Last Friday, this paper ran a story on citizens’ reaction to social media posting of a photograph of ANC political leader Alexander Cummings being carried on the shoulders of expected voters in a hammock reminiscent of the oligarchic rule of President William V.S. Tubman.
As customary, the paper’s sister network, Capitol 89.7 FM highlighted the issue on its Capitol Breakfast Club talk show where majority callers indicated their indignation about the ugly posture of a winsome presidential aspirant allowing himself to be placed in such dictatorial posture. Some pro-Cummings callers indicated on the other hand that it is customary for people in rural Liberia to tote their leaders in hammocks as a sign of respect. One Facebook poster even attacked the publisher of the Capitol Times, requesting revocation of his journalistic license because he dared comment on something he did not know. The poster said, for someone named Paasewe who knows the customs and tradition of Imams and citizens of Grand Cape Mount County, it is shocking to denigrate the county’s revered tradition of toting people in hammocks as a sign of their great leadership. Well, at Capitol Times we have a completely different opinion about such outlandish, medieval age posture. In Cape Mount County, we only carry people in hammocks when they are very ill and cannot walk, especially if the distance from their point of ailment and the next medical outpost is a far stretch, most especially in the absence of vehicle. Our reading from the negative wave of attacks on this paper, especially its manager, speaks volume about the lack of tolerance from Mr. Cummings’ followers and zealots, who don’t even know that Mr. Cummings would be the last guy on this planet to be seen as riding on people’s shoulders. In this country, we are known for creating our own monsters. When Master Sergeant Samuel Doe overthrew and butchered President William R. Tolbert on April 12, 1980, Liberians were jubilating en masse in the streets, spreading lappas and chanting: “Native woman born soldier, soldier killed Tolbert”. By 1985 after the rigged elections, we were again chanting: “Monkey come down”, in reference to our hatred for Doe’s dictatorial rule. When Charles Taylor and his bandits invaded Liberia in December 1989, we were standing behind Greystone Compound fence holding our transistors, jumping each time Taylor threatened to reach the capitol city. When the rebels finally reached town, it was then we realized the extent of civil war – that guerrilla warfare doesn’t pick and choose between foes and allies. Liberians are simply tired of reliving the imageries of more than 160 years of backwardness. In this modern day and age, who wants to be seen riding complacently on the shoulders of your fellow citizens just because someone told you if don’t obey such tradition the people won’t be happy and they won’t see you as a traditional person? Let’s be