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THE UNJUSTIFIABLE EXCLUSION OF LIBERIA’S CHILDREN BORN IN THE DIASPORA FROM THE LAND OF THEIR FOREFATHERS by Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor
2017-05-29 00:44:11 -
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THE UNJUSTIFIABLE EXCLUSION OF LIBERIA’S CHILDREN BORN IN THE DIASPORA FROM THE LAND OF THEIR FOREFATHERS

 

 

The International institute in the State of Rhode Island, USA, reported years ago, that there are about 15,000 Liberians within Rhode Island and its environs. Let’s assume that half of this number, each decided to have a child, collectively they will have 7,500 children. There are hundreds of Liberians in New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Washington, DC Metropolitan areas, and other parts of the United States. These numbers don’t include those born in Europe and other parts of the world (All Africa.Com, 21July2010). 

 

The All Africa.Com., an internet on line news medium, reported on July 21, 2010, that many years after the Liberian civil war, over 250,000 children born by Nigerian soldiers who were part of the Economic Community Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peace keeping force in Liberia are still roaming the streets of Liberia, wallowing in poverty and searching for their fathers.” If the population of Liberia is estimated to be   4,000,000; this number of children is over 6 percent of the nation overall population (6.25%). These children if come of age will demand for the citizenship of both Liberia and Nigeria. They are both Nigerians and Liberians.  This was also confirmed by the Director-General of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa, DTCA Dr. Sule Yakubu, who said that over 250,000 children were born to Nigerian soldiers who participated in peace keeping in ECOMOG operations in Liberia (vanguardngr.com/2010/07/).


The question that needs to be answered by the detractors of dual citizenship: Will it be fair to deny any of the children born of Liberian parentage from enjoying Liberian citizenship because they have dual citizenship? 

As society becomes more global and integrated, the value of Dual Citizenship and a second passport is increasingly becoming a necessity. The comforts of being an American Citizen, at the same time maintaining one's original nationality, provides an individual with an abundance of benefits and set of liberties. Economically, Liberia stands to benefit. Dual citizenship provides access to financial investment rights (property, securities, retirement, social security benefits, etc.). American citizenship provides access to adequate medical benefits, including potentially free healthcare, especially for those reaching the age of retirement. Accesses to educational benefits, including potentially free higher education are all possibilities within the reach of Liberians who enjoyed dual citizenships. And most importantly, provides opportunity for children of Liberian parentage to travel freely and reconnect with their cultural background and strengthen the fabric of their African heritage.

It has been reported that former US Secretary of State Mrs.  Hillary Clinton, has recognized the power and potential of Diasporas and made it central to her approach to “21st Century Statecraft”. She made it part of her Global Partnership Initiative which she placed at the heart of the State Department and the US diplomatic missions around the world, during her tenure.   

Madame Secretary identified eight priority areas that required new partnerships, especially for developing countries.

  • Global economic recovery and growth

  • Food and water security

  • Engaging Diaspora communities

  • Outreach to Muslim communities

  • Increasing energy security

  • Democracy and human rights

  • Nuclear non-proliferation

  • Global Heath

The Diaspora for the first time, was recognized as an essential and substantial contributor to economic development, which needed to be made a priority. The goal was to ‘engage Diaspora communities by focusing on creative mechanisms through which they can contribute to political, economic and social growth in their homelands through Diaspora philanthropy, Diaspora Volunteer Corps, Diaspora Direct Investment, Diaspora Capital Markets, Diaspora Tourism, and nostalgic trade and Diaspora advocacy and diplomacy’(Diasporamatters.com).

 

Never in the history of Liberia, has the need for international assistance become so urgent and essential. The need to change is apparent; the need to seek and identify individuals whose expertise and experiences transcend the day-to-day norms of the Liberian society is a responsibility, which all Liberians cannot afford to ignore. Is one thing to talk about 169 years of independence, is another to know that Liberians' years of national sovereignty have yet to match the scope of their national development. Currently, developments of road networks, water system, health care facilities, education system, telecommunication facilities, etc. are in a deplorable state of affairs. The endorsing or advocating the development of multiple national attachments should be viewed in terms of national development and economic strategy. Dual citizenship would help Liberian businessmen/women to transact and move freely, especially in and out of the United States and other developed countries. Even the Republic of Ghana has realized the economic benefits of dual citizenship and continues to encourage its citizens since December 1, 2002, to obtain dual citizenship.


The ideals of Free Enterprise and Democracy are complementary. The development and sustaining a strong middle class is essential to attainting stability in Liberia. Dual citizenship has the propensity to bring this about. The future seems to provide a great promise; Dual citizenship will help to democratize the politics of Liberia. As illustrated above, there are hundreds upon hundreds of children born to Liberian nationals presently residing in the Diaspora. These children, with their dual nationalities and exposures, could help Liberia to navigate her destiny through the twenty-first century. Democracy indeed, is built on informed citizen participation, especially those who have lived and practiced it in developed countries. The ideal of democracy is meaningful participation of an engaged and informed citizenry. Dual Citizenship is undoubtedly, one of the ways to foster Liberia's future economic development and sustain Liberia’s democracy.

 

Image result for Mr. Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor

The Author: Mr. Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor is an Educator. He is a graduate of Cuttington University, Liberia; Howard University, Washington, D.C and Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

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