Liberia After 1822: Where Is This West African Nation, And What Has It Achieved?
By Joel Cholo Brooks*
This week hundreds of dignitaries from around the world including the United States delegation are in the country to join the Liberian government in the nation lone capital, Monrovia, to joyously celebrate with the CDC-led Government in the observing of the country’s 200 years of its existence after 1822.
According to history, the first American freed slaves, led by members of the American Colonization Society, landed in 1822 on Providence Island at the mouth of the Mesurado River. The Society began sending free people of color to the Pepper Coast voluntarily to establish a colony. Mortality from tropical diseases was high — of the 4,571 emigrants who arrived in Liberia between 1820 and 1843, only 1,819 survived.
For this historic occasion, Monrovia, Africa’s oldest city which original name was Christopolis (Meaning City of Christ”) and was renamed “Monrovia” in 1824 after James Monroe who history said was the President of the United States as well as a supporter of the American Colonization Society will this week be busy as visiting dignitaries celebrate with Liberia.
The Bicentennial celebration which officially kicked off last Friday, January 7, 2022 in Monrovia will officially be launched on Monday, the 14th of February 2022 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. The year 2022 is regarded as a year in focus for all freed men and women of the world, filled with gladness, jubilation, peace in their hearts, with unclear vision of the unknown, moving from where they called home, back to the lands of their forefathers; not sure of reception, but not worried about the unknown. With only one thing set in stone.
Liberians from all works of Life will on tomorrow, February 14, 2022 will witness and publicly appreciate those who have arrived on the soil of Liberia to celebrate with them in the spirit of oneness and generosity amid the celebration of Liberia’s Bicentennial, noting that all men were born free and should remain free, and their freedom now is freedom forever, best carved in their HEARTS, knowing how many of their great grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, aunts, sisters had passed through the hands of slave masters.
As Liberians joyously celebrate this Bicentennial (200 years old), on this day, the questions being asked by many is, after 200 years of its existence, what been the success story of this oldest African Republic; the issue of the lack of nationalism, and the commitment to patriotically develop this oldest independent nation in Africa seems to wallop out those things that should bring about National Unity amongst the people of Liberia.
It is indeed disheartened for a country that nurture many African countries to gain independence are making progress in their infrastructural developments, and their commitment to locally and internationally win the support of their donor agencies for their role in utilizing whatever provided for the good of their people and country, but seems to be to the contrary to this 200 years old Liberia which continues to brag of its seniority to other independent countries on the continent of Africa.
As Liberia clock 200 year (1822 to 2022), its leaders, both the ruling and opposition must rethink on how its citizenry will be the most beneficiaries from the wealth of its natural resources, and not to only be placed in the pockets of individuals who may not have the country at heart, but rather to enrich themselves and their families.
Once again congratulations to Liberia for the 200 years of its existence, but further urged those in power to be more proactive in serving their people with honesty and dedication.