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Thursday, May 23, 2024

MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS EXACERBATES TENSIONS IN LIBERIA’S JUSTICE ADVOCACY MOVEMENT

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Liberia is grappling with a growing mental health crisis, stemming largely from the devastating 14-year civil war and other socio-economic challenges, such as poverty. This crisis has emerged as a pressing national issue, hindering the ability of many Liberians to live meaningful and productive lives or contribute to the post-war rebuilding efforts.

Recently, Counselor Jerome Verdier, former Chairman of Liberia’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a prominent advocate for justice for war victims, made controversial remarks on a popular talk show, SPOON TALK. In his statements, he discredited individuals and organizations that have tirelessly advocated for war victims. Verdier’s criticisms, accompanied by an attempt to assert personal ownership over the advocacy process, were seen by many as misplaced, selfish, and opportunistic.

It is important to recognize that Counselor Verdier has played a significant role in the struggle for justice and has earned respect for his commitment to the cause. However, concerns have been raised about his mental well-being, given the challenges he has faced during his years of dedicated service. The trauma of the war and the emotionally taxing TRC processes took a toll not only on the victims but also on individuals like Counselor Verdier, who spearheaded efforts to ensure justice for all and hold perpetrators accountable.

Liberia urgently needs not only national healing but also a robust mental health system to support all citizens still grappling with the lingering trauma of the war. It is crucial that Counselor Verdier, while privileged to be in the United States, seeks professional intervention to address any mental health challenges he may be facing. Similarly, all individuals involved in the justice advocacy movement over the past decade should prioritize seeking professional assistance to ensure they possess the mental capacity to continue advancing the cause without becoming enemies of themselves.

In the pursuit of justice, it is imperative to remain cautious and vigilant, guarding against false divisions perpetuated by the media. The media should refrain from using Counselor Verdier to propagate negative propaganda against other justice stalwarts like Mr. Hassan Bility and those working tirelessly to ensure justice for the 250,000 lives lost in the senseless war. Instead, media outlets should focus on fostering unity and solidarity among campaigners for justice, ultimately working towards ending the culture of impunity and forging a path of sustainable peace, reconciliation, and the rule of law in Liberia.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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