The Crocheted Tablecloth beautiful story….. makes you understand that things happen for a reason.

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc., and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On December 19 a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.

On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity

so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus… She missed it… The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry.. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet…. ‘Pastor,’ she asked, ‘where did you get that tablecloth?’ The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, ‘EBG’ were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth, but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do… She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison…. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.

He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True story – submitted by Pastor Rob Reid who says God does not work in mysterious ways….

I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today, to guide you and protect you as you go along your way. His love is always with you, His promises are true, and when we give Him all our cares you know He will see us through.

So when the road you’re traveling on seems difficult at best….Just remember I’m here praying and God will do the rest.

When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need. Take 60 seconds and give this a shot!  All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.

Father, God, bless all my friends and family in whatever it is that you know they may be needing this day! May their life be full of your peace, prosperity and power and HEALTH! as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with you.

Amen.

Then send it on to five other people, including the one who sent it to you. Within hours, five people have prayed for you and you caused a multitude of people to pray for other people. Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life.

P. S. Five is good, but more is better…

From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

In the city of Chicago, one cold, dark night, a blizzard was setting in.  A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people were in and out of the cold.  The little boy was so cold that he wasn’t trying to sell many papers.
He walked up to a policeman and said, “Mister, you wouldn’t happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you?  You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and it’s awful cold in there for tonight.  Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay.”
The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, “You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door.  When they come out the door you just say John 3:16, and they will let you in.” So he did.  He walked up the steps and knocked on the door, and a lady answered.  He looked up and said, “John 3:16.”

 

The lady said, “Come on in, Son.”  She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off.  The boy sat there for a while and thought to himself: John 3:16….I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm. 0 Later she came back and asked him, “Are you hungry?”
He said, “Well, just a little.  I haven’t eaten in a couple of days, and I guess I could stand a little bit of food.”
The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food.  He ate and ate until he couldn’t eat any more.  Then he thought to himself: John 3:16… Boy, I sure don’t understand it but it sure makes a hungry boy full.  She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub filled with warm water, and he sat there and soaked for a while.  As he soaked, he thought to himself: John 3:16… I sure don’t
understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean.  You know, I’ve not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life.  The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
The lady came in and got him.  She took him to a room, tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights.  As he lay in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night, he thought to himself: John 3:16… I don’t understand it but it sure makes a tired boy rested.

 

The next morning the lady came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food.  After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.  She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face.  “Do you understand John 3:16?” she asked gently.

 

 

He replied, “No, Ma’am, I don’t.  The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it.”

 

She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain to him about Jesus. Right there, in front of that big old fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus.  He sat there and thought: John 3:16. .. .. I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.
You know, I have to confess I don’t understand it either, how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing.  I don’t understand the agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched Jesus suffer and die.  I don’t understand the intense love for ME that kept Jesus on the cross till the end.  I don’t understand it, but it sure does make life worth living.
John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you aren’t ashamed to do this, please follow the directions. Jesus said, “If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.”
Pass this on only if you mean it.  “I do Love God.  He is my source of existence.  He keeps me functioning each and every day.” Phil 4:13. If you love God and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done for you, send this on.
Take 60 seconds and give this a shot!  Let’s just see if Satan stops this one.  All you do is  (1) Simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you this, “Father, God bless this person in whatever it is that You know he or she may be needing this day!.”

 

2) Then send it on to five other people.  Within hours five people have prayed for you, and you caused a multitude of people to pray to God for other people.  Then sit back and watch the power of God.

 

From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

By Siahyonkron Nyanseor

October 15, 2001

In the business world, there is something called corporate Alzheimer (CA). It is simply, the old way of doing things as compared to making use of new technology. Those who engage in Corporate Alzheimer for example, do not find efficient ways to file their work, instead stored documents in pigeonholes in walls of libraries, and list the contents of documents on the wall – a kind of “primitive database.” The same is true regarding the “Robbing Hood” of Liberia (Charles Taylor) and his “Merrymen” who engaged in Alzheimer or Waterside Argument (AWA) in defense of their corrupt practices.

Corporate Alzheimer as a concept derives from the disease known as Alzheimer or AD – a progressive dementing illness in which the core symptom is memory loss (an incurable degenerative disease of the brain). Other associated symptoms include impairments in language, abstract reasoning, and visual spatial abilities. Personality changes are common and range from apathy to restless agitation. Psychiatric symptoms, including depression, delusions, and hallucinations. Although the cause of AD is unknown, two risk factors have been identified: advanced age and genetic predisposition.

Corporate Alzheimer exists within a company where management does not make use of “Knowledge Management Technology”. Instead, it continues to do things “the old fashion way.” Rather than filing documents on diskette, hard drive or other databases, it stores the company’s records in a primitive database, which in all likelihood leads to the waste of valuable company time in locating documents. As a result, works are not performed in timely manner.

Alzheimer or Waterside Argument (AWA), on the other hand, is the deliberate attempt to conceal the truth; refusing to deal with facts; sidestepping issues and attacking individuals that raised vexed issues as unpatriotic and to please “Bossman” or “Papay”. AWA is a kind of reverse Robin Hood (Robbing Hood and his Merrymen); a Liberian version of Robin Hood.

Unlike Robin Hood and his Merry Men, the “Robbing Hood (Charles Taylor) and his Merrymen” of Liberia, robs the poor and the country of its minerals and natural resources as well as deprived the Liberian people of safe drinking water, electricity and other essentials. Because of these privileges, Robbing Hood’s Merrymen will engage in Alzheimer or Waterside tactics, to defend the National Patriotic Party’s (NPP) failed politics. And this has become a common practice because of the spoils the receive from Robbing Hoods’ rouge regime.

I guess this was the kind of behavior that Henry Fenwick Reeve’s referred to in his book titled: The Black Republic – Liberia: Its Political and Social Condition To-Day, which was first published in 1923.  According to him:

“Liberians are not much given to independent speaking. One man spoke out and the Government put him in jail without bail, and a woman was held without bail for ‘talking too much.’ In each case it was an ‘ally’ who got caught. No wonder everybody shut up like clam”.

I am inclined to believe that this is the reason why most Liberians become too timid to stand up for their rights when it involves government. A direct consequences of this behavior — they resort to the old cliché, “your leave the people’s thing alone,” and depending on others to fix things for them.

A case in point is a comment made the early part of this year (2001) by Joseph Walloh, the Liberian Ambassador designate to the Russian Federation. Regarding Liberia’s role in the West African sub-region, he said that President Taylor’s role in attempting to mediate in resolving the conflict in Sierra Leone should not be seen as a “cover-up for diamond smuggling and gunrunning in that country,” when in fact the evidence pointed to Taylor.

It is statement like Walloh’s that distorts and condones the wrongdoing of the Taylor regime, all because of a government position. Individuals like Walloh will do or say what the “Papay” wants to hear, even if it means they have to dress-up a lie, like the rest of the Merrymen (blind loyalists) Robbing Hood.

But thank God, there are others who will speak the truth risking to be accuse of being unpatriotic and spreading lies about their “democratically elected” government. A classic example is that of the Minister of Health, Dr. Peter Coleman. At a workshop in the St. Paul Bridge area, Dr. Coleman made a presentation on “Community Awareness and Sensitization on Drugs Abuse (and Alcoholism)”.  He said that the degree of alcoholism among drives in Liberia is very high, and “when these law enforcers are talking to some of these drivers, they are fully aware that they are drunk but they don’t take action against them.” Law enforcement “officers are interested in the $5 (bribe) they get from these drunken drivers” instead of upholding the law.

Regarding the dangers of drug abuse, he said that during the transitional period, Liberia served as a transit point for drug trafficking, and that “people still bring these dangerous drugs in bags, cartoon, boxes are sold to our potential youths.”

In response to Dr. Coleman’s presentation, the Liberia National Police (LNP) issued a statement (January 10, 2001), accusing him of being “unaware of the current world order which calls for scientific investigation and not by mere physical look for a successful prosecution of suspects charged with offenses by law enforcement practitioners”. LNP stated further that “considering Dr. Coleman to be one of Liberia’s renowned medical doctors, it is regrettable that he would tend to lend credence to unscientific conclusion of a drive alleged to be drunk while driving simply by his look, in the absence of the use of the appropriate task kids”.

The LNP failed to acknowledge that it is not in all cases that a laboratory test is required to determine that an individual is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In some cases, one can tell by looking at the person. The LNP refuses to acknowledge the problem, yet, it concluded its statement by asserting that “The LNP wishes to assure the public that it is doing everything humanly expedient to measure up with modern law enforcement standards despite the acute financial condition which government is faced with:. What a poor excuse!

It is a matter of public knowledge that the use of drugs has been and still is part of the NPFL/NPP government strategy. The NPFL and other factions that took part in the civil war, used child soldiers stoned on drugs and related substances to carry out the objectives of these warlords, some of which was to terrorize, extort, butcher, rape, plunder and terrify helpless and innocent citizens, especially, women, children and the elderly.

Furthermore, based on the available evidence, the National Patriotic Party government is a key participant in drugs trafficking in the region. For example, in 1997, the Dutch Justice Ministry launched an investigation that linked Taylor, Shaw, and a Dutchman know as the “Godfather of Liberia,” Gus Kowenhoven, the husband of Monique Kowenhoven of Tubmanburg City, Bong County to a drug gangster operating in Monrovia. According to a story printed in one of the Dutch dailies, Het Parool, the Al Capone in the “Tass-investgation” was described by the paper as a ‘veteran hash dealer’.  The investigation revealed that “The African West Coast with Liberia as points of support is being used by S’s (Jack S) gang as a transit station. It is there the mega transports are being transferred into smaller boats”. This gang used business covers to traffic drugs from Liberia to other parts of the world, mainly Europe and the United States. The scheme involved illegal passport issuance, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Due to these activities, Liberia has evolved into a criminal state that has the capacity of extending its influence in the West African sub-region. The solution to this problem can be found in the proposal made by Judd Gregg, the Republic Senator from New Hampshire:

“There can be no peace in Sierra Leone until the strongman of neighboring Liberia, Charles Taylor, is brought to his heel. Taylor never forgave Sierra Leone for serving as a staging area when the United Nations intervened in the civil war in his own country. It was he who basically created the rebel movement in Sierra Leone known as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and (it is) and he who has provided financing, equipment and sanctuary for it. As long as Taylor rules Liberia, Sierra Leone’s anguish will continue… To see justice done, the United States must lead a multinational effort to bring true peace to Sierra Leone. First, Liberian leader Taylor and his criminal gang must go; every feasible effort ought to be made to undermine his rule…”

Regrettably, it is Robbing Hood and his Merrymen that has turned Liberia into “One Nation, Divisible, Without Liberty and Justice.” Our concern is for the government, which Charlie heads to do the right thing for the Liberian people. Why? Because in a democracy, the people are supposed to be governed by their consent. Instead, the Liberian people are being govern by fear, while Taylor and his inner circle of loyalists are engaged in business as usual – repression, corruption, womanizing and having a s0-called good time in the midst of misery.

And if we continue to remain silent, Taylor will continue to dupe us. The first wrong thing we did was to think that by voting for Charlie and his party en masse,  the civil war would have ended, peace and stability restored to the country. Again, Taylor fooled us! Rather than Taylor and his party leadership using the opportunity afforded them by the Liberian people, he and his party leadership have resorted to corruption and dictatorial practices – the practices for which the civil war was waged to save us form.

One doesn’t have to be a fisherman to smell a fish that has gotten rotten from the head. Come to think about it, the Taylor government ranked as the most rotten fish compared to previous governments of Liberia. The Taylor Administration leads every other government in human rights violations, physical abuse, deaths, corruption, criminal activities, disrespect for the rule of law, etc. However, I have resolved not to expect much from someone who still behaves as a warlord. Taylor has turned Liberia into a totalitarian nation where the rule of law is based on the dictates of Machiavellian political philosophy; a philosophy characterized by cunning duplicity, and bad faith.

But little that the Liberian people knew that the road to a lasting peace and democracy would meet with all sorts of roadblocks largely due to Taylor’s insincerity, misconception about democracy and his obligation to the electorate. Instead, Mr. Taylor is exercising (De-Mockery) in place of Democracy.

Since elections and the many promises made, conditions have not gotten any better because “the fish got rotten from the head.” To a greater extent, the situation in Liberian is a reflection of the moral degradation of the leadership. Today, we are witnessing all sorts of censorship and ban imposed by the government and upheld by the legal system to further deny the constitutional rights of the Liberian people. The government and its supporters are becoming more and more intolerant of opposing viewpoint – and are resorting to systematic display of stupidity in the name of power to delay progress. But the most discouraging thing about the plight of the Liberian people, is the current collaboration or marriage of convenience between some former “progressive leaders” and the government in introducing policies of “The Dark Ages” and “The Inquisition,” in which individuals are prosecuted for expressing lawful forms of speech and publication. These undemocratic practices have turned Liberia into a society in which the destruction of personal property, arrest, brutality and the killing of opposition leaders have become a way of life.

The truth of the matter is — those of us that are critical of the government’s policies, do so not because we dislike any official in the government; but “truths in the service of bigotry create falsehood.”  This is what we are bitterly against. We are profoundly disturbed by it. As long as the operation of the government in Liberia is not based on a democratic system of government, there will always be serious disagreements. The government will have to govern according to the wishes of the Liberian people. It cannot continue to use our disagreements as a pretext to charge us with sedition and the lack of patriotism. “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” The people need to know that what is being practiced in Liberia is not Democracy, but rather De-Mockery!

In  short, I am reminded of a story told by former Ambassador Andrew Young during a Democratic National Convention in Madison Square Garden, New York. The story is about a farmer and his two cocks, which on this particular day were traveling to a cockfight for which he had trained them. As he drove on, the cocks began to fight in the back of the truck. They fought until both of them died. When the farmer reached to his destination, he opened the back of the truck and found that both cocks were dead. The farmer stood for a while and said, “Look how pitiful they are. They did not know that they were on the same side.”

This story reminds me of how we in Liberia, along with Robbing Hood and his Merrymen behave on issues our country. Those of us that these Merrymen brand as unpatriotic failed to see that like both cocks — we are on the same side, but the only difference is, we are not engaging in Alzheimer or Waterside Argument rather engaged in discussing in national issues without resorting to name-calling.

Published in the October 15, 2001 Edition of The Perspective.

2001: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

By Somali Intellectuals Forum

Mogadishu, Somalia
July 10, 2003

A drunk who had lost the keys to his home was on his knees looking for them under a street lamp, when a passerby offers to help in the search, but after some time with no success, the passerby asked the drunk, “Where did you lose your keys?” The drunk replied, “outside my front door.” “Then why are we looking for them out here under the street lamp?” asked the passerby. “Because,” replies the passerby, “there is more light here.” The Somali reconciliation conference currently underway in Kenya is being conducted like the search for the drunk’s keys.

Ambassador Bethwell Kiplagat is insisting on the same old formula that failed in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola and many times in Somalia itself. The Ambassador’s formula is let us satisfy the war criminals’ lust for power then peace will reign. Over the objections of the human rights activists, on July 7, 1999 the government of Sierra Leone and the RUF rebels signed a peace agreement brokered by the United Nations, Organization of African Unity (OAU), and ECOWAS, committed the RUF to lay down its arms in exchange for representation in a new government. It also included a general amnesty for all crimes committed during the civil war, and mandated the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission and a national human rights commission. Sankoh, the head of the RUF who was in custody and sentenced to death was offered a place in a coalition government – with control of the diamond mines. The United Nations assembled a new peacekeeping force, and the RUF fighters, along with the other disparate groups of militia brigands, were supposed to integrate with the national army. That delusion came to an abrupt halt when the RUF took several hundred UN soldiers hostage.

Similarly, the civil war in Liberia was brought to an end with the election of Charles Taylor on July 19, 1997 with 75% of the vote. According to Human rights watch ‘the implicit threat that Charles Taylor would resume the fighting if he lost was high on the minds of Liberian voters. Many categorized their vote for the man who had started the war and whose faction had been responsible for widespread atrocities against civilians as “a vote for peace.”‘ With the support of Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and eventually that of President Sani Abacha of Nigeria, Mr. Taylor got the power he killed many Liberians for. Somali warlords are hoping that with a similar formula i.e. the support of Ethiopia they too will taste and revel in the power for which they have killed hundreds of thousands of Somalis.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi should read again this quote from IRIN on 30 Dec 1998 in Abidjan “Liberia said yesterday (Tuesday) it might withdraw from the ECOWAS Committee of Six on Sierra Leone if governments continued to accuse it of arming and feeding RUF rebels.” Just as Mr. Zenawi’s regime is today a member of the IGAD steering committee on Somalia while arming the warlords in Somalia, Mr. Taylor’s was a member of the ECOWAS committee of Six on Sierra Leone while arming the warlords in Sierra Leone. Today, Mr. Taylor is an indicted war criminal for arming and supporting the warlords in Sierra Leone. What a difference a mere four or five years can make!

A government of the warlords, for the warlords, by warlords is unacceptable and will not lead to peace. The warlords Mr. Kiplagat wants to form the Somali government are the same ones who have not respected the ceasefire they have signed in Eldoret on October, 2002. It is about time Mr. Kiplagat learned from the mistakes of Sierra Leone and Liberia and first demand sanctions on the warlords who broke the ceasefire i.e. Col. Abdullahi Yusuf, Mohamed Dheere, Shaatigaduud and Muse Suudi.

Published on the July 10, 2003 Somali Intellectuals Forum.

2003: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

By Siahyonkron Nyanseor

On Tuesday, September 12, 2006, Clark Atlanta University conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree on Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female president. The award ceremony was attended by an estimated 1,900 people, which included the CAU family, a host of local dignitaries, corporate executives and the Liberian Association of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA), headed by its President, Mrs. Sue Yancy-Williams.

The two historical institutions, Atlanta University (founded in 1865) and Clark Collage (founded in 1869) consolidated in 1988 to become Clark Atlanta University (CAU). CAU is the largest of the United Negro College Fund institutions. It has an enrollment of nearly 4,500 students. It is considered the only private, historically black college or university classified as a Research University. CAU is also ranked high among the best buys in American higher education by National business and consumer publications.

The Liberian President, now Dr. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, was invited by the university to serve as the keynote speaker for its fall convocation.

The chairwoman of the university’s Board of Trustees, Juanita Baranco referred to President Johnson Sirleaf as “a strong symbol of courage, perseverance and leadership for men and women all over the world.” Another member of the Trustees highlighted that among the President’s achievements was – in 2006, Forbes magazine named her 51st in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

During President Johnson-Sirleaf’s keynote address, she said, “I am deeply touched by the invitation and the honor bestowed upon me and my country. I am glad to be back in Atlanta,” she told the crowd. In May, President Johnson-Sirleaf came to Georgia to attend the high school graduation of her granddaughter, Jenelle Elsa Sirleaf of Acworth, Georgia.

In her address, she noted that the history of Clark Atlanta University and the history of Republic of Liberia were somewhat similar; Clark Atlanta University was established for educating “Negroes”, while Liberia was established for blacks seeking freedom. She stated that while the intent of establishing Liberia as a place of refuge for blacks was honorable, there were serious injustices that were done to the indigenous population, which eventually led to Liberia’s civil strive.  But in spite of these unfortunate circumstances, Liberians as a people, are determined that “Liberia indeed will rise again!”

She added that education and foreign investment are crucial to rebuilding the nation, which was devastated by the civil wars, and that the government is working to rebuild the schools that were destroyed and to educate Liberian young people, many of whom never attended school during the civil wars.

According to her, “No country in the world has ever developed without an educated work force. Those countries that function best have gender equity through equal access to education.”

She called on CAU and American leaders to help by providing scholarships for Liberians to study in America and to support such initiatives that will enable Americans to work and teach in Liberia.

Liberia is a country with long historical ties with the United States. It was established in the 1820s as a home of refuge for blacks who were declared undesirable, therefore, not needed in the United States. Today, the U.S. is the country’s top partner, responsible for restructuring the country’s army and security.

President Johnson-Sirleaf appealed to Atlanta’s business community that, the country’s “Open Door” policy and abundant natural resources, i.e., gold, diamonds, forests and iron ore could provide mutual benefits for investors as well as her country.

Published in the September 13, 2006 Edition of The Perspective.

2006: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

By Siahyonkron Nyanseor

January 19, 2001

The greatness of America has come from it being a beacon of hope for the helpless and the deprived on the one hand, and the brightest minds and the most talented on the other hand. America has offered hope and opportunity to many immigrants. The Irish came from Ireland during the great potato famine of 1840s, the Jews emigrated from Europe during and after the 2nd World War, the English escaped a depressed English economy in the 1700s to a land that offer a chance for the future. But Africans were forcibly brought to these shores against their will. They worked from dawn to dusk to create wealth for a nation that has denied them freedom and opportunity.

Now that they have been here (in America) for a period over 400 years, they too, would like to be treated like any other American whose ancestors worked to make this nation what it is today. But this is not how William Safire, the New York Times Columnist sees their plight. According to him: “The biggest gamble of the past election was made by the African-American leadership. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sponsored the most extremist ad attacking Republicans since LBJ’s discredited “daisy spot” of 1964. The Rev. Jesse Jackson went all out to paint the GOP as a hotbed of reaction and its standard-bearer as a danger to the hopes and jobs of black Americans.”

Andrew Carnegie, the wealthiest of multimillionaires of his time, once said “Put all of your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.” Robert G. Allen, the author of “Nothing Down” and “Creating Wealth,” transformed Carnegie’s statement in Wealth Principle Number 3 (Don’t Diversify. Concentrate All of Your Eggs in the Right Basket). According to him, Carnegie understood the basic principle of wealth. In a way, blacks too, have learned from the experience to put all of their eggs in one basket (Democrat) and concentrate, because the Democratic Party basket has served their interest.

But the party of Abraham Lincoln, which supposedly free the slaves and became the party for Blacks during the Reconstruction, failed to seek and promote African American causes, ­instead, the politics and policies of the Republican Party blamed African Americans for almost all of the ills of the American society and have denied them the gains (like Affirmative Action, the rights to vote, etc.) that they have achieved through “blood, sweat and tears”. And one does not have to be a Nuclear Scientist to be able to choose his friends from among his enemies, even animals’ lower class have this ability. And whenever the Republicans show genuine interest and concern in the affairs of African Americans, they will diversify.

Moreover, to the African Americans, the Republican Party is like the Tanzanian proverb says: “A good thing sells itself; a bad thing advertises itself for sale”.

In short, one like Safire is caught up in his conservative idealism until he fails to understand the black perspective and the practical implication in the statement that Bush made when the whole world was watching and listening. Blacks in the Third World and here in America have had bitter experience with U.S. domestic and foreign policies. So, when Bush said that Africa would not be a foreign policy priority in his administration, African Americans, the continent of Africa and blacks in general had to look to the candidate that could best serve their interest.

Despite President-elect Bush’s selection of two African Americans, Condoleezza Rice to run his National Security Council and retired Gen. Colin Powell to be Secretary of State, it has done little to assuage the fear that his administration will not ignore Africa.

Joseph Ahwa Laryea, Ghana’s deputy foreign minister, called the appointments “an honor and great relief for the black race. However, we’ll like to see whether it is not cosmetic or symbolic,” while Dr. Stanley Macebuh, an aide to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, said Africa should abandon hopes of close ties with a Bush administration.

Why can’t African Americans’ critics see their point of view? All African Americans have fought for and continued to fight for is to be treated like any other America. But unlike others, they had to fight for everything that they have achieved through the courts.

With history as their best teacher, it reminds them that they do not need Safire to tell them (Africans or African Americans) the way they should respond to Bush’s comment. As a people, they have suffered the worse humiliation that no other race of people has ever suffered. These are experiences, the likes of William Safire, J. C. Watts and Clarence Thomas of the Republican Party wants them to ignore and forget.

It should be noted that four hundred years ago, their ancestors were brought to these shores against their will, accorded the worse type of treatment that was not even reserved for beasts; forced to work the land of their masters without compensation, under the worse of conditions that ever visited upon any human being. They were sold like cattle, with tags attached to their bodies in the market place; their mothers forced to breed more commodity to increase the wealth of their masters. Yet, it never dawn on their oppressors that since they were all humans, they could be related. But instead, they were distinguished on the basis of their features and the color of their skin.

How can a nation supposedly established on the basis of the inalienable rights of man, subject other people to the same inhumane practices from which they escaped to seek freedom? Believing in a sacred document to “Hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal;” but when it concerned their ancestors, those same truths could not be applied. Instead, they were referred to as property and three-fifths humans in the US Constitution. And to justify this cruel act of slavery, they were considered uncivilized and inferior, the same excuse that was provided in order to hunt Native Americans and showcase their heads as trophies.

It had to take a civil war and thousands of lives lost between the North and South before a Proclamation was to finally admit that slavery was unjust. But the many promises made on behalf of blacks were never honored, the 40 acres and a mule and Freedom from Harassment Acts. Instead, a new conspiracy to keep blacks oppress took roots, beginning from Reconstruction to Jim Crow and the Separate but Equal Laws that violated the very foundation the Proclamation stood on.

Having been denied true emancipation and integration, their ancestors were not considered citizens. They were taxed without representation, and denied access to education too. But when they were finally allowed to enter through few doors of opportunity, they were used as experiments. Even when their fathers and brothers died in wars to liberate Europe, they were refused burial rights in the same cemetery with whites because of the color of their skin.

The same holds true today because they are being blamed for crimes, drugs, welfare, you name it. How cruel can a nation be to a people that have suffered the worst kind of crime ever committed against humanity? And yet, it continues to be argued that they are inferior and that whites are superior! But the question that has yet to be answered is – if whites are so SUPERIOR and blacks are that INFERIOR, why goes through all the trouble to make LAWS to OPPRESS only them?

This is one question I would like for William Safire, J. C. Watts, Clarence Thomas, the Republican Party and those who think like them to answer. Why can’t they view slavery in the same way, they view the Jewish Holocaust? Like the Jews, blacks too, cannot take things for granted or leave their plight to chance. For example, reparation for the ancestors of slaves, is a topic the US government does not want to address. Yet, the government has compensated other groups of people they have wronged.

Salih Booker, Director of both The Africa Fund in New York and the Africa Policy Information Center in Washington recently wrote:

“Africa did not make his [George W.] short list: the Middle East, Europe, the Far East, and the Americas. A Bush presidency portends a return to the blatantly antiAfrican policies of the Reagan-Bush years, characterized by a general disregard for black people and a perception of Africa as a social welfare case. Vice President Dick Cheney is widely expected to steer the younger Bush on most policy matters especially foreign affairs. Cheney’s perspective on Africa in the 1980s was epitomized by his 1986 vote in favor of keeping Nelson Mandela in prison and his consistent opposition to sanction against apartheid South Africa.

In Africa, a Bush White House will likely concentrate on helping its oil industry friends reap maximum profits with minimum constraints, and it will have absolutely no sense of responsibility for past American misadventures, or for global problems like AIDS or refugees. But events and activism in Africa plus grassroots pressure in the U.S. and internationally could change all of that, as it did during the White House tenure of the last Republican Africaphobe.

However, thank God this is America! Blacks as Americans, will have their say in Bush’s America. He has to deal with African American issues, one way or the other because in Bush’s America, Blacks too, are Americans!

Published in the January 19, 2001 Edition of The Perspective.

2001: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive

By Siahyonkron Nyanseor

The “Power of Prayers” sounds good to the ears of listeners. However, in order to understand it, we need to first understand the word – POWER. If I may ask – what is POWER? Based on the definition provided by Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, POWER is the capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect; the ability to act or produce an affect or mental or moral efficacy.
Power than can be utilized if we turn it into a proper direction, and if we collect it to one place, when we keep lens in sunlight and focus it on a paper, paper start burning, that is a small example power of rays (sunlight). It is safe to say, in this universe everything has its own power, but the thing is how we utilize it, is what counts. For example, if we pray to God, we first understand who is God, What the prayer is, why we are praying.

I am reminded of the statement that reads, “Never ever underestimate the power of prayers”. Whether it is Jehovah, Allah, Nyesua or Glepor you pray to, your prayers will be answered. Through prayers, the Supreme Being that we worship responds to our needs.  It is through prayers, we communicate with GOD.

According to recorded history, human beings have been praying for as long as humanity has existed. Rich or poor, literate or illiterate, the urge to pray is equally present in all. W.M. Urban described this as follows:

“In wandering over the earth, you can find cities without walls, without science, without rulers, without palaces, without treasures, without money, without gymnasium or theatre, but a city without temples to gods, without prayer, oaths and prophecy, such a city no mortal has ever seen and will never see.” (W.M. Urban, Humanity and Deity, p. 15)

The problem with humanity has to do with our various doctrines in explaining the desire of the GOD that created ALL of us in His image; but in their attempt to do so; some of these individuals or institutions profess to be godlier than others. A good example is the atrocities suffered by Africans, Native Americans and other indigenous people in the name of religion.

This approach was not necessary, because “Religions are different roads converging upon the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the same goals”, says Mahatma Gandhai.

Since the urge to pray is universal in character and crosses racial, cultural and religious boundaries, we might want to know the essence of prayer; the meaning of prayer; what is the purpose of prayer? What effect prayer has on individuals who pray? Or what effect prayer has on society?

The answers to the questions above are more important than the form of prayer itself. When we pray, what really happens to us? The prayer normally consists of reciting some words and possibly some body movements. This is true in all religions—only the forms may be different. Do the words have any effect on the individuals who pray? From the study of Psychology, we know that words have powerful effect on individuals as well as people. But for that to happen, it is necessary that words are clearly understood and their meaning and context fully comprehended. This ensures that the mind actively participates in the prayer also along with the body. Without this, the prayer will become a somatic routine, regardless of how much piety is attached to it from outside.

Thus we see that prayer has a very deep connection with the mind. But this mind-body connection, although made sincerely, should not be superficial that only produces a placebo effect. This has to be real. And a real connection can be established only when the power and the meaning of prayer activate the mind’s cognitive faculty. The so called doctors of religions, on the other hand, have perpetuated a myth which keeps people satisfied by performing the act of prayer without trying to establish this mental cognitive connection.

Prayer is related to purity of heart. As we forgive others, God perpetually forgives us. Forgiveness is one of the deepest parts of love because it is one of the most difficult to give. But anger is devastating to prayer. The prayers of children are extremely powerful; because their faith is pure.

During prayer,  we are suppose to surrender our problem entirely to God; be humble; forgive all of our enemies; have faith; do not doubt; thank God in advance and praise Him, and pray from the heart.

This summed up in Katherine Kehler’s article, “Reason to Pray. According to her,

  • · We pray to have fellowship with God
  • · We Pray to Follow Christ’s Example
  • · Prayer is Vital to Spiritual Maturity
  • · Prayer Brings Results
  • Prayer does change things and the
  • Scripture clearly teaches that prayer can even change the course of history

In Proverbs 15:8 we read that the prayer of the upright is God’s delight. Revelation 3:20 tells us the result of asking Jesus Christ into our lives is having fellowship with Him. The Westminster Catechism teaches that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. What an honor and privilege to have fellowship with the King of Kings!

Sometimes we make the Christian life so complicated. We read so many books and hear so many messages on prayer that our head spins with information. But I find when I go back to the Gospels and find out what Jesus did, my thoughts come back to God’s perspective. Praying was important to Jesus. Luke 5:16 tell us that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. The very Son of God made prayer a priority even though His day was filled from morning until night. If the Son of God was so dependent on fellowship with God the Father, how much more should we?

Prayer involves talking to God and God talking to us through His Word and His Spirit. Just as we need food to keep well physically, we need spiritual food to keep growing spiritually. We can miss a meal and not feel any ill effects, but if we go without food for a week, we begin to weaken. We can go one day without feeding on God’s Word or praying and not suffer any apparent effects. But if we continue this practice, we will become undernourished spiritually, losing the strength to live a victorious life for Christ and to maintain the boldness necessary for a vital witness for Christ.

Find below a sampling of various prayers by believers in the Almighty Creator:

Hindu Prayer for Peace

Oh God, lead us from the
unreal to the Real.
Oh God, lead us from darkness to light.
Oh God, lead us from death to immortality.
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all.
Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in
celestial regions.
May there be peace on Earth.
May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome, and may trees
plants bring peace to all. May all beneficent
beings bring peace to us.
May thy Vedic Law propagate peace all
through the world.
May all things be a source of peace to us.
And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all
and may that peace come to me also.

Muslim Prayer for Peace

In the name of Allah,
the beneficent, the merciful.
Praise be to the Lord of the
Universe who has created us and
made us into tribes and nations
that we may know each other, not that
we may despise each other.
If the enemy incline towards peace, do
thou also incline towards peace, and
trust God, for the Lord is the one that
heareth and knoweth all things.
And the servants of God,
Most gracious are those who walk on
the Earth in humility, and when we
address them, we say “PEACE.”

St. Francis’ Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love
Where there is injury . . . pardon
Where there is doubt . . . faith
Where there is despair . . .hope
Where there is darkness . . . light
Where there is sadness . . .joy
Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled . . .as to console
To be understood . . .as to understand,
To be loved . . . as to love
For it is in giving . . .that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned,
It is in dying . . .that we are born to eternal life
Baha’i Prayer for Peace

Be generous in prosperity,
and thankful in adversity.
Be fair in judgment,
and guarded in thy speech,
be a lamp unto those who walk
in darkness, and a home
to the stranger.
Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light
unto the feet of the erring
be a breath of life to the body of
humankind, a dew to the soil of
the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility.

Buddhist Prayer for Peace

May all beings everywhere plagued
with sufferings of body and mind
quickly be freed from their illnesses.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending
one another.
May those who find themselves in trackless,
fearful wilderness—
the children, the age, the unprotected–
be guarded by beneficial celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood

Christian Prayer for Peace

Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS,
for they shall be known as
the Children of God.
But I say to you that hear, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you
pray for those who abuse you.
To those that strike you on the cheek,
offer the other one also,
and from those who take away your cloak,
do not withhold your coat as well.
Give to everyone who begs from you,
and of those who take away your goods,
do not ask for them again.
And as you wish that others would do to you,
do so to them.

Sikh Prayer for Peace

God adjudges us according
to our deeds,
not the coat that we wear:
that Truth is above everything,
but higher still is truthful living.
Know that we attaineth God when we loveth,
and only victory
endures in consequences of which no
one is defeated.

Native American Prayer for Peace

Almighty God, the Great
Thumb we cannot evade to
tie any knot;
the Roaring Thunder that splits mighty trees:
the all-seeing Lord up on high who sees
even the footprints of an antelope on
a rock mass here on Earth.
You are the one who does
not hesitate to respond to our call.
You are the cornerstone of peace.

African Prayer of Faith

In the beginning was God,
Today is God,
Tomorrow will be God.
Who can make an image of God?
He has no body.
He is the word,
Which comes out of your mouth.
That word!
It is no more,
It is past, and still it lives!
So is God.

So why do we really pray?

Religious leaders are very particular to mention—and rightly so, that it occupies a central place in religion. But their emphasis is more on the act of prayer rather than its spirit and purpose. Performing the act of prayer is an end in itself to them. Religious leaders do not emphasize the fact that prayer is a means to achieve some concrete goals in life. This aspect of prayer is normally overlooked and consequently the prayer becomes a soulless ritual done primarily to please God and for individual personal salvation in the hereafter. In other words, they do not want people to find out the true essence and meaning of prayer in order to revive it.

A simple, conventional answer may be that we pray because our forefathers have been praying and told us to pray, just as we tell our children to pray. Or that we pray because God has asked us to pray. But for many people who are sincerely searching for a more meaningful answer, this may not be satisfactory. First of all, God has given us freedom of choice for everything, including prayer. So we do not have to pray if we do not want to. In fact, in good times, most of us don’t. Only when some personal tragedy strikes (or when we reach old age) that many of us start praying regularly.

Thus, we see that there seems to be no single reason as to why people pray. Everyone can come up with his or her own answer and feel satisfied. In fact, this is what we normally do. But as we mentioned before, the answer that transcends space, time, circumstance and human emotion can only come from God. Therefore, it has become a tradition or a practice to say:

Dear Lord, we come before you

on this day you made possible,

for us to offer you our prayer of thanksgiving.

And for giving us this opportunity, to serve you.

Lord, dear you God

in whom we believe, and place my trust

for which, we have no reason to worry

about the trappings of the world.

Especially so, about what we will eat

or clothe our bodies with and put over our heads.

Because we know for a fact that if you can provide

for the ravens, who can neither sow or reap

nor have storehouse or barn,

but yet, you meet their needs each and every day

you can do the same for us.

Therefore, we have no need to worry

about my own needs.

Dear Almighty God,

we pray this prayer of thanksgiving to you

for being so good to us and our place of birth;

and in spite of  our many shortcomings

you continued to love us just the way we are.

You knew before we were born,

the trouble we had in store for you.

Yet, you went on anyway

to put us together carefully

into my mothers’ wombs,

so unique and different

from others you created.

You cared for us since;

in spite of  our shortcomings.

You did not stop there;

yet you promised to protect and guide us

throughout difficult times.

Even when we did all the wrong things

that were not pleasing to you,

you stuck to your words

by carrying us along the by-ways

and the highways of this world,

in good times as well as in bad times.

We have come to realize that it was you all along

who pointed us in the path of righteousness;

to walk past the Valley of Death and to fear no evil.

For Thy has been with us in spirit

And it was your voice all along that said to us:

“With power from me I will make my people strong.

In fact, they will go whenever they wish

wherever they wish, and wherever they go

they will be under my personal care.”

Father, we are glad to be a living testament

of your unconditional love and power.

So, we thank you for granting us peace, understanding

and most of all, for us to remain humble in our undertakings

Because we remember you saying,

“All who humble themselves before the Lord

shall be given every blessings

and shall have wonderful peace.”

With peace and love, we’ll be able to do Thy will

To stay away from complaining, argument and jealousy.

For wherever there is jealousy or selfish ambition,

there will be disorder and every kind of evil.

So give us patience to learn to get along happily

At least, to be content in most situations.

For we came naked from our mothers’ wombs,

and with nothing we shall return when we leave this earth.

So Lord, we promised each and every day

to live by your Golden Rules;

to consider others as better than us

Instead of paying back evil for evil like before;

we will do as your Son taught us to do

love our enemies as we love ourselves.

For love forgets mistakes;

it is kind and it keeps no record of wrongdoings.

Therefore, when the going gets rough

it is from you we seek help and advice;

and as usual, you instruct us to wait patiently; not to fret

and worry because it will only leads us in harm’s way

But draw from Job’s experience

and see how our plan will turn out.

It usually turns out the way you say it would

So thank you once more for your tender loving care.

From here on, we promise never to criticize anyone,

no matter how much wrong they may have caused us

We will remain faithful to what you have taught us

By continuing to love those who despise us.

For you have made us to understand

not to judge those who despise us

instead,  to obey your commandments.

Because it is only you who is fit to be the judge

So thank you Father for overlooking our faults

and for making everything impossible, possible for us.

“For everything there is a season,

and a time for every matter under heaven;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Now we know and appreciate all that you’ve taught us.

Therefore, we come before you this day with joy in our hearts

to offer you this our prayer of thanksgiving

for the goodness and mercy you have shown us.

Words alone are inadequate to list all that you’ve done for us

Including the countless times you have rescued us.

So Lord, we ask that you remain our refuge!

Please don’t let us fall flat on our face again!

Save us from ourselves and enemies;

For you are the only one who is able to answer our prayers.

Rescue us from the temptations of this world

So have mercy on us our Lord and Savior;

you have brought us this far,

and have been too good to us!

For this and the many miracles

you have performed on our behalf;

we ask that you accept our prayer of thanksgiving

for all that you’ve done and continued to do for us.

Amen!

Our Prayer of Thanksgiving by Siahyonkron Nyanseor

© Copyright – December 25, 2006: Siahyonkron Nyanseor

All Rights Reserved

2006: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive