Letter to President Obama
By TQ Harris Jr.
May 14, 2010
H.E. Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Having learned that later this month you will host Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, at the White House, we would like to bring to your attention issues critical to Liberia’s recovery.
We are happy you have decided to meet with the leader of our nation. May we ask during your discussion with Madam Sirleaf that you please raise the issue of the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations which is critical to national healing, stability and lasting peace. It is an essential element in Liberia’s revival following the devastating war that displace two-third the population, involved the rape, torture and maiming of tens of thousands and the murder of more than 250,000 civilians, including 5 American Nuns.
Since the release of the TRC Final Report almost a year ago Madam Sirleaf has refused to act in any way on the Commission’s recommendations; rather, she has allowed this genuine effort to heal the nation become a source of division, hatred and frustration which – if not addressed in a timely manner – will again plunge Liberia into violence.
Also, that the U.S. is a major contributor to Liberia’s recovery, perhaps Your Excellency might persuade Madam Sirleaf into explaining how she intends to address corruption while continuing to protect her friends and cronies caught in the act. In utter frustration, the head of the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission recently took the President to task on this very issue.
Since her election to the Presidency, Madam Sirleaf has expended enormous amount of time and resources persuading creditors, including the U.S. to forgive Liberia’s more than $5 Billion debt. Yet she has done nothing to ensure that Liberia never again amasses such astronomical debt without having anything to show. Regrettably, Madam Sirleaf seems unwilling to accept that in order for Liberia to prosper there must be Accountability and Rule of Law. She speaks eloquently on the subject but refuses to act.
Lastly, Your Excellency, Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country’s brutal war; without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results.
Your Excellency, the beleaguered citizens of Liberia desperately seek your direct intervention in order to end the prolonged nightmare and rebuild our lives. Decades of injustice, intimidation and abuse have rendered Liberians powerless. Please help!
Thank you for reading this letter.
Thomas Q. Harris, Jr.