By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
The eleventh commencement speaker of the United Methodist University (UMU), Cllr. Gloria Musu-Scott has challenged some 551 graduates to become true reconcilers as they leave the walls of the university. Cllr. Scott said Liberians’ past experiences have shown that the use of violence and big guns or the capacity to rain violence and obtain big guns have produced no winners and that Liberia has lost in this cycle of violence and show of strength.
She admonished the graduates to consider that their first assignment as true reconcilers in their sojourn is to face and accept truth because a reconciler does not rejoice over weakness or disadvantage and is not one who interprets acts of reconciliation as weaknesses and opportunities to exploit and gain advantages.
Musu-Scott who is the current chairperson of the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) told the graduates that if they want to benefit from their struggles to gain an education, they must take deliberate and concrete steps within their spheres to teach and exhibit the attitude of reconciliation.
Cllr. Scott who used the occasion to trace some of the unfortunate events of the past informed the graduates that their studies did not prepare them to understand that reconciliation is critical to Liberians going forward as one people but reminded them that the events of violence in Liberia were chronological and that the April 12, 1980 event was even a delayed response to happenings from the foundation of Liberia which had taunts of division and an air of victor and vanquished.
The CRC Chairperson said the sad truth is that the acts of coup d’etat did not end the country’s trauma because the attitude of victors and vanquished fueled the several rounds of violence and destruction from the 80s up to 2003.
In her review on the status of Liberia and Liberians’ reconciliation since the 1800s Cllr. Scott said there has been no winners adding that “Hard talks must happen without the fear and threat of violence…it is only through our conscience decision as a people to be reconciled and move forward in peace and prosperity can we begin to end impunity and hold individuals accountable for acts of violence.”
She noted, “It is my considered conviction that for this national conversation and soul searching brought on by the constitution review process to have meaningful national healing, the discussions and conversations must be held in an atmosphere of mutual respect, free of fear, intimidation, threats and suppression.”
“We have to resolve to reverse this situation beginning with the class of 2014. This is my plea to you and to each Liberian. Let us do some hard talk, discuss and resolve tough issues, reconcile and get on with building our beloved sweet land of liberty by God’s command,” she concluded.
The UMU commencement which took place at the Unity Conference Center yesterday was previously scheduled for August 2014 but was postponed due to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia last year. The program witnessed the awarding of degrees to several students who have successfully completed various academic programs offered by the seven colleges of the university.
Meanwhile, four recent graduates of the UMU’s Winifred J. Harley College of Health Sciences were awarded certificates of distinction for scoring 100 percent marks in the National State Board Exam administered by the Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery.
The four honorees who received certificates of distinction were Marshal L. Sackey and Josephine T. Jarbo who studied Psychiatric Nursing as well as Emmanuel K. Saye and Richmond T. McIntosh who read Tropical and Communicable Diseases.
The UMU president, Emmanuel Bailey congratulated the graduates and termed the event as a time of celebrating the achievements of earning degrees and said that, that is evident by their commitment to serve as productive citizens in the society.