Germany, like Brazil, is Liberia’s good friend, too. Indeed Deutschland is one of our country‘s oldest friends. For it was the Hanseatic States, mostly Germanic, that became in the 1850s and 60s, the second group, after Great Britain, to recognize Liberia’s sovereignty.Germany later became our leading trading partner, buying and exporting Liberian agricultural produce to Europe and elsewhere. By the 1940s there was a German Legation in Monrovia, situated on Capitol Hill, where the University of Liberia’s main campus is located. At that point, too, most of the medical doctors in the country were German. Unfortunately, Hitler, the Nazi German Chancellor, in the late 1930s started World War II, leading Liberia, following the United States, to declare war on Germany in 1945. The Germans had to leave Liberia, plunging the nation into great financial and medical difficulty.But following the end of the war, the two countries regained their friendship under President W.V.S. Tubman and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.And remember that soon, the smart, industrious, hardworking and highly disciplined Germans bounced back, before the end of the 1950s, as one of the world’s leading industrial powers. Of course, they did it with American aid. The Americans, magnanimous (high-minded, generous) in victory, initiated the Marshall Plan, making available to Europe and Japan, devastated in war, billions of US dollars to rebuild their cities and industries. The disciplined, hardworking, patriotic and smart Germans put the Marshall Plan money TO GOOD USE, and soon Germany was competing with the very United States in industrial might. Ever heard of the Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and Audi vehicles? These German-made cars soon started outselling American automobiles. Ever heard of Siemens, the German industrial giant? They started competing with American industries in everything, including steel products and medical equipment.Let us quickly contrast all of this with Nimba County, and all the other Liberian counties which, for the first time in history, are receiving DIRECT FINANCIAL REWARDS from mining and other concessions operating on their land. Nimba receives from ArcelorMittal US$1.5 million annually, Grand Bassa, US$1 million and Bong US$500,000 in Social Development Funds (SDF). The SDF money was made possible by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government which made it a provision in each concession agreement. And what are these counties doing with this money? In the case of Nimba and so many other counties receiving their share of the SDF, the money is being squandered by these counties’ very legislators and other officials. Remember how just last week one Nimba legislator—the name is Samuel Kogar—threatened that Nimba County would secede (break away) from Liberia if President Sirleaf touched ONE CENT OF THE SDF to fix the damages inflicted by violent Nimba youth upon ArcelorMittal’s facilities?What have these Nimba people done with their SDF? There is currently a big quarrel among Nimba politicians over these funds, with the legislators up in arms against the Superintendent, who is determined to use the money for the good of the people, and NOT leave it in the hands of the greedy politicians.We confess it’s a long shot to compare the Marshall Plan money and what it did for Germany, etc., and the SDF and what it is doing for Nimba County, etc. But Jesus tells us in the story of the Ten Talents that he or she who makes good use of little will be given much more.On Sunday night, Germany emerged as the victor in the World Cup. Why did they win and how? We have already given the answer. We learned in international politics that Germany, like every other country, has something known as national character—those traits (qualities) by which a country is best known. In the case of Germany, it is DISCIPLINE, HARD WORK, SMARTNESS, THOROUGHNESS, AND PATRIOTISM.In the case of Liberia, what is our national character? Is it discipline? Hard work? Thoroughness? Patriotism? Selflessness? Honesty? Commitment? A strong work ethic? What are the critical characteristics by which Liberians are known?For starts, this is what we learn from Germany’s winning of the World Cup.Had the Nimba youth been disciplined, smart and patriotic, they would never have done what they did to ArcelorMittal. Had Mr. Kogar and those who think like him been disciplined, smart and patriotic, they would not have backed their youth in their violence.Will we Liberians learn anything from Germany’s victory? We are a people hitherto known to be quicker at copying from others bad, rather than good things. May God grant that this time, every Liberian will reflect soberly on the reasons for Germany’s victory and start emulating their great example.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
SANTA CLARITA – Human resources consultant Dan Curtin relies on a former U.S. president who almost lost his job because of improprieties with a certain White House intern to make a point when training corporate managers about proper workplace behavior and sexual-harassment law. “I use Bill Clinton as my whipping boy,” said Curtin, whose Los Angeles-based consulting firm Curtin & Associates has been busy ensuring that companies meet new state sexual-harassment training laws effective Sunday. “I put up a cartoon with him on it – he’s the one that made sexual harassment famous.” California companies are racing the clock to meet the requirements of Assembly Bill 1825, which requires supervisors and managers at companies with 50 or more employees to undergo two hours of training to prevent sexual harassment every two years. The law requires initial training by the end of this year. The sessions have to be interactive; watching a video doesn’t count. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake “Usually, it’s a secretary who got stuck with making the arrangements,” said Curtin, who has conducted dozens of workshops these past two months. “They’ve tipped off the managers, who said, ‘hey, we have to get this done.”‘ The California Chamber of Commerce estimates about 1.7 million employees in the state require training under this law. There’s no stiff penalty for noncompliance, though it would open companies to liability when faced with harassment charges, which could be costly. “The actual penalty is virtually nothing,” said Wendell Laidley, managing director of Napa-based New Media Learning, which specializes in online personnel training. “The danger for an employer is much more dangerous than that. They could be at risk of losing affirmative defense – the right of the employer to say they’ve done all they could in good faith.” That’s enough to persuade most employers, and employees, to take it seriously. “I expected heckling, but I didn’t get that,” Curtin said. “There were serious questions. The material covers a lot about liability – that’s what gets their attention.” According to the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, 3,572 cases of workplace sexual-harassment cases were filed in the 2003-04 fiscal year, down compared with 4,231 cases filed in 2002 4,198 cases in 2001-02. Curtin charges between $800 and $1,000 to conduct two-hour sessions for groups of about 50. Online training materials, such as those created by Laidley’s New Media Learning, can cost more than $15,000. The William S. Hart Union High School District, the Santa Clarita Valley’s second-largest employer with a staff of nearly 2,300, is training all 77 administrators with an online tutorial and exam. The one- to two-hour program started last month covers workplace-harassment law and company policy. Employees earn a certificate upon passing a test at the end of the program, and are signed off by school district officials. District spokeswoman Pat Willett said the Web-based test allows busy administrators to meet state requirements at their own pace, even when school’s out. Officials plan to have teachers and staff undergo training next year. “The end of the year is approaching and people are scattered all over the valley,” she said. “They can do it at their own time and at their own pace, as long as they pass that test. They have to get 100 percent.” Washington Mutual began in the summer to train some 3,500 employees throughout California and beyond for the state law. So far, about 90 percent have completed the online course work, spokesman Gary Kishner said. “There are a small number right now that are in the process of completing it,” he said. “By year’s end, we should be at 100 percent compliance.” Kishner said the company, which employs some 2,000 at its Northridge campus, already conducts sexual-harassment training. “This is something that is part of our corporate culture – creating an inclusive environment for employees,” he said. “What this did is, it called attention to a specific part of the training we already do.” Valencia-based drum manufacturer Remo Inc. hired an expert to conduct several training sessions for its 33 managers and supervisors. Director of Human Resources Yolanda Davis said the company, which employs 300, had to extend its annual sexual-harassment training to ensure full coverage. “The reality is when you have a company that already has it in place, it’s really not a hard job,” she said. “It’s a matter of catching everyone. “In the H.R. world, it quickly comes up who doesn’t comply with the law. It’s through constant discipline and counseling and mentoring that they can see what compliance really means. Some people, it will take them 20 years for them to stop calling people ‘sweetheart.”‘ Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!