The “Smallness” of Liberia: Reflecting On The Caliber Of People At Samuel Peabody’s Funeral
By Atty Philip N. Weasseh (PNW)
Standing outside the Trinity Cathedral Episcopal Church on Broad Street following the funeral of Samuel Peabody, son of Madam Cora Peabody and late journalist Stanton Peabody, Dukuly of power FM looked at me and asked: “why do we fuss in this country?” He was alluding to the number of Liberians from different backgrounds that attended that funeral services last Saturday. Liberians from all walks of life, including opposition leaders and members of the ruling party were in attendance.
As Dukuly and I continued the discussion about the caliber and galaxy of people at the funeral, one thing that came to mind was the saying that “Liberia is a small country,” not because of its geographical size but because of interrelationship that has built a family bridge between and among Liberians to an extent that what affects one person, affects thousands, as was seen last Saturday at that well-attended funeral of this young man born March 21, 1978 and died February 26, 2015.
Although it was the funeral of a young person, there were older people than young ones at the service, apparently because of the relationship his mother, a businesswoman, who once served as Minister of Commerce and other family members, including the Manjors have built over the years. Indeed it brought Liberians together.
As I was entering the church to attend the funeral of my late editor Stanton Peabody’s son, I began to observe the number of high-profile persons. I saw Lewis Brown, Cllr. Jimmy Pierre, Charles Bright, Cllr. Augustine Toe, Cllr. Musa Dean, opposition politician Simone Freeman, John Smart, who brought out a topic on the Michael Allison’s issue that he, I and Cllr. Toe exchanged views on.
As I entered the church, I saw Kenneth Y. Best, Managing Director of the Liberian Observer Corporation, publisher of the Daily Observer, who the deceased’s father, the late Peabody, who once served as editor of the Daily Observer, worked together for a protracted period.
Still observing in the church, I saw presidential hopeful Benoni Urey, Cllr. Charles Brumskine, who last week announced a comeback into politics, especially the presidential election in 2017. In there also were Nathaniel Barnes, who once contested the presidency, Educator, Theresa Leigh Sherman and also Winston Tubman, formerly of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
Observing further on the attendance, I saw my New Kru Town brother, Cllr. Oswald NatuTweh, my Methodist brothers Junior Randolph and Rudolph Mirrah, businessman Sam Mitchell, veteran broadcaster and administrator, Olivia Shannon; Dr. Eugene Shannon, TogbaNgangana, veteran banker David Vinton, my social club member Winston Doe, Victor Lartery insurance executive Okoro, Badio, J. T. Richardson and Reginald Pratt. Also, during the recession with the hymn: “When We All Get To Heaven,” among the clergy were Dr. Lincoln Brownell, former president of the Liberia Baptist convention and Dr. Rev. Jonathan Taylor.
Visibly, the funeral also exhibited religious tolerance, something that is cementing ties in the country and also promoting peace as I saw some Muslims at the service. They included Associate justice KabinehJa’neh and LusineDorley, who and I are part of a group at the Muslim Congress High School in Monrovia.
Frankly, judging from the caliber and number of people at that funeral, it clearly indicates how small this country in that whenever something affects one, it affects many others. This is why it is something said, “Don’t hurt anyone because you could be hurting yourself.” But the million dollar question is: why all this unnecessary bickering, bitterness and undermining among us, especially sometimes when it comes to politics and the economy.
No one can deny the fact that given our idiosyncrasies, as human beings, there would always be differences, but sometimes the way and manner in which we behave seem to suggest that we do not have a common patrimony or heritage. Unfortunately, instead of pushing each other up, we push each other down. One diplomat referred to this kind of behavior as “PHD-” put her down or put him down.” These are some of the reasons the country’s economy is in the hands of foreigners. Also, at times we are maliciously and diabolically concoct lies to destroy each other. Why?
Equally, instead of protecting and jealously guiding the Liberianization Policy, we front for foreigners, thus undermining the intent of this program. It is suicidal to note that a program intended to empower Liberians, is now empowering foreigners because the very beneficiaries are fronting for foreigners.
Let me not be misconstrued of being against foreigners doing business here. NO! This is not my intent or concern. My concern and intent is that what is exclusively for Liberians should be for Liberians.
Let us know that whatever we do against one Liberian, we are conversely affecting ourselves. This can even be likened to boomeranging.
From what I saw last Saturday and also at other events, including the funeral of my friend Alfred Coleman at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Camp Johnson Road, many years ago we are one way or the other related. It is either by consanguinity or affinity. Therefore, we should desist from acts detrimental against each other or one another. We should always seek our brothers’ interest and exhibit love for all.
I certainly agree with the mother of the deceased in her moving tribute, when she said she experienced love, compassion and generosity during the period of bereavement, and that she believed that “there are more good people than bad people in Liberia,”’ a saying by Mr. David Park, then, of the US Embassy.
To Sis. Cora, my sympathy again; but the funeral, though painful, has shown your good deed; the turn out shows how you and your family have impacted the lives of many and how many have admired your role in society. Keep up the good work. As you rightly said, no one can question the Great Lord for this, as “He giveth and he taketh.” But one thing I know is that “earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal” or that “earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure.”