Transitioning the Liberian Flag from Emblematic Symbol to Patriotic Citizens

first_imgLiberians from all walks of life commemorate National Flag Day in different forms and manners. The state usually organizes a parade of students in front of the Centennial Memorial Pavilion with the Commander-in-Chief alongside an array of government officials and thousands of onlookers rise to the occasion to pay homage to statehood and sometimes sing patriotic songs. Some citizens place the Flag on vehicles and other transport facilities, while several raise it on homes and offices. Still many display it in the public domain, while employee of the Monrovia City Corporation and General Service Agency intermittently whitewash street corners and some public buildings even though the heavy down pour of rain is capable of taking away the whitewash. Scores of Liberians decorate their homes and businesses with red, white, and blue as well as wear national colors to depict patriotism and nationalism. During each Independence Anniversary, national sporting festivities and state-owned programs a good number ofLiberians charm to such ceremonies with picturesque scenery of the Flag and state attire to portray nationhood and national identity. As a matter of fact, every morning during school days, students across the country assemble to pledge allegiance to the flag. Besides, it is mandatory that all citizens and foreigners alike be attentive and at standstill in the course of hoisting and dropping the Flag.All the more so, from time immemorial the Government expends thousand of taxpayers’ dollars to festoon public facilities with national colors, undertake and dedicate variety of projects, and also deliver all sorts of thought-provoking, motivational and patriotic speeches in order to venerate the day. All too often, the most exciting, amazing and fascinating component is the parade of students and perhaps military and paramilitary personnel throughout the principal streets. In spite of all the glamorous outlook of homes, office, and public facilities with state-owned hues as well as grandiloquent and silver-tongue speeches resounding loyalty to the flag emanating from state actors and stakeholders, there remain more questions than answers in transitioning the Liberian Flag from a mere emblematic symbol to patriotic citizens. For too long, some prominent statesmen have argued to change the Flag to reflect indigenous emblems. Furthermore, Liberian historians continue to recount the inherent contradictions and falsehood about the historicity of the Flag. Consequently, lots of Liberians have since begun pondering on the essence of the Flag. Around street corners and university campuses, where people from the fountain of knowledge and young intelligentsias meet to flex intellectual muscles they ask each others: What difference will it make by changing the color and symbol on the Flag? Will it further divide or unite Liberians? What is the motive behind honoring a flag without a true spirit of patriotism? Why most Liberians are united only for a relatively short span of time and divided consistently on the basis of petty jealousy, recrimination, religion, tribe, social status, and location? How come the founding fathers hoisted another flag on the day of Independence? Where the warlords and architects of the 14 years of brutal and barbaric civil crisis ever conscious of the Flag being an icon of unity, national pride and freedom? With all these questions on mind and many more yet unanswered, a number of people are still wondering when Liberian will exhibit a true sense of patriotism and nationalism.Beyond the EmblemThe Flag is not just a mere emblem or cloth with colors that someone is required by law to respect and honor. It is not about how long the Flag will keep flying on vehicles and transport facilities. It is not the beautification of buildings and streets with red, white and blue or eloquent speeches. Instead, it is an obligation, dedication and conviction to serve the country selflessly, tirelessly, and fearlessly beyond personal aggrandizement. It is a mark of good citizenship and loyalty to country, founding documents and respect for fellow citizens and constituted authorities. No matter what colors or symbols, the Flag should and must create a sense of hope, cultivate unity in diversity and foster pride and values among citizens. So, the argument about changing the Flag really does not hold water, because it is not the color or symbol on the Flag that matters most, it is the mindset of Liberians towards their own country and its people.Liberians must begin to demonstrate a special affection for their country, nurture a sense of personal identification and learn to seek the well-being of the country and as well adopt the spirit of willingness to sacrifice for the common good of the country. The people across this great land and those in the Diaspora should now begin to envision a “New Liberia” that is greater than religion confessed, dialect spoken, county of origin, place of birth or family name. Liberians have got to understand that the country is bigger than the sum of their individual ambition or greed for power or wealth. The time for reform is upon this country and there should be absolutely no moment for “Native or Indigene” versus “Congo or Americo-Liberian”. In the same vein, recommendation from the Constitution Review Committee regarding dual citizenship and nationality status to people of only Negro descent as expressed in the 1986 Constitution should be carefully reexamined, before the proposed National Referendum. Patriotic Liberians who voluntarily joined the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Liberia National Police, the Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization, the National Fire Service, the Executive Protection Service, the National Service Agency alongside other security apparatus carrying the Flag of this Republic on their right arms should be treated with dignity and respect and given all due courtesy in a timely, and unique manner. The children and even those outside the family of the gallant men and women serving the security sector should and must appreciate that it is honorable to be a soldier, respectable to be a police officer, and admirable to serve the country. Therefore, the Government should provide appropriate accommodation, logistics and better incentive to commensurate with present-day realities. The hoaxes and empty promises have got to stop and the welfare of the valiant and astute state security personnel must be highly prioritized. Moreover, civil servants who keep the wheels of government turning deserve better living conditions and an environment conducive for working. The threats and humiliation emanating from presidential appointees and well-connected supervisors can no longer be tolerated and need to immediately end. The younger generation of Liberia should be taught to give back to their communities in whatever positive virtue. As a replacement for the US$3 as stipend to young people to clean street corners, the Government must change to introduce ‘Service Learning’ in the national curriculum at the secondary and tertiary levels. Then, the amount allotted for compensation could be utilized to reduce tuition, build public libraries, construct and upgrade laboratories, provide up-to-date textbooks and enhance research activities so as to ensure the publication of more contextualized Liberian textbooks.Patriotism should and must not be only through the usual flamboyant utterances and cosmetic fanfares. It should contain a great meaning with a deep sense of loyalty, peace, love and the eagerness to make Liberia the best nation on Earth. It is not an exaggeration or illusion; this is achievable if Liberians begin to start thinking clearly for the common good of all. Liberians must begin to harness or reap their God given and inalienable right to possess and enjoy their wealth instead of a few elites and higher-ups. The people have got to stop begging for handout, bailout or rescue package, rather they should wakeup, shakeup and standup to acquire what belong to them. This should not be done through the use of vehement force or antagonistic attack to gain political capital; however, it must emulate and assimilate a nonviolent approach of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and lately the Egyptians in Tahrir Square. Liberians must be willing to call their government to change the status quo of nepotism, sectionalism, favoritism, tribalism and partisan posture to being a government for all Liberians irrespective of creed, status, tribe, religion and background.Liberians have got to espouse a posture of strategic thinking and do away with politicizing everything, perpetually criticizing without any industrious venture, badmouthing campaign for little or nothing and singing everlasting praises to the power that be. While Liberians are quite busy with all sorts of trivial issues, the foreigners are making use of every single opportunity to enrich themselves at the detriment of the already penury Liberians. Though Liberia needs more “Socrates” and “Plato” to deliver all types grandiloquent speeches and masquerade the corridor of the majority as “activist” or “down trodden”, but the challenges before the country is voluminous and require sober, mature and dedicated people to drive the change through hard work, perseverance, integrity and honesty. Liberians must be willing to take up the task at hand and many more ahead, not through proliferation of intellectual forums or regular calling or texting on famous radio talk show or constant creation of civil society organizations, but with the formation of think-tank of young Liberians and older folks cluster in community strategizing to move Liberia forward. The think-tank would produce engineers to compete with the Chinese, entrepreneurs to surpass the Lebanese, Fulani, Nigerians and Ghanaians. Furthermore, doctors, nurses, economists, environmentalists and other professionals would be nurtured and equipped to perform any assigned duties in their areas of specialties. As the country struggles to transition from conflict to tranquility and from Ebola to recovery, every Liberian needs to rethink, restrategize and remake the broken fabrics of a country torn apart by war, poverty, disease, and human suffering. Liberians should begin to celebrate and appreciate their own country, culture, music, arts, and clothes. Nowadays, setting a day aside for flag adoration has become obsolete in many countries. Accordingly, the Government should alter Flag Day celebration to initiatives that foster patriotism and nationalism in every nook and cranny of this country. The Constitution must be taught in all institutions of learning as enshrined in the 1986 Constitution of this Republic. Likewise, civic education and community sensitization regarding the importance of being patriotic should be carried out. About the author: Mr. Stephen B. Lavalah is an advocate and the Founder & Executive Director of Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), a passionate, non-profit and voluntary grassroots accredited youth-led development organization. For more information about YES’ work in Liberia, please visit or Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Ganta Women Undertake Community Peace Initiative

first_imgThe women of Ganta under the banner “Peace Building Women,” are embarking on community peace building initiatives to Ganta and its environs.Speaking to the Daily Observer in Ganta yesterday, the head of the group, Ms. Jestina Zouah, said their aim is to settle problems which sometimes lead to bigger conflicts among residents.“There still remain great problems among community dwellers that need to be taken care of. We are using our initiative to go from community to community to harmonize issues affecting their togetherness,” she explained.The women are also engaged in processing and preservation of pepper, kaytaylay, cassava powder, potato, and palava sauce to keep them fresh for months.Ms. Zouah said: “We also prepare kanyan and all sorts of Liberian food. We are not able to put into practice all we have learned due to a lack of materials.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Warriors tackle the Patriots

first_imgAfter the tournament has already passed its halfway stage, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and Guyana Amazon Warriors face each other once again at the Warner Park in St Kitts, today as the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) continues.Of course, the Warriors have faced a major blow after captain Shoaib Malik has departed for duties with the Pakistan Cricket Team. Malik is among the top scorers for Warriors with 119 runs, only the second batsman to pass the 100-run mark following 5 innings.Without a doubt, the task may fall on the shoulders of Rayad Emrit who has led the Amazon Warriors before.Head to head, Warriors and Patriots have battled six times, with the Guyanese winning four of those matches.The Patriots are coming off a handsome six-wicket win in the last match against Barbados Tridents. After Anton Devcich and Ben Cutting restricted the Tridents to a mere 147, the Patriots chased down the total with relative ease.Although Mohammad Irfan starred with two wickets, conceding only one run in his four overs, a charge led by Brandon King and equally supported by Ben Cutting helped the Patriots to gain two points.As for the Guyana Amazon Warriors, things were starkly opposite, as they lost by six wickets against St Lucia Stars. Their batsmen tried hard but could not connect the ball sweetly. Things could never get going, as they ended up at 140 for nine.Newly recruited Veerasammy Permaul then made some inroads, but those were not enough for the Warriors to get back in the match.They would expect the opening pair of Chadwick Walton and Luke Ronchi to fire, but after five innings, neither of the two has an aggregate over 90. Shimron Hetmyer has also been in silken touch, and the previous failure can be considered as a one-off.With the ball, Veerasammy Permaul has given them a new hope, while Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir remain the front-runners.As for the Patriots, Sandeep Lamichhane could not do well in the last match, and would be eager to bounce back. All-rounders Ben Cutting and Anton Devcich have been doing well with both bat and ball. Skipper Chris Gayle and Brandon King too are expected to go big.Expected playing XI St Kitts & Nevis Patriots- Chris Gayle (C), Evin Lewis, Devon Thomas, Brandon King, Tom Cooper, Anton Devcich, Sandeep Lamichhane, Mahmudullah, Ben Cutting, Sheldon Cottrell, Carlos BrathwaiteGuyana Amazon Warriors- Chadwick Walton, Luke Ronchi (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Cameron Delport, Sherfane Rutherford, Jason Mohammed, Sohail Tanvir, Chris Green, Rayad Emrit, Keemo Paul, Imran Tahirlast_img read more

‘Cats, Rebels go for titles

first_imgContaining Corona del Mar’s 6-foot-7 junior center, Stefan Kaluz, will be a top priority for the Wildcats. Kaluz is the Sea Kings’ leading scorer (20.8-point average) and top rebounder (12.1 average). He has amassed nine consecutive double-doubles since a 16-point, seven-rebound performance in the loss to Laguna Hills. “We know he’s tough,” Wildcats coach Sid Cooke said. “We need to throw different looks at him and be aware of where he is at all times.” Joe Eberhard (29 of 60 from 3-point range) and Sean Donovan (18 3-pointers) give the Sea Kings an outside presence. Renaissance Academy is making its third consecutive championship game appearance. The Wildcats fell to Price in the Division VA title games in 2005 and ’06. Flintridge Prep (24-3) held off Westridge to go undefeated in the Prep League. The Rebels, the No. 2 seed, used a 48-45 victory over Beaumont on Tuesday to reach today’s Division IV-A championship game against No. 1 Laguna Hills (24-4) at The Pyramid at Long Beach State at 11:15 a.m. Rebels coach Kenny Fisher is excited about his team’s first crack at a CIF title. “It’s big for the kids and the school,” Fisher said. “We’re not just happy to be there. We want to win.” The Hawks, who advanced with a 62-48 win over Sierra Vista, are led by freshmen Lauren Engeln, Nicki Nakhaie and Cori Williams. (626) 962-8811, Ext. 4456 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It was no secret that the Renaissance Academy boys and Flintridge Prep girls basketball teams had their sights set on a CIF-Southern Section title this season. Both teams will get their opportunities today to complete their missions. center_img Renaissance Academy (27-1), the No. 2 seed in Division III-A, will take on No. 4 Corona del Mar (21-7) at Honda Center. Game time is scheduled for 9 a.m. The Sea Kings, champions of the Pacific Coast League, have won 10 consecutive since a 64-63 setback at the hands of Laguna Hills on Jan. 12. last_img read more

Safety urged in B.C.’s backcountry this winter

first_img24 hours before departure, call to consult with a meteorologist again: * Request specifics about your trip weather.* If the forecast is stormy, make a decision to adopt an alternate plan, to postpone or to cancel altogether. While there is a fee ($2.99 per minute) to speak directly with a meteorologist, the cost is small when you consider the potential risks associated with backcountry weather changes. 2. Check for Special Weather Statements – issued three days prior to your departure Advertisement Special Weather Statements are intended to advise the public of unusual or inconvenient weather conditions and of potentially hazardous or warning-level weather conditions in the longer-term (i.e., greater than 24 hours from now): 3. Warnings – issued 24 hours prior to your departure Environment Canada is the only agency authorized to issue weather warnings. Please note that weather warnings are never issued more than 24 hours in advance, even if severe weather is likely just beyond 24 hours: From the Canadian Avalanche Centre: * Ensure everyone going into mountainous terrain in winter has essential avalanche safety gear – transceiver, probe and shovel – and knows how to use it.* Ensure everyone has at least basic training in recognizing avalanche terrain and moving safely in that environment.* Ensure everyone travelling in the backcountry checks weather and avalanche bulletins before heading out. Then choose appropriate terrain for the conditions of the day. From Parks Canada: * “Know Before You Go.”* Does your group have the skills, knowledge and training to travel in avalanche terrain?* Can you self-rescue? Do you have a plan?* Do you know the emergency number?* Have you left an itinerary with someone? Do you have any other route options?* Again, have you the correct equipment, and have you checked the avalanche and weather forecasts? For more information, visit: From Emergency Management BC: For a one-stop shop of information and links on backcountry safety, visit Emergency Info BC: Take the advice with you by adding the mobile site to your Smartphone home screen. From the Medical Unit, BC Coroners Service: Hypothermia (as it relates to backcountry travel) * When core body temperature gets below 35 degrees Centigrade (normal is 37 C or 98.6 F), usually as a result of immersion in cold water or exposure to cold air.* Can come on insidiously, especially in children and the elderly who are at higher risk.* Hypothermia may present as shivering initially and as it becomes more profound that person may stop shivering and become confused and feel tired, unaware they are so cold. First Aid * Hypothermic individuals should be taken to a warm area. Remove any wet clothes.* Have them drink warm liquids and cover them with warm clothes or blankets.* Confused, weak individuals should be taken to a medical facility as soon as possible. Prevention of Hypothermia * Wear layered clothing and a hat outside in cold weather. An inner layer that will wick away moisture is best as wet clothes lead to more rapid development of hypothermia.* Make sure your children are warmly dressed and pay attention as to how long you let them play outside.* When travelling by car in bad weather, let someone know where you are going. Have simple items in the car including blankets or sleeping bags, matches and candles, water and dry food. If stuck, you can run the car for 10 minutes every hour to warm it up.* Be very cautious of alcohol ingestion if going out in the cold, as it increases your risk of developing hypothermia and decreases your awareness that it is happening. From Environment Canada: Know Before You Go: Where and when to get the information to plan a safe trip In order to plan your backcountry trip in advance, you have to be aware of where to get the latest, best weather information. According to the following timeline, you can choose to use/access different tools: 1. Speak to an Environment Canada meteorologist – four to seven days prior to your departure Advertisement Available at 1 900 565-5555 or 1 888-292-2222 Environment Canada’s Pacific Storm Prediction Centre offers one-on-one consultations with a professional meteorologist. Four to seven days before your departure, call them to: * Explain where you’re going, when, and the elevations of travel.* Learn if the general weather pattern during your trip will be fair, steady and predictable or highly variable and unpredictably stormy.* If the forecast is stormy, start thinking about alternate plans to stay below the tree-line, to postpone or to cancel altogether. Ask the meteorologist to notify colleagues so that you can call again later for an update about your trip. Advertisement These are numbers we all need to work together to reduce,” she stresses. The B.C. Coroners Service, Environment Canada, Parks Canada and the Canadian Avalanche Centre are urging people to plan ahead, have the proper equipment and training, and to check weather and snow conditions ahead of time. Even if prepared, Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist David Jones cautions that weather in the backcountry can turn quickly. – Advertisement -“Calm, clear weather can quickly deteriorate into blowing and drifting snow with driving winds and near-zero visibility,” he explains. “Those venturing into the backcountry need to ‘know before they go’ and check the forecasts specifically for backcountry areas, not just for the nearest large cities.” The agencies have the following tips for staying safe: Advertisementlast_img read more