Liberia: Reject Violence for Sustainable Peace and Progress

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The President's address regarding the wave of lawlessness creeping in our country should claim the attention of every peace-loving citizen, irrespective of whether or not you are a supporter or opponent of the government in power. Despite our political, ethnic, and other differences, it is imperative for all Liberians to make individual and collective vows that the maintenance of peace and stability in our country is a responsibility for us all.

The experiences of our recent tragic history, characterized by a senseless civil war that cost the lives of an estimated 250,000 people and almost completely decimated our country, must remain a stark reminder for Liberians that we should know war no more.

As we all know very well, violence and bullets do not discriminate - a clear example being that there is hardly any Liberian individual or family that was not affected by the devastating civil war.

As a consequence of the years of instability and war, Liberia, which is endowed with abundant natural resources, suffered one of the worst economic collapses of any country since World War II, and became one of the poorest in the world, ranking 174th out of 186 countries on the Human Development Index.

However, by God's Grace and because of the resilience of the Liberian people, with very strong support from the international community, Liberia, which degenerated into a failed state, has emerged on the global stage as a post-conflict success. With its nascent multi-party democracy thriving, Liberians are enjoying an unprecedented level of freedom in the country.

Under the leadership of President Sirleaf, the rebuilding of war-torn Liberia started from scratch, even while the country was saddled with a debt burden of billions of dollars and was internationally blacklisted. Since then, Liberia has continued on a course of progress in all aspects of national endeavors. The progress includes the cancellation of $4.9 billion debt under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.

From infrastructural development, such as rehabilitation and construction of roads, medical and educational facilities, provision of electricity and pipe-borne water, to the institution of policies and programs in order to strengthen national security and institutions, progress has been steady.

For example, a visit to Monrovia today is characterized by paved roads, street and traffic lights, whereas, just a few years ago the nation's capital was dark and traffic on any major road was snarled due to potholes and puddles. Monrovia is being transformed more into a cosmopolitan city, with a skyline that is changing rapidly with beautiful structures that have been or are being erected throughout the city and its environs.

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