Reconciling the Irreconcilables

Gbarpolu County Nightmare
By: 
J. Patrick Kollie pjkollie@gmail.com

My encounter with the great beyond

At about 11:45 pm I went to bed and began surfing my social media page. I fell asleep and found myself walking into my village, a very old and historic one, out of who had come a great region and county. There I saw the ancestors-old and new, old arrivals and ‘just come’! One after the other they recounted their journey home. So, we began talking about a place called Gbarpolu. Yes, they talked about the good stones of their days. The silent ones spoke of days when people from other tribes and regions, even foreigners were dispatched and unleashed on them as leaders. They ruled over them to their liking and dislikes. They had no option. My great grand spoke of the hard labor experienced from the Barclay, Tubman and Tolbert eras. “But we continued praying that one day the situation would change! Our own children will benefit from a leadership of their choice and making. They will rise and lead their own people. Our people’s children will learn and know book. They will use their book and love for the land to open the eyes of their fellow countrymen. Oh yes! God will answer our prayers.” Another echoed “Gbarpolu County will be the name of our land; it will be in the law book. A ray-head leader will rise out of the fire, storm, wind, and rain.

“The Kolubahs (messengers) that will announce his coming will hold fire cutlasses (traditional guns) in their hands. By the time they scattered around the big land, death, hunger, suffering and trouble will be plenty just like dirt.

They have to sweep them every day.” Another elder recalled, there, the silent ones’ conversation was organized and well meaningful. So, another one picked up the story. “I remember now, for the hard head of the ray-head man and for the sake of the suffering, other counties will send their good children-boys and girls to come to our big land, Liberia. They will help us to stop killing each other. Because you see, during that time of the fire cutlasses working all over, we in the land of the silent ones will receive a lot of displaced people. But here, there will be no NGOs, because crooks don’t use us here for making riches out of our suffering.” Stop there! Another one said, then he remarked, “Children who left our villages in search of good things and life will return home to the land to see and experience what we go through. The fire cutlasses will be all over, nowhere will be safe for them. After the fire finish, God will make the same children who ran to us leaders so that they will be able or be in the better position and frame of mind and vision to help us. The ray-head man will be forced to go away, a new group will be over the big land. White head people will be plenty in the big land. Oh yes! Our own children at that time will go into the house of law, mansion and courts. The land will be ready for leadership harvest for our children.” He concluded. A dark, tin old one said, “we welcome in our meeting sao Boso Kamara, Armah Kpissay, Gehtee, Jallah Lone, Kolo, Charlie Konneh, Zoe Folly, Gbenday Wenta, Dogba Konah, Kolsee Goeto, Gbumblee, Mbagulomeh Yongar, Tarsiah Kembolor, Sengbe Karpu, Lieutenant Jango, Bambu Zinnah and Samolu Kamara. The rest are on their way. As soon as they arrive, we will recognize them, thank you!”

The usual protocols were followed. The new arrivals asked “What news?” They were briefed. “You who have come from the land, what news have you brought?” asked an older man. One old lady shouted “We live in peace and harmony here as you can see. The Kpelles, Golas, Belles, Gbandis, Mandingos, and others, we are all one. All of us speak one language, but our voices are sound of bass, you have to listen carefully to hear and understand us.
After the meeting, we will find you food and lodging. Things are different here, people. If people know how beautiful here is, they will come in their numbers. Thanks.”

Said Jallah Lone, “Well, we left them there well. We were there when the ray-head man left and the book people went Accra, Ghana, for one word meeting. They came back and gave Gbarpolu County one seat in the law house.”

“Wait! What do you call Gbarpolu County?”

Jallah Lone continued, “Sorry old ones, when you all travelled here we took Gbar (out of Gbarma) and Polu (out of Bopolu) put them together to name the land Gbarpolu County; and it was given to us by the ray head man’s government. That was good for us. We moved from under Lofa. We got two seats in the Senate and three seats in the House. After the meeting in Accra, they gave us one seat. We put one Daniel Flomo Naatehn on it. Henry Seward, Dogba Kollie Naklee, Dogba Konah and others brought Naatehn to us. So they made votes. Belle, Bokomu and Bopolu all made votes for Naatehn. Armah Kpissay was there. Naatehn win the Gola man and our son Armah Sarnor sat down. I told them Naatehn that trouble they brought, but no one heard me!”

“That my son,” old one Flomo Kpailee (Daniel Flomo Naatehn’s biological father) cried. “Why he did not take my name?”

Hearing the good news, the ancestors broke into jubilation; singing, dancing and hugging. In the land of the silent ones, joy is expressed through crying, while sadness is greeted with laughter. That is how they do. So the jubilation lasted throughout the night. They slept at day and carry about at night. Their activities are mainly at night; the opposite to ours. The following night they met the new ones to continue the briefing. Jallah Lone took the floor.

“Samuel Tormetie knows what I’am talking about. After two years the book people government made election. Gbarpolu County people too voted. Samuel Tormetie, Daniel Naatehn, Armah Sarnor, Dickson Yarsiah and Gbonojever Quiah were elected. They beat my own son Armah Jallah, but we told them to work for the land. My son knows how to find money because I gave him my power. The time finished, we made election again; this time, Armah Jallah, Gertrude Tene Lamin, Alfred Koiwood and Malai Gbogar were elected to go in the house for our people. But we left them working.” “Wait,” said Joseph Matthew, “things have changed.” “Ok, let the Ebola people who just came tell us what has changed.”

An old one all burnt out but was only recognized by his voice, spoke. “The land is on fire, the land is on fire oooo, we are finished, we finish oo,” he laughed, for that is how they show sadness. “I say the land is spoiled. Naatehn and Armah Jallah can’t pull together. They fought each other for the Senate’s bigman (pro Temp) job instead of working together for the big name of the land. Those boys started practicing how to come here. They slept in the small houses (caskets) that took us here.”

“What! Why?” another one inquired.

“Gertrude and Naatehn were not talking. Armah wants to move Koiwood and Malai. Malai and her uncle Naatehn are bitter with each other. Her uncle Naatehn told her in 2011 to sit down, but she disobeyed and ran. She is now honorable and is frisky on her uncle. Naatehn wants to move all of his friends and be king for the land. Armah Jallah, too, says ‘no, he will be the only rooster in the land.’ They all have made the land a foolish place. Our people are crying, they are suffering, no understanding ooo.”

One veteran, who had been sitting quietly and observing the briefings, did a traditional whistle, thus signaling total disbelief. The other silent ones burst into laughter for that is how they express sadness.

One of the Ebola men spoke, too. “We heard that Lewis McCay was calling them together. Before their meeting we need to cite the leaders and other people here for a brief chat. But, what are Willie Marwolo, John Try and Dogba Kollie Naklee doing?”

Jallah Lone was quick to respond. “Willie Marwolo go Mecca and come back, but he got in the cro crogee palava again so no respect for him. As for Naklee, Naatehn moved him from the seat before I came. John Try is running behind ‘small small’ contracts to sell Kongba land before he comes. So it is hard! I’m sure that is why small boy like McCay wanted to call meeting. I suggest that we send for Marwolo, John Try and Naklee to come be with us now. Their time is over, right?”

The crowd said “yeaaaaa!” The silent ones sent for McCay, Gertrude, Naatehn, Jallah, Koiwood and Malai and warned them that if they can’t find peace they will be summoned for a “NTR” meeting.

At the meeting, Tormetie spoke: “I was there and all that you have said is true. Trust is the main problem among our leaders. One of them is determined to destroy everyone that is his way. He does not have conscience. I cannot understand how Armah and Naatehn are part of the Knights of St. John and still undermine one another. All the societies we left are led by weak people who money has blinded. Not even our native traditional ones; they go to Russia and still come out fighting each other. Up the hill self can’t hold these days. The children don’t respect anything. They don’t respect the church and the leaders. They sit in the church in front of pastors and lie to God.

Wicked hearts, dirty souls, vain ambitions and jiving tongues they have for one another. They are what we book people call incorrigible. So let McCay try and see.”

“Thanks, you spoke like a real teacher. We enjoyed you,” Junior Mulbah and Mack Mcgee said in a corner.

So the elders, instead of Rev. McKay, called the meeting. The Senators and Representatives appeared. Traditional leaders and religious leaders, too, were seated. Senior citizens also sat there. The silent ones stood in a ring but they are not seen. Speakers, Senators and Representatives traded blames against each other. Then they began insulting each other. It extended to a fight among supporters. Then it extended to the lawmakers. There was complete confusion and chaos and everyone ran for precious life and safety. The silent ones whispered among themselves: “They are all walking corpses and clays preparing for departure soon. They have failed our people. Now we see, now we know. We understand who the problem is. Why are these wicked children spoiling our names and the land? They will pay for it. We will send for Armah Jallah, Daniel Naatehn, Alfred Koiwood, Gertrude Lamin, and Malai Gbogar. If they don’t take time, they will get an ‘NTR’ writ. Our people will choose new ones to take over our land.”

I was shouting upon hearing the sweet whispers of the silent ones, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” My son knocked at the door and I came to myself. He asked, “Papa, are you ok?” I answered in a gloomy tone, “Yes, my son.” I sat up recalling all that I saw and wished it could happen again. A voice from above echoed, “Patrick you were in a trance; get up, find food to eat. Gbarpolu County’s reconciliation is deeply rooted. No one will look at the leaders and brave the storm to say the God-given truth to the leaders. All of you have been compromised by money, favor, blind loyalty, family or regional connection, tribal linkage and dirty politics. Leave this thing with the silent ones. They will fix it!”

Liberian Observer

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