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Monday, December 26, 2011

Liberia:Who Was at Fault for Monrovia Riots?

The Liberian capital Monrovia has been experiencing chaos and violence at the hands of angry students. What started less than a month ago as the presidential vacation job scheme for students turned Monrovia into a scene of violence. Government structures, public schools and vehicles were destroyed by angry students.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had earlier mandated the Monrovia City Corporation to design a scheme to get some 3,000 students employed under the auspices of a vacation job scheme. A program that was intended for 3,000 students turned out to be a chaotic 20,000 or more student vacation job program that soured the relations between the students and the Liberian government .
The riots are said to have erupted after the students who reportedly worked for around a week or so doing sanitation related works in Monrovia turned out for the promised $35 but could not get their pay in time and thereafter ran out of patience.
Liberian police battling to curb the students' riot.Pic courtest facebook.
Liberian police battling to quell rioting students. Photo courtesy of Earnest Garbleejay Smith Facebook page.

The violence has left so many with hundreds of unaswered of questions regarding the path of national development. Did the future leaders of Liberia behave like decent people with integrity? Nathan Patio Charles lamented:
@NathanPatio: for the second time vocation job students in # Liberia have gone on the rampage in Monrovia , burning gov't and private #cars,
Svaye saw the problem from a spiritual perspective:
@beSassic: Sending prayers to my sweet #Liberia
Samuel Herring weighed on the other side of the coin:
@theboyfromlib: Heard its not really the youth who worked. It those tryna get paid and can't provide identification. #Liberia
Le Patron Vonk quickly diagnosed the problem and recommended a remedy:
The hungry man is an angry man…Pay the students for the job they did…No curfew will solve this problem…blame it on Mary Broh.
Commenting on Le Patron Vonk's observations, Massa Johnson noted:
ur know we liberians are full off corruption.ur hired ppl with out proper id i myself if i was in lib i will be standing on line with my family.
Clarence Pratt wondered why will the students who will eventually get paid want destroy their country:
@Arsenalistical: They going to get pay so why are they overreacting and destroying homes, business and cars. Come on # Liberia
John Kantan, a victim of police brutality. Photo courtesy of Liberian Observer Online. 

Moses Carter pointed out the source of the problem:
I think the problem here is there was error on the part of the recruitment process.. I see it as done in bogus manner.. many youths managed to squeeze their names on the lists through the printing of their own membership forms.. The Government also made mistake by converging over 10,000 youths at one Center to pay them.. something which became very impossible to have been done in time given the bogus recruitment that they had to verify names before payment which took some considerable time… The youths also failed to exercise patients.. the fact that the Government promised to pay them before the season, they needed to have exercise the wait and see action to see what was going to be the outcome of the process.. but instead they ran too fast out of patience… Hope lessons are learnt for future initiatives…
The government of Liberia announced last Friday that it would suspend the payments to all beneficiaries of the Christmas vacation job scheme because unscrupulous individuals infiltrated the process and caused damage to public and private properties. Who was at fault? The debate will certainly continue.
Written by Counselor Track

Monday, November 7, 2011

Liberia:Dark Cloud Hangs Over Liberia's November 8th Runoff Elections

As the clock ticks toward Liberia's scheduled November 8th presidential runoff elections,the cloud of doubt and uncertainty seem to be engulfing the process. Despite the fervent call by the Congress for Democratic Change for a boycott, other stake holders are determine to adequately prepare for E-Day/Elections Day: Tuesday, 8th November 2011.

Cllr.Winston Tubman‑CDC Standard Bearer. Picture courtesy of
Cllr.Winston Tubman‑CDC Standard Bearer. Picture courtesy of
Upon his return from Abuja,Nigeria last Friday where he attended an ECOWAS consultative briefing, the standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Cllr. Winston Tubman in an address delivered to his partisan categorically stressed that CDC won't part-take in the forthcoming next Tuesday runoff elections.
The CDC chief's proclaimation has stirred up far many views both at the home and abroad: Mardea Wiles had the below to say and concluded with a question.
Cllr. Winston Tubman has reiterated that CDC will not participate in the November 8th runoff for allegations of fraud and biases. If CDC is convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that the process was fraudulent, their Representatives just elected in the October 11th election should also boycott the process by not taking up their seats in the House of Legislature. With such action, the Liberians will know that they are determined to pursue this claim to a logical conclusion. Can you honor part of a process and disregard some under the same NEC Administration?
The New Dispensation an informative blog broke the CDC's runoff elections this way:
Liberia’s controversial next Tuesday run-off election is postponed and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will address the nation at which time she will officially inform the Liberian people of the government’s decision.
The run-off election has come to be one of gridlock as the opposition party and presidential candidate Cllr. Winston Tubman withdrew in protest to boycott the run-off. Cllr. Winston Tubman who returned from Nigeria yesterday after having talks with Nigeria President Goodluck Johnathan and Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), reiterated his call for boycott of the Tuesday election, calling on his supporters and partisans to peacefully boycott the Tuesday polls by staying home.

The National Elections Commission under the leadership of its newest supremo acting chairperson Cllr.Elizabeth J.Nelson has reassured all stakeholders that NEC-Liberia is fully committed to safe guiding Liberia to a peaceful transition via a free, fair and peaceful elections. In her first official press conference held last week Tuesday, she specifically pinpointed her entity's readiness to conduct a credible runoff.

Cllr.Elizabeth J.Nelson-Acting Chairperson Liberia Elections Commission,courtesy of
Cllr.Elizabeth J.Nelson-Acting Chairperson Liberia Elections Commission,courtesy of
With respect to the status of the scheduled November 8, 2011 Presidential run-off, the National Elections Commission wishes to state that it is fully prepared to conduct the run-off as required by Article 83 (b) of the Constitution of Liberia. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that all necessary materials are in place, polling staff training has been conducted, the movement of sensitive and none sensitive materials to NEC warehouses in the South East Counties have been completed while the movement of other sensitive materials is currently underway. Meanwhile, civic and voter education activities are being conducted throughout the country, and new observers groups are being accredited.
Therefore, I wish to encourage the - Unity Party (UP) and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) to fully participate in the contest. The Commission also wishes to urge all supporters of these parties and the Liberian people to maintain the same level of discipline as demonstrated during the October 11 elections to ensure a peaceful Election Day on November 8.
In an effort to motivate his countrymen to exercise their constitutional voting right against a boycott, Mr. Samuel Tolehyon Gbatu,Sr. a Liberia in the Diaspora chose these words for Liberians.
Wake Up Call: It is time for us (Liberians) to exhibit our patriotism,it is time for us to learn that violence is not the answer to our quest if we did not learn that in the past.This is not even based on party levels, be a patriot,support your and its people,refrain from violence and be a good citizen. Support the electoral process and accept the result for a way forward. Politicians will come and go,but the future of Liberia still remains in our hands......Their aims are unknown don't fall for them.Don't be a fool to be used to destroy your own country,remember their lives are better than the average Liberians.
Unlike Mr.Gbatu who's calling for a peaceful continuation of the runoff electoral process, Cllr.Jerome J.Verdier, Sr. the erstwhile chairman of the defunct Liberian Truth of Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has called for a complete halt to the process and give it a critical overhauling. He termed the runoff as 'Kangaroo' and urges the Liberian Senate to cease the process:

Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier-former chairman of the defunct Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.Picture,courtesy of
Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier-former chairman of the defunct Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.Picture,courtesy of
We have on hand a constitutional/political crisis which should spare no effort in ensuring its peaceful resolution founded in dialogue pursuant to a political resolution. The only other option is the legal option which is no longer viable as no one who is a major stakeholder has any inkling of confidence in the Supreme Court to dispose of contentious matters independently, judiciously and legally where the interest of President Sirleaf is concerned.
A political resolution entails that the senate which has oversight of presidential appointments must engage both parties, along with the international community, halt any kangaroo November 8 runoff and advert further deterioration of an already worsening situation.
While the above mentioned two notable Liberians chose advocacy for a peaceful continuation and a complete halt to the runoff process respectively; Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei a Liberian Youth Ambassador For Peace commissioned by the Universal Peace Federation and an advocate thought it befitting to dived into what he termed 'products of post-conflict governance leakages':
At this point it is important to mention that the prevailing developments in Liberia are not spontaneous, but are products of pos-conflict governance leakages which the administration overlooked. There are governance leakages which have all built up to numerous political crises out of which the current situation is just one product. Two key issues can be considered here as part of the leakages. The first was the failure of the administration to lead the country into a broader national process of Constitutional reform. Constitutional reform is a key and fundamental element of postwar reform, and had this government embarked on such an initiative key issues of national controversy would have been sorted out and addressed. Rather, the administration chose to support and conduct a referendum month to the election. It was from this controversial referendum the current tension around the elections began. Second is the lukewarm approach of the government to transitional justice issues, mainly national reconciliation. Transitional justice goes in tandem with constitutional reform in postwar governance reform processes, and it is the basis upon which people deal with past grievances and accept each other for the future. Eight years after the war, Liberians are yet to have collective and clear understanding of the causes of the conflict and the role of various actors, and the way forward to a peaceful future. This is largely due to the controversy that resulted from the TRC process. Today, people feel free to issue threats of violence and even disrupt national processes without fearing consequences. At the same time, the people still seem to be deeply divided on ethnic issues, and the growing patterns of reemerging wartime alliances during these elections speak volumes of deep-seated grievances and conflict mentalities.
The United Nations (UN) in the midst of all the claims and counter claims has reaffirmed its commitment to the process. The world governing body through its chief Mr. Ban Ki-noon said the UN supports the joint efforts by the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS and his Special Representative for Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Lj, to promote dialogue and build confidence in the electoral process and stressed the need for all parties to foster a peaceful transition.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- Moon. Pix courtesy of
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- Moon. Pix courtesy of
The UN's commitment towards Liberia hasn't gone unnoticed as these words of Linda Koffa depicts:
UN has always committed herself to our ceaseless national crisis;I do hope we as a nation will see the ardent and rational need to go thru a peaceful transition against strives and plunging ourselves into another national madness of a crisis!Liberians should be mindful of the hrudles involved in ending crises:easy to start yet very difficult to end!
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the regional body of which Liberia is a founding member continues to urge the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) to CDC's fullest participation in the runoff elections.
In the wake of all of the fervent efforts being exerted by ECOWAS, the stigmas of ECOWAS' role in the Liberian civil crisis are still fresh on the minds of many Liberians. Joe 'Saye-Tomah' Gbaba, Sr. a Liberian has strong reservations about the regional body's sincerity and neutrality.
Given the trend of politics in Liberia the comments recently made by the ECOWAS Commission is very troubling in that the ECOWAS Commission suggested that it will “recognize” Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, even if the people of Liberia boycott the elections and reject her as their leader. Such a statement reflects the biased and prejudiced stance the ECOWAS Commission took from day one when ECOMOG’s Ghanaian Field Commander Arnorld Quinoo master-minded the brutal murder of Liberia’s sitting President Samuel Kanyon Doe at the hands of rebels of Prince Johnson’s Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL).
From that time moving forward, it became crystal-clear that ECOWAS Commission had a hidden agenda and that they would be in Liberia for keeps. For, the ECOWAS Commission would pretend they were in Liberia to secure the peace and bring the Liberian human carnage and mayhem to a close. Whereas, in reality, they would enhance and perpetuate mayhem and lawlessness in its various forms in cohort with Liberian rebel warlords and their supporters.
In view of the above mentioned, Liberians from all walks of life can now put one and one together to figure out why ECOWAS has been in Liberia for over twenty-two years as the regional peace brokers but yet Liberia is far from achieving sustainable peace. This is mainly because there are double dealers and wheelers on the ECOWAS Commission who do not sincerely support the true cause of African liberation. Instead, they are more interested in getting their ‘cuts’ from the spoils of the Liberian Civil War and to prolong the suffering of the Liberian people in cohort with Mrs. Sirleaf and Liberian Government officials.

Pres.Sirleaf speaking in Margibi,Liberia.Photo courtesy Cyrus Wleh Badio the Press Secretary to Pres.Sirleaf.
Pres.Sirleaf speaking in Margibi,Liberia.Photo courtesy Cyrus Wleh Badio the Press Secretary to Pres.Sirleaf.
While the opposition CDC is actively fighting its cause regarding the 'credibility' of the Liberian National Elections Commission,the incumbent Unity Party (UP) led by standard bearer Mrs.Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is assiduously campaigning cross country.
Venessa Benson, a Liberian living abroad summed up the CDC's actions in her own words:

Allow me too spin this! Is it possible that CDC Boycott charade could be a planned device, for UP partisans to become complacent, feel that President Ellen has already won the 2011 elections due to CDC boycott Shenanigan?
BEWARE of the in......consistencies! Keep your eyes opened and allow your ears to hear. Do not allow anyone to take or prevent you from executing your rights to vote. People sacrificed their lives allowing us this priceless right to vote.
YOU MUST VOTE ON 8 NOVEMBER 2011! This is your future, your children's future, as well as the next generation's future. 8 Nov. 2011, Vote! Vote! Vote! No matter what, Vote! We must all participate in the second round, our future is a stake!
Do Not Be Deceived! Do Not Be Deceived! By all Means, Do Not Be Deceived! 8 Nov. 2011, Vote!

The ruling party standard bearer, sitting president, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in a reply to CDC's Cllr.Winston Tubman boycott declaration held a press conference to address the nation and her partisans. Equally like her opponent's press briefing, Pres.Sirleaf's briefing drawn many reactions. J.Robertson put his view this way:
Unity Party Goes Into RunoffElections Alone As CDC Withdraws:
Edwina a Liberian lady summarized CDC's boycott threat in a very unfamiliar tone mixing standard English with Liberian colloquial:
On October 11, 394,370 persons voted for CDC oh. So if they decide to boycott, they better tell all 394,370 of them to stay home, bcus if 13 persons sef vote, we will count d votes, thn da na boycott again oh. So I hope yor campaigning for d boycott too. Infact sef, just in case yor fini tellin ollor dem to vote boycott, I wey beg one pekin to give yor one vote ya. Hahaha, Ma Ellen n boy Joe make d baboon dem scared!
The official elections day (October 11th 2011) that gave birth to the scheduled runoff is now history; what Liberia as a nation and people do come November 8th 2011 will determine their fate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

When Earnest Toils Are Knitted With the Selfless Desire to Dignify Lives-Celebrating Comrade Leo N.Johnson's Accolade.

By: Ernest Garnark Smith,Jr.
Halo Danane! Halo friends and comrades of D-Town!! Halo all near and far who sought refuge or transited in Danane,Ivory Coast!!! Today marks yet another joyous day in the history of this forum and the memory of mankind....

When the very 1st batch of our countrymen on those fateful days in Decemeber 1989 crossed into Ivory Coast;fleeing for their... lives and seeking a save haven.Little did this generation imagined that many would have sought refugee in a very dusty but warmly welcoming town called Danane.Yet,as we unleashed evils and inflicted each others with unspeakable pains and uncurable wounds on the other side of the border,Danane became our home away from home.

Through those years of our sojourn in that lively town,we were blest to have learnt some of the best of those virtues life has got to offered any generation faced and plagued by civil madness of a war.

It shall forever brightens my heart to always celebrate those tough,rough yet meaningful days of our stay in Danane whenever a comrade or former resident out of earnest quest to serve mankind gets recognized!And,it's against this joyous and inspiring backdrop that I chose to present to the world our forum's PRIDE OF THE MONTH,the humble and innovative servant of humanity,the Comrade Leo N.Johnson,the recent winner of the famous Albert Lager Prize for Student Initiative Awards.

The comrade Leo N.Johnson like us all fled our Mother's Land Liberia when anarchy was the other of the day.He dare not stood by and watch human being reduced to mere beastly treatments at the hands of the then self-style 'liberator' Charles Taylor and his bandits.He was and is still an ardent advocate and those days the resting places of youthful and progressive comrade like him were the underground prison cells,the imfaous Gbatala militia infested base,and the many torture and killing fields of Taylor!

With the flames of advocacy burning in his bones yet wanting to be alive to see the tide turned, the witty Leo fled and found solace and hope in Danane and later Budubumram Refugee Settlement,Ghana.

While seeking refuge and being hopelessly hopeful that his chance to fervently serve mankind was surest and nearest than the pessimists thought,he quietly chose to brave the storms,heat,dust,and multiple odds and built his capacity.....
As I have always said and I quote myself; the line that demarcate us winners and champions from the mere contestants is simply that,when they chose to throw in te towel and said 'it's over',we chose to press and push a lil hardest.
When destiny landed Leo into Canada,many comrades chose to yelled ' it's over and mission accomplished';unlikes those colleagues,Leo saw his then newest environment as the stage he has longed and desired for ages......Some walked into success yet others like the hardworking Leo diligently earned it!When other had slept and overslept overtaken by the 'mere triumph' of being resttled to Canada,he was awake visualizing and analytically planning for his best which is yet to come but have sincerely started.

Friends and families of our memorable Danane Days and hopefully eternity,today as I write;our brother,son,friend and source of inspiration LEO N.JOHNSON is our PROUD WINNER OF THE FAMOUS ALBERT LAGER PRIZE FOR STUDENT INITIATIVE AWARD,McMASTER UNIVERSITY,CANADA...

As we as a family,nation and people celebrate our brother's success,a success that is embedded and dedicated to us all;I do beseech you to read the historicity as it relates to the award won by Comrade Leo N.Johnson.It's my fiathful prayers that his accolade will speak to our hearts and reignites the flames of our desires to keep serving mankind in our own meaningful ways!

And,to comrade Leo N.Johnson;we'd celebrate with you and avail our shoulders if you ever needed to stand taller to visualize the farthest......

Compos mentis!

The historicity of the award:

The Albert Lager Prize for Student Initiative Awards is an award designed by the Alumni Association to recognize current students who provide outstanding support, leadership and community involvement/service to their Faculty, Program or to McMaster University.

Award Eligibility

(a) are being recognized for volunteer service, not a paid position;
(b) have completed a minimum of one full year of volunteer service;
(c) are currently enrolled in full-time or part-time studies at McMaster;
(d) are not a previous recipient of the award, as students are only eligible to receive one Albert Lager Award in their academic career.

The contributions of the nominee should encompass one, or a combination of,

the following:
(a) Significant contributions to their faculty, program or the University and its students;
(b) Improvement of the quality of student life;
(c) Outstanding leadership on committees or university affairs;
(d) Support and service to the McMaster Alumni Association.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Woman Gives Birth To Twins — Only Thing Is, They Have Two Different Fathers!

If this isn’t weird, I don’t know what is! DNA tests reveal that a woman in Poland gave birth to one twin by her husband and the other twin by her lover.

This is worse than the tale of Octomom. A Polish woman gave birth to a beautiful set of twins, but oddly enough they’re not identical or fraternal. The truth is, this brother and sister have different dads, even though they both shared the same belly — and it wasn’t via IVF, but through old-fashioned sex.
Time magazine reports, “After paternal tests were done, it was revealed that each child had a different father.” How did that happen, you ask? This type of pregnancy can occur when a woman has sex with two men while she is ovulating and releases two fertilized eggs. It may be extremely rare, but it isn’t impossible. In this case, the Polish woman’s son was fathered by her husband, while her daughter was a product of an extramarital affair. Well, that’s awkward. This is reportedly only the seventh time this has ever happened in human history!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mama Delight

                                     By: Ernest Garnark Smith, Jr.  (Track)

 O mama thou soul into whose soul I begun, led and flourish
Yes, that unique voice of comfort and guidance I still hear daily
With values and norms to become a blessing to mankind you fed me tirelessly
Though the storms of this life are fierce yet your breast milk of virtues keeps me nourish

Why does your heart skip beats and hurts whenever I fall and fail?
Can I know why you still pray for me even though your praying knees are weak and old?
Indeed your shoulders you sacrifice become you have always wanted me to stand tall and sail
That I’m a victor is a case you silently fervently plead on those knees while the results unfold

O blessed Mama thy woman of virtues and grace
Can I exist without those love and morals you engrave upon my heart joyfully?
Could there ever be Garnark without you normally?
Out of rare and staunch love you raised me; refill my love and confidence you give me embrace

O Sarah thou art my Mama Delight……….
Mama of Track, grandma of You-wher-jay, Garnark and Gar-blee-jay and the Ma Sarah for all
O thou soul in whose soul I begun, led and flourish
There isn’t a way I can measure what I feel for you yet I want you to know that you are my light

Author’s note: The above poem is dedicated to my mum Sarah; to my Sweetheart, the mom of my kids and the TRUEST LUV of my life who I call my Destined Queen & Luv, and to all mothers globally…Happiest Mama’s Day Ma Sarah, blissful Mother’s Day My Destine Queen and colorful Mother’s Day to all mothers……………

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Unfolding the adoption story

The truth about an adopted child’s birth is best told early, says this adoptive mom.

There are two schools of thought about telling children they were adopted: ‘Ignorance is bliss’ and ‘Truth sets you free’.

In the past, blissful ignorance was the usual practice. It was believed that children did not need to know that they were adopted. Adoptions were ‘matched’ (children looked like their parents) so many people never knew they were adopted or only found out by accident well into adulthood.

However, the ‘secret’ often had a way of coming out either unintentionally (for example, a relative letting the cat out the bag by mistake) or intentionally (for example, a family ‘friend’ using the information to hurt the adoptee). The reaction of many adoptees to finding out their ‘secret’ was a breakdown of the relationship with their parents. ‘How could they have lied to me my whole life? How can I trust anything they told me?’

The prevailing wisdom now is that children have the right to know where they come from and to know the truth about their adoption. Believing that the truth will set children free raises many questions: Who should tell? When do you tell? What do you tell? How do you tell?

Who should tell?
The experts all agree the adoptive parents should do the telling. When parents tell their child about their adoption they do so with love. This open, loving telling by parents means that adoption is not seen as a dirty secret to be ashamed of.

When do you tell?
Opinions differ but most experts say that with telling, the younger the better and definitely by age 8. Telling children from day 1 means they grow up knowing they are adopted and it’s no big deal. It’s just the way their family was formed. It is important that a child knows he or she was adopted before they reach puberty. Puberty brings about many changes and raises issues about identity. Learning that they were adopted at this stage can be one huge change too many for children to deal with.

What do you tell?
A building-block approach where information is introduced little by little is often recommended. This allows the child to absorb the information gradually over the years. What you tell a 3-year old will be very different from what you tell a 10-year old, so the information should be given in age-appropriate terms.

How do you tell?
Telling a child they were adopted is not a once-off ‘serious talk’. It is an ongoing process that changes as the child develops and matures in their understanding. Many parents use stories in telling – both their child’s own story and other adoption stories. The early days of telling an infant their story is more for the parent to get comfortable with talking positively about adoption. Adoption storybooks can be used as springboards for discussions or simply to show that there are other children who were adopted too. The most important thing about telling a child is being open and honest. One adoptee whose parents were not open about discussing her adoption said, ‘I convinced myself that since no one talked about it – or if they did it was in hushed tones – it must be a bad thing.’

The child needs to be able to trust their parents to answer questions at any time. The parents need to answer these questions as simply and truthfully as they can. Children have vivid imaginations and if their questions go unanswered they may dream up answers far worse than the actual situation. Being honest with children helps them to paint a real picture of their adoption rather than create a fantasy.

Telling a child that they were adopted should be a story of love between parents and children. Openness and honesty between parents and their children builds trust and a feeling of security. That is true for every family but especially for families formed through adoption.

This is a synthesis of what psychologists, social workers, adoption specialists and adoptive parents say from their experience and research. There is one book that is particularly excellent for anyone who wants to know how to tell their child about their adoption: Adoption Conversations by Renee Wolfs. 

Should children be told they’re adopted? At what age?Please post your comments below or at

Monday, April 11, 2011

Would you adopt?

Is adoption natural or does it take a special kind of person?
For many, adoption is the only option for starting a family. Some choose to adopt and have their own biological children too. But there are those that wouldn't adopt even if it was their only choice. What would you do?

Would you consider adoption? Vote below and share with us in the comments.

Are we teaching our children to lie?

If all parents want is for their kids to be honest, how come 96% of children lie?

Parents consistently rate honesty as the trait they most want in their children (more than confidence and high self-esteem) and depending on their age, up to 98% of children share the same virtue – on paper. Yet, studies show that 96% of children lie, so what are we doing wrong?

The truth about lying:

  • Boys and girls both lie equally as much, but girls are often believed to be telling the truth more often.
  • Older kids are more prone to lying than younger ones.
  • Usually very intelligent children are the best liars. It requires advanced cognitive and social skills (which honesty does not). They need to recognize what the truth is, come up with a lie that actually makes sense and then sell that new reality (convincingly and with a straight face, or put-on tears) to somebody else. In other words, lying is a more advanced skill than telling the truth.
  • Introverts lie less often than extroverts because they tend to lack the social skills required to pull off a lie.
  • Almost all children will have experimented with lying by the time they are 4 years old.
  • Kids don’t grow out of lying, they grow into it. Parents believe that lies at a young age are innocent and should just be ignored. Nothing could be further from the truth – literally.
  • 4-year-olds lie approximately once every two hours and 6-year-olds about once an hour. By the age of 7, a third of children have developed the habit of lying and will continue.
  • As they grow older, children lie for different reasons such as sparing a friend’s feelings or covering up for them if they did something wrong.
  • 92% of 5-year-olds consider lying to be wrong, but when asked why, they say it’s because you get punished for it.
  • Parents believe they can tell when their children are lying, but most are fooled on a daily basis.

Do you expect your children to always tell the truth? Share with us below.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Yesterday marked 15 long yet memorable years since Mama Liberia,her enfants and humanity at large witnessed some of the most gruesome atrocities inflicted upon the helpless Liberian populace at the hands of those bandits and bloodthirsty 'self style liberators'..............As we stroll down memory's lane,I vividly remember seeing (on CNN) Monrovia and her suburban ablaze and thousands wandering up and down the emptied streets of Monrovia.............

Oh little did I know that my very loving dad like many hundreds more affectionate dads was a victim of the imfamous and power rapaciuos April 6.In an earnest effort to remember the day and all those who lost thier lives,loveones,properties and those whose lives(I'm inclusive) have  never been the same since that fateful day,I chose to re-publish this article written by a brother the Comrade Emmanuel Heroditus Payne,Jr.

By: Emmanuel H. Payne Jr.

What I saw as the tragic paradox of the Liberian civil war occurred on the morning of April 6 , 1996 , when an unholy matrimony between two foes - Alhaji kromah and Charles Taylor - was formed and sought to eliminate one of the main variables in the Liberian political equation , Mr. Roosevelt Johnson.

On this day , panic-stricken residents were awakened by loud reports of machine gun fire and the 'kpa--kpa- gbo-- gbos ' of AK47 Riffles as the drugged libertines and urchins and armed bandits , some of them wearing masks and synthetic hair, commandeered private and business vehicles to the scene of contention in the Sinkor district of eastern Monrovia. Within days Monrovia and it suburbs were infested with thousands of 'killing machines' and looters from the bushes of rural Liberia.

For several weeks to come this evil marriage, acting under the pretense of enforcing justice, was to rain havoc on the city of Monrovia and its inhabitants while the peace keepers and a detachment of US MARINES protecting the American diplomatic mission near Monrovia , stood aloof and served as mere spectators of this bloody military drama. Monrovia became a Mogadishu on the West coast and out of the desperation , hundreds could prefer the risk of sailing in rotten vessels than to be killed for no apparent reason by blood-thirsty and trigger-happy criminals on both sides.

Exactly a decade afterwards , I remember the horrors of April 6 and pay tribute to those who were fallen by the bandits swords and arms.

But I must confess the degree of relief I also feel on this tenth year memorial, that the senior architect and partner in the evil marriage that unleashed terrors on us , DAHKPANA , is facing the weight of justice abroad. I am reminded of a parable " a child who refuses cool advice at home will get harsh correction outside."

I hope that Kromah , Gen. Butt-Naked(who is currently disguised as an evangelist , though evangelism does not provide escape from the wrath of justice) and others , will realize that they owe sincere apology to the Liberian people for their roles in the ATROCITIES of April 1996 in particular and the civil war as a whole.

About the Author:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sex kills - here's how.

Unfit people, be warned – engaging in sex (or any sudden burst of physical activity) could be fatal!

A new study examined the link between fitness, sex and death and found that people are:

•    3.5 times more likely to suffering a heart attack or sudden cardiac death while exercising, compared to when they are not. This is because the heart rhythm changes and causes the heart to stop pumping blood.

•    2.7 times more likely to have a heart attack while having sex or soon afterward, compared to when they are not.

Jessica Paulus, a researcher involved in the study, said the risk of having a heart attack is fairly high as such studies go.

But, she added, the period of increased risk is brief.

"These elevated risks are only for a short period of time (1 to 2 hours) during and after the physical or sexual activity," she said.

So basically, if you look at the chance of this happening over a year, the risk decreases.

"If you take 10,000 people, each individual session of physical or sexual activity per week can be associated with an increase of 1 to 2 cases of heart attack or sudden cardiac death per year,” she said.

So does this mean you should stop having sex?

Imagine that…

"What we really don't want to do is for the public to walk away from this and think exercise is bad," she said.

What it does suggest, however, is that individuals who (want to have sex, but) do not exercise regularly need to start any exercise programme slowly, increasing the intensity of the workout gradually over time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Should I wait? Ladies' duo puzzle.

You've resolved to wait a few years to have a baby, but is that a wise choice? Is it possible to fool Mother Nature into disregarding the ticking of our biological clocks?

Women used to start families when they were in their late teens and twenties. Nowadays, many are choosing to postpone motherhood until they're well into their thirties. Have we managed to slow down our biological clocks or are we simply learning to ignore the ticking?
Born at the right time
Our biological clocks are definitely not slowing down, nor can we turn back the hands of time to make more space in our busy schedules for having babies, says Dr Johan van Rensburg, a fertility specialist at Medfem Clinic in Johannesburg.
"The biological clock is similar to an ATM at the bank. Every month we withdraw money. Unfortunately, the body cannot issue transaction slips telling us that there are so many ova remaining and how much time we have left to have babies. One day we will simply discover that there are no more reserves left."
Van Rensburg says the general rule, which applies to 90% of all women, is that you should have fallen pregnant by 35. "For many women, 35 is already too late, however, and they only find out once they unsuccessfully try to have a baby."
It is possible to determine your chances of having a baby via a series of hormone tests. "Prior to undergoing these tests, a woman should stop taking oral contraceptives for at least a month and the tests need to be done on the third day of her menstrual cycle," according to Van Rensburg.
He warns that the results of these tests are merely an indication of what's going on in a woman's body at that particular time. They are not a reliable measure of future fertility.
The average woman is born with 150 000 to 400 000 ova in her Fallopian tubes and 20 to 50 of these are released every month. Only one of them develops sufficiently to stand a chance of being fertilised. A couple in their twenties stands a 20-25% chance of conceiving during a normal cycle. The number of times they have sex, stress and the physical condition of each partner are the major factors that influence the likelihood of having a baby. As time goes by, the probability decreases.
What can I do?
You can protect your biological clock with sound lifestyle choices, according to Van Rensburg. "Regular exercise, a healthy and balanced diet and low stress levels can help preserve the ova left in your body."

  • Stop smoking and double your chances of having a baby. If your partner smokes excessively, it could lower his sperm count, inhibit the movement of the sperm and adversely affect its quality.

  • Use antioxidants along with a multi-vitamin supplement to boost your immune system and limit the adverse effects of free radicals.

  • Limit alcohol, which could inhibit sperm production, and increases the chances of a miscarriage.

  • Reduce stress in your own life and encourage your partner to do the same.

  • Watch what you eat by avoiding too much sugar, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, fats and salt. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and include avos, olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil in your diet, to boost your intake of fatty acids. Eat complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, brown rice, maize meal and wheat, instead of processed or refined foods, to keep your blood sugar levels stable. High blood sugar can adversely affect the quality of your ova. The period when you're trying to conceive is not the time to try out a low-kilojoule starvation-type diet.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight because Van Rensburg says women should realise that they could become permanently infertile if they are too thin. "The hypothalamus sustains damage and even if your weight normalises, the effects could prove irreversible." (The hypothalamus is located in the brain and is responsible for vital bodily functions such as controlling your temperature, regulating hormone levels, blood pressure and the balance of fluids in the body.)
    Ideally, you should have approximately 20% body fat. This percentage affects the level of oestrogen in your body and oestrogen helps you ovulate.

  • Moderate exercise is sufficient – swim, run, walk or cycle. A heavy exercise regime can affect menstruation.
    Are you trying to avoid your biological clock ticking away?
    Please do post your comments below in the comments' space provided or send your thoughts to email address:

  • Do it daily-go the extra time.

    Keen to fall pregnant? Boost your partner's sperm count by having sex daily!
    Having sex every day improves the quality of men's sperm and is recommended for couples trying to conceive, according to new research.

    Until now doctors have debated whether or not men should refrain from sex for a few days before attempting to conceive with their partner to improve the chance of pregnancy.

    But a new study by Dr David Greening of Sydney IVF, an Australian centre for infertility and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, suggests abstinence is not the right approach.

    He studied 118 men with above-average sperm DNA damage and found the quality of their sperm increased significantly after they were told to ejaculate daily for seven days.

    On average, their DNA fragmentation index - a measure of sperm damage - fell to 26% from 34%, Greening told the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

    Frequent sex does decrease semen volume but for most men this is not a problem.

    "It seems safe to conclude that couples with relatively normal semen parameters should have sex daily for up to a week before the ovulation date," he said in a statement.

    "In the context of assisted reproduction, this simple treatment may assist in improving sperm quality and ultimately achieving a pregnancy."

    Greening said it was likely frequent ejaculation improved the quality of sperm by reducing the length of time they were exposed to potentially damaging molecules called reactive oxygen species in the testicular ducts.

    Do you think doing it daily helps your chances?

    Please do post your comments below in the comments' space provided or send your thoughts to email address:

    Twins conceived from 13-year-old sperm

    A Taiwanese woman’s pregnancy shows that sperm is never too old to do its job.

    A Taiwanese woman has given birth to healthy twins using the 13-year-old frozen sperm of a former testicular cancer patient, local media said on Saturday, setting a record for the island.

    The twin boys were born using the sperm taken from a man surnamed Chen, then 23, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer and told chemotherapy could make him infertile, Taiwan newspapers said, citing sources at a Taipei medical university.

    Chen, who is in good health at age 36 but cannot produce sperm naturally, got his wife pregnant with two of the four embryos used for artificial insemination, newspapers said. Last month's delivery followed a 37-week pregnancy.

    "Never before had a case involving such a long period of time between the freezing of male sperm and procreation been reported in Taiwan," the island's Central News Agency reported, citing the college of medicine dean at Taipei Medical University.

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    The issue of religion

    Whether it's Christianity, Islam or Buddhism, religion is always a tough topic to tackle.

    At one point or another, religion is something that enters all of our lives. As a parent, it will be even harder for you when your kidlet comes home with a Bible tucked under his arm wanting answers. From you.

    Here's some of what our Parent24 community has said on the subject. Click on the links for more.

    Practice what you preach

    A parent on our forums was faced with this problem when her son came home one day with something to say. 'My five-year-old son declared that he was no longer interested in our general coverage on the matter but that he now wants to go to church to learn about God and Jesus.'

    Another user gave her opinions on the matter by asking, 'You made your own decision to be agnostic, surely you can not ram your philosophy down your children's throats?'

    It may sound harsh but many agree. You cannot force religion onto a child or make them believe in what you do.

    Should children fast?
    In Islam, fasting is something that is done as part of the faith. Zayaan Schroeder Mollagee discusses the question of whether or not children should fast. Is fasting another case of 'practice as you preach' or leading by example?

    When Marlon Abrahams is asked by his daughter what she should do regarding choosing a religion he takes the broad-stroke approach of explaining that 'we're all probably praying to the same God'.

    Living pure
    Religion can be used as a form of keeping your children 'pure'. Organisations like The Silver Ring Thing use the Bible as a source for children to not have sex until married. Some may feel this is a bit like blackmail or by placing guilt on your child. Others have argued that if it works then is it such a bad thing?

    In the end, your child will always look to you as the parent first for teaching on all things religious. It's up to you what you teach them.

    What route did you take when teaching your child about religion? Share with us below.

    Ivory Coast: 'Heavy fighting' near Gbagbo residence

    Looting broke out in various parts of Abidjan late Thursday as chaos spread with the arrival of forces backing internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara while the whereabouts of incumbent Laurent Gbagbo remained unknown.

    A spokesperson for Ouattara told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that Republican Forces had captured control of state-run television. Earlier, Ouattara's camp announced a curfew extending from 2100 GMT Thursday until 0600 GMT until Sunday. There was heavy weapons fire in the Cocody suburb, where Gbagbo's residence is located, while about 50 French soldiers patrolled neighborhoods where French nationals live. Eyewitnesses told AFP looters were breaking into stores and carrying away goods, while other people remained indoors as gunfire and heavy weapons fire raged.
    Earlier, Ouattara's prime minister warned Gbagbo that he had until 1900 GMT to step down or Republican Forces backing Ouattara would seek him out.

    "Laurent Gbagbo must turn himself over in order to avoid a bloodbath," said Guillaume Soro, Ouattara's premier, in a telephone interview with AFP.Meanwhile, forces of the United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (Unoci) occupied the city's main airport. The head of some 100 Ivorian troops at the airport peacefully handed over control, AFP said, citing an unnamed UN official.

    Earlier, pro-Gbagbo troops withdrew their blockade of the hotel housing Ouattara and his cabinet.
    A check point on the "the corridor south" the main road between rebel held Bouake and the main government controlled city, Abidjan.

    In a lightning advance across the country that has met little resistance from Cote d'Ivoire's military, the Republican Forces captured several key towns, including the capital, Yamoussoukro, and the port of San Pedro before reaching Abidjan on Thursday. In addition to weapons fire in Cocody, small arms and heavy weapons fire could be heard in central Abidjan near the presidential palace and the national television offices.

    The whereabouts of Gbagbo were unknown on Thursday night, although state television announced that he was to address the nation. Earlier on Thursday, the army chief of staff, his wife and five children sought refuge at the residence of the South African envoy to Cote d'Ivoire.
    The BBC reported that the head of the military police had defected and gone to Ouattara's headquarters at the Golf Hotel.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011


    By: Ernest G. Smith Jr. & Mantue S. Reeves  (April 10 2006)

    The dispensation of man’s evil living after him has been rapidly fading away, as the saying goes, man’s evils nowadays accompany him as he breaths. The dramatic end of the likes of Foday Sankor of Sierra Leone, Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia and other is an unshakable and glaring signal to the schemers of atrocities.
    As for back as the early 90s the man Taylor speedily evolved as a symbol of every imaginable inhumane crime against humanity. As if he had monopoly over gruesome atrocities, McArthur single handedly successfully the entire West African sub-region into an unprecedented anarchy, which is very visible today.
    Whilst he was still president of Liberia, Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor was on March 3, 2003 indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown. The Special Court fingered him as one of those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law in the territory of Sierra Leone between November 30, 1996, and the end of that country’s 10-year fratricidal war. The indictment was published by the prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone on June 6, 2003. The publication of the indictment coincided with a time Taylor was attending peace talks in Ghana. His government was facing serious threats from rebels who had commandeered a better part of the country. To arrest the drift and to prevent the renewed war in Liberia spilling over to neighboring countries, ECOWAS leaders facilitated the peace talks between his embattled government and the rebel groups.
    Besides his notorious role in fuelling the barbaric civil war in Sierra Leone and destabilizing that country during her 11-year war, the 17-count charges accused Taylor of several atrocities, including exciting rebellions in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire, causing mayhem, mass murders, smuggling of minerals and crime against humanity. As it were, the prosecutor also published Taylor’s warrant of arrest along with the indictment. The warrant of arrest went as far as appealing to the international community and INTERPOL to take all necessary steps to have Taylor arrested and turned over to Special Court for Sierra Leone and to identify and locate assets owned by Taylor and adopt provisional measures to freeze such assets.
    The international enthusiasm that greeted the publication of the indictment and the issuing of the warrant of arrest was surprisingly not complemented by the necessary political will of the leaders of the West African Sub-region. Ghana was the first country to demonstrate the mindset of Sub-regional authorities over Charles Taylor’s indictment. In utter gross disrespect for international law, the sanity of humanity and spite for the Special Court, Ghanaian authorities did not only refuse to arrest and hand over Charles Taylor to the Special Court but also considered the service of the warrant of arrest on them as a declaration of war against Ghana by the Special Court had endeavoured to serve the warrant of arrest on the Ghanaian Government before Taylor attended the peace talks in Ghana. With Charles Taylor out of his backyard and on a faraway neutral ground, the Special Court had hoped that the Ghanaian Government would do what was right and arrest and hand over Taylor. Instead of cooperating with the court and the international community over the international criminal with international indictment and warrant of arrest, the Ghanaian Government first shamefully denied receipt of the warrant of arrest and then expressed disgust at the auspicious request of the Special Court. In the words of Nano Akufo-Addo, the then Foreign Minister of Ghana, the indictment and warrant of arrest were embarrassing to the Government of Ghana.
    In reality, what was most embarrassing was Ghana’s excuse that the peace talks were more important than the collective efforts of conscionable world to have Charles Taylor face the legitimate legal proceedings against him. After the display of some high degree of disregard and injustice to humanity by so-called political giants of Africa, out of panic, Taylor left Ghana immediately in one of his most humble moods; progressive observers were quick to read the hurdles that the Special Court for Sierra Leone was up against. Debunking Ghana’s display of arrogance of shame,  the progressive commentator, Joseph Tellewoayan commented as follows: “Although the timing of the publication of the indictment and the warrant of arrest may have stalled the peace process, the aforementioned negative reactions to the UN tribunal’s action should be viewed within a broader context-most modern African nations have little regard for the rule of law and the judicial process. For many, the judicial process is seen not as part of a societal procedure that attempts to adjudicate disputes and criminal activities, but a nuisance. When President Obasanjo of Nigeria recently visited Liberia to discuss amnesty for President Charles Taylor, his reaction toward the charges brought against Charles Taylor were these lackadaisical words, “…. I will not be pressured…”, an apparent reference to the fact that he was not going to be pressured by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He showed no respect for the UN/Sierra Leonean tribunal.” Well, against all odds, nature had her own way of amicably embarrassing the Obasanjo’s led government relative to the Ghankay Saga.
    While the helpless ones suffered unbearable ills as the result of his manipulation and gross involvement, Taylor brawled of being the godfather of the rebel-infested sub-region. He also accumulated huge wealth, why? Quite simple is the reason. McArthur traded arms, ammunition, professional rapists, rogues, killers and drug addicts to the mentally retarded and coward RUF leader Foday Sankor for the diamonds of Sierra Leone.
    In desperate effort to accumulate far more as possible, he in fact over supplied RUF and infested the then volatile Sierra Leone with enough of the finest, amputators wicked ones that hell has ever prone. Not only that his bandits rained terror upon the citizenry of Sierra Leone, they meticulously looted every movable objects.
    In summary, the crimes committed by Charles Taylor and his fellow travelers are triable by the Special Court in Sierra Leone. Definitely, clearly Taylor is guilty in the court of public opinion and the court of all reasonable and rational human beings on the surface of this earth. We are quite sure that hell already knows that Taylor is one of its candidates and is awaiting him. We are however gratified to herald the justifications for his indictment and trial by the Special Court for Sierra Leone on behalf of all victimized youths.
    Under Article One of the Statue of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Special Court has power to prosecute persons who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since November 1996, including leaders who, in establishment of an the implementation of the peace process in Sierra Leone. In Article 6, the statute provides as follows:
    1. A person, who planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation or execution of a crime referred to in articles 2 to 4 of the present Statue shall be individually responsible for the crime.
    2. The official position of any such accused, whether as Head of State or government or as a responsible government official, shall not relieve such person of criminal responsibility nor mitigate punishment. The crimes referred to in Article 6 are crimes against humanity, violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Convention and Additional protocol II, and other serious violations of International Humanitarian Law.
    Article 2 provides that the Special Court shall have power to prosecute persons who committed the following crimes as part of widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population:

    1. Murder
    2. Extermination
    3. Enslavement
    4. Deportation
    5. Imprisonment
    6. Torture
    7. Rape, Sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, force pregnancy and any other form of sexual violence,
    8. Persecution on political, racial, ethnic or religious grounds,
    9. Other inhuman acts.
    Article 3 provides that the Special Court shall have power to prosecute persons who committed or ordered the commission of serious violations of article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 for the protection of War Victims, And OF additional Protocol II thereto of June 1977. These violations include:
    1. Violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder as well as cruel treatment such as torture, mutilation or any form of corporal punishment,
    2. Collective punishment
    3. Taking of hostages
    4. Act of terrorism
    5. Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault,
    6. Pillage
    7. The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
    8. Threat to commit any of the forgoing-acts.
    Article 4 empowers the Special Court to prosecute persons who committed the following serious violations of international humanitarian laws:
    1. Intentionally directing attacks against civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities,
    2. Intentionally directing attacks against personnel installations, material, unit or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict,
    3. Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities.
    From the foregoing it is irrefutably clear that Taylor is indictable and liable to prosecution. Other leaders of his ilk have been tried by similar tribunals. If Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia was stripped of his so-called immunity and made to answer for his atrocities against his people. Taylor has no hiding place. It’s a glaring fact that McArthur’s sojourn in Nigeria was not his first as he has been a fugitive since his dramatic fallout with the late Liberian leader Samuel K. Doe. He served as Doe’s chief procurement officer/Director General of the General Service Agency.
    In just about three years on the job, he ripped off the agency by stealing as much as US$900,000. When he was to be arrested he fled to America. Authorities in America were said to have arrested and imprisoned him, but believable commentaries have it that the same authorities encouraged and facilitated his escape from whence he went to Libya and acquired the training for the onslaught on his country.


    By:Ernest Garnark Smith,Jr. 

    Education is my name, yes, education is my beneficial name to humanity
    Dignity I give to those who diligently strive and obtain me
    Utilize me well and you shall be an idol and delight to millions in this crowded world
    Cease not O ye Children of Mama Liberia to pursue me as long as you live because
    Authority and prestige have I given to those who cleave unto me with all their might
    Thousands are miserable only because they spurned and ridiculed me …………….
    Indeed many were disappointed and suffered shock last October because of me
    Of course, I’d rule the world with enough prudence, humility and respect for life
    Nations and men become great with me as their cornerstone.
    Yes! Education is my unique name, strive and embrace me for am too worthy a cause to fight; O education is my name.
    The above poem is dedicated to all Liberian refugee students and prospective students striving to acquire sound education in the diaspora against all odds! Compos mentis!

    The Truth And Reconciliation Panel - A Dead Victim Prepares Her Case !!!!

    Tomorrow I shall face the Truth and Reconciliation Panel. I shall hold the holy books in one hand and the constitution in the other.And I shall swear by them all to tell the truth . I shall say nothing else but the whole truth.The truth of how I came to bear the name Innocent Poor Victim in my short life-span which witnessed the bloody political upheavals that raged across the landscape and ravaged the nation. I shall bring along the stone containing the following epitaph written with my own blood , by hungry and terrified mourners , who placed it on top of the shallow grave into which my stinking corpse was banished from the face of the earth :

    BORNED 1979 ; DIED 2003

    And upon that grave-stone , I shall make myself a podium , and declare to the hearing of every man and woman , boy and girl , writers and book-makers , nothing but the truth.
    Tomorrow when I face the panel , I shall show them the scars on my back; those scars are the testimonies of the multiple wounds inflicted on my tender body way back in 1979. And what was my offence then ? that my voice -– the babyish voice of a suckling child, added to the voices of protest over the high price of rice .I shall show them the stitches on my head too. Those old stitches that cover the deep cuts in my head testify to the flogging I received on April 12, 1980. I shall still show them the bruises in my eyes where several gun-butts pounded and blinded me in the Nimba raid of 1983.I shall further display the photos of my three little friends—Kou , Sekou and Tarlue --- who were all slaughtered in the coup and counter coup of 1985.

    Tomorrow when I face the panel , I shall wear my old blood-stained garment – an evidence of how my blood gushed out, when a drugged child soldier stabbed me in July of 1990 on the false allegation of me being a 'conapper' with the enemy. I used that old worn-out garment to tie the wound , and hold back my entrails, until help came from a fellow victim with less severe wounds.

    I shall read to the panel a list of some other victims who were also butchered by blood thirsty men. Victims whose lives were dedicated to serving their communities ,but whose death no media ever reported . I shall first read out the name of the Dutch lady who worked with her Kru husband in providing education to the illiterate and poverty-stricken children of Barnersville for over twenty years.Mrs Minikie Weah was an intelligent and devoted teacher.But her services were rewarded by a gruesome death ! I shall read out the names of Mr. Kumeh Trueh ,Rev. Jacob Blie and Mr. Samuel Kumeh. Those were committed educators who had nothing to do with power politics, but were yet murdered cold-bloodedly! I shall also read out the names of very ordinary men too. Ordinary men like : Pa Menjoe ( the Kissi merchant who was killed and his body decayed openly and provided meat for the dogs) ; Fayiah Bald-Head (an ordinary grass cleaner butchered while he went to cut mortar pestle) , and Oldman Morris or Pa Railroad ( a very jovial and energetic 'cane juice' seller shot dead , along with his only son , on the Bong Mines train track near Louisiana).

    After I read the list – a list of those innocent and countless number of other victims – I shall not end there , but continue to narrate my own tragic experiences .I shall show the empty space where my ear once stood --- the very ear that was chopped off in the so-called 'OPERATION OCTOPUS'. I shall show them the marks of the 'tie-bay rope' made deep in the flesh of my arms in the Monrovia bloodbath of 1996.

    I know they would have noticed already my half leg amputated just below my knee.But despite the conspicuity of my deformity , I shall still point to it , and tell them the sad story of how the other part of it was hacked off by evil men in the chaos of 1998.

    Before I sit down , I shall show to them the marks on my bullets-riddled belly. Those were the red hot bullets that finally exited me and my seven-months-old unborn baby from this world , and recorded our names too in the archive of the dead under the section titled 'victims of violence'.The poor child , whose father was one of several gang-rapists , never saw even the light of this cruel world, but was formed and destroyed out of the abundance of the cruelty from it.The deafening echo of her perishing shriek was the last sound I ever heard.

    I shall then take my seat and await an admission of guilt and a plead for forgiveness from those responsible for committing those atrocious crimes. I would not expect an applause for my lengthy and dramatic oration , but sincere and open apologies from those responsible for those atrocities I suffered , and witnessed during my short life-span

    I swear I shall say nothing but the truth tomorrow. I shall not be intimidated by people's high status or persuaded by cash to withhold the truth of my miserable life and encounter here on earth; neither shall I be frightened by threats of torture or death – for I have tasted them all. At tomorrow's truth and reconciliation hearing , I shall not hesitate to expose those who attempt to pretend to be innocent and bury the truth by their silence , or those who will endeavor to becloud the facts by their lies , pretenses or fabricated justification for the crimes meted out against us.For those, if they do surface ,I shall pursue the course of justice to the very end !!

    Tomorrow when I face the truth panel , I shall seek to reconcile every man with his conscience . I shall seek to reconcile them with the ugly reality of their past , and also seek to reconcile the living with the innocent dead victims.And lastly , I shall seek to reconcile the living with the living.But in achieving these , I shall pour out the burden of the agony , pains , fear , grief , hatred , doubts , suspicions and frustrations that I have been forced to live and die with .

    I swear , if my offenders and the perpetrators of those diabolical and nefarious acts(regardless of their current statuses as 'honorable honorables' , 'honorable excellencies' , 'honorable sheiks' , 'honorable evangelists' , 'honorable businessmen , 'honorable directors' , 'honorable taxi drivers' , 'honorable petty-traders' , 'honorable shoe-shine boys', etc) would come forth and admit their guilt and seek forgiveness , I shall walk to them one by one ; hug them one by one ; kiss each one on the cheek and reconcile with them all.

    I shall purify the land with the oil of peace ,and return to the world of the dead ,and rest in peace forever !!

    About the author:
    Emmanuel H. Payne jr. is a Liberian writer and advocate.

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Obesity fight begins at home

    US First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity took a personal turn when she said she is paying more attention to a key body fat measurement for her own daughters.
    Obama said she was surprised to learn that her daughters' body mass index, or BMI, numbers were "creeping upwards".
    "I didn't really know what BMI was," she said. "I certainly didn't know that even a small increase in BMI can have serious consequences for a child's health," she added, recommending that all parents inform themselves about the vital weight statistic."
    President Barack Obama and the first lady are the parents of two girls, Malia, 12, and Sasha, nine.
    The BMI takes height and weight into consideration when calculating body fat, and is considered by doctors and fitness experts to be a more reliable indicator of obesity than weight alone.
    Michelle Obama has targeted childhood obesity as her signature cause, at a time when one in three American children are obese or overweight due to a lack of exercise and a diet loaded with fat and sugar.
    Overweight children are believed to be more likely than their normal-weight peers to grow up to be obese adults at greater risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

    When are you most fertile?

    Not sure when the best time to try for a baby is? This infographic could help.
    Not all women experience their menstrual cycle in the same way. Some are calmer than others. Some tend to burst into tears more easily as their period approaches. Some may feel crampy and tired during their period, others don't feel any ill effects. This cycle a woman's body goes through each month is unique to them. It does, however, play a huge role in fertility no matter how you experience it.

    To be sure when you'll be most fertile, make sure to track your menstrual cycle on a calendar or in your diary. Live healthily, keep track of your cycle and do loads of the 'baby dance' and before you know it, you should be expecting your very own bundle!

    Here's an idea of how your menstrual cycle should be working, but bear in mind that the number of days of the cycle, and the length of the period can vary from woman to woman:

    Drug dealer to sue police for 'humiliating' him

    A UK drug dealer was planning to sue police for "humiliating" him by telling his neighbours that he was sent to jail, The Sun reported.
    Police put a photograph of Luke Walsh-Pinnock, 22, on a "name and shame" leaflet sent to 1500 homes - but Walsh-Pinnock claims that the police force's actions breached his human rights and plans to seek damages.
    Police spread the news to Walsh-Pinnock's neighbours in Kilburn, north London, informing them that he was sentenced to four years in jail for dealing cocaine and heroin.
    The police leaflet added, "Individuals dealing drugs will be arrested and prosecuted. The above [Walsh-Pinnock] is a prime example of police intention."
    Walsh-Pinnock's parents also complained about his "degrading" treatment.
    "Luke's been humiliated in his local community, which is against his human rights. We'll take this to court. He's a good boy who is kind to his family," a friend of his mother said.

    Chief Superintendent Matthew Gardner, from Brent Police, said, "We constantly target offenders and put them before the courts, but often local people don't know what has been done. It is important that they are aware when criminals are put away and will no longer be blighting their communities."
    Officers raided a flat in Kilburn last August and caught Walsh-Pinnock cutting up heroin. They also seized a safe that contained quantities of cocaine and heroin.
    Walsh-Pinnock and his friend James Goldsmith, 35, were convicted of possession with intent to supply. Goldsmith was sentenced to three years in jail.
    Scotland Yard confirmed that police "received a complaint from a member of the public regarding the leaflets".

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