Interactive Travel Map | Text the Secretary | Behind the Scenes PhotosYesterday, Secretary Clinton addressed a joint session of the Liberian National Legislature in Monrovia, where she said:"I know that some of you in this chamber bore arms against each other, but the people of Liberia demanded peace, stability, and a better future. And...your being here, committed to the peaceful resolution of dispute, is a great message that the people of Liberia have representatives of a unified government in a parliament and in a presidency entrusted to serve the Liberian people, to help rebuild the nation, and to realize the goals of development that will once again give every boy and girl in this country a chance to fulfill his or her God-given potential. That 14 years of bloodshed and lawlessness could produce peace, free elections, and a democratic government is not so much a triumph of might, but a triumph of the human spirit.
And that is what I would like to talk with you about today – how to keep that spirit alive, how to build strong, democratic institutions, honest and competent leaders, engage citizens on a foundation of human dignity.
I bring greetings from President Obama. The President considers himself a son of Africa, and in his historic speech in Ghana, he said much about what he hoped for (inaudible) on his heart. Remember that he said that the future of Africa is up to the Africans. The future of Liberia is up to the Liberians.
But it is also true that there are paths toward that future which will lead in a positive direction, and there are others that will lead in a negative direction. The choices that are made every day will determine which path Liberia chooses.
When President Johnson-Sirleaf gave her inaugural address to this assembly just three-and-a-half years ago, she identified the core ideals that have guided Liberia’s democracy movement through this nation’s darkest days – peace, liberty, equality, opportunity, and justice for all. The challenge for every democratic government, whether it is three years old or 233 years old like ours, is how to translate those ideals into results in the lives of people.
Democracy has to deliver, and both President Obama and I believe that dignity is central to what is at the core of successful democracies: a voice for every citizen in the decisions that affect your life, your community, and your country; the opportunity to earn a decent wage and provide for your family and live without fear; an equal chance, no matter what your background, your gender, your faith, ethnicity, or station in life; to combine your motivation and ambition with the opportunity that every society should present to its people; and a government elected freely and fairly, accountable to the people it serves."