Mr. Al. Hussein Fadiga
It is outrageous for few Liberian to disfranchise their fellow compatriots of their inheritance because of a single piece of paper. No Liberian has ever relinquished their love for Liberia because they chose to become a citizen of another country. Many of us living in the Diasporas work tirelessly to send money back home to help friends and family members only because, home is where our hearts is. Those monies we send are also stimulating the Liberian economy. 

During the civil war, and time spent in various refugee camps around Africa, our main source of income came from friends and family members living in the Diasporas. If you did not have anybody living in the United States or Europe, you benefited somehow through others that did. Barred your fellow citizen who have contributed and are still contributing more than their fair share to our society, is extremely divisive and cruel. What could be a reason for preventing another Liberian from enjoying the benefit of a country that they have known all their lives…? 

Our lawmakers fail to realize that many Liberians who sought citizenship of other countries did so to help friends and family members back home. Knowing what we went through, what did you expect us to do when for nearly two decades all we knew was war---Some of us suffered the worst atrocities ever committed on earth, while others had to endure embarrassing situations in refugee camps, even watching as innocent women and children were raped . Other young women had to engage in prostitution just to survive. These are just some of the difficulties Liberians had to endure before leaving Liberia/Africa. Despite all this, several victims of the civil war were given another opportunity to pick up their broken pieces by resettling or granting them asylum, through the kindness of the United States and other western nations. 

While in exile, some of us tried to erase Liberia from our minds, while others did not want to have anything to do with Liberia anymore. We are victims of a failed state, and brutality. What more should be expected of us? Some of us were afforded the opportunity for a new and better living through resettlement, political asylum, TPS, and or other programs. Acquiring citizenship was never an option for many; furthermore, been citizen has proven to be more convenient for Liberia and Liberians. Over the years, Liberians that have acquired citizenship from other countries have continued to help friends and other family members back home. 

They have extended similar opportunity accorded to them to relatives and friends back home. Many are bringing relatives over to experience the same opportunities. Acquiring citizenship has never deterred Liberians from tirelessly contributing to Liberia; it has maximized it. What is even more puzzling is that the constitution was amended to accommodate politicians who did not meet the residency clause, but those same politicians had chosen to apply different standards when it comes to ordinary Liberia who did not create this situation for themselves. The mitigating circumstance that prevented most of our presidential aspirants from been in Liberia are the same factors responsible for Liberians taking up citizenship of other countries. Most times, it was the only way to reap the benefit from living and working in the western world. Taking the US as an example, you loses some part of your Social Security Insurance benefits and so many other benefits when you are not national of the United States.

Over the years, I have heard these ridiculous statements as justification for the disfranchisement of fellow Liberians: Liberian who becomes citizen will embezzle money and flee to the US or the other country whose citizenship they are holding. Or they will cause trouble in Liberia and flee to America--or they have taken an oath of allegiance to the (united states) .Others believe that officials would not spend their money in Liberia but rather send it to their family members in the Diasporas.

Shame on you all! Are these reasons for which someone should lose their Liberianess---You will have to be naive to use the above fallacies as a justification for barring your fellow citizens their right as a citizen of Liberia. Only one possible explanation that could be the driving force behind this is fear that competent Liberians in the Diasporas with seek lucrative positions that some of our brothers back home do not want to relinquish; even if they are not skilled enough for those positions. Some fear that those that acquire education outside of Liberia are given more credence than those that went to school back home. While it is true that there are better schools in Western countries, the schools in Liberian are not as terrible as most would love to think. All we need is to be free like every other Liberian. 
What do you people expect to become of our kids that were born in foreign countries--Should they spend the rest of their lives in a foreign country because they were born there---Is the government of Liberia able and willing to pay professional Liberians who happen to hold citizenship of another country expatriate salary---Is it OK for Liberian to request visa to enter a country they have known all their life…These are questions that cannot not possibly be answered with a straight face.

The unfortunate truth here is that these are all fabricated reasons to justify the disfranchisement of us living in the Diasporas. It is unreasonable for anyone to think that a government official who holds dual-citizenship will embezzle public funds in Liberia and flee to the United States. All the government of Liberia needs to do is send a formal extradition request to the United States of America, and that will be taken care. If the US government becomes skeptical of the request, an American court will pursue that individual in a US court, which would provide a similar result. There are several Liberians who are not dual citizens that are supporting their family from Liberia. This is happening irrespective of political affiliation. We need to realize that it is not a crime to support your family with funds from Liberia. What is illegal is embezzling public funds to do so. 

The second argument made by proponents of the most divisive law in the history of Liberia, is that, those with dual citizenship will stir up chaos and flee to the United States. This is utterly ridiculous for any intellectual to believe. Chuckie Taylor trial should serve as a reasonable deterrent. Those responsible for the atrocities in Rwanda were arrested even after they fled to neighboring countries. The world has change and is smaller than most would love to acknowledge. The United States is the worse place for a fugitive. Corrupt official would be safer in other countries other than the United States. 

Taking the oath of allegiance to the United States has been another issue raised by those in favor of the status quo. There is no evidence that taking the pledge of allegiance has ever diminished our love for Liberia. We go to court, swear on the bible all the time, and still tell a lie. This is not a viable reason to disfranchise your fellow citizens. More importantly, what most of you  fail to realize is that every immigrant between the ages of 18-26 years old who reside in the United States, are also pressured to take a similar oath of allegiance by registering for Selective Service. There are only few exceptions, to this process.These are some of the prices we have to pay for living in the United States. 

There is an adage, which states that there is nowhere like home. Liberians all over the world have one wish, and that is an opportunity to visit Liberia. Some are unable to return because it is too expensive, while others do not have the proper document to return. No matter which category we find ourselves in, Liberians living in that Diasporas share one relationship and that is the nostalgia we feel. We all have that desire to go home to spend some time with friends and family members. This is the bond that holds Liberians together. No one, not even a certificate of citizenship should change that.

Contributed By:
Al. Hussein Fitergar


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