As Liberians In the US Face Possible Deportation, their President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Apologizes for Helping to Start the Civil War that Drove them Into Exile: So What Does that Mean?


So what does this mean for Liberians abroad, for Liberians still languishing in Refugee camps, for Liberians who are afraid of the looming threat of deportation on March 30, 2009, when the current Temporary Protective Status (TPS) ends, and the US government refuses to let them remain here in this country? The President’s admission should not stop right here with her apology. Should Ellen lead Liberia into confiscating all the resources that Charles Taylor stole from our country during his bloody take over of our country, during the fourteen year carnage he waged? Those who are perpetrators should be brought to justice for sending so many to their graves and for sending hundreds of thousands into exile. She needs to join forces with thoes who are campaigning to grant  permanent resident status to each Liberian on TPS here in the US. I have had mixed emotions about the news not because I did not know all of this news before the TRC session with our President. I will wait to hear what my readers think, and what they hope we Liberians can achieve. I am sure others will politicize this to the limit, but this is a moment for everyone of us to reflect on. History is interesting when it unfolds before our eyes. To know that the war that many supported with their money continues to haunt us today is amazing. This is another moment for thinking Liberians to reflect on. Reflect with me, will you?

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said she had been fooled by Charles Taylor

Read the news article from the BBC below.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has apologised at a truth and reconciliation commission over her backing for ex-rebel Charles Taylor.

She said she had initially supported the rebel chief’s war effort and even raised funds for him, but denied ever having been a member of his group.

She said she had been fooled about the real intentions of Mr Taylor.

He led rebels who toppled President Samuel Doe in a 14-year civil war that left the West African nation shattered.

Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf was imprisoned in the 1980s for criticising the military regime of President Doe and then backed Charles Taylor’s rebellion before falling out with him and being charged with treason after he became president.


She took an oath on Thursday in the capital Monrovia from truth commission chairman Jerome Verdier and then sat before the flag of Liberia.

The 70-year-old Liberian leader faced the seven-member commission as she narrated her own involvement in the Liberian crisis that began on the eve of Christmas in 1989.

“If there is anything that I need to apologise for to this nation is to apologise for being fooled by Mr Taylor in giving any kind of support to him,” she said.

“I feel it in my conscience. I feel it every day,” she said, regretting her support to Mr Taylor.

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor (file image)

Charles Taylor now faces war crimes charges in The Hague

The Liberian leader said she had paid him a visit in May 1990 at his base in the north-eastern Liberian town of Gborplay, on the border with Ivory Coast.

“I will admit to you that I was one of those who did agree that the rebellion was necessary,” she told the commission. “But I was never a member of the NPFL (National Patriotic Front of Liberia).”

In a separate case, Mr Taylor became the first African ex-head of state to face an international war crimes court last year.

He is accused of responsibility for the actions of Revolutionary United Front rebels during the 1991-2001 civil war in Sierra Leone, which included unlawful killings, sexual slavery, use of child soldiers and looting.

Read two of my poems written during the Liberian Civil War.

Monrovia, Revisited (copyright-Taken from  The River is Rising, Autumn House Press, 2007)

——Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

This is the city that killed my mother;
its crooked legs bent
from standing too long,
waiting so angry people can kill
themselves too.

No grass along street corners—
so many potholes from years of war.
Immigrants from all
over the globe used to come here
on tender feet,

in search of themselves.
Abandoned city—
a place that learned
how to cry out loud even though
nobody heard.

This is the city where I first learned
how to lose myself.
Windy city, blue ocean city.
They say a city on the hill
cannot be hid.

The city of salty winds, salty tears,
where stubborn people still hold
us hostage after Charles Taylor.
You should come here if you want
to know how sacred
pain can be.

All Dirges Have Ceased (Copyright: Taken from  The River is Rising, Autumn House Press, 2007)

—- Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

All dirges shall cease at the striking of the clock,
at seven, when dusk comes creeping with death.
No more dirges will be sung for those taken away
or slaughtered or cramped together in camps
around the world—this our war.
Until we all wither like charred remains
of brush after the wildfire burns itself out.
And all the living creatures that once owned
the forest lie about in dry ash.

A snail shell, half burnt, a rattlesnake, coiled,
after the fire has eaten away its flesh.
A scorpion and her entire family, as if smoked
or parched hard for the ground.
And animals that used to run wild
in the jungles are all dead. But who will dare
mourn the passing of mere animals when
humans are still perishing and being smoked
and buried alive and put on the line

for the executioner, who is our warlord?
Where is everyone as kwashiorkor saps away
our war children one by one?
Our warlord tells us we cannot wail or mourn
or sing a dirge and wear black lappas or bury
the dead or send a letter abroad to tell those
who do not know about our dead.

Today when the sun comes into the kitchen
through the kitchen door or window, let us
catch its shadow, its rays; let us lock up the sun
in a box, in a steel box, and put a padlock
on the box. So tomorrow, there will be no sunlight
for the whole world. Tomorrow.
So there will be no more sunlight tomorrow.

One Response to “As Liberians In the US Face Possible Deportation, their President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Apologizes for Helping to Start the Civil War that Drove them Into Exile: So What Does that Mean?”

  1. Joyce Says:

    Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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