Barack Obama Is Here With Us In West- Central Pennsylvania: Change You Can Believe In–Come Out and See Him!!!

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CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN: OBAMA MOVING AMERICA FORWARD

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Barack Obama has come to us here in West and Central Pennsylvania, bringing his message of unity, of change we can believe in, of moving America forward, his message of bringing this wonderful country and its people together, and I am really really excited. If you live in the rolling hills of the Laurel Highlands and the Allegheny Mountains or if you enjoy the Nittany lion country where the roads wind up and down around these lovely hills of Pennsylvania country, I am speaking to you. This is also what we know to be Penn State country. This is where I learned to love football even though I think succor is the best sport in the world. Hey, don’t be mad.

But come out to University Park tomorrow at 11:30 if you missed Obama in Johnstown, Greensburgh or in Pittsburgh to hear the next President of the United States. This man is a phenomenon, one who can bring all races together. I believe in what Obama can do for America, for the world, and for everyone, the good, the bad, the ugly, the common, the educated, the uneducated, whites, blacks, Asians, and everyone. No one is perfect, but I believe that the person who cares deeply is one who has himself seen life’s tough roads.

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University Park, where The Pennsylvania State University is just forty-five miles from where I am is where you will need to go to hear this great man. I had planned to be there, but I am not sure if I can drive up since I have been ill for weeks. But hey, I can write and invite my readers living in Pennsylvania to go and hear Obama. I have listened keenly to almost every word he has said; I have heard the critics, have heard it all, and as a poet, a teacher, an African immigrant, a mother and wife, a Christian who also believes in the values that make a great leader, I believe in Obama. Get out of your homes and follow those who want to hear him and those hanging on the sidelines, go to University Park on the Old Main Lawn to hear the man America has been waiting for all these years.

I have been here when Reagan was elected, when Bill Clinton was elected, when George W Bush was elected, and when John Kerry was not elected. I have watched the play on politics, have seen all there was to see. I was the biggest Bill Clinton fan even when I lived in a town that was all Republican. But I tell ya, this is Obama’s term to move America forward.

African immigrants and immigrants from other parts of the world should take note. This is your moment to allow your voices to be heard. A couple of young college students in my class came to me last fall and were speaking to me, their Obama t-shirts on, trying to tell me about a candidate that I love so much. But as a professor, I listened to them, watched their excitement, young, white and excited college kids, trying to make a difference in their world. That was amazing and that is amazing. Obama can unite us all.

One of the realities that hits immigrants upon arrival here is that division between the races. That subtle line, the setting aside of the other that does not look like you can be very surprising to immigrants. So often, my heart has bled because my friends come in all shades of colors. I am very close to my white friends, my Indian friends, my African American friends, my Asian and Asian American friends, and to me, all people no matter where they come from are the same. I just love people. Obama can bring all of these races together.

So, Obama’s message means a lot to me. I believe that we need to come together. If we come together, then maybe we can help the world come together. Let us come together.

Come, the kola nut has been served.

The wine has been poured.

The table has been laid.

The mat has been laid out.

The drums have been sounded.

People are holding hands.

When we are one,

we can overcome the problems of the world.

I have seen no other candidate speaking to everyone.

No other candidate speaking to everyone, so come on board.

 

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WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: New Update on The Attack, Tear Gassing and Arrest of 500 Liberian Women Refugees Who Were Protesting at Ghana’s Buduburam Refugee Camp

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Thanks to everyone who has pulled together as we struggle to help relieve the Human Rights fight our Liberian refugees in Ghana have experienced over the past years and now more so over the last few weeks. The news that 500 Liberian women with their children were thrown into trucks and buses at 4 a.m. when no one was looking, that troops from the Ghanaian military actually tear gassed these women who were only acting non-violently by sitting out to have their voices heard was very heartbreaking.

From the past news, the women who are rightful human beings were tired of the injustices they have suffered over the years, and without their men, took up this project of letting the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR know their wishes. They only asked for $1000.00 if they were to be repatriated to Liberia, and were told by the UNHCR that their demand was too high. Well, we have discovered that the amount is not too high for refugees who have had nothing to live on for almost two decades to ask for. If they should be repatriated to Liberia, where there are no jobs yet, where the country is recovering from a fourteen year war, where returning refugees have no lands or homes or food waiting for them, how is $1000.00 too much to ask of the United Nations Refugee Organization that is spending more than ten times as much on other refugees from other countries? The government of Ghana reacted to this attempt to be heard by rounding up innocent women into trucks and buses, so we must stop their deportation. We must not allow this to happen to our already traumatized war victims. War is not a one nation problem. Let Ghana remember that Liberia was home to hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians for over a century before the Liberian civil war. Let the people of Ghana make their government work things out with the Liberian government as well as the UN so that human beings are treated like human beings.

UPDATE:

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Liberian women sit out, a sit out that caused them to be thrown onto trucks to a secret location.

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Liberia’s President Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf soon after her 2006 inauguration in Monrovia.

As I have watched this incredible event in Ghana, many human rights activists have also been following with me. Unfortunately, I am not too well from flu, but the matter makes my flu worse because these people are not only refugees in a far away place. They include my younger sister-in-law, many relatives, friends, and other very great Liberian mothers who have been made low by war. Yes, they are not perfect, and their host country of Ghana has done well, and yet, they have suffered many injustices and abuses that should be brought to the world’s attention. They cannot and should not be repatriated as if they were dogs.

Today, there is finally some news from Liberia, a statement from President Sirleaf on the state of the crisis there. Of course, like any government, it is a very diplomatic statement. But I was encouraged by the statement however. The fact that she is also strongly urging talks by dispatching a representative to Ghana to discuss the crisis. Sadly, the government statement also focussed more attention on the violation of the laws of Ghana by Liberians, apologizing to Ghana and promising citizens of Ghana living in Liberia safety than on the injustice of rounding up sleeping protesters onto buses. I do hope that the Ghanaian government will in turn be peaceful as President Sirleaf is seeking to be. That Ghana will also promise Liberians living in Ghana safety and equal treatment as human beings, and get them off that camp or whatever to be returned to the Buduburam camp where their departure can be processed properly.

On the other hand, I am proud of the Liberian House of Representatives that according to The InquirerThe Inquirer News Paper in Monrovia, strongly expressed their disappointment in Ghana’s actions in a statement. Up until now, I had ignored this group, and even though I do not agree with all they do, this is a plus for them. Thank-you, my people. Read the pasted clips from The Inquirer

“—-At the same time, the House of Representatives has expressed anger over the behavior of the United Nations High Commission on Refugee (UNHCH) against Liberian refugees residing in the West African State of Ghana.

At its regular session yesterday, members of that august body said the demand made by Liberian refugees living in Ghana that UNHCR should give them US#1000.00 as a resettlement benefit before returning home is reasonable as compared to US$15,000 being spent by the UN agency on the construction of shelters for each Sierra Leonean family in Liberia.

 

Montserrado County Representative, Edward Forh said if such an amount can be given for the construction of shelters for the Sierra Leonean refugees then it’s difficult to believe that the UNHCR cannot spend US$1,000 for Liberian refugees under the same program.

He said UNHCR must not practice double-standard in dealing with the refugee issues by turning down the Liberian refugees’ US$1,000 requests. He then described the action by the Ghanaian Government against Liberian Refugees as unfortunate and called on plenary to request from the UNHCR what he calls equitability.

Other representatives are appealing to plenary to cite Information Minister, Laurence K. Bropleh to provide explanation on the status of the refugees and the treatment against them by the Ghanaian government.”

–Excerpted from The Inquirer Newspaper in Monrovia, Liberia

Before I close on updating you, let me say that I spoke with an official at the Refugees International, with The Advocates for Human Rights based in Minnesota, several of you who have expressed concern over these women’s plight, sent out e-mails asking you to kindly sign the new petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/buduburam/

Thanks.

Now, here is a news Columnist from Monrovia, Mr. Ekena Wesley, who was also a resident in the camp for many years, repatriated voluntarily years ago, and is now living in the hard times in Monrovia even while making a difference. I am proud of his efforts to keep writing and serving his country. Here is what he had to say:

 

Can Ghana’s Interior Minister Seriously Call These Women “Ungrateful Refugees?”

By Ekena Wesley

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Monday, March 17, 2008, the BBC Focus on Africa Program in a live interview with a its correspondent, David Amanor told its millions of listeners that it was inconceivable that the Ghanaian Police resorted to a heavy-handed approach to dealing with Liberian refugee women who had only been staging a peaceful sit-in since February 19, 2008.

David Amanor referred to the presence of tanks that had been positioned at the Refugee Camp by both the Police and Military. Could it appear that some full-scale war had started from the thin air? Few days ago, we made our views known about the way forward in view of the complexity of human kind and the obtaining variable of different situations that will dictate where we stand from time to time. This does not indicate any form of ambivalence as it were.

The BBC journalist who is anchored with the African Service, we supposed was vacationing in his home country but he did maintain some objective orientation in the face of the heavy-handedness associated with the action of the security forces that descended on the Refugee Camp. Hundreds of women had been bundled up and taken to unknown destinations. One account suggested Tamale in the North while the other said Aflao towards Ghana’s border with Togo. A Police source said Shai Hills in Eastern Region of Ghana. What could be the motive in all of this folks?

Despite the semblance of peace that has prevailed ever since Liberians took refuge in Ghana, there have equally been some of the harshest and appalling moments for the refugees. We heard live on the BBC a text message from one Ghanaian to the BBC branding Liberians as trouble-makers who have abused the traditional so-called hospitality of Ghana. That does not only sound frivolous but clearly points to the ignorance of the texter who doesn’t know Ghanaians live in other parts of the world.

What would be the justification for heavily clamping down of women simply carrying on sit-ins and that are no threats to public order although the authorities claim that was the case? That was out-rightly contested by the BBC correspondent in the live interview on Focus on Africa after he had visited the camp to get firsthand information about the grotesque media stunt with a view to besmear the refugee women. If anyone decides to question the credibility of the BBC on grounds that David Amanor’s analysis contradicts those of the authority reserves the right to do so but the truth will always triumph.

Mind you, when we seize such opportunity to reckon certain pattern or trend, it is on the basis that our research stems from the independence and objectivity of the likes of the BBC. For some, the BBC might not be the Gospel according to Precision Journalism and we won’t be surprise why they hold such thoughts.

Strangely, a senior member of the administration in Accra takes to an international broadcast network to present a total contradiction of what the BBC had reported. The sitting Minister informed the world that the women were in their nudity. Gush! What is the meaning of that? This is a questionable representation of the entire event the BBC correspondent had presented on the refugee women sit-in action. The BBC questioned the manner in which the security forces had acted in response to a non-violent protest action.

So, in the name of damage control, the world gets fed with innuendos as a cover-up for the use of extreme force on the refugee women. Liberians are a grateful people and will at no time ignore the role of West African governments that have and continue to provide safe havens for our people when conflict had beset our nation. There were times refugee took responsibility for many things the vast majority knew nothing about simply at the expense of deliberate generalization.

There is an entire community called ‘Agege’ made pre-dominantly of Ghanaians in Logos, Nigeria. Every county in Liberia has what is referred to as ‘Fanti Town’. What is the point here? We are all guests in each other’s country but some of us often become extremely xenophobic to the core. Our political leaders cannot use glamorous meetings to preach one thing while the reality on the ground is entirely different.

 

The refugees left their country under perilous conditions for safety. Even if they err, they should not be treated inhumanely although the current reality in Ghana seems not to be what is being media-framed. Let our hospitable brothers and sisters don’t taint the spirit of their so-called hospitality. We need each other from time to time. While it is true we disagree with the demands of the refugees on the one hand, we are sadly baffled that amid the independent account gathered by the BBC the women could be bused in so hostile a manner. But the authorities say something totally obscure.

 

We again followed closely David Amanor’s report on Network Africa by Tuesday morning after his earlier interview of Monday evening Focus on Africa). Stuff like a breach of ‘Public Order was drawn out of the window and dismissed by the Network Africa’s report. Why?

 

Evidently, the journalist saw such thing as such violation. The Interior Minister suggests that Ghanaian law requires that permission is sought five days prior to any demonstration. Was that the case? David Amanor’s report did not say ‘a demonstration’ but described the refugee women’s action as sit-in, which did not interfere with traffic or cause any disturbance let along breach of public order. Total subterfuge!

 

Worst still, we are fed with such trash as: ‘Liberian refugees are ungrateful’. This is a joke and no African who has ever visited this country; lived here and even rode on the backs of the generosity of Liberia’s tolerance will bear testimony to this open verbal diarrhea coming from a senior public servant. If such comments emerge from the highest echelons of state power – what else can we believe?

 

We have absolutely no reason to present Liberians in a style that is opposite their orientation. It does not benefit us in any respect and so we do not seek to brag about it. A complete joke that refugees are ungrateful. Mind those who forget their history are doomed. Although it is unclear yet, there are plans to deport the refugee women according to highly placed sources.

Mr. Ekena Wesley is a freelance journalist residing in Monrovia, Liberia. My younger brother-in-law, Media Consultant, Award Winner-2006-2007 Columnist of the Year, and can be reached at the following number: 00231-6-846-052

 

 

 

 

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: An Estimated 500 Liberian Women Refugees, Protesting in Ghana’s Buduburam Refugee Camp Arrested and Thrown on Buses and Trucks- Can Somebody Tell Me What’s Going On Here?

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When refugees from one of the world’s bloodiest wars can remain in a refugee camp in the tens of thousands while the world goes on for fourteen to twenty years, and because of a peaceful protest, be thrown into buses and trucks at dawn, with their children, involuntarily taken to a destination not of their choice by military men from their host country, this is a sad day for the world. The last I heard, there was a United Nations and a refugee commission to help ease such a conflict between refugees who have nothing and their host country. But to pack them up while they are supposed to be asleep on buses for repatriation to their homeland is not a good thing to do to any group of people.

But this is women’s History Month. A week ago, there were big celebrations of Women’s History around the world, Women’s achievement, and a group of protesting, angry women, trying to get the world to listen to them get forced on trucks to be forcefully sent back to a country they escaped forcefully years ago? The sad thing is that many of these refugees have lived through other times when they saw many of their country people forcefully taken on trucks and dumped in unmarked graves during the Samuel Doe Charles Taylor wars. Now before I go on, let me say this is the news. I am not making any of this up.

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Liberian women sitting out in protest a week ago before the arrest. ( SOURCE : http://www.equalitytrumpet.net)

According to news from Agence de Presse Afraine at this link: http://www.apanews.net/apa.php?article58141

about 200 women and children were forcefully removed at 4 am by military forces and taken to an unknown destination, and that sources indicated that these peaceful demonstrators will be repatriated involuntarily. In another news brief, there are claims that the number of those rounded up with AK-47s and taken away was as high as 500 refugee women. Check out news sources for more news on this grave human rights issue. As a blogger and a Liberian, I thought to respond to the dozens of hits my blog has got every day with readers searching for news on this Liberian -Ghana -world problem.

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Liberian women are seen here, sitting peacefully in protest about treatment in the Buduburam Camp in Ghana

I bring this grave news to your attention only as a blogger, knowing that I am not a journalist, and most of the information I react to comes from internet sources. We do not hear any news about Africa or about the rest of the world from our news media; therefore, many of us depend on the Internet for our news. I am now here reacting as a blogger, a writer, a Liberian woman, a poet who believes that there is a need to bring harmony to such situations before they become destructive, as a relative to some of those women who are protesting, who were forcefully removed from what they have known as home for so many years, and as a human being.

There are things we can do to assist others in getting the news and there are people we can call to stop this craziness. I have sent an e-mail to Amnesty International, an e-mail to The Advocates for Human Rights, have signed the petition at this link, where you too, can sign:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/buduburam/

Now, maybe the Liberian President, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her government will pressure the UN and the government of Ghana to return the protesting women to their homes and give them a voice. It is my hope that the Liberian government will move speedily to resolve this problem. The government of Ghana is also in a tight spot, but the use of the military on these refugees does not look too good for both sides.

This is Women’s History Month. Let us allow the voices of the disadvantaged women around the world to be heard. There have been hundreds of hits over this week on my blog where readers are desperately looking for news of this horrible news. Now join in and protest in your corner and in the open so that these women are released by tonight.

Remember, this is Women’s History Month and we are increasingly being called on to support women in power. But around the world, women are still struggling just to be left alone to sit on the bare muddy ground to protest.

Read A Poem, Please, The World Is Going Crazy!!!

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Sympathy  
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
 
I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
   When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;


When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,


And the river flows like a stream of glass;


   When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,


And the faint perfume from its chalice steals--


I know what the caged bird feels!


I know why the caged bird beats its wing


   Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;


For he must fly back to his perch and cling


When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;


   And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars


And they pulse again with a keener sting--


I know why he beats his wing!


I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,


   When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,--


When he beats his bars and he would be free;


It is not a carol of joy or glee,


   But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,


But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings--


I know why the caged bird sings!
    Paul Laurence Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African-American poets to gain national recognition. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, on June 27, 1872, to Joshua and Matilda Murphy Dunbar,freed slaves from Kentucky. His parents separated shortly after his birth, but Dunbar would draw on their stories of plantation life throughout his writing career. By the age of fourteen, Dunbar had poems published in the Dayton Herald. While in high school he edited the Dayton Tattler, a short-lived black newspaper published by classmate Orville Wright.

Still I Rise  
by Maya Angelou
 
You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928. She grew up in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. She is an author, poet, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer,…

From And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc. For online information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, visit the website at www.randomhouse.com.

“Ring out, wild bells” from In Memoriam  
by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

e.

Liberian Refugees At Buduburam Camp In Ghana Demonstrate, Stirring Up Rage In A Country That Gave Them Santuary For Eighteen Years, But Hey, Before You Condemn Them, Remember That No One Knows Tomorrow

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Kwamena Bartels, who is the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Ghana in West Africa has warned Liberian refugees living at the Buduburam Refugee Camp against their protest demonstrations. The Minister has demanded an end to the demonstration, making clear to the refugees that they have stretched his country’s patience to its limits. He has warned the demonstrating refugees at the Buduburam Camp in Ghana that their demonstration is illegal, and that they are violating the Public Order Act of 1994 that prevents such public disruption as is reportedly being displayed by these refugees.

The Liberian refugees are not happy about being asked to assimilate into Ghanaian society after almost two decades of living in a camp and isolated from the larger society. Others who are considering being repatriated to Liberia are demanding 1,000. a head for their voluntary return to their native Liberia. All of this is causing anger both in their host country of Ghana and among people who think that such attitude from refugees is a sign of ingratitude and a lack of feelings for their own plight as war refugees.

For nearly eighteen years, an average of 35,000 Liberians have resided in the Buduburam Camp in Ghana. But the camp has also been home to other African war refugees, and most recently, there are reports that other African refugees from Togo, Sudan, and other African countries have made the camp their home. Of course, we who have followed Liberian news know that during the 1990s and up to the last year, many Liberian refugees and other nationals posing as Liberian refugees have been resettled in the US and other western countries from the Buduburam Camp. The presence of newer refugees from around other wars in Africa coupled with the presence of Liberian unwillingness to return home or settle permanently in Ghana has of course added to the strain of living in the Buduburam camp even while placing an added strain on the host country of Ghana.

kwamena-bartels.jpgKwamena Bartels, Minister of the Interior

I was browsing around the web in search of information on this pressing situation in Ghana, and stumbled upon a Ghanaian blogger’s site. Despite the moderate tone of the blogger, the comments from the readers were the harshest I’ve seen in a long time, and I couldn’t help feeling the frustration of both the refugees and those who felt the need to take their anger out on the Liberian refugees. There were comments like, “How dare these ugly Liberians try to bite the hand that feeds them?” “How ungrateful?? Some actually commented, “God Bless Ghana!” “Throw out these ingrates,” and on and on. After reading these harsh comments, I couldn’t help but wonder when we as Africans will ever learn from our common mistakes? I wondered when Liberians as a people will also learn? The fact that we are now all over the globe is not sufficient reason to quit the fighting and complaining, maybe.

“Nobody knows tomorrow,” we used to hear. Years ago when my family and I arrived here to the US, I met a woman from Sierra Leone who introduced herself to me by calling me “one more ugly Liberian.” Without even getting to know me, she narrated her story of how Liberian girls used to steal Sierra Leonean men from Sierra Leonean girls, and how now my country was fighting an ugly war because we deserved what was happening to us. She claimed that we would all die like rats. I met her at the Michigan State University campus soon after we fled the war in the early 1990s. I was on a speaking trip with my husband to address the African Christian fellowship that year, and to my shock, there I was being reminded that my losses and my near death experience and my destitute state at that moment in the early 1990s was due to a simple matter of women on the two sides of the Mano River fighting over men. Haha, I could not help but feel sorry for my African sister. I could hardly argue with a woman who thought that the social issues over men palava were sufficient reason to send an entire nation to hell or that these very silly reasons were enough to wish a country of both men and women dead, and particularly to another woman who had never had any reason to be a part of her fight.

Of course, these are different times and these are different issues today, but all reveal themselves in the same stupid fights.

Sadly however, it was not long when her country, Sierra Leone, was also pulled into the war raging in Liberia. So, how dare those who claim that Liberian refugees are ungrateful also call them such ugly names when no one knows tomorrow.

Wasn’t it the cruel leader, Samuel Doe of Liberia who warned us Liberians during the early days of the civil war that “the rat’s trap is not for the rat alone?” Ironically, he was referring to us Liberians, not to other Africans, but his comments would go on to be true of not just Liberia, but for the entire region around Liberia. Don’t get me wrong; Samuel Doe was not the sort of person to quote proverbs to us Liberians. But our people also say, “If bad luck calls your name, banana breaks your teeth.”

But what happened to Liberia, the home of the once mighty US dollar in Africa, the place where immigrants were always welcome, the gateway to the United States, the place where Ghanaian nationals felt at home and lived becoming part of us, the place where Africans were always welcome– what happened to these now refugees could happen to just any one country or to any other African in our unstable world today.

Having said this, let me get down to the real issue.

Is it true that some of the refugees who are angrily striking out against the option to assimilate into the Ghanaian society or be returned to their homeland of Liberia have also reportedly prevented their own children from attending school and food from being distributed? Sad, isn’t it?

But isn’t it too late for any strike or demonstration against a country that has kept them alive in its borders all these years? This is not to say that life has been the most wonderful for them in the camp. In fact, here are some quotations of visitors to the camp and a petition drive for your review of conditions:

***

—–A Petition For Increased Involvement of the UNHCR on behalf of the refugees in Buduburam Camp, Ghana — http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/buduburam/

“...While formal labor statistics are not available, it is painfully clear that most of the camp’s residents have no consistent employment and rely on odd jobs such as transporting loads by wheelbarrow. Those individuals who have family members or friends abroad to send them money via Western Union are somewhat better-off. Living costs at the camp are quite high. For example: 2 euro per day per person for water (which may or may not be potable), 36 euro for a 25-kilo sack of rice.”

____________

“…Life on camp is difficult for the Liberians – its difficult for them to get jobs off of camp (Ghanaians are always appreciative that they’re here) and with 40,000+ of them its hard to survive. At meetings one of the main topics is always people worrying that people are literally starving here on camp, especially children. There is no running water or electricity on camp. People are super nice here but I’ve been asked a couple of times what am I doing here to help the people... “

“…The camp is dirty as santitation is a HUGE problem on camp but the people are just doing what they can to get by…

“…The Liberians all really want to go back to Liberia or of course to the States or Europe but they dont have the funds and back in Liberia they dont have anything to go back to – no home, no job, family scattered all over the globe or dead…”

—-“Welcome to Buduburam” November 19th 2007 by Danielle Welcome to Buduburam Refugee Camp (Web blog posting)–November 19th 2007 , a blog by Danielle_____

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Yes, conditions have not been great for the refugees. Anyone who has been a refugee knows that conditions for all refugees around the globe are never easy. The status of a refugee in many parts of the world means that you do not become a part of that country. You are set aside to hopefully be returned to your homeland or be resettled in a new place some day. For these Liberians, it has taken some eighteen years. Some others of course, joined them in the last few years, but for many of these refugees, the camp is now home. But to go on a demonstration and stop your children from attending school, to defy the host country’s laws, to demand payment in order to guarantee a return to your original homeland is a major mistake.

No matter how we take it, Ghana has done well by Liberians.

Ghana stood up for Liberia during the civil war, opened its doors to help Liberians fleeing to find a place to lay their heads, and despite the conditions of the camp, (which had more to do with the United Nations than with Ghana) it is about time that Liberians get out of the camps and return home. Those who have been offered sanctuary to settle in Ghana should take the opportunity instead of causing another war in another country. It is about time that Liberians stop complaining and move on. Many of us have relatives in that camp, and must do all we can to encourage them to move on when the opportunity comes up.

Other people who still call themselves Liberians are just tired of the names we have inherited from the war as a people. Yes, we know that there are many former combatants among the civilians. But hey, the war is over- okay, let those who do not want to fight live or move on-okay.

Did you know that you do not have to be a US citizen to support, volunteer for, and campaign for the candidate of your choice? Get involved if you Are a Permanent Resident of this great country

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If you are like me, you have seen too many US elections to be bothered. But this is a new time in history. Everyone seems to be on pins and needles to see what it all ends well tomorrow. Obama and Hillary Clinton are competing over the Democratic vote, and today, a neighbor and friend of mine expressed my own fear. If something goes wrong, who will console all of these excited people who are hoping for an Obama win and what will happen if Hillary does not win?

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Here is a poem written by the great American writer, Stephen Crane in 1899. It’s sarcasm is essential even in our time as everyone waits for the political war to end so peace will again prevail.

War Is Kind
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Stephen Crane (1899)
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Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind,
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.
Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them.
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom–
A field where a thousand corpses lie.
Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbles in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.
Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.
Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind!