Independence Day Orator, Rev. Dr. Simeon L. Dunbar has warned that the future potential of Liberia might be jeopardized if injustice, rampant corruption, disobedience to the rule of law, nepotism and tribalism continue to be condoned.
At this year's Independence Day Celebration, Rev. Dunbar, told his audience which included the president, government officials, diplomatic and the general public that Liberians cannot and will not stand together to win any battle if such vices continue to be condoned.
"To win these battles certain requirements must be met," Rev. Dunbar said. "You cannot go to war and expect to subdue the enemy and win the war without the appropriate war-winning plan and strategies.
"Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are still at war with far greater pandemics than COVID-19. We cannot and will not stand together to win any battle in a society that condones injustice, rampant corruption, disobedience or non-adherence for the rule of law, nepotism and tribalism, sexual violence and gender-based violence, lack of genuine reconciliation, lack of patriotism, lack of accountability, lack of integrity and with no fear of God; for God hates these vices," Rev, Dunbar added.
These vices, Rev. Dunbar believes, create a situation where it is difficult for Liberians to stand together when are there's no equal platform for all, since some are standing in the trenches of Bokon Jeadea, others are standing in unmerited riches and stolen wealth.
Such a state of affairs, Rev. Dunbar said, makes it even harder for Liberians to stand together when some are standing on the sandy beaches of "West Point and New Kru Town with daily sea incursions and growing cases of homelessness, while others are standing in luxurious hotel lobbies and reporting to work on Monday afternoon."
Rev. Dunbar, who spoke on the theme: "Standing Together in a Time of Epidemic" wonders whether unity will ever be achiever when some people's bags are empty, while "other bags and bellies are full and overflowing.
He added that standing together might be difficult to archive when everyday future female leaders are crying and living in constant fear of abuse in a country where rape is no longer an abomination, but now a culture and way of life.
"How do we stand together? When every day our future female leaders are crying and living in constant fear of abuse? A country where RAPE is no longer an abomination but now a culture and way of life?" he asked. "And most importantly, how do we stand together, when we are one nation, very divided with no liberty or justice for all?"
"What do we need as a people?"
However, Rev. Dunbar said there is hope if Liberians do away with a deep-seated hatred for each other that only provides a platform for denying opportunities reserved by our laws for Liberians to foreigners.
This, the reverend said, will require Liberians standing together in fighting the battle of discrimination and injustice in the society, irrespective of the status of the perpetrator; as well as, stop recycling politicians who have outlived their time in government and provide equal opportunities for our prepared youths into public service.
"We need to do away with a deep-seated hatred for each other that only provides a platform for denying opportunities reserved by our laws for Liberians to foreigners. Can a nation love her neighbours more than herself? I say no as an answer. Empower Liberians first and foremost," he said.
Rev. Dunbar added that Liberians need to remind themselves about the country's dark and distorted history, not to repeat the past mistakes that "continue to divide us rather than unite us [and] focus on righting the wrongs of the past, rather than using the wrongs to gain political power."
"What cannot make us stand together?"
However, Rev. Dunbar said Liberians cannot stand together when rumors of illegal exploitation of the nation's God-given mineral resources by foreign nationals sponsored by unpatriotic Liberian citizens go without redress to the whistleblower complaint.
The government will only be undermining itself if such conduct is allowed to go unchecked. [And] Mr. President, the Pandemic has negatively affected every Liberian; no one is left untouched and we applaud your government's effort for distributing food to Liberians but please remove the adjective, 'vulnerable' Liberians and say 'all' Liberian citizens so we can stand together," the man of God said.
According to Rev. Dunbar, if Liberians will stand together, it also requires religious leaders to preach fearlessly about the ills in society, no matter who is or should be involved, without compromising the truth.
"By speaking the truth, we may be hated; but souls will be saved and the good of society will be maintained. Yes. We can stand together when health facilities and institutions are properly equipped to discourage our government officials and citizens from seeking medical treatment abroad."
"The People Factor"
Rev. Dunbar added the future potential of Liberians can be an achiever once people begin to understand that they own the government- "so, with the ownership mindset, we should work collectively to see that Liberia prospers and is transformed in our lifetime."
"Liberia will forever remain stronger together when we are united in our purpose to protect our national interest, despite political differences. As a people our strength is in Unity, we need to stand together in our common vision and common agenda for the prosperity of our nation.
"We the people also need to understand that Monrovia is not Liberia and America is not Heaven. We need to cherish what we have and help to make it better," he said. "With God's help and hard work, this nation can be transformed through our own hands.
Meanwhile, Rev. Dunbar has sent out an open invitation to Liberians in the Diaspora to return with their resources, knowledge and expertise and invest in the Motherland. "
There is no place like home. Liberia is all we have; let's give her the best we can. I say this to buttress the fact that every single conflict in Liberia in the past 50 years has been sponsored directly or indirectly by those in the Diaspora. Equally so, the current growth and development in our political and economic landscape is also being supported by Liberians in the diaspora," he added.
Rev. Dunbar added if Liberians must stand together as a people, they should never forget that the peace being "enjoyed today came at a very high price of sweat, blood and tears by Liberians and our brothers and sisters and from intervention forces in the sub-region and other nations."