Man Move from Here Mehn!” Liberia says to America and her Magnitsky Sanctions: An Audacity to Kick Against the Pricks!
By Mwalimu-Koh M. Blonkanjay Jackson
Simply Thinking Thoughts
In my “Thinking Thoughts” I considered recent events how outgoing US Ambassador McCarthy did not only toot advocacy against corruption in Liberia from behind as desk, but also physically conducted investigation to ascertain his clams. The ambassador’s actions might have led to the Magnitsky Act sanctions and eventual resignations of Minister of State Nathaniel McGill, National Port Director Bill Twehway, and Solicitor General Cyrenus Cephas due to proof that they are corrupt to the core, and criminally-minded for pilfering the wealth of our country, and bathing in opulence while the population suffer under the weight of abject poverty.
Unfortunately, while Ambassador McCarthy’s actions appeared to be refreshing to purge the nation of corrupt government officials, various kinds of criminals and cartels including money launderers, illegal drugs and firearm criminals, McCarthy lamented that he was leaving “disappointed” that neither the Government of Liberia, nor any local entity took a single step to prosecute the alleged criminals in spite of America the greatest nation on the face of the earth offering to provide proofs. The passive and defiant posture which the Republic of Liberia has taken towards America and its highly respected Global Magnitsky Act is like brushing it off and in Liberian jargon saying, “Man move from here mehn America, with your Magnitsky fiasco and go find somewhere to hide yourself; you can’t do fusah to us!!”. Suffice it to say this were the case, then Liberia is “kicking against the pricks” and this would be a very audacious move by the little West African nation of Liberia which declared war on big Germany during World War II.
Power of the Global Magnitsky Act
The Magnitsky Act, formally known as the Russia and Moldova Jackson–Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, is a bipartisan bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2012, intending to punish Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009 and also to grant permanent normal trade relations status to Russia.
For the sake of the layman and my other Brabbies, the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016 authorizes the U.S. government to sanction those foreign government officials worldwide that are human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the U.S.
The Friendly “Man Move from here Mehn!”
Back in the day or maybe now, the Liberian jargon, “Man move from here mehn” was used in friendly conversations but sometimes it became toxic in other situations. I have a childhood friend who anytime I dare ask him why he doesn’t call me his response is, “Man move from here mehn, because you in America. You can’t call me too, you sonnafabitch?” I would respond, “Man move from here too, you racoon” Then we would start the conversation. I also remember while serving in a position at the Education Ministry, he steamed into my office past my junior staff, pushed my office door open as they chased him to properly usher him. The protocol was for every visitor to be announced before being ushered. He flung my office door shouting, “You cat, u think I wor na going to find u?” When I asked if he didn’t see the staff outside trying to usher him in, his response was, “Man move from here mehn, da me will sign paper to see you? You racoon?” I simply laughed, got from behind my desk, shook his hand, and we started to chat, leaving my whole official duty for at least 2 hours.
When my childhood buddy left, my staff was befuddled how I would condone such a character knowing the kind of person I am, to be called racoon, sonnafabitch etc. by somebody who they felt was lesser than my position. I just smiled and told them that guy means no harm because I do the same to him at his office and at his home. He is my childhood friend of 48 years, turned brother. Anytime he comes here, no protocol or else you will hear noise and that is exactly what he wants. I informed my staff that my friend’s “man move from here” was a friendly one; albeit, in a heated argument or other acrimonious situations, “Man move from here mehn!” can cause people to throw blows and engage in ma cussing. If a CDC person were arguing with an ANC or UP person and “Man move from here mehn” surfaced, the situation would become toxic and tempers would flare.
The Nonsensical “Man move from here mehn”
My Brabbies, when something does not make sense, we say, “Man move from here mehn, with da your talk” It shows that the other party is not interested and does not care a blink thing about how you feel or what you want to do. You are talking bullshit.
In an encounter with the blind man who is usually ushered by a school-age boy around the Vai Town intersections of the Johnson Street and the Waterside Bridge on Bushrod Island, I received a rude awakening. When the blind man approached my car, I asked if the little boy was in school. When the blind answered yes, I asked why he was not in school at that time of the day. The blind man responded, “Man move from here mehn, da the school fee weh you na pay?” My friends in the vehicle laughed at me throughout the trip joking, “the blind man soak you oh, prof!” I also recall that Hon. Yekeh Kolubah, when cornered by journalists would rubbish the question by, “Man move from here mehn” you CDC journalists.
Brabbies, I posit that the way Liberia behaved to the Ambassador’s advocacy and the Magnitsky Act was like saying to the United States of America, “man move from here mehn, with your sanction! From my lenses, this is the message Ambassador McCarthy is taking back to the great America. Whatever the situation is, to tell America to move from here is simply to kick against the pricks, which is something nobody should try to do.
Audacity to Kick Against the Pricks
For the sake of the layman, audacity to kick against the pricks is to be brave enough to tell your boss man who is paying you US$500 per month with transportation and insurance, to ask you to perform a task, and for you to be brave enough to tell him to “get the F*** from in front of your desk” and watch him walk away disappointed. My Brabbies, to kick against the pricks is to resist incontestable facts or authority.
Kicking Against the Pricks
“It is hard for you to kick against the pricks” was a familiar Greek proverb among the Jews and people who made a living in agriculture. An ox prick was a stick with a pointed piece of iron on its tip used to prick the oxen when plowing the land. The farmer would prick the animal to steer it in the right direction. Sometimes the animal would rebel by kicking out at the prick, and this would result in the prick being driven even further into its flesh. The more an ox rebelled, the more it suffered. Thus, Jesus’ words to Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:5): “It is hard for you to kick against the pricks.”
Jesus took control of Paul and let him know his rebellion against God was a losing battle. Paul’s actions were as senseless as an ox kicking “against the pricks.” Paul had passion and sincerity in his fight against Christianity, but he was not heading in the direction God wanted him to go. Jesus was going to prick (“direct” or “steer”) Paul in the right direction.
There is a powerful lesson in the ancient Greek proverb. We, too, find it hard to kick against the pricks. When we choose to disobey God, we become like the rebellious ox—driving the prick deeper and deeper. By resisting God’s authority, we are only punishing ourselves. This is exactly what the Liberian people have done, as expressed by the U.S. Ambassador.
Liberia Kicked against the Pricks
You see, America is not God, but she is an international superpower and major benefactor to Liberia since 1822. So, to resist its authority by saying “Man move from here mehn with your Magnitsky Act mouth” attitude is like kicking against America’s pricks. One of Ambassador McCarthy’s point was that the United States spent huge amount of money to collect the evidence to prosecute the corrupt officials and that anybody doing business with them would face threat of sanctions. Now, instead of pushing that line, there was not a single agency to stage a protest or stand up to prosecute the corrupt musketeers as revealed by America; instead, the corrupt men are receiving much relevance.
Justice Minister Musa Dean kicked against America’s pricks by failing to prosecute the corrupt officials. The CDC leadership kicked against the pricks by allowing Bill Twehway and Nathaniel McGill to run on their tickets; the National Elections Commission kicked against America’s pricks by certificating the corrupt officials to compete in the 2023 Elections; the people of Rivercess and Margibi are kicking against the pricks by endorsing the election bids of the corrupt officials who would not even be able to travel anywhere to bring investors or development because they are under U.S. sanctions. Ayyy lawd!
As if to pour gasoline into blazing fire, some highly acclaimed entities in Liberia have not done fusah in support of the Magnitsky but have rather kept quiet throughout McCarthy’s advocacy. Some of those entities are the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), the Liberian Student Union (LINSU), University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU), the Federation of Youth (FLY) the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with the opposition political community, and civil society organizations (CSO) all of whom have kicked against America’s pricks by saying, “Man move from here mehn”. These entities are silent and in fact contain elements supporting the elections bid of the corrupt Nathaniel McGill and Bill Twehway.
But mind you my Brabbies, as Liberia says “Man move from here with your Magnitsky Act sanctions” to Ambassador McCarthy; as we move on to our traditional “business as usual “ attitude, let us keep in hindsight that Uncle Sam (America) or God does not forget to punish, when His children kick against the pricks as recorded by Acts 9: 4-5:
4. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him,
Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said,
I am Jesus whom you are persecuting;
it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
I am wondering if America will forgive the National Elections Commission (NEC), the Justice Ministry and the CDC for “kicking against its pricks considering how America is still punishing 1945 War World II criminals.
To those ends, may the Lord bless Liberia and keep Liberia; may He make His face to shine upon Liberia and give her grace and give her peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
I am simply Thinking Thoughts
About the Author
The Rivercess man, CEO, and founder of the Diversified Educators Empowerment Project (DEEP), Mwalimu-koh Teacher M. Blonkanjay Jackson holds a Master of Education from Harvard University, and Master of Science in Mathematics Education from St. Joseph’s University; he is a Yale University Teachers Initiative Math Fellow, and UPENN Teacher Institute Physics Fellow. He is s part-time lecturer at the UL Graduate School of Education. Mr. Jackson served the government of Liberia diligently for four years and returned to private practice as Development Specialist and Education Engineer. The Mwalimu-koh can be reached at +231886 681 315