As a writer and journalist, I am compelled by evidence to report the positive as well as the negative attributes about Liberia and Africa in general; this is what “The Devil Made Me Do It” is about.
Once there lived a triple in the village not far from Robertsfield. The village is called “Smell-No-Taste”. The area was a military base the United States established in Liberia during World War II. The military base was later named Roberts International Airfield (RIA) – in honor of the first president, Joseph Jenkins Roberts. “Smell No Taste” got the name from the local villagers who could only smell the food aroma coming from the U.S. Military Base but could not have any of the food to eat, so they referred to the area where the food aroma came from as “Smell-No-Taste.”
This practice in most African societies is considered ‘mean’. It is named so because not to share one’s food with your neighbors or strangers is looked upon as bad practice or inappropriate, therefore mean. In the case of the Americans living on the military base, the villages considered them mean because they could only smell the food, but were not invited to participate.
At that time, there was triplet who lived in the village of Smell-No-Taste. Their names are: Liar, Accuser and Blamer. Liar was the oldest of the three; he is a male. Accuser too, is a male, he is next to Liar, and Blamer is the female, their younger sister. The triplet’s older brother, Liar lied so much until him and his best friend Truth became bitter enemies.
Liar was so accustomed to lying; he believed his lies to be truth. He was incapable of separating lies from truths. Every word that came out of his mouth was a lie. The villagers nicknamed him ‘Beesah’, meaning someone who gossiped. Also, he was known in the entire village as the person who ruined friendships, wrecked marriages, caused confusion and disputes among everybody. It was his examples that his brothers and sister emulate.
The population of Smell-No-Taste was approximately 150, children included. In this village everybody knew everybody’s business. Gossip was their pastime; it was like a sport. They were not used to any other way of life but the life of gossip. This was the environment in which the triplet was raised.
As for Accuser, he did no wrong. He was suspicious of everyone he came in contact with. To him everyone had bad motives for doing anything. He saw no good in anyone he came in contact with. He believed in no one but himself. His thinking was ‘one way traffic’ as we say in Liberia; individual like him is capable of starting conflicts between people, and wars among nations.
Their sister Blamer was even worse in telling lies and making excuses! She was nickname ‘Eve and Excuse’. She made excuse for everything under the sun. It will not be too far fetch to say she inherited making excuses form Eve, our First Mother.
For the purpose of the discussion, let’s look up LIE and EXCUSE in Webster’s Basic Thesaurus. LIE is defined as: dissimulate, equivocate, fabricate, falsify, fib, invent, misrepresent, perjure, and prevaricate. (Verb) Bounce, caulker, cram, crammer, deceit, fabrication, falsehood, falsification, falsehood, falsification, falsity, fib, fiction, flam, invention plumper, prevarication, stretcher, untruth, whacker, and WHITE LIE. (Noun)
On the other hand, EXCUSE is defined as: absolve, acquit, apologize for, condone, defend, discharge, exculpate, exempt, exonerate, explain, extenuate, forgive, free, ignore, indulge, justify, let off, liberate, mitigate, overlook, palliate, pardon, release, relieve, sanction, spare, tolerate, vindicate, warrant, wink at. (Verb) Alibi, apology, cop-out, defense, disguise, evasion, exculpation exoneration, expedient, explanation, grounds, justification, make-shift, mitigation, mockery, palliation, parody, plea, pretense, pretext, put-off, reason, semblance, shift, substitute, subterfuge, and vindication. (Noun)
WHITE LIE is what caught my attention! It will be dealt with later. First let’s look at what Susan E. Todd had to say about our first parents, Adam and Eve.
In her article: “Adam and Eve’s Excuse ‘Don’t Look At Me,’” she wrote:
When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden He gave them only one restriction. He told them not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because God created Adam and Eve with a free will (my emphasis), when confronted with temptation, they had a choice to make: obey God and live, or eat the fruit that was forbidden and die. The right choice would bring everlasting life and the wrong one, everlasting damnation. The choice was theirs to make.
They chose to disobey God. Adam knew the rules. God gave them to him. (Genesis 2:16-17) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Yet Adam not only loved Eve, enough to die with her, but also wanted something that belonged to God; omnipotence. Adam committed two sins, disobedience and covetousness. (Luke 12:15) And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. Eve disobeyed both God, by not obeying His commandments (John 14:15), and her husband, by not submitting to his authority (Ephesians 5:22). Didn’t God give her to Adam (Genesis 2:22)? Why then was she listening to the voice of the devil? Her eyes were on material things and not on the things of God.
When confronted with their sin Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent slinked away. What did he care? He had won. Adam and Eve had lost. That’s the way he wanted it. (Genesis 3:12-13) And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. God asked a question of both Adam and Eve but not of the serpent. God created the serpent (the devil), just like He created Adam and Eve, but unlike Adam and Eve the serpent was already condemned. God knew the serpent’s motives and his future. But God wanted Adam and Eve to know what they had done and what their future would be like. (Culled from “What Are Yours” by Susan E. Todd (May 2003)
I found the article to be to the point. It talked about some of the temptations we are faced with today. Therefore, for us to get a better understanding why people make excuses and tell lies, let’s consult the Thesaurus and the Dictionary once more.
Besides our famous parents (Adam and Eve) from whom we inherited the traits; history is replete with all sorts of lies about the thing called RACE, specifically – the Black Race, Africans to be exact. Even Webster’s Basic Thesaurus lied about LIE. LIE is LIE, there is no such thing as WHITE LIE. If LIE is something that is untruth, what then is WHITE LIE? You see where I am going! So-called European scholars and White racists portrayed almost everything WHITE to represent GOOD, and almost everything that is BLACK to be EVIL. So, WHITE LIE became GOOD LIE and BLACK LIE became BAD LIE. The fact of the matter is there is no LIE that is GOOD; LIE is LIE. LIE is among the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses for us to live by. Hereafter, don’t believe everything you read in Webster’s Basic Thesaurus and Dictionary to be correct without doing your own facts finding. There are motives for which Webster placed these words in his Thesaurus and Dictionary.
Today in the world of political campaigns, LIES are ‘spanned’ to promote an individual or a group’s points of views; views that are laced with untruth just to gain votes. Africans and Liberians are not exempt to this practice!
Let me say this! Liberians are a unique breed of people. We love ourselves so much; we referred to our neighbors as ‘Coasters;’ when in fact, we live along the same Atlantic Coast. The same can be said of NEPOTISM. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf invented a new definition. Here is a lady who accused ALL of her predecessors of Corruption and Nepotism; but when it was directed at her, she claimed her children, family members and friends have qualifications. Sad, isn’t it! When the shoes were now on her feet, she abandoned those things that earned her the name – ‘Iron Lady.’
In a recent article published in RescuseRescue.com’s October edition, Dr. Peregrino Brimah, the author referred to President Sirleaf as U.S. Puppet and Western Stooge. To Liberians, she has gone from ‘Iron Lady’ to Jezebel. What a difference time makes!
Sometime ago, I came across a statement on the Liberian Listserv that was written under the caption, “One Step into a ‘Modern State.’” It reads:
“Turning on the first set of street lights in Vai Town on Bushrod Island President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described the moment as ‘Moving a step into a modern state.’” The President said:
“We want to say to Public Works and CICO how pleased we are that we’ve moved one step into a modern state, just another step.”
To which one E. Toe made the remark below:
It is a pity when Liberian[s] do not expect anything out of Life. Here we have our president applauding the installation of a SINGLE red light and being pleased with it. After six years all we can have is a single traffic light. Now you see why we are calling for a change. Our leaders must dream more than a traffic light. At this rate it may take 100 years for a traffic light to reach us in Rivercess.
In other words, we allow our leaders to treat us as if they were elected “to do us favors.” Whenever we raise legitimate concerns and to some extent, take the leader and party in power to task regarding not having safe drinking water, electricity, good roads, sewer system, quality healthcare system, accountability, and rampant corruption in the administration, all we hear is, “The oldma is trying!” Was she elected to be trying? Nine years are too much time to be trying.
It is this type of practice the late African patriot, Julius Nyerere referred to in his October 13, 1998 Good Governance for Africa speech. A passage reads:
Poverty is an enemy of good governance, for persistent poverty is a destabiliser, especially if such poverty is shared in a grossly unequal manner, or is widely regarded as being unfairly distributed as the few who are relatively rich indulge in conspicuous consumption… Known or suspected corruption among the political leaders often makes the problem worse – and corruption throughout the society more difficult to overcome. Good wages or salaries will not stop bad people from being corrupt but miserable wages and salaries are not conducive to rectitude. Political instability, real or imagined, can be a source and is often used as an excuse, for bad governance.
Nyerere’s statement describes what is taking place in Liberia. If we continue to ignore the facts, Liberia will become a country owned by Sirleaf and Company.
This practice reminds me of a historical fact regarding change. Change it is said – is not brought about by the majority in society. It comes about by individuals or a group of people – like the Burkinabé who have had enough of President Blaise Compaoré and the way things were being done by him and his few ruling elites. It was the same way it happened in the British colony known today as America. Some historians argued that the American system of government was established on that basis of fear; fear of the tyranny of the Crown of England, which compelled Alexander Hamilton et al to placed power in hands of the Legislature – the first Branch of the Government. That’s not the way it is in Liberia. In the Liberian system of government, the President is Supreme and is above the law and anything that the President dreams of.
Although the story about Liar, Accuser and Blamer in the village of Smell-No –Taste is fictional, these three characters have been in Liberia since the country was “founded”. You can find an older brother in all of the counties in Liberia called Liar, who can lie so much until he cannot distinguish lies from truths, and has become enemy to everyone because of his lying behavior. Then there is Accuser, the sweet-talking corrupt leader who is afraid of his/her own shadow and will resort to do anything to stay in power. To this person, any critic is an enemy who does not mean good – therefore must be stopped “by any means necessary.” And there is Blamer, the loyal supporter of the corrupt leader who will go to any length to tell lies and make excuses on behalf of the ‘the good for nothing leader’; will blame every wrongdoings on the Devil. It was the Blamer’s constant excuse and lie that led the Devil to say to God:
“God Almighty, I know I am a liar, cheater, deceiver, conniver, manipulator, schemer, plotter, intriguer, trickster, swindler, shark, double-dealer, con artist, conspirator, and I disobeyed you for which you threw me out of heaven; but Lord, many times these people lied to you in my name. All I hear is, ‘The Devil made me do it’; The Devil made me do it!’ Lord, I know you know; I did not do many of the things they say I do. Now Lord, let me tell you in my own words; these people disobeyed you on their own; I have nothing to do with it; I swear! Lord, you, yourself know since the days of Adam and Eve, human beings have been lying on me whenever they deliberately do something WRONG that is not pleasing to You; they put the blame on me. Every time, be it a man, a woman, a boy or a girl –is in the habit or I should say, is quick on putting the blame on me; a kind of scape-goating – “The Devil made me do it story!”
The moral of the story is: everyone is responsible for his or her own action; therefore, we should stop blaming the Devil; because on the day of JUDGMENT everyone is on their OWN. “The Devil made me do it” excuse will be of no use; so while there is time, get RIGHT with GOD; He is a loving and merciful forgiven GOD; try Him, you will find out like I did!
Just recently, Dana Banks, special assistant to President Biden, who was one of United States’ delegates present at the ‘bicentennial’ celebration of the founding of the colony of Liberia – could not confine herself to diplomatic protocol in her remarks during the ceremony. According to her: “the crisis of corruption and democratic decline Liberia faces, [are] largely because of President George Weah… Too many of Liberia’s leaders have chosen their own personal short-term gain over the long-term benefit of their country”.
A Nation Divided Needs Fixing, And Not Celebrating
Succeeding administrations and presidents of Liberia have LIED to the citizens; this includes President George Manneh Weah. In fact, it can be said that President Weah’s account of LIES are unprecedented. According to some political commentators, President Weah’s records of EMPTY PRONOUNCEMENTS and LIES surpassed all of his predecessors. Today, Liberia remains a divided nation, because the pregnant issues that make the nation remained divided; have NOT been honestly addressed for the citizens to unite. Therefore, celebrating 200 years as a nation of ONE PEOPLE, UNITED is a nightmare. And now is time to put STOP to the deceitful, distorted history of Liberia being the only country on the African continent that was NEVER colonized; when the name of the so-called founders is, the American Colonization Society (ACS). What a BIG broad day LIE!
NOTE: It has been eight years (November 5, 2014) when this article was published in theperspective.org. However, due to recent ugly and corroding events in Liberia, which are the making of President George Manneh Weah and his government; I believe it is appropriate for me to have it re-published for the current and future generation.
About The Author: Elder Siahyonkron J. K. Nyanseor, Sr. is former Secretary, Vice & Chair of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. Founding member and the 11th National President of ULAA. He is a poet, Griot, journalist, and a cultural and political activist. He is an ordained Minister of the Gospel. He is Chairman of the Liberian Democratic Future (LDF), publisher of theperspective.org online newsmagazine and Senior Advisor to the Voice of Liberia newsmagazine. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; his current book of poems: TIPOSAH: Message from the Palava Hut is on the market. Nyanseor can be reached at: [email protected]