Is the new Wind of Change redemption?

10 November 2007 at 03:58 | 604 views

By Ahmed Ojulla Bangura.

Every nook and cranny of Sierra Leone is beginning to realize the new dawn on their right to political liberation and a judicial system that acknowledges Sierra Leoneans as first class citizens.

For far too long, Sierra Leoneans were bullied, harassed, and sexually abused in Sierra Leone and abroad and arbitrarily reduced to third class citizens by some members of the Lebanese community under the nose of succeeding governments.

Some members of the Lebanese community in Sierra Leone, until now, may be, had grown too powerful with the support of manipulated and reckless governments in the past to triumph over the inalienable rights of Sierra Leoneans.

I say "some members" because not all Lebanese are bad. There are Lebanese business men and women, lawyers, doctors, engineers, technicians etc who are genuinely contributing to the development of the country but these are in the minority.

Most members of this community despise Sierra Leoneans, including the political elites, and consider them as hopeless, destitute, feeble and backward. This was exemplied by the common phrase used by some Lebanese guys to wit:‘your government is in my pocket’.

That has been the situation in Sierra Leone for decades. There are many instances where Lebanese elements had beaten Sierra Leoneans to blindness without bringing them to justice; Sierra Leoneans have witnessed and even become victims of abuse as foster kids in the hands of Lebanese individuals; there are many incidents where Lebanese assaulted, insulted and unjustly sacked Sierra Leonean housemaids and shop boys without compensation; there are incidents where housemaids were sexually abused in and out of Sierra Leone by Lebanese elements without bringing the perpetrators to justice.

The unpatriotic politicians never listened to the cry for justice and respect for these Sierra Leoneans in the hands of some members of the Lebanese community who, despite decades of exploitation and aiding and abetting corruption in past governments and non-governmental institutions, have not integrated into our society.

But these are people who want to be called Sierra Leoneans. They want the credentials to have access to our resources and to enjoy economic and political influence. They looted our diamonds, abused our sisters, beat up our brothers, and humiliated ‘useless’ politicians and officials of our institutions.

How can this community justify their citizenship as Sierra Leoneans when they consider Sierra Leoneans as outcasts not fit to even marry their children? How can they justify their citizenship when after decades in our country their economic contribution to Sierra Leone is disproportionate to the capital they looted out of Sierra Leone to rebuild Lebanon? But these are people who walk freely the streets of Sierra Leone with impunity.

Their agents of collaboration, until now, perhaps, were cabinet ministers, members of parliament, members of the the judiciary, and the police. The Leone has always been the tool used by the Lebanese to get what they wanted from our authorities. How could these meagre sums deceive our country men and women to sell out our rights and pride for their own selfish ends? They sold our national pride in exchange for humiliation and abuse!

Even with the New Dawn in Sierra Leone, the police and some individuals in the medical field are selling our pride for a few Leones. What is really wrong with some black individuals that even in their homeland they allow the importation and implementation of the ‘Lesser Human’ theory (DARWINIAN THEORY) assumed and perpetrated by non-Africans?

Officials at the Queen Elizabeth Quay in Sierra Leone accept imported expired goods from Lebanese businessmen for our consumption but trample hard on their own brothers and sisters. Officials from varying arms of government humiliatingly answer ‘yes sir’ to these Lebanese businessmen and even laugh at the ugly situation inflicted on their own compatriots.

Now that the political wind of change is moving in the right and sustainable direction, the step taken by the Attorney-General on behalf of his serving government and the people of Sierra Leone has to be consolidated by political and legal means. He has demanded an official inquest into the death of Alima Sheriff, a Sierra Leonean girl, allegedly at the hands of a Lebanese businessman.

Never again in Sierra Leone should a person of Lebanese extraction or any extraction for that matter,abuse anyone of us in any form without answering to his or her crime; never again should a Sierra Leonean be taken to Lebanon and abused without accountability; never again should government officials sell us for Ovaltine and Sardine gifts from Lebanese people; never again should Sierra Leoneans be third class citizens in their motherland.

I call for equal credit and business opportunities for all Sierra Leoneans to control their destiny. The days of Lebanese oppression and suppression are gone. Alima’s death is a test case.