Written by: Mohamed Sherif-Philadelphia
This week, President Obama has visited Senegal including a tour of the historic Island of Goree, a transit point where African slaves were shipped off to the New World. Goree is symbolic and a monument of our tragic past.
It is a past we are all too familiar with, but there is another past which is a very optimistic past; all subsequent problems notwithstanding. That past is Providence Island, if Goree is a symbol of Africa’s tragic past and Providence is that of optimism or at least it was, then why didn’t my president visit Providence Island?
Oh, Okay, I know why. Is it because we have so sorrowfully neglected our past and look towards the West to do everything for us? Or is it not because Providence, instead of becoming a mammoth tourist attraction, it has been and it still is a giant latrine?
Providence Island, the site where our returning brothers and sisters first landed in 1821 should have and must be rehabilitated to serve our historic appetite and replenish the emotional void created by forcible separation, enslavement and human degradation by the genocidal European slave traders. Providence is a Small Island, uniquely jettisoned in the Mesurado River. But why must Providence die the typical death so often incur by historic Liberian landmarks?
Sorry, this is not the predominant reason why my President is not visiting Liberia. But who knows? If Providence was really what it should be, won’t Mr. Obama, an astute student of history and law made a stopover?
Can ‘absentee Liberians’ who are constantly clamoring against dual citizenship prevail on their government to do as recommended above? Maybe these absentee Liberians, most of whom will ironically never go back to Liberia, don’t even think about Liberia anymore? But it is worth their while to preach the ideology of continuous exclusivity.
Whatever happens to the sweet words of our national anthem? “This Glorious Land of Liberty Shall Long Be Ours?” Is it still mine, I wonder?