The Analyst (Monrovia)

6 November 2012

Liberia: MICAT Gets 10 Acres for Culture and Tourism

Long before the 10 acres land space was legally transferred on Friday, November 3, 2012 by the people of Behsao, Senjeh District Bomi County to the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism, officials of the Ministry were well aware of the festivity and deep historical importance placed on the new site.

At the turning over ceremonies, Bomi County Superintendent and district number one Representative Cllr. Gayah Karmo were enveloped by an amazing and diverse selection of cultural performers and elders as they welcome the delegation of the Ministry of Information to the culturally inclined and historically fascinating village.

The Historical Wealth of Behsao

Behsao, with its scenery landscapes, is famous for unveiling cultural icons and attracting heads of state from Presidents Barclay to Tolbert and attracting a reputation that remains wealthy and has generated interest from the Government under the dynamic stewardship of Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Prominent Elders of Behsao and Bomi County Cultural Consultant Morris Beysolow drilled the MICAT Team led by Minister Brown into the history and novelty that Behsao holds sacred and challenged the guests to help preserve it, firmly intervening and factoring Behsao into its broader tourism and cultural outlook.

Elder Beysolow narrated the amazing feat of King Yolla, whose grave is located in front of the Cultural Museum in the heart of the town. Yolla, a great king and ruler of Behsoa several generations ago, died celebrating with his great army and kingdom after an historic battle.

The decorated grave site with ancient stones reflects the greatness and war heroism of Yolla. Elder Beysolow explaining further with the support of the soothing musical display from the variety of mask dancers on show asserted that as a mark of respect from King Yolla, brave men moved thousands of miles crossing several rivers as far as Gbarpolu county with the stone that currently surround the tomb of this strong leader whose story represents the courage and bravery of Behsao.

Elder Beyselow hailed the interest of MICAT for seeking to deepen the cultural reputation of Behsao, emphasizing the need to equally project the historical significance of the community.

"The Story of Behsao is incomplete without the story of the Poro and Sande."

Telling Our Own Story

It was a culturally sensitive journey from MICAT's Capitol Hill offices on Friday, as Minister Lewis Brown moved to seal the 10 acres long Behsao Cultural village seeking to popularize culture and the Liberian way of life.

Even before the musical dream beats and traditional kola nut and white chicken were presented by Bomi County's cultural Consultant Beysolow, it was clear that Minister Brown and team were overwhelmed by the deft and freshness and valuable historical dimension the elderly statesman had added to the culturally poignant Behsao Village.

Minister Brown noted that the Story of the Great King of Behsao and the respect shown generations ato is a story that every child in Liberia needs to know. Minister Brown insisted that the story of Behsao and other rich tales of our country confirm that we came from somewhere and we cannot go any further without the real understanding of where we have come.

"If we forget the story of our forefathers, our children will be lost and left only with the story of others" Minister Brown told the gathering attracting cheers.

He considered it a real delight that Liberia is still blessed with the presence of elders like Beysolow to relive the depth of what Liberia's culture is emphasizing strategic importance to the country's heritage and history.

"As a messenger of the President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, let me assure you of the commitment of the President to giving Behsao and our cultural institutions their rightful place in the development of our nation and people."

Minister Brown assured those within the Behsao Village area that MICAT under the direct instruction of the President will roll out a new engagement and reform of Behsao seeking among other things the remodeling of the Behsao Cultural Village and other centers across the country as a fundamental frontier in explaining Liberia r values.

Beyond Dancing Centers

Behsao no doubt presented the image of an all inclusive community all too willing and open minded to a real partnership with the government that will deliver and compliment a national drive towards brightening the Liberian value system and deepening our firm historical roots.

Turning over the tribal deed of the 10 acre community, Bomi County Representative Gayah Karmo said Friday that while the cultural component remains crucial, the people of Bomi County and Behsao were looking towards the expansion of a much more intensive and historically manifold venue that will drive tourism and culture in.

"Here we look toward a Culture and Tourism Project that is more than just a dancing center," Hon. Karmo stressed and expressed the hope that the new land space acquired by MICAT to attract greater attention to the community as an outlet to reassert national consciousness and belonging.

Hon Karmo assured government of the commitment and dedication of the locals in driving this important exercise every step of the way. greater support to cultural awareness and teaching of perculiar historical values of Liberians are critical to addressing issues of reconciliation, healing and other national challenges associated with building an all inclusive nation.

Receiving the deed, Information Minister Lewis Brown, expressed delight that the Behsao engagement has finally been concluded with the great Spirit of the people of Behsao.

This new engagement represents the good intention of the people of Behsao to elevate cultural relevance to a new level with an amazing historical and cultural richness of the nation.

He pledged the commitment of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who remains passionate about the promotion and revitalization of cultural centers nationwide as an imperative to national development.

Minister Brown who was taken on a tour of dilapidated structures of the village named the completion of the Behsao Museum and other rapid intervention to be undertaken by MICAT.

Behsao, Minister Brown insist, must chart a new course with our children been taught the values and importance of cultural performances and other musical instruments.

This and other cultural cites must reclaim discipline and mutual respect these enviable Liberian values and help direct the nation to tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

The need for a new approach to culture that explains identity is becoming more and more demanding. He argued that Liberian Children are becoming more attracted to movies and other foreign culture indicating that this has to be reverse.

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