“Better Late Than Never:” Brownell Turns 87th

By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)

One of the things that Development Communication, in Mass Communication teaches; is “MOTIVATION,” which etymologically came from a Latin word, which means “to move.” This concept poses a responsibility on the media to highlight the achievement and accomplishments.

The intent is to move, inspire or encourage people to emulate the examples of individuals who have made strides in life. It is because of this sometimes people are honored or recognized for doing sometime good that others may follow such good example.

Generally speaking, this issue of Development Communication which is people-centered is geared towards moving them from backwaters to prosperity. Principally, it is aimed at the welfare and well-being of the people, sometimes through self-help initiatives. Sometimes it is said in the Liberian way, “if John can do it, I, also can do it.”

It is based on what development communication strives to achieve in any given society that whenever venerable Mother Mary Brownell, affectionately called “Mary-B, ” annual marks her birth anniversary, I always reflect on some of her activities, as an educator and mainly her role, as the founding head of the Liberian Women Initiative (LWI).

Although it is late as she celebrated this day March 13, I still feel obliged to still do something, as it is said, “Better Late Than Never.” Let me confess here that since this year I failed to do this encomium on time as I have annually done over the years as I have been having sleepless night, with my impulse reminding of my failure to fulfill something I have always done in March.

For those who were around during the time of the peace process in the 90’s, one group that played a significant role was the LWI of which Mother Brownell was the head. The advocacy of the group and their non-lethal mechanism greatly helped to accelerate the peace process.

One of the reasons I continue to admire Mother Mary Brownell, the namesake of my late Mother Mary Wesseh, is the fact that she was able to mobilize many Liberian women at a time of security concern to come together.

In all fairness I gave her and few other women, including Etweda “Sugar” Cooper, credit for living up to the task, when, some of us, the men , went into hiding, as these women risked their lives to advocate for peace, that we are enjoying today in this country.

The fact that Mother Brownell, now an octogenarian saw the need to participate in the peace process at the time, as peace could not be achieved only by ECOWAS and other members of the international community without the inputs of Liberians, this action and move desire commendation always.

Today, it is sad to note that some individuals, perhaps, ignorant about the struggle for peace, would continue to make threatening statements against the peace Mother Brownell and others helped to bring about. This is unbecoming. But the few of us who experienced what a chaotic situation was in the 90’s, would never ascribe such threats, as “experience is the best teacher.”

Mother Brownell, you may not know, the formation of LWI inspired, motivated and encouraged other women to organize themselves- all towards sustaining the peace. Today, this country can brag of many women groups and their enviable roles in the society.

This is why I was not surprised when President Sirleaf and Leman Gbowee won the internal awards for their role and advocacy. Besides, I saw what the women led by Gbowee Accra, Ghana in 2003 when they protested over the prolonged peace talks. Let me say that the women’s move helped to accelerate the talks.

Indeed, “it is better late than never,” and so I say “Happy Belated Birthday!” May God continue to strengthen you and endow you with wisdom so that you could continue to share them with us, especially the young ones who seem to be losing focus. Thanks for MOTIVATING other women. I Rest My Case.

File photo /gnnliberia.com

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