Momolu Dorley from Liberia: “It’s time to extend a hand to everyone, despite our differences”

#GlobalHumanismNow: an update from Humanists Liberia

  • blog Type / Membership blog
  • Date / 16 April 2020
  • By / Mahalet Tadesse

Last week we launched #GlobalHumanismNow, a series of mini-interviews with our Members and Associates from all around the world where we ask them how they are coping with the global coronavirus emergency, to explain what initiatives they are taking, and to tell us how the global humanist community can support them.

We have published five interviews so far:

Today we speak with Momolu Dorley, President of Humanists Liberia. The organization was established last year with the support of Humanists International.

Humanists International: Hi Momolu, thank you for accepting our invitation. What is the current situation in Liberia? 

Momolu: The situation is deteriorating gradually. As of 15 April, six people are dead. In the past two weeks, we have seen an increase in people who come down with the virus – 59 confirmed cases so far.

What is worst is that some people who contract the virus are afraid to seek professional help at the hospitals due to fear of being stigmatized. Superstition and social stigma are doing their parts in spreading the contagion.

Also, many people live paycheck to paycheck and have a communal lifestyle which means one person provides for several family members. The virus is posing a serious risk to national cohesion.

And how is your country responding to the emergency so far?

President Weah delivered an address to the nation last week, declaring the state of emergency for the whole country. He appointed and set up a task force to coordinate the response to the virus.

However, religious institutions, especially the Christian ones, continue to violate the health emergency by holding services. They claim only God can save the country from the virus and not social distancing or medical experts. On the other hand, the Islamic community – which suffered massively from Ebola, partly due to their burial rituals – was quick to fall in line with the government emergency decree.

And how has the emergency affected your organization and the individuals within it? 

A moment from one of the three Café Humaniste events organised by Humanists Liberia in the last 12 months

Well, our organization like most of the country is affected. We cannot meet to discuss issues relevant to the growth of our institution.

Also, our planning to organise other Café Humaniste events had to be post-poned to better days.

How is your organization responding to the emergency?

This where we need to do more and that is why we have been applying for funds to set up our online media. In this way, we can produce a daily podcast, and interview experts with sound empirical data. We look forward to our parent organization assisting us in this so we are able to respond to the crisis and grow further.

More in general, how do you think we should face this emergency as humanists? Which humanist principles should we value most right now?

Massive publicity is needed to inform the people of social distancing and other measures to flatten the curve. Reaching out to both religious and other communities will be great not only for this crisis but for future co-existence.

How can the international community support your efforts?

We need a grant to do outreach to a few communities. Mostly, we need assistance with online media to reach our members and others with daily programs.

And what is your message to the global humanist community?

Well, sometimes it is easy to deride religious people, but now we cannot afford it. I can be at fault at times, but I believe now is time to extend a hand to everyone, to share empathy and compassion with other people, despite our differences.

Thank you for participating in the #GlobalHumanismNow series, Momolu!

Thanks to you, Giovanni!

If you represent a Member or Associate of Humanists International and you want to participate to the #GlobalHumanismNow series, please contact us at [email protected]

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