Suggestions for reconciliation in Liberia

Farh believes that much is needed to be done to promote peace and reconciliation in his country

Farh believes that much is needed to be done to promote peace and reconciliation in his country

My suggestions toward truth and and reconciliation in our beloved country Liberia are as follow:
1. The government needs to set aside a day, as a national holiday, to remember all those who died during the one and a half decade of civil-war that killed about 500,000 people in our beloved country, Liberia. People should dress in white and hold up white burning candles while praying on this day.
2. I suggest the 24th of December as the day because we all know that this is the dark day in our country’s history that the devil entered our beloved country, Liberia. It was on this day that we as Liberian people took on each other and forgot that we have only one Liberia and are one Liberian people. These should be the first steps taking toward reconciliation. We can´t be talking about peace, that God should help and bless Liberia, without even setting aside a day to pray for our lost ones. 
3. The government needs to build a national memorial center, made of white pillows, to remember all of our loved ones who died.
This is very important for our country. Both Christians and Muslims should, no matter what, come together on this day of national remembrance. All businesses should close. Nothing moves beside the cars that will take people to this commemoration center. This action will explain it all to our children and the generations to come. And that this should never be repeated in the history of our country.
The government should build this commemorative cemetery through out the country because not everybody will be able to come to Monrovia for the commemoration program on this day. A cemetery in every county, with the same design. We need to pray for our dead, so that peace will reign in Liberia again.
There’s a reason why we have not found peace in Liberia. Our dead are not happy with all of us, even though some of us are not the one who killed them; but we all are to be held responsible for their deaths. By the way, we, one way or the other, supported one faction or the other during the war in Liberia.
I know some may or will disagree with my suggestion. But if the great United States of America can do the same for their lost ones during World War II (and even the Vietnam War) by building a World War II memorial for their dead, if other countries can do the same for their dead during the same world war, why is it that we Liberian can’t do the same for our dead during the Liberian war?
I know it’s going to cost a lot for the government. But no amount of money can ever pay for the life of a lost one.
During the war, people were killed in the most horrible ways that any human being can ever imagine. That the memories still hang over our country and in our hearts, that we still see and find it very hard to let go. The dead need to go and be received by the the Creator. But how can they do so in the first place when we are still fighting each other mentally? Liberia will never move forward when our lost loved ones are not happy. 
This is one of the way and one holiday that can bring Liberian together. Just take for example, when the Lone Star is playing everybody from all ethnic groups come together to support the team, which is the country’s national flagbearers.  
I believe we can all have the same spirit on this commemoration day every time of the year in Liberia. People can do their shopping for the X-Mas on the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd then the 24th of December be the day of mourning. And people can have a happy X- Mas on the 25 of December.
As the song and saying goes, this will be the day that the Lord Almighty has made for us to remember our lost ones. Muslims and christians will be one on this day.
I wish that the Liberia’s peace ambassador takes a very good look at my suggestions as well. I need not to be apart of this project. But will be very happy to see it work as one of the peace initiatives for our beloved country. 
Lots of massacres and savage killings took place throughout the history of the 14 years civil-war. The Harbel massacre, the 1989 Duport Road massacre, the 1998 Grand Kru massacre and the Lutheran Church massacre in Sinkor, Monrovia to name a few. On July 29 1990 more than 1000 of our Gios and Manos brothers and sisters, mostly women and innocent children were killed in the most savage way. Innocent women and children were victimized on all sides, by all factions during the war. 

We need not to forget all these horrible and savage killings that took place in the history of our country. Present and future governments need to place a focus on historical educational programs in the country every year to remind us of the past, so that these  tragedies can never be repeated in the history of our once sweet Liberia.
These nation-wide memorial centers will serve as a symbol. A symbol that be a reminder to future generations. How can we even educate our children born overseas? What do we have to show them as a symbol of the tragedies that took place in our country? 
Others may think that it is not logical to remind oneself of the past. But how do we write and teach history without the past?
Why can’t we as Liberians commemorate these dark days as a lesson. How do I tell my children and the other children that are born overseas about what happened during the 14 years civil war when there is no symbol to show? Some of us will even travel with our children and family back home to commemorate this day every year.
We as Liberians have paid a very expensive cost of war. A nation gets more united and stronger after these kinds of tragic and historical times.
But where is our beloved country today? Is it headed in the right direction? Has the war made us to be united and more loving? Has the war made us stronger? Have we learned from our past? 

The peace process in our country’s reconciliation is like an iceberg. More work need to be done in other to meet this goal of reconciliation. Liberians are even more victimized and are suffering much more after the war then before the war, at the hands of its own government and foreign investors. Foreign investors are taking advantage of the disunity among us.
Corruption in the country is like a virus in all sectors of the society. Young Liberian business entrepreneurs are not giving the opportunity by our government to develop because of a failed national business policy. 

Our government and people have quickly forgetten the reason why we went to war!
Mark Farh, the writer of this article, lives in Sweden