LIBERIJA – LIBERIA

Centar Monrovije-The centre of Monrovia

Centar Monrovije-The centre of Monrovia

Izlazak iz dzamije-Exiting the mosque

Izlazak iz dzamije-Exiting the mosque

Mala dzamija na putu-A small mosque on a road

Mala dzamija na putu-A small mosque on a road

Obnova masonskog hrama u Monroviji-Masonic temple renovation in Monrovia

Obnova masonskog hrama u Monroviji-Masonic temple renovation in Monrovia

Pre skole peva se himna-Singing the national anthem before school

Pre skole peva se himna-Singing the national anthem before school

Puste liberijske plaze-Deserted Liberian beaches

Puste liberijske plaze-Deserted Liberian beaches

Ravnoteza-A perfect balance

Ravnoteza-A perfect balance

Spomenik prvom Velikom majstoru na ulazu u hram-A monument of the first Grand Master at the entrance to the temple

Spomenik prvom Velikom majstoru na ulazu u hram-A monument of the first Grand Master at the entrance to the temple

Ulicne finansije-Street finance dealings

Ulicne finansije-Street finance dealings

Zena sa bebom na ledjima-A woman carrying a baby on her back

Zena sa bebom na ledjima-A woman carrying a baby on her back

Zene su dragocene-Women are precious

Zene su dragocene-Women are precious

Zivot u glavnom gradu-Life in the capital

Zivot u glavnom gradu-Life in the capital

Zastava ove zemlje je kao američka, ali samo sa jednom zvezdicom. Kao da
sama govori o tome šta bi trebalo da znači – odvojena američka država. To je
bio plan pre više od sto pedeset godina, kada su, posle ukidanja ropstva,
Amerikanci vratili jedan deo crnog stanovništva na ovo mesto, sa ciljem da
se osnuje nova država slobodnih ljudi. I tako su je nazvali – Liberija, a
glavni grad Monrovija dobija naziv prema imenu tadašnjeg američkog
presednika Džejmsa Monroa. To se dešavalo davne 1847. godie kada je Liberija
postala najstarija zemlja na afričkom kontinentu.
Uspešnost tog projekta pokazala se mnogo godina kasnije, kada su se potpuno
izdvojile dve grupe stanovnika ove zemlje. Jedni su bili oni koji su se tu
zatekli i sve vreme živeli, i oni koji su došli, uzeli vlast i uspostavili
državu. Međusobno se nisu mešali; novi su sve vreme bili na vlasti, a
starosedeoce tretirali kao nižu klasu. Građanski rat osamdesetih i
devedesetih godina XX veka bio je neminovan, a tadašnji predsednik, Čarls
Tejlor, proglašen je za ratnog zločinca. Posle hajke za njim po okolnim
zemljama, koje su mu davale azil, konačno je uhvaćen i predat Međunarodnom
sudu u Hagu. Liberija je dobila prvu ženu presednika u istoriji Afrike, mada
odnos prema ženama još uvek nije najsrećnije rešen.
Iako ima lepe, prostrane, peščane plaže, one su i dalje teško dostupne za
razvijeniji turizam, pa ostaju samo usamljena lepota koja čeka svoj
trenutak. U gradu, u kome su ulice uske, vlada neopisiva gužva; često na
samo nekoliko kuća dolazi crkva, drugog imena, različitih verovanja, obreda
i načina širenja vere, a misionari iz Kalifornije su redovna pojava.
Ovo mesto je karakteristično po ogromnom masonskom hramu iz šezdesetih
godina XX veka (tačnije 5956. godine istinitog svetla prema masonskom
kalendaru), za koji u vodiču piše da je u ruševinama. On se, međutim,
potpuno renovira, a u njemu se uredno odvijaju ritualni radovi svih
liberijskih loža. Hram je ogromna građevina, kakav slobodni zidari ni u
mnogo razvijenijim zemljama nemaju, sa spomenikom prvom velikom majstoru
Tomasu Amosu iz 1867. godine. Veliko poštovanje, koje bratstvo ovde uživa
više od sto pedeset godina, omogućilo je njegovim članovima ugled u društvu
i status viđenijih ljudi, kao što su nekada u Srbiji bili Đorđe Vajfert,
Dositej Obradović, Mihajlo Pupin i drugi. Status slobodnog zidarstva ovde je
isti kao u Americi, odakle svakako i potiče još iz doba kolonizacije
Liberije, a zajedno sa humanitarnim klubovima, svi učestvuju u brojnim
aktivnostima radi poboljšanja života u ovoj siromašnoj i ratovima izmučenoj
zemlji.
Razgovaram o tome sa majstorom jedne od najvećih loža, gospodinom Gibsonom.
On je vlasnik hotela u kome boravim i gde se sastaju Lajons i Rotari klub.
Sa ogromne terase pruža se pogled na zaliv, u kome leži Monrovija, prostrani
peščani sprud i ribarske brodiće koji izmiču ka pučini. Gibson veruje u
mogućnosti ove zemlje kada se iskoreni korupcija u vlasti i prekine
naoružavanje i obučavanje vojske, što se na kraju u afričkim uslovima uvek
okrene protiv sopstvenog naroda. Masovno prisustvo mirovnih trupa UN-a još
neko vreme je garancija mira, ali šta će biti kada oni odu, zabrinuto se
pita moj domaćin. Hoće li se dijamanti i zlato, kojima je bogata ova zemlja,
opet koristiti za novo oružje? Strah i dalje postoji da “crni dijamanti”
ponovo ne odu u pogrešne ruke.
Ma koliko bili moćni, masoni to prošlog puta nisu mogli da spreče.

Mart 2010.
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This country’s flag is like the American one, just with one star. It is as
though the flag itself tells us a story – this was supposed to be a separate
American state. That was the plan more than 150 years ago when following the
abolition of slavery the Americans brought back part of the black population
here, with the aim of establishing a new, free country. That is why they
called it Liberia and the capital, Monrovia, was named after the American
President at the time, James Monroe. That was happening in 1847 when Liberia
became the oldest state on the African continent.
The ‘success’ of this project became apparent many years later when two
groups of population differentiated themselves from one another. The first
one were the people that had lived there all the time as original settlers,
and the second one were those who came back from America, took power and
established a state. They did not mix; the ‘new’ ones were in power all the
time and treated the indigenous population as second class. The civil war in
the 1980s and 1990s was unavoidable and the president at the time, Charles
Taylor, was indicted as a war criminal. After being chased around the
neighbouring countries which gave him protection, he was finally caught and
taken to the International War Tribunal in The Hague. Liberia got the first
woman president in the history of Africa, even though the status of women
has not been resolved successfully yet.
Even though Liberia has spacious sandy beaches they are not accessible to
modern tourism, so they remain beautiful in their solitude, awaiting better
times to come. In the city with narrow streets the hustle and bustle is
indescribable; a handful of houses would have their own church in the
neighbourhood, each differing in their beliefs, rituals and the propagation
of their faith, and the missionaries from California are regularly seen
around. This place also boasts a huge Masonic temple from the 1960s (more
precisely from 5965 Anno Lucis, Year of the Light, according to the Masonic
calendar). In the guidebook it is said that this temple is in ruins,
however, it is being completely renovated and the work of the Liberian
lodges is currently going on. The temple is a huge construction, difficult
to find even in more developed countries where Freemasons operate, with the
monument of the first Grand Master, Thomas Amos, from 1867.
The high esteem Brethren has enjoyed for over 150 years has enabled its
members to achieve a higher social status of distinguished members in the
society, just like Đorđe Vajfert, Dositej Obradović, Mihajlo Pupin and
others did in Serbia once upon a time. Freemasonry has the same status here
as in the US and certainly draws its roots from the times of Liberian
colonisation; together with various humanitarian clubs they participate in
many activities aimed at improving the quality of life in this poor, war
torn country.
I talk about this with the Grandmaster of one of the biggest lodges, Mr.
Gibson. He is the owner of the hotel where I am staying and where the Lions
and Rotary Club meet. From a huge balcony we have a view over the bay where
Monrovia is situated, as well as the long sandy shoal and fishermen’s boats
disappearing over the horizon. Gibson believes in this country’s potential
if the corruption was eradicated from the government and there is a
cessation of arms procurement and training of the army. In Africa, investing
in training the army and proferring them with arms always turns against the
people themselves. Massive UN peacekeeping troops still present some
guarantee of peace, but what will happen when they leave, my host is asking
himself with worry. Will the diamonds and gold, so abundant in this country,
be used again, just for different armament? There is always the fear that
‘black diamonds’ will get into the wrong hands.
No matter how powerful, even the Masons could not prevent that from
happening the last time round.

March 2010

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