Liberia: Shame, Disgrace, and Illusion - PYJ Is Not the Hero of Noble Nimba County


It sounds cacophonous when people refer to Nimba County Senator Princy Yealue Johnson or PYJ as Nimba's hero. He is not in the picture. We know our heroes. Because the need for justice resonates with my career goal, I wrote an eye-catching and eye-opening Facebook article on the deals of Senator Johnson, not his person.

The article attracted many viewers and comments. Much to my dismay, some called to attack me personally instead of commending me. But in majority, the post was applauded. This means a plus for justice. We do not go after people. We go after issues of cardinal concerns. But even if there is a need for us to go after people, we wouldn't go after them for who they are or what they have, but probably what they do.

I wrote about Senator Johnson's ills and abuse of power in his position as a self-proclaimed head of then rebel fighters, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), and subsequently the head of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) during the Liberian Civil War (1989-1992).

My aim was not to claim his attention for personal benefits like others have reportedly been doing, but I wrote for human rights and to give justice its place in Liberia. We are simply fighting impunity, ladies and gentlemen.

In summary, the article reminded Senator Johnson to remember certain hideous crimes he committed during the war and continues to boast of today when he opens the doors of the War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC).

The article also serves to call the attention of stakeholders of justice and human rights. His followers and job seekers are turning the issue into a battle of insults and threats. I fear none of these.

As Socrates says, "[i]t is better to suffer evil than to commit it." If they continue to insult and threaten me for my rights, they will also suffer a painful sense of guilt. I don't have blood stains on my hands. Some people commented that Prince Johnson is Nimba's hero and does not deserve to be written about in such manner. I don't believe such false heroism.

If Prince Y. Johnson is your hero, he is not our hero. Those eleven uncles and relatives of mine that he killed were my heroes. If I had any other heroes, they were Jackson F. Doe, Samuel Saye Dokie, Moses Duopu, D.K. Wonserleay, a contributor to our Constitution, and PYJ's uncle, and maybe others to come.

Dr. Henry Boimah Fahnbulleh enlightened Liberians during his testimony when he appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) about choosing a hero. He said it is not a matter of compulsion for us all to have the same hero. You can have your hero, and I can have mine. No problem.

Nelson Mandela was a man who was almost unarguably admired and remembered for his roles in protecting and promoting human rights in South Africa. I used the word "almost" deliberately. When Mandela visited the United states of America, he was asked several human rights-related questions. Ken Adelman, of the Institute of Contemporary Studies, wanted to know why Mandela is known as a human rights activist, yet he associated himself so closely with, and praised Yasser Arafat, a former Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, and Fidel Castro, a former prime minister of Cuba, all of whom were noted by the United Nations for human rights violations.

Mandela said it is a mistake that political analysts always want their enemies to be everybody's enemies, and their favorites be everybody's favorites.

Should PYJ be our hero simply because he's your hero? Oops, no! Senator Johnson could be a hero for some people, probably job seekers, but not us, justice lovers and human rights activists.

Jessie Karwonmah Miamen is a Liberian international scholar studying in China. As the insightful scholar writes in his Facebook post, "[a]ll life demands struggle. Those who have everything freely given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is our major building block. With hard work and perseverance, success is assured."

We believe in hard works, including academic works. And so for us, successes/jobs are assured. We will not blind our eyes on human rights violations, and undermined injustice for jobs. We are sensitive to the values of life. You guys want it all free.

You may get all free, but remember that a gift from the devil is a trap! Prince Y. Johnson is to us as Marcus Junius Brutus was to Julius Caesar, and Judas Iscariot was to Jesus, the son of God. No matter how strong one can be, when he/she is stabbed in the back, there can be no escape. The only thing people often say is, "you too?" This is the very question Caesar asked Brutus.

Prince Y. Johnson is trusted by his relatives who so believed in him, they trusted him. They supported him and were willing to even die for him.

When he entered Nyor Bluntuo Town that afternoon somewhere in January, 1990, Teaton Workanuan, Nathaniel Kerper, and Zlanwear Cooper, did not come to him in the spirit of violence, because they did not see him as an enemy. They were happy that their (son) has come, and so they walked to him in salutation. They welcomed him wholeheartedly. They did not come with guns. They came with smiles on their faces to take instructions from their master.

Yet, Prince Y. Johnson soured their smiles and slayed them with his black and evil sword. This left us with a challenge and responsibility of about 63 orphans, 14 widows, and dark doors. The outcry of these innocent people is so touching, hurting and demands justice. Justice must stand and prevail, Mr. master killer. You are like a vampire. So thirsty for human blood. Why fear punishment, something you rightfully deserve?

About the author: Workapoe Woelea Workanuan is a student at Tuition Scholar, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) USA. Concentration: Gender and Diversity Studies. Phone: +4237732397; Email:

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