A commentary by Olando Testimony Zeongar
MONROVIA – Few days ago, when the news broke and of course, a video clip went viral on the internet, of President George Oppong Weah making a very delusional comparison between Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia and the city of Miami in the U.S., initially, I had not wanted to make any further comments aside from the ones I’ve already made, as contained in social media chats I have had with a couple of very serious-minded Liberians, who really mean well for this nation and care deeply about the kind of political leadership our beloved country deserves.
My position not to have bothered to even write a line debunking the Liberian leader for such garbled utterance, was and remains the fact that I was and still am unsurprised of who really uttered such unintelligible words.
Howbeit, I am now constrained to come out publicly and call a spade a spade, for the sake of our nation and for being conscious that men like us that throughout the few years we have spent on our pilgrimage in this trouble-filled world, have never allowed ourselves to ever be cowered into submission nor be made to kowtow to anyone, no matter their social status or position of power in society, whenever they were in the wrong – and more so, being not oblivious of how posterity would very unkindly judge me and how I would be placed on the wrong side of history, were I to sit idly and decline to publicly make known what rests in my bowels as regards how our president had unfortunately chosen a foreign land to make an incorrect assertion that has exposed not just to public ridicule but what I would refer to as international scorn, the land our forebears fought for to establish and protect with their sweat, tears and blood.
What has even further elicited my impulsion to scribble this literature is the audacity and temerity with which many other Liberians, including someone, for whom I have for years had so much respect and admiration whilst he worked as a journalist, but now enjoys a fat government job in the Weah’s administration, are hysterically defending this ill-fated and reprehensible utterance coming from not just any ordinary Liberian but the man that sits in the nation’s highest seat – a man, who by virtue of his position, should by all fairness, be inclined to choosing his words well and also very meticulously measuring same with utmost degree of wisdom and not just common sense, before he brings them out of his belly, as not only what he does whilst he sits in that high office tells others who we Liberians have for our leader, but that also, every word coming from him represents every single Liberian.
Those defending President Weah’s wishy-washy comparison of Monrovia to Miami, remind me of Danish prolific playwright and poet, the award-winning Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and no doubt, this gang of obsequious loyalists of the Liberian president are no different from the subjects of the ruler in Andersen’s tale, to say the least.
For indeed, in this case, President Weah like the monarch in that tale, is stark-naked in the full glare of not just a little town, as narrated by the Danish author but the whole world, yet his ‘pro-poor defenders’ are superciliously adamant that he has on a beautifully designed royal apparel, a hoax the president himself has not just fallen victim to but is weirdly entertaining, my reliance being that since he slipped when he made such debauched comment, he has not mustered the courage to rescind same – at least, on no occasion that I’m aware of.
I put it to President Weah and those defending him that not even in hell where wrongs are accepted and heralded as being truth and right, can his erroneous comparison of a 200 years old Monrovia, which serves as the underdeveloped capital city of Africa’s oldest republic, be likened to Miami, a major transportation and business hub, and a leading resort and Atlantic Ocean port situated on
Biscayne Bay at the mouth of the Miami River in the U.S.
In the first place, how can anyone like President Weah, who has had the golden opportunity to have lived in the United States, ever fathom that Monrovia, with all of the challenges it has faced for decades, even currently under his administration of almost six years; ranging from a very poor engineering layout of infrastructures propelling congestion and pollution, compounded by garbage littered streets, feces water oozing out of broken sewage lines, to an annoyingly unending power outage, ineffective supply of pipe-borne water, and the list goes on, to Miami, a modern city, which Monrovia is by far older than by a difference of 74 years, yet it has the third-largest skyline in the greatest country on planet earth – with over 300 high-rises, 58 of which exceed 491 ft. (150 m), along with its railroad, professionally well laid out and paved streets, very effective and reliable power and water systems, and as well as much more adorable state-of-the-art facilities required for modern day municipality status.
Now, permit me to sufficiently debunk this delusion that Weah and those defending him are under, with their feeble but cunny and inaccurate defense that when the Liberian leader explicitly said Monrovia in Liberia is like Miami in the United States, what he did was to have used a figure of speech called simile,
which is a word or phrase that compares something to something else, using the words like or as.
The proponents of such defense argue that because the president used a simile and not a metaphor, another figure of speech, which is a word or phrase used imaginatively to describe something/someone, with a motive to point out what or who’s being compared have the same qualities, therefore according to them, President Weah did not mean Monrovia is ‘exactly’ as Miami, and that Liberians analyzing his assertions as such are venting out hate against the president, and that such Liberians, as well hate their country.
No fellows, you are dead wrong! The president was wronged then, is wrong now, and will remain wronged as long as he has not retracted that indiscreet remark, and here is why; simile or no simile, the president made a comparison, and his comparison of Monrovia to Miami is what is classified as false equivalence, which is an informal fallacy in which an equivalence is drawn between two subjects based on flawed or false reasoning. What this means is that when President Weah addressed a group of Liberians while in the U.S. recently and stated that Monrovia is like Miami, he unfathomably spewed out a fallacy of inconsistency – for an example, he imprudently compared apples and oranges.
That was an illogical comparison, for crying out loud, and illogical comparisons occur when two unlike things are compared; in this case, Miami, which by every international standards on the book, is by far nothing like Monrovia, was being compared with the oldest city in Africa’s oldest republic.
To put it bluntly, President Weah disappointingly made a bad comparison, and there are no two ways about that like it or not, back there in the U.S., President Weah made a false comparison, a one that was so very inconsistent, in that he compared one thing; Monrovia, to another; Miami, with both being totally unrelated.
So no, President Weah’s supporters, who think that by the rest of us speaking truth to power that the Liberian leader slipped means we hate him or that we do not love our country, is not only completely wrong, but is diabolical -interestingly, it is you who see black and call it white, and look at white and call it otherwise, while you also endeavour to do everything within your powers, even if it means convincing the president to release his death squad on us that is if he has one, to eliminate us on trump up charges including labeling us as “Enemies of the State” that are leading the president astray and disgracefully and undeservingly subjecting our great country and its good people to mockery.