Kiiton Press

My Mandingo Friends

 Dr. Nya Kwiawon Taryor, Sr. speaking to his Mandingo Friends
On 12th July 2009, I delivered an address to an audience that had gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA to memorialize the massacre of over 300 residents of Barkiedou--a town in the Quardu Gboni (now) District occupied predominantly by members of the Mandingo ethnic group.  This brutal massacre was carried out by fighters of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) under the command of Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor on July 12, 1990.  The Quardu Gboni Mandingo Association in America (QGMAA) has resolved to hold an annual memorial service for relatives that were killed in cold blood on that fateful day.  There was a full house at this occasion.  They were not only Mandingo people, there were people from all over the country.  

The white outfit I am wearing at this occasion was given to me in 1979 in Conakry, Guinea, by the late President Ahmed Sékou Touré;  when I was forced into Exile in Guinea during the Rice Riot in Liberia that year.  The President and his brother, Siaka Touré, were my gracious hosts.  After a month at the Police Barrack  at Mammadu Bourogh, I was transferred to the villa in which the late President Kwame Nkrumah was living before he died. Two days before I returned to Liberia after staying in Guinea for 3 months, President Touré took me to the Palais du' Peuplé  and introduced me to the party members and told them that I (Taryor) was  their guest from Liberia, and he would have wished for me to stay in Guinea to work for the party; but my people were requesting for me to come back and if I did not return, there would be no OAU meeting that year in Liberia.  And since it was his (Sékou Touré's) time to be the President of the OAU that year, he did not want to miss that opportunity.  Upon sending me back,  I had dinner with his brother, wife, and a few of his party members at his house during which time he offered me the outfit I am now wearing after 30 years.  For me this is a special treasure to keep as long as I live.  President Sékou Touré asked me to return to Guinea any time I wanted to do so,  to work for the PDG party. I never went back to Guinea before his death in 1984. He was the President of Guinea from 1958 to his death in 1984.  Here is Ahmed Sékou Touré in Paris.

To read the entire script of my speech, on this occasion,  please click here below.

The Love of Unity, Reconciliation, Peace and Progress Brought Us Here.

Members of this audience comprised of officers and members of the Quardu Gboni Mandingo Association in America, and several Liberian Ethnic and Regional Associations. The Mandingo Associations represented included the LIMAP, LIMANY, and FELMAUSA.  ULAA was also represented. There were officers and members of the Grand Gedeh Association, the United Nimba Citizens' Council (UNICCO), the Agape African Senior Citizens' Center, and the African Islamic Community Center. The Liberia Consul General was present.  This was a full audience with cross sections of people from all over Liberia and the United States of America.

After the speech, I was congratulated by members of the audience with some warm hand shakes the Liberian style.  There were many "thank you" expressions of Ɓàlìka, Ɓàlìka, Ɓàlìka.

The man with the round black and white hat is Faliku J. Konneh II.  He was my contact person during the preparation of this program.  He is a wonderful and knowledgeable man.  He and his team of program coordinators made this occasion a real success.

(joke--He promised a Mandingo wife if I converted to a Muslin).
This was a celebration and solemn reminder that what happened in  Barkiedou--a town in the Quardu Gboni (district) should have never happened and should never happen again under any circumstance.  The commemoration of this day should be a yearly reminder that our people should always be united in love, unity, reconciliation, peace and move forword for progress.


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