Liberian Cleric Writes President Sirleaf On Libyan ‘Modern Slave Trade Saga

Rev. Dr. Abraham J. Williams

As the situation in Libya, northern Africa worsening each day where hundreds of African migrants are reportedly being sold as slave in that part of the world, a Liberian cleric, Rev. Dr. Abraham J. Williams has written the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleagaf entitled: A Passionate Letter To Her Excellency, the President; The Libyan/North African “Modern Slave Trade”.

Below is the full text of the letter:

Your Excellency Madam,

I write this piece with extreme emotive disdain, in reflection on the “Libyan/North African Modern Slave Trade” horrendous saga – enjoining it with the “Mediterranean Genocide.”  Let me commence by lending my voice to that of countless Africans, who have risen in gross condemnation of this barbaric and heinous “subhuman” trade and phenomenon across the deserts and seas. Those inhumane treatments have lately been also condemned by the UN system, the AU, the ECOWAS and the EU, (alongside several international human right actors); after these ruthless human trafficking syndicates and desperate refuge seeking adventures were graphically brought to the glare of the entire world by the international press.

It is extremely appalling and unimaginable that some of our fellow Africans and Arabs could morally degenerate to such an extent in the 20th and 21st centuries, as to treating their fellowmen in such gruesome, despicable and horrific manner, as inflicting terrible physical tortures, only comparable to that of the “Nazi concentration camps” in the 20th century, infamously referred to as “the holocaust.” Sadly though, this trade that has just been recently trumpeted, has been going on for over half a century right at the fringes of the so-called “civilized and free world,” and under the watchful eyes and impassivity of our continental and global organizations and actors. As such, I could rightfully refer to these dastardly trades as the “neo-colonial slave trade.” What absurdity and aberration!!

Whereas I could applaud the international community and our regional and global actors for their peace-keeping, conflict resolution, refugee resettlement and other humanitarian and military interventions in Africa, I am of the stern opinion that these global and regional actors need to be more robust and proactive, (than reactionary) in humanitarian horrors like these; not only actively intervening when situations have reached excruciatingly breaking points.

Demeaning and heinous as these “modern slavery and Mediterranean genocide” are, (which I would coin up to be “the callous and inhumane artificial dungeons of death,” I would however like to now briefly examine two major root causes of these subhuman syndicates and predatory experiences of the late 20th and early 21st century modern day slavery. This is so as to make us not to only focus on what sociologists consider the “dependent causes” (results) of the saga, while disregarding or not seriously considering the very crucial “independent causes” (root causes) of such avoidable sociological anomalies.

The first factor I would like to examine, is what I refer to as the “neo-colonialist” leadership syndrome in Africa: by which most national leaders/governments and top-ranking public servants have turned themselves into “malevolent benefactors”– who, upon ascendancy onto power consider themselves “super-human beings, coming from a special and glorified planet,” and as such should benefit maximally from the local resources and international donations and interventions of the global community, while the majority of their countrymen live like “second class citizens,” on the “pittances” they choose to make available to them according to their “whims and caprices.”

Most countries In Africa, (excepting countries like Botswana, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, and to some extent South Africa, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana,) are replete with vast natural resources and arable land that should rationally drive them towards economic independence and industrial viability; and which would in turn exude huge and enviable socio-economic and other productive modern contemporary opportunities competitive with the west, and such that those shinning to those “developed countries” would have rather chosen to remain in their countries and positively contribute to the rapid development of their various countries, in lieu of “draining to the West, in search of greener pastures.”

This amiable situation could have been practically, most likely possible across most of Africa by now, had our leaders honourably elected to serve their respective countries selflessly, with sublime love for country, and increasingly champion the glorious “African Renaissance and Dream” envisaged by most of the founding fathers of African independence and sovereignty; such as Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Tom Mboka, Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, Tafawa Belewa, Nnamdi Ezekiwe, Milton Margai, Thomas Sankara, Jerry Rawlings, Jenkins Robert, Sekou Toure, Robert Mugabe, Muamah Ghaddafi, etc, etc.

However, instead of pursuing this lofty African renaissance vision of these noble Pan-African leaders, most of our African leaders have turned out to be extremely opulent, greedy, corrupt and repressive, to say the least – thereby causing the “generality of the masses to live in avoidable abject ‘artificial’ poverty, squalor, destitution and deprivation.” Thus, on average, the ordinary African lives on “less than U. S. $ 3.00” a day, while a handful of those category of leaders and their contriving public functionaries, local and international business partners, their families and cronies heartlessly live on an average range of U.S. $ 30-50 a day.

What a ruthless disparity; of which 80%-90% of budgetary and “invisibly siphoned” funds are diverted from our state coffers to serve their selfish and extravagant lifestyles. I could spiritually say, “they sinisterly sacrifice the general prosperity of their nations upon their ruthless and malevolent altars of greed and wicked vanity.” These criminal cartels of leaders have shamefully made themselves “wealthier than the nations” they have vouched to serve. What aberration and paradox!!

These syndromes of ruthlessly corrupt and repressive leadership in Africa have lead to bad governance, the collapse of the rule of law, legal injustice, police brutality, repression of the independent press, bogus democracy, political and societal repression, military coupes, civil wars, abject poverty, chameleon development and untold suffering in almost all of Africa.  Even in the midst of austere economic regimes, our leaders parade in extravaganza, while subjecting the masses to ruthless tax-regimes and deprivation.

The next and seemingly invisible, though very crucial cause of these humanitarian catastrophes is what I would refer to as “western collusion with corrupt African governments” and other local actors; which system could best be referred to as “neo-colonialism the last stage of imperialism”- as was described by the great Pan-African leader, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, in his book with same title.

Western governments and their actors, including many of their state and private multi-national investors have unfortunately played their deadly roles diversely in these horrific subhuman abuses; whether by definite systemic design or passive involvement I cannot qualify currently.

From the early 1970s to date, corrupt African leaders and their contriving public servants and cohorts have used western banks in Switzerland, USA and the UK (among others), to siphon huge amounts of African tax payers monies, as well as in purchasing of vast properties and questionable assts in the “free world” worth millions (if not billions) of dollars, from their countries’ coffers unchecked; from the likes of Mobutu Sesesekou to Joseph Kabila, Siaka Stevens to Ernest Koroma, Shehu Shagari to Sani Abacha, William Tolbert to Helen Johnson-Sirleaf, Idi Amin Dada to Milton Obote, Acheanpong to Hilla Limann, etc, etc, etc. Thus, the West has been effectively used by our corrupt leaders as a “haven of corruption,” thereby reaping off countless Africans of much needed resources that would have turned us into developed nations, and “’donor countries,’ instead of being perpetually” ‘donor driven,’ even after fifty or more years of political independence.

What a despicable contrivance! And this is quite aside the centuries of inhumane and ruthless exploitation of our beloved continent during the gruesome “Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” which ripples still reverberates in this “bleeding and wailing continent.” All of these corrupt African leaders and their brood of  criminal cartels have impoverished this extremely wealthy continent and made many of our doyens/doyennes to flee to their shores in search of better opportunities in all spheres of life, so as to rationally improve their lots in life and attain their zeniths.

It is only recently that the likes of some anti-corruption crusader-presidents as Presidents Muhamadu Buhari and John Maghafoli have taken strides to recover hundreds of millions of dollars lost to some of these afore mentioned countries, back to their countries; which queue I think any well-meaning and sincere anti-corruption African leader should follow.

In conclusion therefore, I would like to retort that except reckless and heartless corruption, bad and repressive governance, legal injustice and western/neo-colonialist contrivance are expunged from Africa, these loathed “modern slave trade and Mediterranean genocide” will remain like other UN/AU and international charter boxes without any significant solution. And this certainly would play more comfortably into the ever increasing spate of global terrorism; of which the West would bear the greater brunt should they remain invariably passive to this unimaginable human cruelty and barbarism.


Best Regards,

Rev. Dr. Abraham J. Williams

(Clergyman/Human Rights Advocate & Defender)


Tel:  (+231) 888 229 348 / (+231) 777 128 502 / (+232) 78 712 172

(Visited 169 times, 1 visits today)
About Cholo Brooks 17213 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.