Nvasekie Konneh, a writer and cultural activist, came to the United States in 1995. Prior to his arrival in the U.S., he contributed to community development in divergent ways such as writing, publishing and promoting ventures that would today elevate the status of his ethnic group, his religion, his country Liberia, and the African and American communities in general.
Those who know him well proclaim that he is a soft spoken gentleman whose quest for knowledge is endless. In social gatherings, his idea of taking the back seat does not project his innocence; he uses these opportunities to transform his findings into poetry.
Before he surfaced on the land of opportunity to accumulate his fair share of the American dream, Nvasekie’s commentaries and poems mirroring politics, arts and culture made appearances in famous Liberian newspapers such as the Eye, Monrovia Daily News, The Inquirer, and the New Democrat.
New York City was no exception to his publications, while there he wrote articles that appeared in a literary magazine, African Voices as well as the City Sun and the Black Star newspapers respectively.
Having realized vast opportunities that immigrants have here in the United States, Nvasekie Konneh undertook a project that he might have considered impossible while in Africa; this was largely due to mounting challenges in the midst of the Liberian civil crisis.
His poem “Scene of Sorrow II” was declared first place award winner of the Liberian Civil War poetry competition in April of 2002 in Providence, Rhode Island; a competition organized by the Liberian Community Association of Rhode Island.
As if his enthusiasm for writing was without borders, he wrote and published his first book in 2003 styled, “Going to War for America.” In this book, he details his account of the Liberian crisis. A poem he wrote called, “From the Border of Hell” says it all, it gives clearer picture of what ordinary Liberians endured during the hostilities. (P-46) He also seized this moment to sympathize with victims of the 911 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Nvasekie Konneh is at the moment working on a new book, “The Land of My Father’s Birth” which will be on the market soon. Following the launching of this book, he will complete “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Together”. This book will focus interviews and contemporary works by Liberian writers or playwrights.
In an effort to adjunct his community service through inscription and other activities, he enlisted in the United States Navy in August 1996 and served for nine years without regret. During this tenure, he was deployed twice on the USS Detroit, a navy logistic ship based in Earle, New Jersey.
Nvasekie Konneh partook in “Operation Desert Fox” an American-British joint venture aimed at toppling Saddam Hussein following his expulsion of the United Nations weapon inspectors from Iraq. He was also a part of the operation to unfetter Kosovo. His next assignment introduced him to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower or CVN 69 (IKE), a nuclear aircraft carrier based in Norfolk, Virginia.
Beginning September 2000 to 2003, Nvasekie was assigned with the SALTS Team at the Naval Inventory Control Point or NAVICP in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At this point in Philadelphia, N’vasekie submerged into politics in order to remain his country men’s keeper. He became the founding chairman of the National Civil Right Movement or NCRM, a Liberian pro-democracy and human rights organization based in Philadelphia.
On September 16, 2002, as an activist, he led about seven hundred men including women to the Liberian Embassy near Washington DC as a sign of protest against the then Liberian President Charles Ghankey Taylor’s brutal regime.
It was organized based on what many considered an illegal detention of journalist Hassan Bility and others. During this demonstration, Nvasekie and others demanded the unconditional release of the imprisoned Liberian journalist.
Afterward, Nvasekie Konneh led another demonstration in WashingtonDC in a bid to free human rights activist, Aloysius Toe, Sheick Sackor, Abraham Keita and others, also imprisoned by disgraced Liberian leader, Charles Taylor.
Due to mounting pressure from the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy or LURD, the international community and activist like Nvasekie Konneh, Mr. Taylor reluctantly released Hassan Bility and Aloysius Toe, followed by the release of Sheick Sackor and Abraham Keita.
In 2003, Charles Ghankay Taylor resigned his post as President of Liberia, promising the suffering Liberian people and the world, “God’s willing, I will be back.” (C.G.T) Indeed, he did return to Liberia, but this time in handcuffs and was later transported to The Hague where he is languishing behind bars, something analysts term as a life sentence.
It can be recalled that in the most recent past, Nvasekie Konneh, the writer and cultural activist has made appearances in West African countries such as the Ivory Coast, Guinea, and also in Europe to promote literary and cultural ventures. On January 7, 2013, he launched an art and cultural magazine in Monrovia, Liberia, call “The Uptown Review”.
Nvasekie Konneh has also dived into promoting talents in his own community. He promoted his friend Samuka Kamara alias “Sammy” as the lead singer of his first production of Mandingo music album, “Positive Force.” This was followed by the transformation of Massebe Kamara’s folk songs into modern Mandingo music. It is not clear how much was generated from this endeavor, but the moral support from his community was enormous.
In his own words, he says “my poems militate against social political as well as celebrate romantic and spiritual awakening amongst the people of Liberia, Africa and the world irrespective of religion or ethnicity.” Though he is a committed Muslim, he sees the world from a diverse side of the fence.
Genuflecting from his many community services, literary and cultural promotions around the world, Bamba 1 Communication Services is proud to announce Mr. Nvasekie Konneh as its Personality of the months of January and February 2013 respectively.
Please join management in congratulating Mr. Konneh for job well done. You may comment below, if you so desire.
Congratulations to you Mr. Nvasekie Konneh!!
Previously published on Bamba1 Communication Services