Bush needs to act on Liberia | AspenTimes.com

Bush needs to act on Liberia

My thoughts are with Liberians at this point. Because our president has waited, the situation in Liberia has changed once again. The rebels are moving fast through Monrovia and much killing will go on. It is clear, because President Bush is sitting on his hands, that disaster is approaching.

We could have done something quite good for the benefit of Liberia and Africa, but we held back. So, I am saddened that our government will not act on Liberia.

We have used Liberia, when it was convenient for us, to serve as a base of operations during WWII and during much of the Cold War. Now we need to help a very harsh and brutal dictator to leave and we are studying the problem. While we study, the truce has ended and the situation has gone south. We can blame ourselves for not acting sooner.

It has been my sad duty to monitor the situation in Liberia for many years and it is not easy to watch a country go up in flames, when people you know and love are caught in the middle. My service in the Peace Corps many years ago gave me an understanding and love of a people who have much in common with the United States.

Southern-style buildings were built in Liberia by the freed slaves that formed the country many years ago. English has been the unifying language of the country since the beginning. The names of towns and counties are borrowed from us. For many years we saw a rush of students to this country to study. And the constitution of the country is a direct descendent of our constitution.

Why then do we need to study the problem? Our relationship with Liberia has been ongoing for nearly two centuries. What is there to decide? Perhaps if they had oil, we would rush in. But sadly, our relationship is more subtle; it is a real connection that we have with this country.

This is no Somalia. Liberians love Americans, as evidenced by the dancing in the streets when the rumor went out that the U.S. might come in to help.

Finally, have you wondered why the flag of Liberia looks so much like ours? It is related to the freedom and liberty that we enjoy; it is a direct descendant of our flag. Pray for Liberia. Write to President Bush and ask him to act. Thank you.

Andy Hanson


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