Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"The Love of Liberty Brought us here"

The first elected female president of an African nation addressed a joint session of Congress today. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf briefly discussed the connection of the two countries, but spent the majority of her speech thanking the US for helping bring democracy to her beleaguered homeland:

But our ties greatly exceed the historical connection. I stand before you today, as the first woman elected to lead an African nation, thanks to the grace of Almighty God; thanks to the courage of the Liberian people, who chose their future over fear; thanks to the people of west Africa and of Africa generally, who continued to give hope to my people. Thanks also to President Bush whose strong resolve and public condemnation and appropriate action forced a tyrant into exile and thanks to you - the members of this august body - who spurred the international effort that brought blessed peace to our nation.

Trying to promote democracy abroad is perilous at best and bloody at worst. However, stories such as Liberia's show that long-oppressed people will embrace it if given the chance. Let's hope the good stories keep coming out of Liberia.

Read the text of Sirleaf's speech here.

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