossip about his fondness for buying houses for Nigerian girlfriends in Europe and purchasing cars for Ghanaian girlfriends because he lacks the savoir-vivre of the cultured and must thus pay dearly for the affection of these “private dancers.” For us, what George Weah does with his money is his business but the political opponents will use his shortcomings against him. This is politics and not Seminary work! Does a man who loves his people buy expensive houses and cars for women while his people are in rags languishing in displaced centers and refugee camps?

Anyone with an iota of political sense would have advised George Weah to stay in the background for now. You flunkies could register a party, set up structures, keep dropping the hint that maybe he is the man and then wait until a few weeks before the elections to produce the chap, exploit the short-lived political enthusiasm among the masses, travel frequently with the man around the country and avoid debating the other candidates with the excuse that the man is busy meeting the people and wait for election day to deliver the verdict. This would have been political strategy of the highest quality. But it is now too late! George Weah will be destroyed and eclipsed by the time we get to October.

The knives are out for him in several quarters because the political class knows the political pimps and greedy pretenders who are behind him and this class, which has been victimized by despots, warlords and upstarts for too long intends to put a stop to the phenomenon whereby lazybones and carpetbaggers gatecrash into the corridors of power by joining warring factions and any political “Johnny just come.”

I do not fear men like George Weah. I pity them. The same goes for Charles Taylor. I had no dread of him. I resented what he was doing to the people and the country. We now have a failed state, a forlorn people adrift and the stigma of a country with young men and women as guns for hire in conflict zones in Africa. I was aware of one thing though and that was that Charles Taylor would self-destruct. And now this pitiful rascal is facing twenty years to life in a country where the jailers are the sons and daughters of amputees—victims of the greed for diamonds by men and women who put their selfish interests “above all else.”

Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. makes much of his vaunted claim to an understanding of the historical developments in Liberia over the last twenty-five years by trying to prove through illogical constructs that all politicians have failed Liberia. He dabbles in gossip and not historical analysis by positing: “Notice that he cuts off the years 1980 to 1983 from his delineation; because those were the years he served Samuel Doe as minister of Education and Foreign Affairs. He also omits the years 1990 -1995 when he served as roving envoy to Sawyer’s IGNU government, wasting scare Liberian resources on meaningless trips.” Has it occurred to this man that the reason why the period 1980-83 was truncated is because this is the period with which we are the most familiar as we served then and checkmated many of the hostile social forces?
Does he not realize that this period was one of intense confrontation between the various social groups with the progressives not yet on the margin and able to co-ordinate their defenses between the Capitol Building and the various ministries where they held sway? This period was left out because we know what happened unlike Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. who can only guess! As for IGNU under compatriot Sawyer, it lasted from 1990 to 1994 and I must inform this man that I served as Special Presidential Envoy from April 1991 to November 1992.

On the issue of “wasting scare Liberian resources on meaningless trips,” this chap must be told that throughout the time we served in IGNU, we did not expend up to thirty-five thousand dollars on the numerous trips we made. Let us compare this to his situation where in the midst of the merciless plunder of our country’s resources by Charles Taylor and the persecution of student leaders from the University, this hustler called Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. took money from Taylor for his unsuccessful bid for the student leadership on the ticket of the NPP sponsored student movement called STUDA (Students for Democratic Alliance) and subsequently on graduation in 2001 was selected by Charles Taylor for a scholarship through the Family Planning Association of Liberia that got him to where he is at present.

The question is: why spend thousands of dollars to get a crony to the United States when the course could have been done right in West Africa for less money? Again we ask: was this a priority in a situation where people were dying of starvation, neglect and diseases? Who is talking about “wasting scare resources?” A man who goes to the United States on blood money made available by his benefactor who at the same time was neglecting the people and hounding progressive students around the country? Please spare us your hypocritical moan about “scare Liberian resources.”

One may ask: what does this whippersnapper know about the politics in the sub-region at the time of IGNU to make such a flippant comment about “meaningless trips?” What does he know of the attempts by certain international circles to decouple a particular country from ECOMOG with the intention of undermining the military alliance? What does he know about the discussions we undertook in several capitals, the analyses we made to certain Heads of state that convinced them to keep their troops in Liberia; the provision of intelligence and evidence to show the conspiracy against ECOMOG and the negotiations in certain capitals for additional logistics for the peace-keepers? If what Liberia and ECOMOG got from our efforts for barely thirty-five thousand dollars can be considered a waste of “scare Liberian resources on meaningful trips,” then we must conclude that we are not dealing with someone who is out for the truth but with one of those political ‘Mickey mouse’ with their skewed reasoning and simplistic interpretation of complex realities. But let us get back to the issue of progressives or politicians failing Liberia.

The man says: “Progressives primarily failed in their inability to manage political opposition against Tolbert. They coerced change and fled its consequences. Those who take upon themselves the mantle to evolve change in any society are considered revolutionaries only when they anticipate and understand the forces of change they unleash on a people and are willing to abide the consequences.” This is not mere jargon by any stretch of the imagination. It is more a nonsensical rendition of clichés that is typical of those who observe history from the periphery.
Whoever told this braggart that there has to be a prescription for revolution. Where in the historical literature has he seen a mechanistic ordering of the priorities for social revolution--that is, if he has seen much of the literature? Where is it said that the plans of men dealing with social variables in a volatile situation must be predetermined and followed to the letter? How did the Progressives failed “to manage political opposition against Tolbert?” What a historical ranting is this that ignores the dynamic emergence of unforeseen forces in a situation of social confrontation?

This man wants to ignore the involvement of exogenous forces in Liberia’s evolution and how these forces calculated their security interests against the perceived threat from certain domestic actors. It is sheer poppycock to assume that men and women make history by some mechanistic formulation and thus they are bound to understand the forces that are unleashed. If I may ask Samuel D. Tweah, Jr: is he aware of the social forces behind George Weah and how they will react when he runs out of money to feed them? Did his benefactor Charles Taylor understand the process he was commencing by engaging in a brutal war?

But yet Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. went along with this vaunted “revolutionary uprising” which led nowhere but to generalized anarchy, murder and international isolation! If it was that easy “to anticipate and understand the forces of change” in a dynamic social transformation with external forces discreetly participating to sway the process to their advantage, men would need not sociology but catechism!

The reality of the Liberian situation was that the progressive forces, facing hostile domestic and international forces at the apex of the cold war, carried on a process of consciousness-building among various strata of the society. They agitated for democratic reforms and awakened the downtrodden as to their responsibility to the country, their children and posterity. They brought before the judgment seat of history the appalling injustices perpetrated by a reactionary social elite and upheld by various institutions that were supportive of the pattern of exploitation and neglect. Within this context, the progressive forces altered the balance of class forces by winning over not only large segment of the people but also patriotic individuals from the ruling elite. As the years went by and the people understood the nature of and the reason for their backwardness, the stage was set for the playing out of that political game that is seen throughout history in which the people will not accept the old order and the ruling elite will refuse to compromise and take the country down the path of fascism and civil upheaval. But this game is never played in isolation. There are always external forces with interests to protect and in the case of Liberia; there was a lot to protect, especially after certain developments in Africa. What were they?

In 1980, Ethiopia had swung to the left with massive soviet involvement. Angola was battling the South African racists with the help of internationalist fighters from Cuba. Frelimo in Mozambique was consolidating a popular revolution. In West Africa, Ghana was witnessing popular agitation spearheaded by democratic left-leaning organizations. La. Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Senegal were under patriarchs whose days were numbered through age and infirmity. Ahmed Sekou Toure had consolidated his popular revolution in Guinea. Throughout Africa, the struggle for the hearts and minds of the people seemed to be going in favor of democratic left-leaning forces.

This situation was considered detrimental to the West and those in the redoubt of apartheid South Africa. Against this background, Liberia was seen as the weakest link in a chain that had to be preserved. It is common sense that if the weakest link in the chain is preserved, the chain will stay intact!

It is obvious that in Liberia the progressive forces had no intention of challenging the Tolbert regime through an armed struggle. They had neither the trained cadres nor the international support to undertake such a struggle. They therefore used the Constitution and agitated for democratic rights with the hope that the ruling elite would understand the historical necessity of compromising after thirteen decades of minority rule.

This was the desire! What happened next in Liberia had nothing to do with the progressive not “willing to abide the consequences” of their actions. The coup came unexpectedly and the progressives were smart enough to ride the crest of the wave into office. They survived and settled in to help mitigate the excesses of the young military leaders. A cardinal point in any revolutionary situation is to be ready for any eventuality and to try and survive for more battles ahead. The leadership of the progressive movements survived even though some of them went through the furnace of Dante’s inferno. When they are called to order in the future they will emerge—wiser, more mature and worldly because of their experiences.

And they have been answering of late: Togba Nah Tipoteh, Baccus Matthews, Amos Sawyer, Wesley Johnson, Marcus Dahn, Dew Mayson, D. Kahn Carlor, Musa Deen, Dusty Wolokollie and many others. What about the next generation of cadres? They are around—more mature and conscious: Abraham Mitchell, Christian Herbert, Thomas Jaye, Ben Jlah, Jefferson Karmoh, Dempster Yallah, J.Yanqui Zaza, John Josiah, John Kanweaye, Andrew Jaye, Kpedee Woiwor, Alaric Togba, Joe Wylie and many others. And then after them: the legion of young men and women-- reading, studying, asking questions, searching for answers and rejecting with contempt the whirlpool of lies and distortions being splashed about by Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. and his cohorts.

This fry, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., with his choleric disposition, parrots the same inanities we have heard over the years. He says: “Progressive forces were schooled in the communist revolutionary cannon, but least understood its practical dimensions.” Where were they schooled? At which party school in the United States? Is the use of the methodology of the Hegelian dialectics to explain history and social transformation equivalent to being “school in the communist revolutionary cannon?” Where does it say that because one reads the Bible or Koran, one is therefore a Christian or Muslim? Is intellectual curiosity to be equated with evangelism where one searches for justification from religious texts? Humanity has come a long way since the Middle Ages but some Africans are yet to understand the new reality. And to try and impress with his scanty knowledge of history, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. tries to grapple with the dynamics of the Cuban revolution of which he knows very little!

Our man writes with such beguiling simplicity that: “Fidel’s instigation against the former Cuban leader Batista was not one of merely putting men in the streets to cause havoc, hoping to assume power out of the chaos. He understood the dynamic of Cuban society and conceived the basic of an institution that would deal with power after Batista’s dethronement.” Which Fidel is this quack talking about? The Fidel of the Revolutionary Insurrectional Union; the Fidel of the Cuban People’s Party; the Fidel of the Moncada attack in Santiago de Cuba; the Fidel of the landing at Belic and the catastrophe at Alegria de pio; the Fidel of the Sierra Maestra; the Fidel after victory but before the Nationalization Decree or the Fidel after the Decree and the total shift to the Cuban Communist Party of which he was not a member during the years of struggle in the Sierra Maestra? Where did this imposter Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. get his idea of Fidel and the Cuban revolution? It cannot be from Herbert Matthews (Revolution in Cuba); nor Tad Szulc (Fidel, A Critical Portrait); nor Jorge Castaneda (Companero); nor Regis Debray (Revolution in the Revolution and A Critique of Arms); nor Theodore Draper (Castroism: Theory and Practice) or the many volumes published by sundry authors on the Cuban revolution over the past forty years. All we can say on this issue of Cuba and our man’s comment is that he has affirmed Alexander Pope’s witticism that “a little learning is a dangerous thing.”

Our man avers that “MOJA did not sanction PAL’s April 14 rice riot….” He is wrong. Cadres of PAL and MOJA met at the back of the Cemetery on Gurley Street days before the Rice Demonstration and discussed the itinerary of the peaceful march. MOJA did give unflinching support to the cadres and militants of PAL and I was at PAL‘s Headquarters early on the morning of April 14 as a representative of MOJA to find out the final plans as we were aware of the efforts of Albert Porte and others to stop the government from unleashing police and soldiers with live ammunition on the streets. As a matter of fact, the official announcement for the Rice Demonstration was made at MOJA’s 6th Anniversary in March 1979 held at the Sports Commission where compatriot Baccus Matthews was invited to extend greetings from the cadres and militants of PAL.

The fact that cadres and militants of PAL and MOJA were arrested together after the government’s violent reaction to a peaceful gathering at PAL’s Headquarters, indicted together and endured the fetid prison cells together showed that the government knew about our association on the rice issue. We did not conceal this! Where we disagreed with the government and spoke out was when the indictment listed us all as members of PAL. We wanted the distinction made that some of us were MOJA militants and wanted the world to know this fact. There was a simple logic to this: we wanted the liberation movements in Africa to know that MOJA militants had been arrested and to give us the same support and solidarity we were giving them in their anti-colonial struggle.

As for the mid-night march and compatriot Tipoteh’s comment, we cannot argue with Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. here. The statement was made but with the caveat that regardless of what had happened, the militants and cadres in prison should be given a fair trial. As a matter of fact, this issue was discussed and clarified between compatriots Tipoteh and Matthews on April 13, 1980 behind the Mansion after the release of the latter from prison. Thus, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. can only guess at what obtained from 1979 to 1983. He has never been a participant in any struggle back home nor has he done any serious reading on the situation with regard to the struggle leading up to the coup. He can only rely on gossip and sensational newspaper headlines without understanding the complex nature of the situation and why certain things were done and said. It is difficult to alter history when those who made it are still around and very alert to their responsibility of analyzing events and circumstances for the younger generation!

We now come to that other issue of which Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. and others have spewed so much rancid venom over the years. This has to do with the execution of the thirteen former officials of the Tolbert government in April 1980. Listen to this quisling in his hypocritical quest for a sympathetic audience: “And when their numerous agitations did produce change, what did they do? They banded with Doe, encouraged the slaughtering of former TWP officials and jostled for influence and power carefully watching one another’s advances.” There can be no clearer example of the figment of one’s imagination than this hollow historical myth.

Unlike Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. and those who want to go on living in the maudlin agony of the graveyard, we have moved on even though we lost loved ones, relatives and personal friends in April 1979, and between 1990 and 2003. But let us deal with the issue of “the slaughtering of former TWP officials…” Why would we as young revolutionaries settle on the elimination of only thirteen former TWP officials, many of them old men dying from the humiliation of being paraded through the streets of Monrovia naked and thrown into prison by their erstwhile house boys, wards and night watchmen? Of what benefit was it to us to see that the old and infirm were killed while their younger colleagues survived? Had we wanted to eliminate “former TWP officials,” would it not have been better to dynamite the entire Post Stockade where they were all held between April 12—22, 1980? The fact of the matter was that no member of the progressive group was privy to the decision to eliminate the thirteen officials.

Military regimes have their own internal dynamics and one is foolish to assume that he understands them. Thus, the progressive forces, pushed into a situation of armed violence where they did not control arms had to survive by the sufferance of those who wielded the weapons. They made no pretense that they understood what was happening in the military council but tried to reduce the anarchy as much as possible. We knew that the Military Tribunal was sitting but that no sentence had been passed on any official. Had this been done, we would have had time to react. But sometime between the 20th and 22nd of April, something happened that pushed the military fellows into an uncompromising mood.

This had to do with a telex or telegram sent by George Henries with an ‘SOS’ message. What most people did not know was that during the old regime, every telex or telegram that left the Liberian Telecommunication office on Lynch Street and the French Cable office on Front Street was intercepted by a special secret communication system based at the Ducor Palace Hotel. This system was under the control of the NSA. On the afternoon of the 22nd of April, Henries’ intercepted message was taken to the Mansion and given to Samuel Doe. The young man panicked and summoned all the members of the PRC who were in Monrovia.

The fear was palpable as there had been rumors that former Vice President Bennie Warner was seen in Abidjan and also that the Ivorians were thinking of intervening to overthrow the military regime. With this fear in the air, they went into an emergency meeting and forbade any civilian to enter. It was there and then that the decision was made to execute those who had gone before the Military Tribunal as a warning to all and sundry that there was no going back.
There were two progressives at the Mansion on that day who had gone to see Doe on other matters of state—compatriots Oscar Quiah and Tipoteh. They were kept outside the meeting Hall and had no idea of what was being discussed inside. When the door opened and the military fellows emerged, Colonel Jerry Friday announced that some former TWP officials were going to be executed. At this news, Quiah’s knees buckled and he sank into the nearest chair. Tipoteh held on to the arm of the chair, frightened and confused. They were left in this state of petrifaction as the military fellows headed for the BTC to conduct the execution of the thirteen former officials. What could they have done under the circumstances?

As for the progressives in their offices, some heard about the execution after it had taken place; others found out from frightened office workers. I heard the news from a cousin who called my office and told me to listen to ‘Focus on Africa.’ I did and when the news was confirmed, I called the Mansion to inquire what had transpired. I was told that the decision was strictly military! This is not to absolve anybody from what happened. We were serving in the regime and so must take responsibility for what occurred but it is wrong to say we “encouraged the slaughtering of former TWP officials.”

Let us ask some questions: why the emphases on this historical accident when over 300,000 Liberians have died since April 1979? Who wants to benefit from the agony of those who lost their relatives in the confused state of the military uprising? Why this selective bereavement after twenty-five years of massacre, murder, mayhem, death and destruction? We have heard the condemnations and read the distortions, but one thing that has been overlooked is the frantic effort made by the progressives after the execution to see that there was no repetition. This was a risky and dangerous approach, but out of chivalry and human decency, we, together with some elder statesmen, church leaders and foreign diplomats convinced the military leaders to desist from executing people. We tried under extremely difficult circumstances to stem the anarchy and the bloody reprisal. In some instances we succeeded; in others we failed. This was the reality. I can say with all certainty that had the progressive forces not been around between 1980 and 1983, there would have been a monumental catastrophe and wholesale slaughter.

Let me now turn to an issue of which much fuss has been made over the years. This has to do with the drawing up of a list. The allegation made and on which Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. and others have based their gossip is that the progressives made a list of TWP officials to be eliminated. This is sheer nonsense. A list was drawn up on the third day after the coup but it was meant to account for every senior official of the former government. They had to be interned to keep them from causing mischief. There were some who were listed but were not interned because they were considered harmless. The list was not drawn up for the elimination of people as many of us had relatives, personal friends and acquaintances that were listed. The truth of the matter is that we had assumed that there was more to the TWP and the institutions of security over which it presided and thus we wanted to account for all those who we felt were capable of revising the process. A few days after, we realized that the grand old TWP, after decades of dominance was nothing but an empty shell. I remember riding together with compatriot Baccus Matthews a few days after the coup and he came out with one of those witty political comments for which he is gifted: “You mean to tell me that these people do not have a single loyal general to fight back?” I replied that their generals were all cowards and had gone into hiding. Compatriot Matthews sighed and I felt that our minds were moving in the same direction: “why didn’t we do this ourselves?” We could have on April 14, 1979 with only a few guns as the people had shown their courage and spirit of resistance! But then again we had never contemplated the violent seizure of power!!

On the issue of social disorganization and the political class, our man either did not understand the analysis or he is being deliberately dishonest. We understand our history and could never have said that the social disorganization in Liberia began with Samuel Doe. The reference was to those who held power in Liberia within the context of the confrontation of various social forces. The Doe era was used as an example only because it had to do with the absence of legitimacy and the violent usurpation of power after the elections of 1985. But we could have gone back into time and narrated the various wars of pacification of the various social formations and how the social disorganization was a consequence not of state building but of domination and control.

Our man’s confusion probably comes from his inability to differentiate between ‘a political class,’ ‘an oligarchy,’ or ‘a ruling clique.’ A political class is that group which is conscious of its political responsibility, seeks power to further certain goals and objectives, and promotes its struggle on the tenets of an ideology. It is a class “in and for itself” if we must borrow the Hegelian description from “Lordship and Bondage” made so simple for the layman in Francis Fukuyama’s “The End of History and the Last Man.” Cliques, oligarchs and bandits do hold power too but they do not necessarily constitute “a political class.” The confusion in our man’s little mind concerning political definitions undoubtedly explains his vitriol that: “Opposition political elements, in wheeling and dealing with sitting governments or leaders, affect both the style and substance of governance. Because members of Liberia’s political class are predominantly in politics for selfish reasons; they have usually acted in ways that send mixed messages to leaders.” Is this political analysis or gibberish?

Any undergraduate in politics knows that “opposition political elements” do not necessarily constitute a political class. Our man moves between one and the other without stopping to catch his breath and thus choke on the vacuity of his tawdry conjectures. Of course “opposition political elements” wheel and deal as the status of our man clearly shows. In 1997, he was in the camp of Madam Sirleaf at the University of Liberia; then after the elections he jumped on the criminal bandwagon of Charles Taylor and got a scholarship to America; and now he is on the rickety bus of George Weah hoping for a miracle in order to be able to get a government job on his return home. The man knows what he is talking about when he refers to “wheeling and dealing.” As a man thinks so does he behave! But let us go further on this issue.

The man says: “Because members of Liberia’s political class are predominantly in politics for selfish reasons, they have usually acted in ways that send mixed messages to leaders.” If one enters “politics for selfish reasons,” then one calculates the changes of success by reducing the risk factor to oneself and takes the path of least resistance. No one who enters “politics for selfish reasons” set out to disturb the status quo when there is the possibility of serious risk to one’s life. This would be irrational. “Selfish reasons” means that one takes the path of least resistance and in the context of politics in the third world, this translates into ‘joining them’ and not trying to ‘beat them’ because of one’s principled stance.

The progressive forces in Liberia, defined as a political class, together with those other actors within this class have fought over the years with their eyes not on selfish ends but on their vision for a change in Liberian society based on their different ideological perspectives. They have suffered losses, imprisonment and persecution over the years but have not wavered. They have been beaten, hounded, chased into exile and ridiculed by little men with little minds, but they have not fallen. Had they entered the political arena for “selfish reasons,” they would have compromised with the Tolbert regime; would have stayed with the Doe regime come hell or high water; would have supported the banditry of Charles Taylor throughout his money making odyssey; would have joined any of the warring factions for jobs and loot; and would have made money by singing the praises of anyone with money! The fact that a wimp like Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. sells himself to the highest bidder does not mean that men of honor will do the same! One must not judge others by one’s slimy standard!

On the question of violence in Liberia, we have written much over the years and do not intend to help our man out of his confusion. If he feels that the April 14, 1979 Rice Demonstration was a violent and not a peaceful act, he can keep writing his story but not the history of that occurrence. Our people assembled as was their constitutional right; shouted slogans and would have dispersed peacefully if the security forces, acting on orders from certain government officials did not open fire on unarmed young people, killing several of them with the first volley. Where is it written, except in fascist societies, that the first act of crowd dispersal must not be by water cannons and tear gas but by live ammunition?

How can any government claim to be responsible if at the first sign of protest it unleashes mayhem and death on its own people? And then these people, sons and daughters of those who had upheld the rotten edifice with their bruised and battered bodies for decades screamed through their anger and pain: “enough is enough!” And yes, they came out in their thousands to confront those who had brought the terror on them! I was there! It was beautiful to behold: the people making history with nothing but their courage and defiance. When the drama was over, those who had protected the ruling clique through violence and terror now realized that this clique was nothing without violence and terror. Here was the beginning of the end of that historical play-acting which had lasted for decades! Has our man Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. really not understood the pattern of violence in a class society and its blowback effect? Well then, his problem is not one of comprehension. It is one of dishonesty!

Our man’s elementary ‘logic’ when dealing with the issue of George Weah’s ambition is anything but logical. He dabbles in tautology; builds premises which are laughable and then draws conclusions which are non sequitur. I would advise him to think deeply about the comment that “ignorance is about not knowing one’s limitations.” In trying to prove that his new benefactor George Weah “has contributed to the struggle to rid Liberia of tyranny,” this pitiful opportunist Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. says: “In 1996 his home was looted and burnt, relatives raped when Weah progressively suggested the UN intervened in Liberia to save the country from continued tyranny.” Well, these things were done to poor George Weah in 1996 but our man Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. saw nothing wrong in working for, accepting money from and taking a scholarship from the man who perpetrated these acts of terror against Weah. When it was going good for him under Taylor, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. did not see any injustice in the acts meted out to George Weah. Had his benefactor Taylor still been in power, the terror against George Weah and his family would have been dismissed by our man. But this should not surprise us. This is the nature of political hustlers. They are harlots engaged in ‘private dancing’ where they do not care about the human aspect but only the money!

Can we ask a question? When has victimization become synonymous with participation? George Weah was victimized by one of those with whom he associated during his days as a soccer player in Europe. The man in question is Reginald Goodridge. We heard about the relationship and even saw Goodridge with a large portrait of George Weah when we accidentally boarded the same plane in Liberia back in 1995. These relationships of convenience do have their ways of ending in tears and vicious malice. Interestingly, it was Goodridge who commented over the BBC after Weah’s plea for international intervention that the footballer was ignorant of what he was saying and should stick to playing soccer! Many Liberians were victimized in one way or the other. Does this mean that they were all participants in the struggle against tyranny in our country? Victimization could be an act of revenge for perceived betrayal as it was in the case of George Weah. Participation connotes a conscious act of involvement over a period of time. A plea for peace and sanity at a point in time does not translate into a struggle against tyranny and injustice!

We must conclude now by saying to our man that we accept the challenge of confrontation in the political arena for the taking of state power. We write, not so much to deal with the drivel that he spews so ignorantly, but to provide to the well meaning ones an interpretation and analysis of history by one who was a participant and who, after twenty-five years still believes that the fight for social justice, democracy and dignity must continue until victory. We are ever ready to engage in these debates to show how we differ from the political rascals with their unconscionable and unprincipled approach to the struggle for social justice in our country. These social parasites and carpetbaggers must be exposed for they are adept at concealing their true nature and intentions under rhetoric picked up by accident.

Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., I say to you in all honesty that you are no revolutionary and have never been one! Your hubris will be deflated shortly by the evolving situation in our country.

The test of courage and commitment is not when there is no danger or uncertainty; but when one puts his life on the line against terrible odds and there is absolutely no certainty of victory! We have been down this path and are hardened by the many lashes of history. We shall be at home waiting! We hope you will come to prove yourself in the new camp you have chosen!!





The Liberian Palava hut


Red Lines Through Dr. H. B. Fahnbulleh, Jr.’s Chatter: Debunking Sophism II
By Samuel D. Tweah, Jr.

So the model used in “No Patience for H. B. Fahnbulleh’s Tired Writings: Debunking Sophism” really works: catalyze Fahnbulleh’s deconstruction by pitting his rickety arguments against one another and prove that he is a mere coliseum of contradictions. Nothing more, nothing less! This is the model we continue to use to demolish this chatterer. His demolition will happen in phases. First, we exorcise his demon of demented arguments and malodorous braggadocio.

During this exorcism, which we now see in his recent rebuttal, Fahnbulleh degenerates to bawdry outpourings of venom, bovine unreason and a childish propensity to parry insults. This is the phase in which we are feted to a circus where all and sundry amuse themselves to this wretched spectacle babbling absurdities. The next phase is the actual disintegration of the man, during which he crumbles under the weight of the burden of history imposed by potent arguments, which we shall show very soon.

This then sets the final stage for purifying the intellectual air by disinfecting emerging minds of his intellectual stench, denying him that perch from which he has purveyed the ceaseless chatter of grapevine hearsay dressed as analysis. Once this trivial debate peddler is reduced and quarantined to mediocrity, we can then move on to more serious discussions, keeping him at bay. This is what we began to do in our last article, which we must now finalize.

An analysis of “A critique of the Bluster of a Charlatan” exposes Fahnbulleh as critically wanting in strength of argument. He wastes considerable energy and space in attacking my person, spending scant efforts on adequately addressing the exposed contradictions, which have now drawn his venomous ire. This man is nothing more than an insult-pelting scalawag zonked in a stupor of self-importance. The bunkum he writes as analysis can never withstand the ray of enlightened criticism. We cannot allow modern Liberian history to be interpreted by such idiosyncratic wimp.

The reason is simple. Our people need serious answers to the many puzzles of our history. They are asking the hard questions. What went wrong in Liberia? Why did more than 300,000 people have to die? Who are those responsible for this mayhem? Who can our people trust to interpret their history? Are they to trust “historians” and “pundits” who themselves contributed to our tragedy? Who can they entrust with the future leadership of the country given all that has happened? These are the vexing questions that led me to denude Fahnbulleh of his bloated pretension of being some guardian historical interpretation.

Evidently dismayed and troubled by my expose, he begins his response by firstly enquiring into whether I exist. That leads him nowhere. The bandit learns that I am real and is frustrated by the news. He had originally planned a response based on attacking a veiled personality he had assumed was behind my article. He then misleads himself to believe I am a member of his fan club. He writes “[Samuel D. Tweah, Jr.] wants to claim political relevance by referring to me as ‘HB.’” This is laughable and further indicates the pettiness to which this man is accustomed.
My use of “H.B” is merely for contractive purposes and lacks any emotive content. One does not gain political relevance by merely referring to fakers. I have never valued the cacophony of claptrap he chatters. Sifting through his intellectual muck, I have always found them seriously wanting. Fahnbulleh’s arguments are slickly garbed in gaudy and insulting prose to beguile those who pay less than keen attention to the use of language and the movement of history. For me, this is unimpressive; a deceptive employ of the device of rhetoric, and I have zero tolerance for men who were such badge of dishonesty. The fact is that I merely abbreviated his name just as I would abbreviate his significance as a political commentator.

Unable to withstand the ceaseless intellectual bombardment raining battery on his numerous inconsistencies, this trollop seeks vulnerable refuge in spreading cheap lies. He writes, “this hustler called Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. took money from Taylor for his unsuccessful bid for the student leadership on the ticket of the NPP sponsored student movement called STUDA (Students for Democratic Alliance) and subsequently on graduation in 2001 was selected by Charles Taylor for a scholarship through the Family Planning Association of Liberia that got him to where he is at present. What shamelessness! If this brigand cannot report the simply truth as he learns it, how can he ever be trusted to report and interpret Liberian history? Does this buffoon believe such lie can ever pass for the truth? The records are clear and cadres from the University of Liberia know the facts.

They know of my principled resistance to Charles Taylor in the 1997 elections. They witnessed my numerous denunciations of the bandit under the palaver hut during numerous debates. They know how I came to the US and that I did not come on a scholarship. It is mortifying that Fahnbulleh would hatch up such humbug to duck the merciless intellectual fire now raging at his doorsteps. But then again it indicates his pristine penchant for frivolity. Isn’t this the same old game of lies and gossips he used against his Progressive colleagues and compatriots for which they now regard him as a pitiful lunatic? Having been hardened by the whiplashes of UL student propaganda, we can only brush this gaping lie aside, especially coming from this naïf. One can only wonder why he would he would involve the reputation of Family Planning merely to satiate his vengeful urge? But that’s something for Family Planning to deal with.

The truth is because Fahnbulleh and others hobnobbed with Taylor at the outset of his NPFL insurrection, they like to imagine everyone else did. In order to conceal all possible connections with Taylor, he feigns an extreme hate for the rebel, engaging in a Taylor bashing that is merely a façade. Many may have overlooked this and until now he has gotten away with it. But we shall expose it. He wonders why I categorize his opposition to Taylor as over-inflated. We now show why. In “the rotten maggots not the carcass” he writes:

I tried to warn the Libyans at the Mathaba that a fraud was being perpetrated on them, but Taylor had impressed a few of them with his elaborate lies. When I could not get them to understand that they were supporting an adventurer, I demanded to see their Leader, Colonel Gaddafi; but they refused and gave me the choice of accepting the bandit Taylor or leaving the country. I chose the latter. There was no way I could join an individual who openly expressed his contempt for the masses and said his ideology was getting rich quick.

Very good! You were thrown out of Libya because of a bandit. Could you not develop the hate at that moment and undermine the bandit? You left Libya knowing Taylor was an “adventurer” who had “openly expressed contempt for the masses.” What did you do then? Did you inform Samuel Doe or some others that an adventurer was preparing to loot and pillage the country? If you really believed Taylor’s ideology was “getting rich quick” did that not tell you that those who wish to “get rich quick” will do so at all costs? Was that not a sign to you that country was headed for danger? All the signs were visible. For you, Taylor was the lesser of two evils. It did not matter that the masses would perish in this wrong war because you too have openly expressed contempt for them when you write that the “downtrodden of society are that humiliated and degraded mass for whom money means everything.” Is this the reason why you colluded against our people by failing to leak the plot that could have saved more than 300, 000 thousand lives?

You walked away from Libya feeling a sense of impending doom but did nothing to forestall the doom. Doom in which the nation would be pillaged; blood spattered all over the landscape, spilling from the mountains of Nimba and Gedeh to the coastal plains of Cape Mount; in which innocents would be maimed. The blood of martyrs-- Tonia Richardson, Pewee Lavala, Wuo Gabe Tarpiah, Gabriel Kpolleh, Jackson Doe, Nowai Flomo, John Fokpa, Moses Duopu and countless others— may have been spared had you exposed Taylor for his “ideology of getting rich quick;” their martyrdom saved for the real people’s struggle that was yet to come. I hear them shriek cries of betrayal in your ears! I feel them seethe with rage at your horrid silence! This is the burden of history under which you must grunt. This is the historical albatross which you must bear.

For how can you join us to celebrate these martyrs? How can you stand before mausoleums erected in their honor? Will you partake in their feast in which the Vai women supply the Gbasayama? The Grebo women the Palm Butter? Lorma Women the Torgborgee? How will you sing the lamentation to these stalwarts? We will be there to hymn the dirge to their valor; the paean to their sacrifice? Can you truly ululate the falling of these martyrs, having betrayed them? You may summon the will to join us in singing their praise, but will soon bow in perpetual shame when we reach that refrain where the people sing:

Long Before the War Hit
Fahnbulleh Saw the Danger;
He Knew Taylor’s Plan
But Dared Not to Leak It;
The Martyrs Were Deceived
But Struggled To Survive;
They Perished in the Wrong War
His Silence Was the Weapon.

But after all this betrayal the shameless Fahnbulleh would still write:

How callous and sadistic this vampire[Taylor] is who now
spins a web of lies to conceal his murderous adventures which
started from the time he exposed the entry of Podier and his
colleagues into Liberia to the Doe regime through Amos Gray
because Podier refused to accept him into his movement based
in La Cote d' Ivoire. What a perfidious fiend who feels he can
murder our compatriots with impunity!

You helped create the fiend! That is the verdict. This is the guilt you now carry on your shoulder. But again Fahnbulleh is guiltless for after all this tragedy, he still goes on to write: “are patriots to refrain from decisive action against injustice because people will die in the process? History does not move in this way?” So the death of the martyrs was justified because your “patriot Taylor” had to take decisive action against the injustice of Samuel Doe? Isn’t this the reason why you decided not to expose him? How now can you say you hate him so much?
For this you cannot you cannot write our history. You belong to that class of feckless bandits, who, callous in their greed for political power, have formed the shabbiest of unholy alliances with brigands of the goriest stripes, collapsing our people into mayhem. Yours is the prayer of Claudius in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” feeling guilty in the death of his brother:

Oh my offence is rank it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon it; …
Oh limed soul that struggling to be free
Art more engaged. Help Angels! Make Assay!

This is your perennial guilt added to that other guilt from the Pandema Road Massacre in which you led several militants to wasted martyrdom, cowardly escaping in the process leaving them to be butchered. When will you be the martyr?

But let’s now turn to deconstructing Fahnbulleh’s illogical reasoning. He provides gaping responses to the numerous inconsistencies I exposed. Because these contain the kernel of his dissolution, we must examine them thoroughly. He writes:

Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. berates me for praising those I condemn in the past. Why must I not change my position on people if the circumstances have altered? In life no one is totally evil or good. We must be flexible in dealing with people and not allow bigotry or intemperate rage to blind us to different realities. We are not intolerant bigots and thus do not stick to rigid positions when dealing with human nature….” “Does this man understand that he is writing about political developments that span 20 years? Does he not understand that people grow older and come to understand the world better? Does he now want to take a comment made about Madame Sirleaf in 1985 and a statement in her defense made in 2005 as proof of inconsistency? I thought we were supposed to be more reasonable in our judgment as we grow older?
What is this? Is he begging for forgiveness? Here the brat defends inconsistency on the basis of the need to be “flexible” and because no one is “totally evil or good.” So those we criticize yesterday can be praised today once the “circumstances have altered.” Determining when and how circumstances alter will have to be proven, but we leave that for now. Let’s address a philosophical question to our confused brother who scolds me for saying his hatred of Taylor is over-inflated.

Does Fahnbulleh believe Taylor is totally evil? Fahnbulleh’s answer must be no because for him “no one is totally evil or good.” Now are we to expect he will begin praising Charles Taylor in the future if he demonstrates remorse and apologizes for the atrocities he inflicted on the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone? Would such apology mean that “circumstances [surrounding Taylor] have altered?” If Fahnbulleh’s response is no, then that trivializes his argument that circumstantial change must compel one to be “flexible” and not to “stick to rigid positions when dealing with human nature.”

Since Taylor is human and definitely a part of human nature, if Fahnbulleh refuses to praise the bandit for such putative apology, would not Fahnbulleh be contradicting himself when he says “we are not intolerant bigots and thus do not stick to rigid positions when dealing with human nature….” And if he praises Taylor for merely apologizing would he not compromise his vaunted hatred of the man. So one sees that he is boxed by the absurdity and illogicality of this response.
This is the Fahnbulleh dilemma. His situation is complicated because he rejects consistency to flexibility, which allows him to somersault. The danger of being flexible based on circumstantial change is highly subjective. Who determines when circumstances alter? Is it Fahnbulleh? Is it Tweah? My determination might be different from his, and the consequences derived thereof might vary considerably. So it is far more important to stick to principle. The point is Fahnbulleh could have come up with far better responses to his intellectual flip-flopping. But again the man is logically weak.

Also, my criticism of Fahnbulleh’s vacillation is not based merely on the question of praising people he condemned yesterday. I grant that “people do grow up” except Fahnbulleh, and that they do make mistakes. But people “do not grow up” from a sweeping denunciation of an entire political class and revert to celebrating that class when nothing can be proven to have changed. Fahnbulleh deceives the audience by asking “does this man understand that he is writing about political developments that span 20 years? Does he now want to take a comment made about Madame Sirleaf in 1985 and a statement in her defense made in 2005 as proof of inconsistency?” No Fahnbulleh, we are not just talking 20 years. We are talking as recently as March 2005. In “Before the time comes” published in Mach of 2005 by the analyst, he writes of Madame Sirleaf thus:

On the other hand, the lady politician with her UN connections has deftly used her status on the Governance Reform Commission (GRC) to expose the corrupt practices of this administration…. The problem with her approach is that she runs the risk of alienating many who interpret her ambition as crudely opportunistic and see her condemnation of corruption as insincere.
This is because it is hard to explain why members of the GRC are being paid in U.S. dollars when the majority of Liberians in government are paid in Liberian dollars. Also, it is baffling why the UNDP would give the GRC half a million dollars when there is nothing concrete that this Commission has done to warrant such a huge amount. Are there other reasons for this lavish grant than the writing of periodic reports purporting to expose mismanagement and corruption?
In May of 2005, little over a month later he writes:
I would normally not come to [Madame Sirleaf’s] defense but since some want to condemn her as part of a collective, I will defend her.”

On the question of Liberia political class he writes in 1985 that:

The charade has long since ended. What grumblings there remain are the reflexes of frustrated politicians who helped orchestrate the farce, but were themselves duped in the end by more unscrupulous political tricksters. The tragedy of this whole affair is that the people, in their determination to oust the racketeers who now rule their country, are willing and ready to sacrifice their lives in defense of the domestic opposition, without realizing that those who now lead this opposition are the very people who through cunning and stealth imposed Sergeant Samuel Doe and his band of thieves on them [Liberian People] in the first place.

In March of 2005, showing a soupcon of consistency, which he will soon abandon, he writes:
One can argue that personal ambition and vain showmanship are two of the defining characteristics of the Liberian political class….

He continues: The presidency is not considered an office with monumental responsibility for social transformation but a job in which one makes money, seduces the women and wears expensive suits. We know that some of our militants of yesteryears have fallen victims to this virus. I saw them in action during the Sawyer interim presidency and it was laughable but pitiful. It is no more a matter of conviction and commitment to the downtrodden but a struggle for jobs—no matter who gives them.

In May of 2005 he abandons that short-lived consistency and asks: “How have the politicians failed Liberia?”

Now let’s plume this minefield of contradictions until it becomes crystal clear that the man who demands to parrot garbage as historical commentary lacks the capacity for consistent critical thinking. Let’s begin with his 1985 statement that those who “lead this opposition are the very people who through cunning and stealth imposed Sergeant Samuel Doe and his band of thieves on them [Liberian people] in the first place.” Interesting. But how can he still ask “how have politicians failed Liberia?”

He has answered that question already: because “politicians through cunning and stealth imposed Doe and his thieves on the people of Liberia!” Now does he retracts that statement? We need a retraction before “growing up and moving on.” He writes further that “in 1980, the military— that segment which was the most backward, uneducated, unenlightened and reckless—seized power. How and with whose help is still being researched and debated by scholars.” Hold your breath a minute. Were we not told earlier that leaders of the opposition imposed Doe on the Liberian people? How come suddenly we do not know with certainty how and with whose help Doe came to power?

Twenty years later in March of 2005, he implies the political class has failed by writing “one can argue that personal ambition and vain showmanship are two of the defining characteristics of the Liberian political class.” But then in the same vein and the same year, he asks “how have politicians failed Liberia?”

In his attempt to muddle the debate, he accuses me of being confused about political terminology. He writes:

Our man’s confusion probably comes from his inability to differentiate between ‘a political class,’ ‘an oligarchy,’ or ‘a ruling clique.’ A political class is that group which is conscious of its political responsibility, seeks power to further certain goals and objectives, and promotes its struggle on the tenets of an ideology.

OK professor, I agree I am a little “confused”. But let’s analyze our professor’s definition of a political class by identifying key phrases: “being conscious of responsibility,” “seeking power to further certain goals” “basing struggle on ideology.” Very good so far Dr. Fahnbulleh! But watch. He writes later, “any undergraduate in politics knows that ‘opposition political elements’ do not necessarily constitute a political class.” One wonders which undergraduates he is talking about. What confusion is this!!

Are not opposition elements those who “seek power to further certain goals” according to his own definition? In defining a political class he identifies the ability to “seek power to further goals,” as a characteristic. But then he says opposition elements who, by definition are supposed to “seek power to further goals,” may not constitute a political class. So according to him Progressives as an opposition group “do not necessarily constitute a political class.” Are not Progressives opposition political elements? Have they not been seeking power all their lives? Are they not conscious of their responsibility? Do they not possess an ideology? Then how can our learned professor Fahnbulleh imply that Progressives “do not necessarily constitute a political class?” But then watch this bomb. He writes:

The progressive forces in Liberia, defined as a political class, together with those other actors within this class have fought over the years with their eyes not on selfish ends but on their vision for a change in Liberian society based on their different ideological perspectives.

Now we are dealing with multiple layers of contradiction; the contradiction of contradiction. This truly is the operation of the Hegelian dialectic on the intellect of H. B. Fahnbulleh. You produce a thesis. Contradict that thesis and produce an antithesis. Conflict both the thesis and antithesis and emerge with a synthesis. Continue this thesis-antithesis-synthesis formulation until you make the most sense. This is Fahnbullehs’s application of the dialectic to his thought process.

This is what is happening here. The phrase “progressive forces in Liberia, defined as a political class” conflicts the clause “opposition political elements do not necessarily constitute a political class.” The statement “Progressive forces in Liberia have fought with their eyes “not on selfish ends” contrasts his earlier statement that “we know that some of our militants of yesteryears have fallen victims to this virus [making money, seducing women and wearing expensive suits]. I saw them in action during the Sawyer interim presidency and it was laughable but pitiful. It is no more a matter of conviction and commitment to the downtrodden but a struggle for jobs—no matter who gives them.” Where are we going with this? So who is more confused now? Tweah or the Professor? You be the judge.

But the confusion and contradictions are only just beginning. The Professor continues “cliques, oligarchs and bandits do hold power too but they do not necessarily constitute “a political class.” Bosh!! This gets more serious. Clicks, oligarchs, and bandits do hold power but they do not necessarily constitute a political class. Opposition elements do seek power but they too do not necessarily constitute a political class. Can this professor tell us then who necessarily constitutes a political class? Had he not already defined the progressives as a political class? Is he now emptying the entire political class? Can this man simply desist from writing gibberish and polluting our young minds?

These are but a modicum of the myriad contradictions that litter Fahnbulleh’s writings. He is a monument of contradictions. He contradicts is allegiances or alliances; conflicts his political analyses; and confuses his thought processes. Contradiction galore. Without a doubt, Fahnbulleh’s intellectual powers are massively descriptive but they are least analytical. Those who demand to interpret history cannot just describe; they must analyze and show adeptness at critical consistency. Fahnbulleh fails greatly on this score and for this he cannot interpret our history. This feat will have to be left to greater mortals!

For example, in one breath he argues “George Weah will be lucky to get ten percent of the popular votes if elections are held in October.” In another he vows “to oppose those who want to experiment with the destiny of the nation.” How can one vow to oppose an individual who “cannot win ten percent” of the votes? Who ever made vows to oppose Fahnbulleh who won 0.002% of the votes in the 1997 elections? He was just allowed to fritter, undisturbed. Also, he describes me as a “moronic poltroon” yet he fears my “rabid rhetoric” which has been “picked up by accident.” Wait a minute! Even a kindergarten kid knows who a moron is. No moron is capable of “rhetoric” not least the rabid kind. But this is again shows you not only contradiction, but broad daylight confusion in the cloying use of fatuous phrases.

Speaking of rhetoric, is this Fahnbulleh dreading rhetoric these days? Has not he deluded many over the years by the use of misguided and tawdry rhetoric? Or has he now sensed the emergence of men in this generation far more endowed in the display of rhetorical power, but who will only use it to edify and construct? Isn’t this the man who is supposed to rhapsodize audiences and awaken men to heights unimaginable? Or has his rhetorical power now faded into effeteness, frazzled by overuse, and viewed as nothing more than a mind-numbing concatenation of vacuous phrases bereft of meaningful action.

These are the babblers who have debased that once cherished device bequeathed to human civilization by the Greeks and Romans. When Pedicles or Cicero employed rhetoric, it was not to destroy, to heap insults on or at lash at compatriots who will be needed in future struggles: it was to inspire, to goad Greeks and Romans into the higher echelons of citizenship. Unfortunately, rhetorical copycats like Fahnbulleh have now made humanity to look down upon this great instrument.

On the question of the role progressive forces played in the execution of thirteen former government officials, Fahnbulleh writes “why would we as young revolutionaries settle on the elimination of only thirteen former TWP officials…?” He goes on to deny any involvement in the decision to eliminate the officers arguing “military regimes have their own internal dynamics…” and that progressives “made no pretense that they understood what was happening in the military council but tried to reduce the anarchy as much as possible.” He concludes that “we were serving in the regime and so must take responsibility for what occurred but it is wrong to say we ‘encouraged the slaughtering of former TWP officials.’”

One can only disagree vehemently. Given the influence and clout Fahnbulleh and his cohorts exerted on Doe during the initial days of the PRC, had they voiced vociferous opposition to any attempt to eliminate the former officials, Doe would have obliged. During the early days of the PRC, Doe leaned heavily on progressives for direction given his initial inexperience. Though Fahnbulleh now assumes some vague responsibility, at the time he and other progressives saw it fit to continue doing business with the regime, believing that things would normalize and the nation would heal. Did they not sense that the death of those thirteen would lay the basis of Doe’s eventual dictatorship? This was the formative stage of Doe’s evolving political mindset.

Had these progressives formed democratizing impression on this fledgling political mind by vehemently opposing the killing, given the extent of the influence they wielded at the time, the outcome if not radically different would have been credibly so. But how could he advise against the butchering of the thirteen when all Fahnbulleh cared about was groveling before a sitting head of state, currying favor to aggrandize power.

He was far too busy donning military uniforms, strutting his vain militant stuff as is his custom. Why did he not resign if he really believed in the sanctity of human life and the inviolability of the rule of law he now appears to champion? His departure from the PRC on those grounds would have marked him as a true democratic and revolutionary hero. But he remained there, to snivel, feeding on whatever crumbs fell beneath the table of power. When his political star finally descended, the bandit absconded under the ruse of “fleeing a military dictatorship.”

If this hypocrite was truly against those executions, why has he never included the thirteen officers among what he calls in “The nation is dying” “the martyrs of our history?” He writes:
The nation staggers from its multiple wounds, heading towards a precipice that leads to darkness and death. Then the women of Lofa screamed in anguish and we with our emasculated manhood stirred from our cowardly indifference and for once in our lives think of the children of tomorrow and pick up the emblem of the martyrs of our history: Blyden, Juah Nimley, Edwin Barclay, David Coleman, D. Twe, T. R. Bracewell, Kollie Tamba, S. Raymond Horace, Sr., Nete Sie Brownell, Du Fahnbulleh, Henry Zuo, Robert Sumo, Thomas Quiwonkpa, Robert Phillips, Wiwi Debbah, Wuo Garbe Tappia, etc. And behind the emblem we march, [ will he ever be a martyr, cowardly as he is?] untainted by tribalism or bigotry; for the blood that flows for freedom is colored red no matter who we are or where we come from.”

Lest he says they are among the “etceteras” what about his other list. He writes again:
There is a simple lesson from all tyrannies: the tyrants have no friends. They kill unconscionably because for them all human beings are expendable cannon fodder. Thus Dokie died, like Elmer Johnson, Moses Duopu, Jackson Doe and hundreds of thousands of innocent people. And Weh Syen, Henry Zuo, Robert Sumo, Harry Johnson and Nelson Toe are slaughtered based on lies and deception. And then followed Podier, Quiwonkpa, Charles Gbenyon and thousands of innocent citizens.


Ashamed of his guilt in the death of those thirteen he would ask, “why this selective bereavement after twenty-five years of massacre, murder, mayhem, death and destruction?” Look who’s now writing for “those who want to go on living in the maudlin agony of the graveyard, we have moved on even though we lost loved ones, relatives….” Look who’s now talking about selective bereavement. When last did you leave the graveyard of our history? Is it now we cannot talk about the dead whose death you could have prevented? You did not prevent the death of the thirteen officials. You did not prevent the martyrdom of the heroes of Taylor’s war? Why is it that every time you come under attack your response becomes “we have moved on?” No, we have not moved on Fahnbulleh, nor have we “grown up.” We will stay here to do battle.

There are many more grounds on which we could skirmish with this mountebank, but we retire our battery now, having inflicted severest casualty in decimating that vaunted perch from which he is wont to defame, malign, traduce and parlay balderdash as history. This babbler must rest assured that the turf to interpret modern Liberian history will be fiercely contested. Petty gossipers and men dealing in agitprop will be bulldozed to the fringes of historical relevance, their spluttering prevarications confined to the trash heap of history. The verities of the new order in Liberia demand far more serious chroniclers and pundits.

Men and women who, gauging an objective political distance, can amply document that tragic accident in which a coterie of self-seeking Progressives crash-landed the institutional vehicle of political change, unleashing a violent chain reaction that would occasion unimaginable plunder, mayhem, gruesome violence and massive deaths. These are the broad contours of the history that will be told. No amount of dudgeon Fahnbulleh heaps can disturb that consensus. These are the words that will reverberate throughout the country:

That the death knell of a decayed political culture has now been sounded. All that remains is for new generation forces to quicken that demise and inter the corpse. The byproducts of this systemic decay are fully known: rampant corruption, ruined infrastructures, gutted buildings, famished people, martyred men, abused rights and the many other woes. The forces of old must now capitulate.

Henry Boima Fahnbulleh, Jr., your lashes against the failures of your generation—the progressives, the politicians, the Doe’s, the Taylor’s—though sometimes belated, will still be accorded due kindness and respect by history. But you cannot turn your spent venom against patriots of our generation. These towering men and women will be jealously guarded and shielded from any fiendish and venomous assaults.

If your quiver has been exhausted from arrows in your interminable battles with tyrants, you cannot replenish same on these unblemished patriots!! The movement of modern Liberian history now awesomely rests upon their shoulders. On this score, we are prepared to do battle: to trade word for word, insult to insult, rhetoric to rhetoric; scouring intellectual grounds and erecting bulwarks to secure the vanguard march of the Patriot George Manneh Weah and other new generation revolutionaries; men and women endeavoring to manumit their people from eternal bondage!!

We are in full agreement when you say:

There are many young men and women who are growing up, conscious of the betrayal [by Liberia’s political class] and the prevailing injustices. Our duty is to identify them, engage them in serious political debates and burden them with the task of leadership in tomorrow’s struggle.
Yes! You are correct!! You have identified us. You have engaged us in debates. What now remains is to burden us with the task of leadership in tomorrow’s struggle.

In pursuing this struggle, we are mindful of the awesome challenges that lie ahead, but remain fearless in vanquishing any foe who dare to stand in the path of a people’s triumphant entry into that ever elusive land of freedom, democracy and development. This remains our battle cry!!


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