Liberian journalists Set for Atlanta to Mourn Gabriel Gworlekaju Jan 22
|(Jan 12, 2011) By: Omari Jackson|
ATLANTA, GA, Jan. 12: As the final home-going date for the burial of the mortal remains of fallen journalist, Gabriel Gworlekaju Jr., inches closer (Jan. 22), many Liberian journalists have confirmed they are coming to Atlanta, to mourn his death with his family.
The media developer, who was chief executive officer and president of the Running Africa, died 2 Jan, at the Arrowhead Nursing Home, where he had been taken, after months at two prestigious hospitals in Atlanta.
First, after the tragic one-car accident occurred in the late and early morning hours of June 19th, ( 2010) few hours after he had celebrated the annual Father’s Day, he was rushed to the Gwinnett Medical Center, in Lawrenceville, outside Atlanta.
Next he was transferred to the Emory University Hospital, and after several months was finally sent to the Arrowhead Nursing Home.
Several personal colleagues, including Mr. Gabriel Williams, the author of Liberia Heart of Darkness and fellow broadcaster, Emmanuel Abalo, traveled from their respective bases in Washington DC, and Philadelphia to offer him their moral support.
“I am not giving up on you,” Abalo, emotionally spent, told his friend, who was in coma, unaware of his friend’s strong hope of his recovery.
Mr. Roger Seton, after a hard look at his friend, who then lay on a bed at the Emory University Hospital, told him, “I know you are a fighter, Gab (Gabriel) you must fight.”
Both Williams and Abalo, during their visits, could not restrain their emotions. Though in Liberia, men are encouraged not to give in to tears, since it is a sign of weakness, the two men could not hold on to the hallowed tradition and wept for their friend.
It reminded this writer, when Jesus wept upon hearing the death of his friend, Lazarus, as the Holy Bible has reported.
Another long time friend and media personality, Mr. Roger B. Seton, former president of the Publishers Association of Liberia, now Atlanta resident, could not maintain his strict composure, and though he believes in the resurrection promised to Christians at the second coming of Christ, he joined the others and wept also.
Now that the sun has set for Gworlekaju, Jr, whose parents predeceased him, many of his colleagues are coming to mourn him.
Said Gabriel Williams upon hearing of his passing, during a telephone conversation, “Oh my God,” he exclaimed, unable to show his brilliance as one of Liberia’s young and enterprising orators.
Mr. Leo Mulbah, president of the Bong County Association of Georgia, in a release expressed heartfelt condolences to the family, saying, Mr. Gworlekaju’s death is a county and a national loss, and assured the family of his organization’s total support in their time of distress.
“Gabriel’s death is unfortunate,” remarked Mr. Teewroh W. Sungbe of Atlanta, proprietor of The Liberian Dialogue, who called for unity among his colleagues.
The editor and publisher of The Liberian Journal (TLJ), Mr. Abdullah Kiatamba of Minnesota, who recently lost a brother in Monrovia, and has presently lost a cousin in Atlanta, (the late Janet Kiawu, sister of Mr. Orlando Faate Kiawu), expressed his family’s condolences to Gabriel’s distraught family.
Ace cameraman, Mr. Mozart Maciano Dennis of Minnesota, also a long time friend was lost for words, and could only say, “Let’s give praise to the Lord,” believing and reechoing the Biblical statement that “whether we live or die, all belongs to the Christ.”
Nonetheless, this writer could hear that Mozart, one of Liberia’s best photographers, was fighting back tears.
Philadelphia based photo-journalist, Mr. Gregory H. Stemn wailed upon hearing the death of his friend, and appealed to the family to remain strong, for Gabriel would like that.
When the news of Gabriel’s home-going reached him, Mr. Emmanuel Abalo, when he was asked by Roger Seton to give an opinion of his friend, could simply say with pride, “I could not think of any Liberian journalist who was ever interested to see the media grow than him,” and urged the family and all Liberian journalists to remain strong, because, “Gab would love it.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Abalo is now in charge of Running Africa, along with Mr. Patrick Manjoe, both had been the original members, along with the deceased, in running the center.
Even when the news reached him, Mr. Seton had earlier lost his speech mechanism, and gazing this way and that way, lifted his right hand to wipe a tear that was betraying and threatening to consume him.
Though Mr. Seton was aware that death is a temporary absence from the presence of the Lord, he nonetheless fought desperately as his tears challenged him to a single combat.
And he lost it.
Liberian writer and cultural artist, James Kokulo Fasueko of Philadelphia urged the family to let God comfort them, saying God’s comfort would see them through.
Mr. Francis Duwana of Philadelphia, when told of Gabriel’s passing, regretted his death and urged the family and all who loved the deceased to remain stronger than before, saying, “We would not forget the life he lived.”
Mr. Moses Sandy, presently organizing chairman of the Liberia Peace Corps, planning a trip to Atlanta for the burial, said, “Gabriel’s love for the media must be emulated,” telling the family that Gabriel’s death would not go in vain.
Texas-based Patrick Manjoe, a Liberian broadcast personality, who is recuperating from a personal distemper, said, upon hearing of his friend’s death that the news was too shocking, but appealed to the family to rely on God’s unfailing comfort which he said would pull them through.
Mrs. Rita Reeves, wife of artist, Joseph Reeves of Atlanta was shocked of Gabriel’s passing, and asked God to have mercy on the survivors, and when her husband heard the news, he began series of phone calls, appealing for material and emotional support to the family.
In a Facebook message from Ms. Edith Deline of Monrovia, a long time friend of the deceased, she said, “May God’s loving kindness protect the family and may the soul of our brother and the faithful departed rest in peace.”
Mr. Siaka Konneh a former official of the Press Union of Liberia, presently a resident of California was full of praises for the deceased, stating that his death was too unbearable, and at the same time called on his colleagues in the United States to let Gabriel’s death lead them to the revival of their one-time organization, the Association of Liberian Journalists in America, ALJA.
At a recent two nation-wide teleconferences, journalists agreed to contribute fifty dollars each as their individual contributions towards their friend’s burial.
The remains of the deceased are presently, according to one of his surviving brothers, William, at the Levett Funeral Home.
Certain key information has been difficult to come by, and sharing the family’s agony, care has been exercised to avoid causing the family more problems than it is presently experiencing as a result of Mr. Gworlekaju’s death.
The deceased is survived by two teenagers, and a minor, along with a host of brothers, sisters and other family members both in the United States and in Liberia.
His late father, Gworlekaju Sr, a citizen of Bong County, was for many years a member of the Liberia National Police, and resided in Logan Town in Monrovia, where the family still has properties and other family members.