YOUTHS ARISE!!!¬† A leading voluntary youth serving organization in cognizant of the virtual inaction and silence about matters and issues of national significance stand stoutly and exist to emphatically, dramatically, and continuously remind the very short conscience of society about such national issues.¬† Among the several, are the commemoration of specific occurrences such as January 6, March 23, May 8, June 16, August 18 etc.
May 8 marked the historic procession of peaceful innocent Sierra Leoneans to the residence of late former RUF Leader, Foday Sankoh, spurred by the political, elite and civil society, to demand democracy and the rule of law.¬† Unfortunately, 18 people lost their lives as a result of shootings at the procession by troops allegedly loyal to the former rebel leader.
These heroes and heroines Ė true democrats Ė were laid to rest at the Kissy Road Cemetery and since then, the memories of them have diminished in the minds of Sierra Leoneans save the laudable intervention and¬† advocacy by YOUTH ARISE!!! for the remembrance, and honour of all the souls that lost their lives in the long journey towards achieving democracy.
In this vein, in remembrance of the past of May 8, YOUTH ARISE!!! has been involved in very robust media engagement through series of radio discussion programs, interviews and newspaper publications, to concientize and constantly influence positively the mindset of Sierra Leoneans.
Also, on Friday 8th ¬†May 2009, in collaboration with the Imam and Officials of the Central Mosque, a special sermon and prayers was offered for the lost souls of May 8.
On Saturday 9th ¬†¬†May 2009,¬† in collaboration with other youth organizations Ė Movement for the Restoration of Peace, National Youth Coalition, Africa Youth for Peace and Development, Human Rights Respect Awareness Raising Campaigners - the grave side of the lost souls was properly cleaned by brushing, scrapping and planting of temporal flowers.
However, the next step in this direction is to facilitate the paving and tiling of the burial site to serve as grave marker and monument.¬† Youth Arise!!! hopes to receive support from well meaning and patriotic Sierra Leoneans to enhance the above process.
Moreover, on Sunday 10th May 2009, a memorial mass was conducted for the dead souls at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church.¬† This mass was attended by other organizations and relatives of some of the victims of May 8.
Additionally, the commemoration would be climaxed by a solidarity statement ceremony at the Victoria Park, on Saturday 16th May 2009.¬† Different personalities and organizations have been approached to attend and to deliver solidarity speeches.¬† Most importantly, a Trust Fund for the relatives of victims would be launched.
YOUTH ARISE!!¬† Calls on all Sierra Leoneans to remember, respect and honour the contribution of lost souls of May 8 by meaningfully contributing to ensure that the outlined activities are properly carried out.
WE GOT THE POWER.
Written and submitted to the New People Newspaper by:
Ishmael A. Kamara
¬© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.