Speech delivered by Jimmy Bangura at the Kokatonor (We Are One) Peace Concert hosted by Crusaders for Peace in partnership with the UN, ECOWAS and the Government of Liberia, at the ATS in Monrovia. 24th October, 2016

May the peace of the almighty god be upon us all
Good afternoon.
When Ambassador Julie Andee called me few weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in delivering a speech at this event, I thought to myself maybe she has come down with the flu or maybe she has Malaria.

Because all the years we’ve known each other and all the projects we’ve done together whether its peace concerts like this or sensitization campaigns on different issues here in Liberia or in Sierra Leone, she’s always reminded me that standing in front of a Bunch of people to make a speech has never been my cup of tea, I just find it a very uncomfortable place to be.

But those of you who know ambassador Julie Andee know that she doesn’t quit.………i would say to her ‘look my sister, i make music and I make movies. In that I find solace. Lets just leave the speech thing for the politicians. That’s their domain. Well, I guess by now you know how that argument worked out for me. Our good ambassador is not somebody that takes no for an answer…….so here I am.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of the end of the war in Liberia, the 14th Anniversary since the end of the war in Sierra Leone and 5th Anniversary since the end of civil war in Cote D’iovire.

To make war is very easy, but to achieve and maintain peace is the hardest and most difficult thing to do.

Only the brave will dare to venture that route. Only the righteous, true Patriots, people with love in their soul and spirit, people who fear god and have the interest of their country at heart. Sustaining peace demands continued effort on our part.

Our level of success tomorrow is determined by our labour today. If we are not willing to sacrifice in life then we must not expect much in life. We have to be selfless. We must put in the work to ensure sustainable peace here in Liberia, in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote D’ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso and the rest of the ECOWAS states. Peace in the ECOWAS states is peace in North Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa. Peace in the continent i believe is peace all over the world. It is extremely important that we leave this world a much better place than we found it for the sake of our children and children’s children

Today we can complain about corruption, demand government deliver on its promises and hold our leaders to account. Today we can complain about so many different things but yet still, sleep soundly at night because there is peace. With peace comes development and a much better life for all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in the absence of peace, you don’t have time to complain about the bread and butter issues of the day. You don’t have the energy to complain about being hungry. You don’t have time to complain about the constant blackouts, the lack of good roads, good schools or a robust health care system. Not because they are not important but because you are either displaced or constantly dodging bullets.

Without peace, you and i would not have been here today. Without peace, we could not have come together to win the battle against Ebola.
as we are gathered here today to celebrate peace in Liberia, we must use this occasion to reflect
We must bear in mind that the Fundamental principles of maintaining peace is love and respect for self and others.
In our quest to gain power or political mileage over our opponents, let us not forget to be civil.
We must always agree to disagree and always listen to each other regardless of our opposing views. Dialogue ladies and gentlemen is always the key.

I pray that the good lord almighty will continue to give us the strength, the willingness, the courage and guidance as we walk through the difficult road to achieving everlasting peace.

I end my speech by urging us all, especially our leaders to never forget that words mean nothing if we do not live by them.
God bless us all
Thank you