Building the Ideology of Reconciliation in Liberia
By: J. Momolu Kaindii, Jr
By: J. Momolu Kaindii, Jr e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Liberian society remains overly divided despite the 14 years’ catastrophic period of bloodletting, barbarism, mayhems, vandalisms and devastations of physical, social and economic infrastructures. Most worrisome of it all is the irreparable damage done to the moral psyche of the population, particularly the youths as future leaders. Many would hastily attribute the advent of the crisis to a struggle for justice and equality in the distribution of available political and economic opportunities. Whatever one may think as being the root causes of the crisis in Liberia, there remains a natural fact that, man as an anxious being, continues to ignore the dynamics of nature and the circumstances that characterized human history. This article is aimed at drawing Liberian attentions to the irresistible forces of nature and how it dictates human circumstances. And man’s neglect of these natural phenomena would always hunt his existence and impede his progress through unreasonable violence and chaos.
Ideology and reconciliation defined
Ideology is defined as a value or belief system accepted as a fact or truth. It is composed of sets of attitudes developed by a group of the people toward various institutions and processes of a society. It enables the subscribers to picture themselves, their society and the world, how they and their society are, how it should be and how they think and act in principle and in practice (Sargent, 1987). Reconciliation, on the other hand, is bringing into mutual harmony differences amongst conflicting interests or parties to enable them become friendly or one again. Post-conflict reconciliation in Liberia is fundamentally crucial to perpetual stability and sustained recovery. Liberians must therefore build the ideology of reconciliation base on the dynamics of nature and composition of the nation-state.
The nature of the Nation-state as a basis for building the ideology of reconciliation
A nation-state is found when different nations congregate and mutually agreed to co-exist and subscribed to a prescribed rules and procedures to guide their conducts and behaviors in the course of their co-existence. Nations, in this context refers to the distinct ethnic groups or tribes with different histories, beliefs, languages, cultures and customs.
The nature of the nation-state is therefore multiethnic, which in reality naturally imposes tolerance and reconciliation upon its inhabitants because it signifies diversities in beliefs, cultures, customs, attitudes, behaviors and opinions. It is a collective ownership with shared responsibility for all its inhabitants. In other words, each member of the various nations or ethnic groups that constitute the nation-state has equitable share in the state enterprise and thus equally responsible for its security and survival. This collective ownership and shared responsibility should serve as basis for the citizens to build the ideology of tolerance, compromise and reconciliation. Tolerance, compromise and reconciliation are therefore fundamentally crucial for all in a nation-state.
Liberia is a nation-state. It is founded by multi-ethnic groups with distinct histories, cultures, traditions, customs, languages and beliefs. The only thing that is basically common to these nations is the color of their skin that is, they are all black people or offsprings of the black race. It is by providence and not by will that these diverse monocolor ethnic groups have come to aspire together in a single political state called Liberia. This means that every member of the majority sixteen indigenous tribes and minority settler and Congos groups equally owned Liberia, and they must therefore individually and collectively protect Liberia’s security and survival as a common interest. And it is imperative that all Liberians realize that it is only with tolerance, compromise and reconciliation that Liberians can best safeguard this common interest.
A nation-state is not defined by only its geography, but also by the ability and dynamics of its people to combine and transform their diverse individual potentials into collective national capitals. As a political nation, our individual beliefs, practices, desires, physical out looks, mentalities, orientations and biological limitations have come from the natural forces that created and distribute us into separate and distinct ethnic groups, each of which has prescribed values, norms and attitudes as its acceptable pattern of life.
These diversities have both advantages and disadvantages that make our co-existence interesting and challenging. The advantages are the different skills, talents, capacities and potentials, and the disadvantages are the opposite opinions, conflicting desires, contrary beliefs and dissimilar practices that are associated with competing for our individual and collective goals. As Liberians, we must in deed combine and transform these advantages and disadvantages into national capitals and capabilities to enhance and sustain our living together as a people.
For a peaceful and harmonious co-existence, Liberians must learn to trade off the inconveniences that are caused by the disadvantages in sharing a multiethnic society. We must therefore build within our minds and characters the ideology of tolerance, compromise and reconciliation as the only fundamental phenomena that can guarantee our collective national security and survival.
The dynamics of nature as a basis for building the ideology of reconciliation
Nature is just and indiscriminatory. It is not programmed to respect boundaries, honored color, subscribed to class, entertained beliefs or ideology in any form. Liberians must deeply reflect the dynamics of nature and the circumstances that characterize their very existence. It must be made clear that no matter the level of technology, the mystery of nature will never be diverted or conquered. Whether it is accepted or not, the mystery of nature continues to battle against the selfishness of man’s irrational tendencies underpinned by unwarranted greed for superior political, economic and social status desire mainly for dominance and pride.
Since the advent of man on earth as its dominant creature, nature has uninterruptedly remained consistent in quietly creating a non-racial, non-ethnic, non-religious or non-ideological world. Interbreed has been that agent of nature. Take a minute and reflect on the complex and multiple biological linkages of the human race caused by interbreed. People have either intermarried or cohabitated across continents, race and religion, ethnic and ideological, political or cultural interests and have offsprings. Through the offsprings of these intermarriages or cohabitations, the human race has been blended into an irreversible and inseparable universal family.
Take for an example the bloody conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups in Rwanda. This conflict did not nullify the biological ties created by intermarriages or cohabitation between the Hutus and Tutsi tribes; i.e., children that were born as a result of such relations between a Tutsi and Hutu remained both Tutsi and Hutu. Further, the generation of children born on plantations by black African and Asian slaves, white European and African or Asian slaves and American and African or Asian slaves remained African-Asian, European-African, American-Asian, African-American, etc. Similarly, children born of marry or co-habitation between Christian, Muslim or Buddhist etc, bear the nature of those faiths. These are practical examples which show that nature will continue to unit the world into a universal family and man must therefore respect and be keen to this reality.
As mentioned earlier, the nation-state is found on the basis of mutual agreement or social contract amongst different ethnic groups. As these distinct groups of people exist in the same environment and period in time, they either intermarry or cohabitate and have offsprings who serve as bridges that biologically blend the groups together into a national family. Interbreed therefore solidifies the mutual agreement, concretizes the foundation of the nation-state and cements its unity.
In Liberia, the Natives, Settlers and Congos have either intermarried or cohabitated and interbreed. If one were to describe Liberian citizens today by parental background, the description will be complex and will look like: settler-Congos, settler-natives and Congo-natives or Congo-Bassa, Congo-Vai, settler-Mandingo, and Mandingo-Congo, Krahn-Congo, etc. These descriptions reflect the level of social integrations or the spontaneous relationship that now constitute Liberia’s social mosaic.
If we strongly hold these direct and indirect blood relationships as cardinal and scared core of our existence, tolerance, compromise and reconciliation would become our national ideology. In my mid, this is what the phrase “one nation indivisible implies”. We understand and believe very strongly that it is the blood links that make one Liberia one indivisible nation. We must therefore conduct our political and socio-economic deeds in the manner that will our union strong. Liberians must evolve national characters that are deeply rooted in the core values of all the social groups that constitute Liberia as a nation-state. These core values are the cultures, traditions, believes and customs of the various ethnic groups that make up the population of Liberia
We must be tolerance to the fact that each ethnic group in Liberia, by nature has norms and values which it strongly believe and respect that make it unique and distinct group. Genuine reconciliation would mean appreciation and respecting the history, culture, traditions, beliefs and customs of each group. We must live with one another on the basis of competence and contributions to the cause of our collective security and survival, and not how we live and believe in our respective groups. Rather, we must live with the confines of the mutual agreement which is translated in the laws of Liberia and relate to one another on the basis of these laws which we must honestly work together to ensure that they justly, fairly and equally applied to everyone.
Liberians, we must carefully think how nature has brought us close together through interbreed and appreciate the advantages it has afforded us and also be tolerance to the disadvantages, which must be viewed as the challenges we must manage as a people aspiring together in a single nation-state.