Paynesville, Redlight Market

Every year July 26 is celebrated nationwide as the independence day of Liberia. It is the national day of Liberia and commemorates Liberia’s Independence from the then US- American Colonization Society (ACS) in 1847.

The Republic of Liberia actually began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society who believed black people would face better chances for freedom in Africa than in the United States.

Between 1822 and 1861, thousands of free blacks were relocated to the settlement at Cape Mesurado on the pepper coast of West Africa at the time.

In 1824, the colony was named Liberia and the main settlement was named Monrovia, which is known today as the country’s present capital.

The capital Monrovia was named in honour of former US president James Monroe, who worked along with the ACS to repatriate free slaves to Liberia.

Since then, the country has celebrated its Independence at every given opportunity in the midst of hardships, hunger, economic instability and crimes.

And so this year celebration amid the coronavirus devastating effect on the economy and people, there are citizens who believed there is still a need for celebration.

Accordingly, several citizens have been giving their own excitement and experience about this historic day.

According to them despite the many hardships the country is faced with, they still see a need for celebration.

Citizens were seen purchasing mini flags and t-shirts bearing red, white and blue (Liberia’s colours) in commemoration of the 174th Independence Day celebration. But what are they actually excited about, the stage media has been speaking with some of the citizens in separate interviews.

Despite the country’s current battle against the coronavirus disease, many of the citizens said they don’t see a need to panic as they believe the almighty God will take siege of the matter (coronavirus).

Here we talk to a female who sells food and pepper soup at the Paynesville, Boulevard junction.

She said without the help of God in the fight against covid- 19, the virus is not going to be defeated and therefore she sees no reason why they shouldn’t celebrate this year’s Independence Day.

According to madam Ruth Blamo, why taking into consideration the various protocols put in place by the government, citizens can go about doing their normal businesses at the same time observing those measures.

“If we even fight this virus, as long God does not help us we will not defeat this virus, so I think there should be a celebration and we can at the same time wear our nose masks, keeping social distance.”

Madam Blamo, 36  also said despite the country’s advancement in age, she still believes age is just a number and that Liberia is still going to get better whether it is under the regime of President Weah or not.

Madam Blamo then called on all well-meaning Liberians to see this 174th Independence as a special one especially when the country is being severely hit by the coronavirus.

The Stage Media also spoke with  Alpha Sow popularly known as “Jalloh”. He sells tea, coffee and bread along the SKD Boulevard, despite the difficulties and hardships the country is going through, there is a need for Liberians to come together as they go about celebrating this year’s Independence.

He called on Liberians not to get carried away by the celebration and create problems for themselves and their families.

“for me what I have to say is that we should all come together as one and remember one another through unity, even though the country is hard but we should all come together to celebrate this day, and don’t allow the joy of the day to carry because you could put your self in problems and your family too.”

Mr. Sow 43 further urged citizens to get ready to celebrate this historic day but not forget about the existence of the coronavirus while encouraging them to wear their nose masks, constant washing of hands and keeping distance from people.

Jalloh also said the increased poverty in the country is not something to hinder the celebration of the country’s Independence, because he believes poverty and hardships have become a way of life for the ordinary Liberians, and see no reason why this day shouldn’t be celebrated.

Madam Korpo Taylor sells at the ELWA Junction, she’s been explaining more to TSM about this year’s Independence Day celebration.

“We know it’s not easy right now in the country especially during coronavirus time but we also have to remember that it is our country  Independence we talking about, so we just need to be careful when we celebrating, because the virus is still around and no matters what we just have to be careful with ourselves.”

Madam Taylor 40, sells biscuits, cream of wheat, milk and other items in her wheelbarrow.

She said despite the government’s inability to make life better for its citizens they can not sit and cry wolf as she believes things will remain difficult as always.

Madam Taylor also added that she sees this year’s as Independence day different from previous ones because according to her the country is seriously facing hardships even before the coronavirus.

“If the government don’t want to help her citizens, we can put our hands between our feet and start crying because nothing will happen, so no matter what hardships and poverty will always be on this country, this thing is not strange ( the country hard) even before the coronavirus came to Liberia things were still very difficult”

Jonah Tokpah is 24 years old. He transacts Orange and Lonestar minutes and data at the ELWA junction. He also told us that if he was the president of Liberia, he wouldn’t allow the Independence celebration to go ahead because according to him the country is “very hard and things are very tough”.

He said there is a need for Liberians just sit at their various homes and observe Independence Day and see no reason to gather at entertainment centers or various bars. Tokpah said doing so would make people believe that all is well in the country.

“If I was the president of this country, there was going to be no celebration because the country is very hard and some people find it difficult to eat. For me, nobody should even go to any entertainment center or even bars to sit there to drink, because people who are not in the country when they see it, they feel everything going on in the country.”

Jonah, for his part, believes this year’s Independence Day celebration is different from the previous ones he has witnessed, blaming it particularly on hardships and poor governance of the country. He continues that since he started selling minutes a year ago, there have been no other means of finding a better way to make life as he said he depends solely on selling minutes.

Samuel Johnson sells gasoline along with the Congo town, Tubman Boulevard. He also told TSM he doesn’t see a need why there shouldn’t be a celebration of this year’s Independence because he believes despite covid-19 and the hardships; it is a special day that has nothing to do with the status of the country.

Mr. Johnson 33, also said citizens will only need to be mindful and observe the protocols put in place by health officials ad they gear up in celebrating their country’s 174th birthday anniversary.

He further that, this year’s Independence celebration is a bit different especially in the midst of coronavirus and other niggling problems the country is faced with.

“Our independence day celebration has nothing to do with whether the country hard or not, we must celebrate. We just have to take all the measures seriously that’s all, but apart from that, I see no reason we will not be able to celebrate our country’s Independence Day. This year’s Independence day celebration is a little bit different because you’re self you know right now things are not okay and then coronavirus again.”

Unlike Mr. Johnson, many passersby have been seen or heard talking about a need to celebrate this historic day in our country, in spite of the many difficulties the country is currently faced with.

Motorcycles, Taxi as well as tricycles are seen with the beautiful flags of Liberia demonstrating exactly why this day should be celebrated normally like the previous ones.

The government through the Health Ministry has warned citizens to remain humble to these health protocols and anything other than that any violators would be dealt with according to the health law.

It is worth remembering that our country Liberia is Africa’s first and oldest republic on the continent of Africa.


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