An Open Letter to President Johnson-Sirleaf: Capitalize On Rare Proximity to Bush
If you were the president of Liberia, one of the world’s poorest nations but one founded by manumitted American slaves, what would you ask the leader of the free world when he dropped in on you for a state visit? The editorial board of Liberian newspaper The Analyst has more than a few suggestions. According to this open letter, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must seek not millions, but billions in additional aid, and that he must “tell President Bush that the condition of this nation is worse by far than it was in 1959, when Vice President Richard Milhouse Nixon commented on Liberia’s shocking underdevelopment.” Furthermore, President Bush must be prevailed upon to, “issue an order creating a special relationship with the United States, that recognizes Liberia as a key ally based on the historic ties between our nations – which are on a par with regions like Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
“Demonstrate the extent of Liberia’s downtrodden stature, so that friendly nations consider helping to accelerate its growth and development in terms of billions rather than millions.”
EDITORIAL February 14, 2008 Liberia – The Analyst – Original Article (English)
The word has gone forth that your foreign contacts are about to bear major fruit. You will soon host the holder of the world’s highest office, President George Walker Bush of the United States of America.
In the footsteps of Joseph Jenkins Roberts, who left no stone unturned to establish Liberia within the comity of nations, you have used your travels to secure fresh recognition for this republic, a nation that had been a battleground for belligerent forces of greed and power. You have emphasized and pursued the improvement of our nation’s image and the acceptance of the nation and its people as credible members of the international system. With news of the pending visit radiating everywhere, you have substantially succeeded in
achieving the targets of your government’s foreign policy. WORLDMEETS.US
With the well-received announcement of this visit – arranged despite our country’s meager size and population and for the overall good of the nation – now is the moment to capitalize on proximity to the U.S. President. In this regard, we wish that beyond the goodwill and recognition that the visit will bring you personally, it must be re-emphasized to the Americans that friendship between an industrialized country and an impoverished and heavily indebted one cannot be meaningful, as long as the livelihood of the impoverished partner’s citizens remain entrenched in dire poverty.
President Bush must be reminded that this war-ravaged nation cherishes his visit as a significant symbiotic milestone in relations. But he must also be told of the fact that in the aftermath of war, the condition of this nation is worse by far than it was in 1959, when then Vice President Richard Millhouse Nixon commented on Liberia’s shocking underdevelopment.
Demonstrate the extent of Liberia’s downtrodden stature, so that friendly nations consider helping to accelerate its growth and development in terms of billions rather than millions. Justify your position: show the miles of unpaved roads that prevent our rich forest and garden harvests from reaching so-called urban areas – none of which enjoy regular use of technologies such as electricity and safe drinking water.
Tell the world’s most powerful leader that Liberian development is stymied by a lack of adequately trained and educated people, which almost always means we must resort to nationals of other nations to fill the void. Show him the level of illiteracy, which effectively blocks any plans foe rapid development, and which results in widespread corruption, and a divisiveness based on sectional proclivities.
Tell the American President that Liberia needs more than one shabbily funded public university. Please tell him that our people have an unshakable desire to secure the benefits of Western civilization and the kind of education provided for at universities with Ivy-League funding.
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