There has not yet been any clear indication or proof that the cause of Rev. What is clear is that the epidemic outbreak of the killer virus has exposed a lot of dysfunctions in the Liberian society and its institutions. From multiple perspectives, administrative regulatory models and public policy management practices in Liberia are in deep trouble and do suffer extremely from incompetence and degradation; it has nothing to do with the recent outbreak of Ebola. Jarkloh could not have died if transportation were available and improved; if our healthcare system were functioning effectively; if there were possibility of ambulances from healthcare centers and clinics were readily available to pick up sick people from their homes and wherever they are, and if health workers were able to render first aid treatment.
Jarkloh could not have died if basic social services were provided by our government in a way they ought to be provided to ensure the safety and happiness for the masses of the Liberian people; if the lofty objectives of progressive change for which the Liberian Civil War was fought had been practicalized, and not circumvented and betrayed by those who have made false elections promises only to catapult themselves into power.
Jarkloh could not have died if progressive change had not been hijacked by pseudo-progressives who have turned power-hungry opportunists, who had fooled the Liberian people yesterday. Those who masqueraded yesterday as self-proclaimed progressives have indeed turned opportunists today as we can see. Their deeds attest to the fact that they were fox in sheep clothing.
In other words, their struggle was a power struggle not a class struggle, not for the masses. History is proving to us that they were fighting to get power for themselves not as a means of improving the living standard of ordinary Liberians, not as a means of enhancing economic development of the country. In the hearts and minds of truly patriotic Liberians, they have fallen from grace to disgrace; they have fallen prey by the trappings of power.
The protracted delay in closing county borders it took months after the initial outbreak of Ebola , long delay for treatment centers with ambulances to respond to Ebola-related calls from neighborhoods more than three days on average , the refusal by community clinics and hospitals to accommodate and treat patients whether of Ebola or other illness , inadequate disposal of dead victims some buried in the backyards are just some of the causes the epidemic has surged and gotten out of control in Liberia.
Bodies of dead Ebola victims had not been removed by health workers. And what about the proper care and storage of the remains or ashes of cremated bodies? All of these abnormal, unprofessional and criminal behaviors underline the dysfunctional mix, brewed by official indifference, incompetence and insensitivity.
Even quarantined patients who were suspected Ebola victims did not receive proper human care. And this is not only the healthcare system we are talking about; it is the entire social fabric that has been plagued with political ineptitude and nonchalance. It is incapable of delivering to the expectations of the majority of Liberians. Conversely, Ebola has only amplified the effect of the administrative and management decadence of political culture of the status quo and the chronic lack of public accountability by complacent and inefficient Liberian rulers.
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If at all there were any meaningful development, a better healthcare system would have been in place to ensure that a more effective response was mounted against the deadly virus, which according to statistics has claimed more lives in Liberia than in any other country during the recent outbreak in West Africa. It can further be argued that if the so-called gains and prosperity of development delivered during the ten-year rule of our government were more widely and inclusively distributed and shared, we would have faster growth during this period and a great number of Liberians would be better off today.
Truth is, for the overwhelming majority of Liberians, the government has failed miserably to prioritize and make practical commitment to the delivery of basic social services such as pure drinking water, sanitation and waste disposal, electricity, road networks, communication, education, and healthcare.
Liberians need to be well-informed about Concession Agreements and their benefits to the Liberian People. Not only should concession agreements and their benefits be made public in keeping with the Global Freedom of Information Act , but also the government is under obligation to ensure that the tenets, stipulations and social responsibilities of various concession agreements signed between the government and Chevron, ArcelorMittal, Sime Darby, Putu Iron Mining, AMLA Gold, and other concessions operating in the country are upheld and enforced.
The reality is that all of the concession agreements signed by the Government of Liberia have not adequately benefited the majority of the Liberian people, except those in power — the president and her political clans — including their families and connections. What social and economic benefits concessions really deliver for the masses of ordinary Liberians in terms of construction of quality farm-to-market roads including feeder roads in the country , school buildings, education and vocational training, clinics and hospitals, water supply and sanitation?
Regardless of education and professional experience, one must be highly connected to get employment with them almost impossible for ordinary Liberians. It is time that the government stops fooling and blindfolding the people. How much salary people get, and how much they can afford at least for shelter, food, clothing, transportation, communication, education? Development is not just building or repairing few roads, schools, bridges, and clinics within more that 9 years. It is the quality and number of basic social services a government delivers that count.
It is the number of people who have unfettered access to pure drinking water, electricity, food security, transportation, communication and other basic necessities of life. It is the number of people gainfully employed with adequate salary to live on. Mass failures in UL entrance and WAEC exams are clear manifestation of the extent to which our institutions have been degraded.
The quality of employment, education, healthcare, length of paved highway network and feeder roads, access to pure drinking water and sanitation and electricity are just few of the basic human development indicators. It is great pity that the masses of the Liberian people are only being fed with and continue to survive on more empty promises and lip services than before.
The alarming increase in income inequality born out of crony capitalism, plantation-style and trickledown economics and the lack of improvement in living standards for ordinary Liberians have institutionalized mass poverty to the greatest proportion ever. Liberia, the land of liberty, seems — under the present regime — no longer a country of opportunity and hope and promise that even our much vaunted rule of law, democratic governance, human rights, and justice system have been compromised in the political process. How can a leader be credited as a champion for peace and given a Nobel Peace Prize, but fails flagrantly to deliver economic and social justice for the majority of the Liberian people when indeed such a flagrant failure undermines the very peace?
What are the priorities of development? Are the masses of the Liberian people really happy under the status quo created by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her political clans? What does happiness mean to a people? There is clearly a direct correlation between development and happiness. Development and happiness of a people consist in being health, having enough food to feed themselves and their families, enough money from whatever their jobs may be to do what they want and buy what they desire.
For all of us and for all practical purposes , that entails a nice shelter, decent clothes, at least a car, cable TV and Internet connectivity, and good times with family and friends. Besides, happiness means being able to speak what is on your mind without fear, to worship the God of your faith, and to feel safe and secure in your own home. Happiness includes but not limited to having the opportunity — to get a quality education or vocational training, to become an entrepreneur This means guaranteed access to bank loans because people have reliable job opportunities; having a big idea and turning it into a thriving business, aware that the harder you work, the more reward you can expect.
This constitutes the fundamental principle and cornerstone of the Liberian dream. These are the basic democratic ideals and foundations of the Liberian Dream. What percentage of Liberians today has the resources and opportunity to declare they have achieved the Liberian Dream? How many ordinary Liberians today can say they are upbeat on the basis of what development and happiness entail? Nearly all of the development paraphernalia and criteria for happiness as defined above, save the component of religious freedom, are non-existent for the overwhelming majority of Liberians today.
Indeed, these troubling realities beacon to Liberians to awake from their deep slumber of apathy to action for progressive change. On the macro-economic level, Liberia still falls far short of the development benchmark. The beginning of a meaningful development is characterized by the provision of basic social services, electrification, industrialization, and a paradigm shift to export-driven economic model by creating the material-technical base to manufacture finished products not just selling iron ore, rubber, timber and other raw materials to perpetuate a plantation-style economy.
The multi-national corporations should be bargained with or coerced to train enough number of Liberians in order to meet their manpower needs necessary to process and produce finished products in Liberia, in so doing to provide adequate job and other opportunities for Liberians. This likewise would induce qualified Liberians abroad to return home Highly qualified Liberians remain abroad because they see no opportunities back home to return to. Such policy priority based on a new development model would undoubtedly foster, stimulate and accelerate the pace of economic development and growth.
In the history of the early Church we then find a beautiful development of the social implications of the Christian faith. This is elucidated in the Christian Tradition.
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As the Church matured and passed through time and spread into every Nation, she recorded her inspired insights and wisdom in post New Testament writings and announced them to the faithful, for the whole world, in conciliar pronouncements. In the last one hundred or so years, the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Catholic Church, has continued to expound, develop and update this beautiful patrimony of social doctrine. She has done so as, in the words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, an "expert in humanity". Following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, the Church which is His Body on the earth walks the way of the person.
She, as a society in her own right, lives in the midst of every age, with a foot in this passing world and another in the eternal. She offers insights for every age, and for the citizens of every Nation, on how to live in peace. She offers insights on how to structure any society in order to promote true justice and human flourishing. The early Fathers of the Church spoke of the Church as the "world reconciled" and, in the east; they used another pregnant description of the Church as the "world transfigured".
She exists to serve the various societies within which she resides and, as a part of her mission to the whole world, is committed to improving the social conditions of all men and women by promoting authentic social and economic justice, both nationally and internationally. Yet, the Church has always reflected upon - and spoken to - the social questions of every age.
This is evidenced in the earliest Patristic literature, both East and West. For example, we find tremendous social insights, presented with great aplomb, in such noted teachers in the West as St Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. At the root of classical Christian teaching concerning the nature of the human person is the understanding that Christians are called to live a unity of life. The Church proclaims the truth about Jesus Christ, who came to redeem the whole person - and to begin a new creation - both of which will be completed and fulfilled in the resurrection of the body and life in a new heaven and the new earth.
Part of the problem has been the lack of good instruction, a full catechesis, of the faithful. The Baptized members of the Church all too often fail to recognize that their faith is not a hat that is taken off upon entry into the "real world", whatever that term is meant to refer to. They have not even been instructed that there is such a thing as a "Social teaching", let alone that it has relevance for their lives and is meant to inspire and give structure to their own missionary vocation.
For the mature, truly catechized Christian, there should be no such language as that which is expressed in phrases such as "Well, that is 'just business', or 'just politics', or 'just entertainment' These expressions are often used to justify a dichotomy between the faith that one professes and the lifestyle that one lives. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council referred to this "separation between faith and life" as "one of the greatest errors of our age. The Christian faith is meant to be a light that presides over the totality of our fully human lives, informing our consciences and changing the way that we see all of human life and our interactions with one another at every level.
This modern phenomenon of compartmentalization among otherwise seemingly faithful Christians was not the way of the early Church. That is why, before Antioch, the early followers of Jesus Christ were referred to as "the Way. They also lived in society very differently. This "difference" is noted in some of the early writings such as the "Didache" or "Teaching of the Twelve" where it is summarized in instructions. These early Christians went into the pagan societies of their age and changed them from within through their words, the witness of their lives and their heroic sacrificial lives.
Our relationship with the world must be the same. The Social teaching of the Church is meant to inform and influence social, economic, political and cultural life, through the work of Christians who not only know of it but have committed themselves to live by it and make it the foundation of their work and service in society.
It speaks to - and should affect -all human interactions. It provides principles that reveal the truth about the dignity of every human person, the sanctity of every human life, the primacy and purpose of the family, the nature of human freedom, our obligations to one another and most especially to the poor and many, many other "social" concerns.
It offers insights for good governance through the application of ordering principles such as subsidiarity and the insistence of full participation. The Social teaching of the Church speaks to issues of war and peace, economic justice, our relationship to the goods of the earth and the environment, and to international relations. This teaching is called "social" for a purpose.
It speaks to human society and to the formation, role and rightful place of social institutions. It reveals the truths that can be known by all men and women - because they are revealed in the Natural law.
These truths are confirmed by and expounded upon through Revelation. Thus, this body of teaching is not simply "religious", in the sense that it is intended only for religious persons. It offers insights that are of tremendous value to all men and women; and it offers them for every nation. Now, with this Compendium, in one readable and brilliantly organized volume, we have that treasury of Catholic Social teaching made easily available - able to be proclaimed and used for a new Catholic Action. In one place, we have been given all of the sources of the Social Teaching from the Sacred Scriptures, the Tradition and the modern social encyclicals.
With the publishing of this very helpful volume, no-one should be able to confuse any Catholic concerning what the Catholic Church has to say on the vital issues upon which she has spoken. That includes some misguided and unfaithful Catholic politicians. The timing of this volume is of particular importance to those of us who live in the United States because we are soon to begin another critical election cycle in It has extraordinary implications for our future as a Nation and our place in the world.
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By the time we have finished all the various State, local and Federal campaigns of , the presidential campaign will be well underway. During this cycle, no political party should expect a Catholic or, for that matter any orthodox, classical Christian, to vote for their candidate simply because of party affiliation. All candidates should be approached by an educated, catechized and fully prepared Christian constituency who can now make reference to the Social teaching of the Church and apply it through a proper hierarchy of values.
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The "Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Church" should be read, re-read, studied and then lived. It should become the primary source for the formation of a Catholic social conscience. A prudent warning by Baraka is rendered as to what would constitute the future of African Americans in the height of cultural monopoly and cultural assimilation.
He further foresees the perils of cultural adaptation and asserts the need to establish a separate black nation. In proposing to build an autonomous black nation, what Baraka would like to perform is the ritual of expel the existing frame work and to form a new Socio-Political- Cultural order that would amend the lives of the African Americans. As we trace the genesis of the African American literary history, it is an undeniable truth that these subalterns were denied freedom to vocalize their authentic experiences through sustained and institutionalized art forms.
More so the indigenous African American folk arts of culture which existed in its oral tradition enjoyed only a marginal status. As a consequence, the common black population had no knowledge of the creative renderings of the black intelligentsia.
They were exposed only to the artistic and cultural output of the American mainstream. An aura of nationalistic spirit was inculcated by the maverick Baraka. He felt the need to create a separate black artistic and cultural forum for which the congregational strength and corporate responsibility of black masses became inevitable. A congress of like-minded intellectuals and artists, under the leadership of Baraka, spearheaded the Black Arts Movement which in turn created a healthy like between the Black intelligentsia and the black public.
A tangible impact was created on the general public which for long had been oriented to the doctrines of the mainstream. The sporadic mushrooming of black organizations and community centers appealed to the masses for a united strength in its quest for autonomy and black aesthetics. Black Aesthetic is nationalistic in spirit and anti-western in its objective. Cultural ambassadors like Amiri Baraka demonstrated the need to revitalize the ethnic tradition by appealing to the group of black elites.
As a cultural warrior, Baraka expounds to what extent the black theatre can act upon and drum up the African Americans to action. Show up the insides of these humans, look into black skulls…should stagger through our universe correcting, insulting, preaching…must Accuse and Attack…it is a theatre of victims…moves the victims to look at the strength in their minds…This is a theatre of assault.
The play that will split the heavens for us will be called The Destruction of America Home The pathetic story of the brow beaten blacks in America is not unheard of in the history of Mankind. The seething cauldron of contained fury unleashes with full energy and intensity in this play. The oft- repeated slave narratives of repression and disgrace, the plaintive blues and the rejuvenating spirituals have reached their nadir.
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It is the black rage which permeates the writings of these militant and revolutionary writers. The action of the play is rooted in the prehistoric myth of Yacub. Elijah Muhammad, the founding father of the Nation of Islam, is acknowledged the author of this ancient myth which recounts the creation of white race as a result of erroneous experiment performed by a black scientist. The playwright gives a free rein to his concentrated black creative force in incorporating this African myth.
Rediscovering the rich indigenity of African American cultural heritage is an essential pre-requisite for an appreciative understanding of the ethics of black aesthetics. The action of the play begins in the interior of a chemical lab of three black magicians — Nasafi, Tanzil and Jacoub. The pulsating voice of the playwright subtly presents the indefatigable and ageless infinity that form the bottom line of black arts. In finding a strong hold in the ancestral Africa, Baraka ensures his divorce from white bohemia and reiterates the urge to blacken his art.
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According to the native myth, Yacoub, the black scientist creates out of mistake a new whit race through genetic transformation. As the creator, Jacoub is fairly confident regarding maneuvering the evil influence of this monster. Unfortunately, the venom-spitting creature begins to infest its environment with spiteful energy. The first victim to be paralyzed is Tiila, a frail black woman.
The beast, after changing the woman with its bite-caress, begins to make obscene movements. He breaks away from the conventional method of text-centred matrix and experiments with eclectic and innovative theatrical devices to present multi-dimensional perspectives.
He does not adhere to the dramatic discipline of linear movement of beginning, middle and end neither in the action of the play nor in its language. In the beginning of Experimental Death Unit 1, the action centres around three characters that enact the multi-dimensional complications and the fast dwindling social, moral and cultural ethics in a multi-ethnic cosmopolitan nation like USA. Before the audience could wade through and fall in line with the theatrical space positioned by the dramatist, they are transported into a different surrealistic and grotesque atmosphere.
By doing this, Baraka jolts the ensconced audience out of their passivity and drives his performers to venture into the non-theatrical space. In terms of theatrical language, Baraka has challenged the concept of action emanating from the already existing text. This atmosphere is well exemplified in the chemical laboratory of Jacoub as soon as the black mass begins along with the musical deliverance of Sun Ra.
The playwright daringly manipulates with the language and the words assume substantial significance to serve a unique function. Instead, words become dart-like and explode on the audience with rage and energy. An overtly vituperative idiom is deployed by the militant writer to charge his audience. Baraka also incorporated the hip-slang and black street-idiom in Experimental Death Unit 1. Armed with the mission of espousing the exigency to overhaul the imperialistic and capitalistic influence of the western order, Amiri Braka will unquestionably be remembered and recognized for leaving behind a strategic political and cultural legacy in the historic struggle of the African Americans.
Four Black Revolutionary Plays. London: Mation Boyars Publishers Ltd. The Theatre and Its Double. Victor Corti. Baraka, Amiri. New York: Freundlich Books. Home: Social Essays.