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Mary Brownell Apologizes To Dr. Fahnbulleh...Says She Treated Him Like A Stepchild

Monrovia, August 10, 2008: Madame Mary Brownell, mother of national security advisor H. Boimah Fahnbulleh has rendered a public apology to her son for being at variance with him.

Madame Brownell said she was openly apologizing to Dr. Fahnbulleh for not trusting his integrity and the principles and virtues he stands for.

"Kindly permit me to use this occasion to openly apologize to my son for not trusting his judgment and integrity and the principles he stands for," Mother Brownell said.

She rendered the apology Friday at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Thematic Hearings for Women at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia. Mother Brownell who is the founder of the Liberia Women Initiative (LWI) was making a presentation before the commission on "The Role of Women in the Peace Process: The LWI Experience."

She said for almost 10 years she had nothing to do with Dr. Fahnbulleh.

"My son and I have been at variance for almost 10 years now, exchanging harsh communications on ideological differences. You know he likes writing and he is a doctorate degree holder and I too like writing and am a master degree holder," Mother Brownell said.

She urged Liberian mothers to build confidence in their children and try to know what they are capable of doing. "We have to build the confidence in our children. We have to study them to know what they are capable of doing and not doing," the aging activist said.

Mother Brownell: "My son was imprisoned at the age of 19 years old. He had just returned from Forah Bay College in Freetown where he was studying when he was arrested by Tubman who accused him of making mockery of his father's treason trial. His father was charged with treason because he befriended the Chinese ambassador in Kenya where he served as ambassador and they said he was trying to import communism to Liberia. From the time this boy was 19 years old his life has been like that."

"This is an open apology for punishing him all these years. I am Sorry for treating him like a step child," she said.

Mother Brownell's apology is an apparent public support for Dr. Fahnbulleh's marathon appearance last week before the TRC. During his lengthy testimony, Fahnbulleh said he owes no apology for his role in the country's past. He vowed not to "bow down to history."

"We owe no one apologies for our role in fighting this oligarchy. Why should we apologize for what we proudly did? They imprisoned our fathers; we went to jail at the tender age of 18. They jailed my sister at a tender age too. They killed scores of unarmed demonstrators who were simply protesting and exercising their rights. Why can't they apologize for those excesses? I owe no one, absolutely no one an apology," he said.

Under the theme: "Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors," the ongoing hearings will address the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.

The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.

The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005.

The TRC was established to "promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation," and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.

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