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Ancestral Rights in Liberia

Mr. Jones:

Good day. I find your article most intriguing. As a Liberian, born in the United States when my parents were here attending University in the early 1950's, I find your interest in facilitating the constitutional mandate that removed Africans living in America and elsewhere in the black diaspora be allowed, upon demand, Liberian citizenship.

I am no constitutional scholar. I hope and believe that your objective is honorable as well as honest. However, before bringing into the fray, some international court of mediation, have you asked the or considered asking the Government of Liberia to look into what you're asking for? Or at least, ask them to set up an exploratory panel of Liberians to look into the claim you're making (based on your interpretation of the Liberian Constitution)?

I believe that the complement of the people currently in Liberia and those arriving from other shores could do a lot to bolster the redevelopment of Liberia. However, this could be a process that may have broad-based impact on all aspects of Liberian life, culture, society, history, etc. A hasty decision based on what was written in the early constitution could be very detrimental to a frail country. The need for a careful re-evaluation of the Liberian constitution and the impact such a program could have on the Liberian people and country must be address before any such actions are instituted. I am sure, if what you say about the constitution is correct, and that our ancestors meant it as a means of recruiting persons of color to help in the development of a young African republic. Did they however mean that this should be a infinite invitation to people of color without limitation? What if, hypothetically, after much nation building, Liberia miraculously turned into a Utopia of sorts that everyone (of color and not) decided they wanted to come become a part of? Could 43,000 square miles accommodate everyone? These are some of the things that come to mind when I think of what you suggest.

I believe this, which you are suggesting, requires some serious consideration on the part of the Liberian government and people. I believe in the sprit of brotherhood, we should not make this a topic that creates animosity between those already in Liberia and those wishing to come live, work and help develop Liberia.

Your point is well taken and appreciated. I hope that our people, once settled after the upcoming October elections, find the time necessary to ponder what you suggest.

Yours very truly,

Julius L. Weeks
202.879.3419 Direct Dial
202.879.3939 Main
202.626.1700 Fax
jlweeks@jonesday.com

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