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Ebola: Liberia’s President Pens Heartfelt Letter to the World

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In the midst of the Ebola outbreak currently plaguing Liberia, the country’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has written a moving letter to the world, imploring communities of the world to join forces to fight against the deadly disease.

The Independent reports that the letter was read over the radio and transmitted worldwide:

Dear World,
In just over six months, Ebola has managed to bring my country to a standstill. We have lost over 2,000 Liberians. Some are children struck down in the prime of their youth. Some were fathers, mothers, brothers or best friends. Many were brave health workers that risked their lives to save others, or simply offer victims comfort in their final moments…

There is no coincidence Ebola has taken hold in three fragile states – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – all battling to overcome the effects of interconnected wars. In Liberia, our civil war ended only eleven years ago. It destroyed our public infrastructure, crushed our economy and led to an exodus of educated professionals. A country that had some 3,000 qualified doctors at the start of the war was dependent by its end on barely three dozen. In the last few years, Liberia was bouncing back. We realized there was a long way to go, but the future was looking bright.Now Ebola threatens to erase that hard work. Our economy was set to be larger and stronger this year, offering more jobs to Liberians and raising living standards. Ebola is not just a health crisis – across West Africa, a generation of young people risk being lost to an economic catastrophe as harvests are missed, markets are shut and borders are closed.The virus has been able to spread so rapidly because of the insufficient strength of the emergency, medical and military services that remain under-resourced and without the preparedness to confront such a challenge. This would have been the case whether the confrontation was with Ebola, another infectious disease, or a natural disaster.But one thing is clear. This is a fight in which the whole world has a stake. This disease respects no borders. The damage it is causing in West Africa, whether in public health, the economy or within communities – is already reverberating throughout the region and across the world.The international reaction to this crisis was initially inconsistent and lacking in clear direction or urgency. Now finally, the world has woken up.

The community of nations has realized they cannot simply pull up the drawbridge and wish this situation away.This fight requires a commitment from every nation that has the capacity to help – whether that is with emergency funds, medical supplies or clinical expertise.I have every faith in our resilience as Liberians, and our capacity as global citizens, to face down this disease, beat it and rebuild. History has shown that when a people are at their darkest hour, humanity has an enviable ability to act with bravery, compassion and selflessness for the benefit of those most in need.From governments to international organisations, financial institutions to NGOs, politicians to ordinary people on the street in any corner of the world, we all have a stake in the battle against Ebola. It is the duty of all of us, as global citizens, to send a message that we will not leave millions of West Africans to fend for themselves against an enemy that they do not know, and against whom they have little defence.The time for talking or theorizing is over. Only concerted action will save my country, and our neighbours, from experiencing another national tragedy. The words of Henrik Ibsen have never been truer: “A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed.

Yours sincerely,
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

25 Comments

  1. Kiks

    October 20, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Greatly inspired by this woman. her words have more depth than shown on this site. We should stand in for each other for our own good

    • Gorgeous

      October 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      It is obvious she has lost control of her country and cannot manage this crisis. She needs to step down as president and let a more capable person handle the crisis and save Liberia from itself. Seems like Liberia is fast becoming a country that always needs to be saved from catastrophes. Madam Sirleaf, too much story. Please step down. Though we know African leaders will rather die on the seat. I wonder why your country men have not forced you out.

    • Fre

      October 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      What are you on about???
      Such usual Nigerian mediocre thinking displayed in your comment.
      PS: I’m referring to your comment, not you

    • Olaotan Oladitan

      October 29, 2014 at 8:53 am

      NO! She has already proven her competence as a capable leader and technocrat long before now, and the country was well on the way to recovery. It’s easy to lay blame in the midst of catastrophe, but what she needs is assistance.

      Did you realize Liberia has only 1 doctor and 27 nurses for every 100,000 people before this incident and you can count the reputable hospitals with your fingers. Be happy Nigeria never went through the kind of war, brain drain, collapse in infrastructure and resources that Liberia went through.

      Besides, what magic do you expect someone else to have done asides what the woman has been doing to manage the crisis (or should Winston Churchill too have resigned during the German Blitzkrieg in World War 2?). A typical African (male) leader would have let his ego get in the way long before now, and not realized a desperate plea for assistance is sometimes the most pragmatic move.

      It’s nice to always remain critical, but let’s be realistic abeg

  2. Kiks

    October 20, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Greatly inspired by this woman. Her words are throbbing and it is about time we all stood out for each other. Africa needs to rise

  3. opsykinkyop

    October 20, 2014 at 5:48 am

    May God help us all.

  4. Iris

    October 20, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Nigeria needs to step in. Africa needs to step in. This is just awful.

  5. udemedia

    October 20, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Touching story

  6. Jane

    October 20, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Wow…this is a lot for a woman to carry. Speechless. Oh Lord take control because the ‘world’ does not want to help.

    US refused to send zmapp to Liberia. And even when a Liberian with ebola was in US, they refused to treat him and he died.

    A difficult, lonely road…

    Nigerwifediary.blogspot.com

    • Suwa

      October 20, 2014 at 9:44 am

      The world needs to see this as a fight for all, a stitch in time saves nine because this virus will continue and stretch to other nations that feel immune…. Jane you are obviously ignorant and dont read the news…. The US exhausted Zmapp and sent practically all to Liberia for their health workers and a lot survived and a few still died, the Liberian that took the virus to America was a liar and that was what contributed to his end…They are mobilizing 3000 health workers in the military to go fight Ebola in Liberia right now, one of the Liberian ministers also stated his ignorance like you and said they dont need guns, they need health workers, he didnt understand that the military is not just for fighting wars so read before you write down your ignorance….The rest of the world e.g Europe which has resources needs to get more involved to fight the disease

  7. papermoon

    October 20, 2014 at 8:42 am

    we all must help #singledeed,notathousandwords#

  8. Grown Woman

    October 20, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Oh My God i feel for Liberians…people see them now as a Virus and not humans anymore.Jesus please take the wheel.I just hope this Zmapp will be available.I wonder how Uganda used to overcome this disease without spreading this vast.

  9. blackcoffee

    October 20, 2014 at 10:16 am

    well she has spoken well,that’s all we get from this wicked woman with the heart of an evil spirit,she’s asking for more money to enrich her family and friends,what have they done with the little that was given our country,poor health workers are risking their lives just cause they love this country but what do they get in return nothing,it is Ellen and her friends that are enjoying everything.you will not know till you are in Liberia.this woman is the worst thing that ever happened to Liberia

    • Femme de l'Avenir

      October 20, 2014 at 10:38 am

      While I won’t subscribe to calling the woman names, I kinda agree with you in many ways. From the day Nigeria became introduced to Ebola through Patrick Sawyer, I’ve read thoroughly on and still follow updates of this disease. It surprises me that the Government of Liberia let it get this out of control. A country with strong ties with America??? I question Sirleaf’s role as well as her agenda as president of her country, I’ve always that felt that perhaps she wasn’t honest and initially hid the intensity of the scourge of this disease on her country. Now IMO she’s doing what she should have done months ago. I agree that this is a global fight but Sirleaf has in her own way contributed to the spread of Ebola through her lackadaisical handling of this public health problem within her own country.

    • AW

      October 20, 2014 at 11:57 am

      I question your logic that because Liberia has “strong ties with the US” therefore it is expected that the US would have helped Liberia combat Ebola. We, we no get strong ties with the UK? Have they helped us with Boko haram? My dear strong ties no concern those people, dem no send! Right now, it’s the Grace of God that would help. Some liberians are not helping matters by helping to transport the virus across borders. This action is enough for people to withhold what ever sympathy they had for Liberia. Abi people no dey Serria Leone or guinea that can get on a plane? Those people have respected themselves and sat at home. But no! Liberians must waka.

    • Concerned_Boyfriend

      October 20, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      Not only was your attempt to juxtapose the two countries folly, it was also unfair on Liberia. If you didn’t read the heartfelt plea, at least you’d agree that her country was just coming out of a long and a brutal civil war. Liberia lost everything in that war – infrastructures and human capital. They don’t have the resource to mobilize like Nigeria to curtail the spread of the diseases. Please let’s be fair and rationale in our criticism lest we put our ignorance in full display.

  10. KILETE DENNIS DIONIN

    October 20, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Thanks mama.
    Tell the world.

  11. ak

    October 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Please this woman should sharrap.

    Her OWN SON, a medical doctor, just flew his entire team OUT of Liberia, back to the US.

    In the middle of Ebola crisis.

    But here she is calling on international community to assist her.

    When will AFRICA learn?!? What message does that send? You want other medical personell to risk their lives, yet your own son- who is a doctor- can’t risk his own life?

    That’s what happens when people choose a profession just for the sake of choosing it. What a disgrace. Mrs Johnson will do well to show her son Mr William Pooley- the nurse who CONTRACTED EBOLA, recovered, and is back there doing his work! SMH

    • CovertNigerian

      October 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Is she somehow directly responsible for these alleged actions of her adult son? A plea for volunteers is not misplaced regardless of what her son has chosen to do. Unless you can demonstrate that he wanted to serve and she actively prevented him from doing so, you haven’t offered a valid criticism of the president, maybe of her son and even then only maybe.

  12. D

    October 20, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    This is not the time to start pointing fingers or crying over spilled milk. I don’t want it takes to be a president and my knowledge of the Liberian government is very much limited but what I know is that we cannot let this disease wipe out any entire nation before doing something. I may not be bold enough to go to Liberia / Sierra Leone /Guinea but what little I can do in my own little corner of the world, I will do. if it is showing up to pack food to be shipped to those countries then it is better than sitting back and calling someone names or pointing fingers. This is not about one person or what we feel about one or a few people it is about innocent citizens dying on a daily basis. Ebola is here and it is real, it is no propaganda as opposed to what some uneducated people are saying. yes it will take the world standing up and choosing to do something. Yes, Liberians, the people of Sierra Leone and Guinea need to lead the way. The rest of us should DO SOMETHING!!! by something I mean more than just talking about it the problem.

  13. D

    October 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    ****I don’t know what it takes to be a president******

  14. Tunmi

    October 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I truly do not know much about her or her work as president but I must say she writes a hell of a lot better than Naija’s own.

  15. Cocobutter

    October 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    God please heal all those with the Ebola virus, and let us all help in any way that we can to eradicate this disease. For all those who have lost loved ones to Ebola, may God grant you the strength and fortitude to bear their loss.

  16. jake ro

    October 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    That is one reason that no matter how bad people view the USA, I still prefer to deal or work with them.the Europeans you can never trust.when the going gets tough , they always step back and do as if that problem does not exist., yet when it is issue of economics you see them there criticizing the US and trying hard to get whatever it is for themselves without working for it,

  17. ATL's finest

    October 21, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I am so PROUD of her for seeking help! this is how U do it. I wish Pres. Jonathan will learn from this. Maybe if he had asked for help with the missing girls, life would have made more sense and be better for those kids.

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