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Oscar Quiah Lies Prostrate While Begging For Forgiveness

Former state councilman Oscar Jaiyee Quiah Monday lied prostrate while asking for forgiveness for his role in Liberia's ugly past.

"I want to tell the Liberian people I am sorry for whatever I did that was the cause of people loosing their lives.

I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry," Quiah said while lying on the red carpet of the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmun Street where he was testifying before commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

"I am saying this sorry from the depth of my heart," the founding secretary general of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) continued.

Quiah was discussing his role in the formation of the PAL in the United States, his returned to Liberia and involvement along with others to organized the April 14, 1979 Rice demonstration, his imprisonments and the April 12, 1980 military takeover.

Mr. Quiah said if Liberian's do not forgive the country will not be developed and urged all Liberians to follow the path of reconciliation as a means to peace and development.

Quiah: "If we don't forgive one another this country will not be built. Our generation will not be please, satisfied to see another war in this country. Liberia is rich but needs peace. Once there is peace every citizen will be benefited."

Mr. Quiah was the first Minister of Internal Affairs after the April 12, 1980 violent military coup that saw the ascendancy of Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe to power and the executions of 17 government officials.

During the coup, Quiah, Baccus Matthews and other organizers of the April 14, 1979 Rice Riots were awaiting presidential decision on their fate following a guilty verdict which blamed responsibility for the violent protest on them.

The men known as the "progressives" were released by the coup makers and appointed to senior cabinet portfolios.

But Mr. Quiah said his most regrettable moment was the diversity between the military and civilian components of the People's Redemption Council (PRC), saying due to that they could not achieve the objectives set.

Quiah attributed the rise and growth of pluralistic democracy in Liberia to the success of the struggle of the PAL, saying, "the struggles of architects of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) was a resounding success. Due to our advocacy multiparty democracy is today a reality in our country."

Monday hearings mark the beginning of the TRC's Thematic and Institutional Public Inquiry Hearings during which prominent Liberians will testify.
Each day of the hearings, the commission will hear testimonies of prominent actors focusing on their experiences from 1979-2003.

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

The hearings will focus 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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This had been the official website of the Liberian TRC. The Commission ended operation
in 2010. This website is maintained by the Georgia Institute of Technology.