11 January 2018

Liberia: Dialogue Among Peace Messengers - Resilience for Peace-Part 1

For a moment, it seems empty, time stood still for many of us as world crisis reached tipping points. We continue to observe on going crisis of nuclear threat in North Korea and the rest of the world, suicide bombings by Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, ISIS in the Middle East, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The refugee crisis including repatriations of Rohingya to Myanmar, the protests in Togo, Iran, Jerusalem, Palestine Nairobi, Argentina, Pakistan, India, and ongoing conflicts (war) in Syria, Yemen, Libya and clashes in Equatorial Guinea are reasons for concern.

Back home in Liberia, we were all apprehensive that the Presidential runoff elections would not go as planned, but thankfully, all interventions, particularly the "Enhancing Youth Participation in the 2017 Electoral Process-(UNDP& UNPeacebuilding Fund)" put in place to increase space for youth engagement, dialogue and mediation worked. A good number of magnificent young people participated to diffuse potential elections prone conflict at various communities in Liberia that significantly led to the conduct of a fair and violent free Presidential elections which the rest of the regions need to emulate.

As peace messengers, we have our work cut out. We need to strengthen our support for the incoming Government. Our support should not be guided or dictated by project funds but by our commitment to national peace and stability. Young people need to build resilience for peace by making the right connections with programmes that would be put in place by the new government and look for opportunities for self-discovery. There is need to accept that change is part of living and growing up; therefore, we must maintain an optimistic and hopeful outlook that the best is yet to be achieved in us.

The global community, on the other hand, needs to act up and address growing global crisis and tone down rhetoric that could lead to war. The need to respect citizens' rights and freedom of expression cannot be overemphasized and should be factored into our daily systems of governance. Times are hard and should be addressed.

The year might have started tough and rough for some of us but determination and patience have remained our bedrock. Determination is the strength that will enable us to pass the barrier of useless thoughts in order to create positive thoughts and to be successful as we deal with life and moment defining issues. This comes from within and its partner is patience which teaches us not to push but rather to wait and appreciate the game of life instead, knowing that nothing remains the same and everything will change at some point. Difficult moments allow us to observe spiritual practices that guide us to find meaning as stay connected with our inner strength.

Until next week, when we prepare for the inauguration of a new administration and finalize the process to a smooth democratic transition of power from one president to the another, let peace be our guide, Peace above all else, Peace first and may Peace continue to prevail in our country.


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