Liberia, Africa’s first independent and sovereign Republic, has also been, since the early 1930s, the continent’s first rubber producing country, and yet in nearly 90 years has not yet been able to produce a single rubber band, glove or any other rubber product.That seems to have been the plot or scheme of Harvey S. Firestone who, in 1926, signed agreement with the administration of President Charles D.B. King for one million acres of land to grow natural rubber in Liberia.Mr. Firestone first attempted to grow rubber in the Philippines, but they turned him down for fear that if they allowed Firestone in, it would signal a death knell to Philippines’ quest for independence.Firestone’s next stop was Liberia, in his determination for the United States of America (USA) to grow her own rubber and break the British monopoly on rubber in the world.Mr. Firestone found Liberia’s rich soil, rainfall and climate to be, as he put it in his own words, the best place on the planet to grow rubber successfully. He immediately opened the Firestone plantation along the Farmington River in what is now Margibi County.Firestone did two things more to ensure that Liberian officialdom and Liberians were on his side: first, he encouraged most Liberian officials to grow rubber, which he bought, making many leading Liberians rich; second, he employed thousands of Liberians and became the country’s first major concession and largest employer besides the government.In the process, Harvey Firestone and his family became very rich—billionaires.Firestone was good for Liberia except for one thing: the company deemed Liberia fit only for a rubber plantation that produced ONLY raw material to feed American factories, and nothing else. That is why in Firestone’s nearly a century of operation in Liberia, it has manufactured absolutely nothing here, but rather, until this day, June 7, 2018, shipped every ounce of its rubber to the USA and other foreign parts. That is why we say that Firestone saw Liberia as simply fertile ground for producing raw materials— nothing else.Two questions arise: first, how was it possible for Firestone to treat Liberia, a country that has been so good to Firestone, so badly and so contemptuously? The second question is, how have Liberian officials and successive Liberian governments allowed Firestone to do this—treat Liberia so badly—for nearly a century—92 years to be exact?We can venture a third question: how was it possible for all these Liberian rubber planters, from James (Jimmy) Francis Cooper, the first Liberian rubber planter, to many other Coopers, Dennises, Shermans, Freemans, Jacksons, Tubmans, Tolberts and the biggest rubber planter of them all, Harry L. Morris of Kakata and Todee, yes, how did all of rubber planters to allow Firestone to get away with this—slaving after this company’s US dollars and remaining naked as purely producers of Firestone’s raw material—rubber, and nothing else?But as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever. Today, we have another Cooper, whose name was also James, from Sinoe County, son of Henry Cooper—Henry is a popular name among the Coopers, who hailed from Sinoe, built a several hundred acre rubber farm in Bomi County. Today, the son of this James E. Cooper, also called James the II, has decided to brave the century-old powerful current by dreaming a serious dream. Young James E. Cooper, Jr., son of a Sinoe Cooper and an American mother, is dreaming of adding value to Liberian rubber by manufacturing rubber gloves, boots, adhesives (glues, gums, pastes), solvents (thinners), gaskets, rubber roofing tiles, re-threaded automobile tires and later freshly manufactured automobile tires.This is nothing short of revolutionary and we appeal to the government of President George Manneh Weah to give its firm backing to this great and historic initiative.Mr. James E. Cooper, Jr., tells us that he is not alone. Several other rubber planters have already started constructing rubber processing facilities in various parts of the country, including Kakata, Margibi County, and Nimba County.Mr. James E. Cooper, II says not only will these rubber processing and manufacturing enterprises produce finished products; they will also cause thousands more people to be employed in the rubber sector. They will not just be tappers, but engineers and technicians working in manufacturing plants.Presently, Mr. Cooper’s processing plant is producing TSR 10 rubber for export to Malaysia and the USA where it is used to manufacture automobile tires. He also produces smoked sheets for export.Mr. Cooper is in negotiations with Sri Lankan manufacturers to come to Liberia and join him by bringing in their technology to start rethreading tires, and later the real thing—brand new automobile tires for export to the Mano River Union and ECOWAS markets.Mr. Cooper and his fellow rubber processors have an even bigger dream: the Free Trade Agreement, spearheaded by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, which was signed in Kigali last week by 48 of the 53 African nations.Cooper and his colleagues are on to creating Liberia’s industrial revolution. Let us all join in this great endeavor by giving Mr. Cooper and all his colleagues our fullest cooperation and support. The media must play their part, and so, we fervently pray, will the Liberian government.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Mourinho was on the winning side that night as Real Madrid manager and also sent United out of the last 16 when Porto boss in 2004.“I’ve sat in this chair twice before with Porto, Manchester United out, and Real Madrid, Manchester United out, so I don’t think it’s anything new for the club,” said Mourinho, who bristled at questions over his tactical approach.“I don’t want to make a drama of it. We have no time to be sad for more than 24 hours, that’s football. It’s not the end of the world.”The visitors were deserving winners as they controlled the game throughout, but had to wait for Ben Yedder’s introduction as a substitute 18 minutes from time to add a clinical finish by taking his Champions League tally for the season to eight goals in seven appearances.Ben Yedder put Sevilla in front two minutes later when he blasted into the bottom corner before heading in a second shortly after.Romelu Lukaku reduced United’s arrears, but it was too little, too late with Mourinho’s decision to once again drop Paul Pogba certain to be scrutinised.“In the first half we played a good game apart from the last 30 metres,” said Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella.“In the second half we were more clinical with Ben Yedder, he made the difference today.”Mourinho sprang a surprise before kick-off by recalling Marouane Fellaini at the expense of Pogba, who had also been dropped for the first game.Sevilla dominated the vast majority of the first leg only to be denied by some stunning saves from David de Gea.However, it was wayward finishing rather than the Spanish number one that prevented the visitors making the most of their ascendency for most of the match.Indeed, of Sevilla’s 10 efforts on goal in the first period only one weak Muriel effort forced De Gea into making a save.– Fellaini gamble backfires –Substitute Wissam Ben Yedder’s second goal looped over the line to finish off United © AFP / Oli SCARFFMourinho’s gamble on Fellaini appeared to have largely backfired as he failed to impose his physical presence on Sevilla’s ball players in midfield.Yet, the Belgian nearly made the breakthrough with United’s best move of the opening period when he latched onto Alexis Sanchez’s layoff and his powerful effort was turned behind by Sergio Rico.The second period began in the same vein as the first with Sevilla on the front foot, and only a brilliant last-ditch tackle by Eric Bailly denied Correa a clear sight of goal.Pogba, who cost United a then-world record £89 million ($116 million) in 2016, was eventually introduced just after the hour mark with Fellaini sacrificed.However, even the Frenchman couldn’t kickstart the hosts and they were eventually made to pay.Ben Yedder had only been on the pitch for two minutes after replacing Muriel when he finally broke the deadlock in the tie with a brilliant finish low into De Gea’s bottom left-hand corner.“Manchester United have experience in the Champions League, it was a special game for us,” said Ben Yedder.“But I believed in myself, believed in the team and we showed we are a great team.”Mourinho responded by throwing on Anthony Martial and Juan Mata, but their attacking edge was needed far earlier as Ben Yedder soon put the outcome beyond any doubt when he forced home a corner at the far post despite a despairing effort by De Gea.Lukaku finally got United on the board six minutes from time when he swept home Marcus Rashford’s corner.But it was to little avail as United have now failed to reach the quarter-finals for four straight years.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Jose Mourinho’s United put in a lifeless display and were dumped out by Sevilla © AFP / Oli SCARFFMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Mar 14 – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho insisted European disappointment is nothing new for the English giants after losing 2-1 to Sevilla at Old Trafford to crash out of the Champions League by the same scoreline on aggregate.Wissam Ben Yedder struck twice in four second-half minutes on Tuesday to send Sevilla into the quarter-finals for the first time in 60 years as United suffered a first European home defeat since Alex Ferguson’s Champions League farewell in 2013.