Signed in as:
Signed in as:
Located on the west Atlantic coast of Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone to the West, Guinea to the North, and Ivory Coast to the East, you are the oldest African republic! On this historic occasion in 2022, we celebrate your unique story—multifaceted and intriguing. Like any exceptional story, it includes ups, downs, victories, and challenges. As we mark your Independence Day on July 26th, we pause to celebrate you, a small country with enormous potential!
Mama Liberia, from the very beginning you were a beacon of hope for the formerly enslaved and free born African Americans yearning for a better life. After enduring the trauma and persecution of racial oppression in the United States for 2 centuries, they were looking for an escape from the tyranny of racial subjugation. Thousands seized the opportunity to return to Africa. Under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, they flocked to your lush, tropical shores in search of a new home where they could finally be free.
For these emigrants beginning to arrive in 1822, you were a glorious land of liberty. And when the country declared its independence in 1847, the motto they chose was “The love of liberty brought us here.”
Your story, Mama Liberia, is one of rich diversity and cultural traditions. Although English is the official language of the country, over twenty other indigenous languages are also spoken here. Each of these languages corresponds to a tribal group with its unique traditions and folklore. A sad truth is that the diversity of the indigenous Liberians was not always valued by the new emigrants to the country. As exciting as it was for the emigrants to be back in Africa, their presence created a complicated social dynamic. And when these “Americo-Liberians” sought to exert total control over government and society, tensions flared with Indigenous Liberians.
For decades, the social inequities fomented resentment. Despite President William V.S. Tubman’s efforts at unification, the assassination of President William R. Tolbert in 1980, ushered in a period of political instability and 2 Liberia civil wars that lasted for years. In the end, over 250,000 Liberians lost their lives.Before the advent of civil war, however, one major theme in your story was a push for growth and development. But your development came at a price. As a rich storehouse of iron ore, timber, rubber, and diamonds, you were taken advantage of.
His open-door policy courted foreign investors and there was noticeable progress in infrastructure development. Unfortunately, the two Liberian civil wars (1989-1997 and 1999-2003) decimated so many of these earlier gains. Today the country is regrouping and again trying to rebuild.Despite difficult challenges over the years, and especially under the leadership of President William V.S Tubman, the country did make positive strides towards modernization.
Mama Liberia, we are proud of all the times you have been a shining example. We applaud you for being a founding member of the League of Nations, the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
The OAU was established to safeguard the interests and independence of African states, encourage the continent’s development, and settle disputes. As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), you participate in the regional coalition of countries that foster interstate economic and political cooperation. You were the first to elect a female president in all of Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006—2018), who also served as a chair of ECOWAS from 2016-2017.
Today, we celebrate two of your daughters, Leymah Gbowee and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. Mama Liberia, your story is far from over! There are always possibilities, and you have new possibilities on the horizon. We embrace that hope because your offspring are accomplishing remarkable things. With so many of your children in the Diaspora, your name is known around the world! Educated and equipped, your children are assuming powerful roles in industry, government, education, science, arts, literature, sports, philanthropy, fashion, and entertainment. They are distinguishing themselves, even in foreign countries.
At home, there are also new signs of hope. New political leaders are emerging and working to bring change and blessing to the country. A new generation of entrepreneurs are developing businesses that feature homegrown products like honey, beverages, and chocolate, just to name a few. Liberian You-tubers are spotlighting the rich beauty and amazing potential in Liberia. Nonprofit leaders are focusing oncontributing to education and healthcare initiatives. Local entrepreneurs are showcasing the beauty of Liberian tourist attractions. Meanwhile, Liberians in the Diaspora are contributing finances to rebuild schools and fund community development.
The future holds bright promise as the country seeks to establish a new trajectory. Mama Liberia, you have endured the ravages of war, but you are now rebounding. Your people are strong and resilient; resourceful and hopeful. Liberians yearn for better days and continued peace. There is still much work to be done, but it can get done with vision, tenacity, and a positive leadership focused on enhancing opportunities and services for the people.
Liberia is at a new beginning. We say cheers and offer prayers for a brighter, more promising future. “Long live Liberia, happy land. A home of glorious liberty by God’s command.” (from the Liberian National Anthem) Happy Independence Day!