Renew The Charge: Dr. Dunn Calls For Redefinition Of Liberia's Destiny
Thursday, July 26, 2012 marked the 7th celebration of national independence under the administration of the Unity Party (UP) government with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf steering the ship of state. Since 2006 when the first celebration was held in Monrovia, there have been various orators delving into pertinent national issues from different dimensions. This year's speaker, a Liberian Educator and Scholar, Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, took another angle to the continuing quest for a genuine solution to our national impasse, as John Momoh of our staff reports.
Thursday July 26, 2012 marked the 7th celebration of national independence under the administration of the Unity Party (UP) government with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf steering the ship of state. Since 2006 when the first celebration was held in Monrovia, there have been various orators delving into pertinent national issues from different dimensions. This year's speaker, a Liberian Educator and Scholar, Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, took another angle to the continuing quest for a genuine solution to our national impasse.
The National Orator of this year's July 26th Independence Day Commemoration, Professor Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, has observed that just as Liberians find today IT imperative in re-defining the country as an idea, future generations will find the need to redefine Liberia's destiny, noting that in the beginning, there was a promise that took the form of an idea to be perfected by future generations.
Delivering the Independence Day oration on the topic: 'Renewing Our National Promise,' at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia, in the presence of an array of government officials, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Independent Day's Special Guest, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, the orator urged Liberians to make that promise more meaningful and relevant to the changing needs of a continuously changing Liberian population.
An internationally acclaimed Liberian politician, scholar and author from Grand Bassa County, Dr. Dunn stated that Liberia started small - in fact, as a concept and an idea of infinite possibilities, adding that like founders of states everywhere, no promise remains static.
“A more perfect country remains ours to build, today, as it was for those of yesteryears and for those tomorrow”, he said.
In its declaration of rights, he said the founding constitution of Liberia proclaimed a national promise: “therefore we the people of the Commonwealth of Liberia… in Africa do, in order to establish social justice, insure domestic peace and promote the general welfare, hereby solemnly associate and constitute ourselves a Free state, sovereign and independent state by the name of the Republic of Liberia.”
Professor Dunn said it is now the duty of Liberians as inheritors of that promise made almost two centuries ago to renew the charge given the present day challenges and circumstances. He reminded his audience of two things - the 'why,' the 'what' and the 'how' of our national experience on the one hand, and the role of values in our national reconstruction on the other.
According to the renowned Liberian academic, the phrase, “We the people of the Commonwealth of Liberia,” should now read, “we the people resident in 38,000 square miles of our national territory, incorporating 15 political sub-divisions inhabited by scores of ethno-linguistic groups, including categories yet to be clearly delineated.”
He recognized the efforts of government and citizens alike in restoring Liberia in the aftermath of the recent national calamity, but added that perspectives differ regarding the right course of action, and the right priority; and a debate of such has begun to which he was contributing.
The national orator also mentioned the heritage of Liberian experiences, namely the traditional African heritage, the western heritage and the heritage of Islamic civilization.
“We are not one or the other; we are a composite of all three,” he noted, recalling that the late Episcopal Bishop George Brown drew a parallel between the African traditional religions and the Old Testament religion.
He said the culture of Islam had remained an integral part of the Liberian national journey initiated 165 years ago, and that Liberian Muslims impacted the process of Liberian State formation as evidenced by the roles played by prominent Muslims such as Kings Zulu Duma and Sao Boso. See full text of Dr. Dunn's speech on page 10. Writes New Liberiablog comments powered by Disqus