Until today, I painfully and unbearably struggled to process and absorb what has now become a painful reality, that a young and promising brother, a national icon Vallai M. Dorley alias “Chairman Mao” has transitioned from mortality to immortality, plunging the entire nation into a burden of grief.
I was devastated, quivered, shattered, and diminished by the chilling and shocking news that rising star Vallai Dorley has succumbed to the callous and dreadful hands of death. Fractured by trauma and pain, I could hardly garner the strength nor summon the courage to scrabble a befitting tribute until now, and after three weeks of his death, I am still struggling to piece together a deserved tribute to a fallen fine son of my homeland.
In his generation and peerage, Valli was an Icon of noble heights who bagged plentitude of academic and service laurels. He magnificently blazed the trail and would earn a feat as an acclaimed National Scholar who commanded the attention and respect of his country at large.
I called him a polymath as he was knowledgeable, erudite, and sagacious in multiple spheres of epistemologies. An economist who mastered and manipulated the numbers with supremacy and proficiency thus earning the famous nickname “The Numbers’ Man”. A Public Policy Expert who possessed the depth and steep in the nuances of public policy formulation and application and the overarching trigger down effect public policies must have on the population. A contemporary worldview Trade Expert whose name is etched in the hallow walls of the World Trade Organization(WTO). A renowned and award-winning quizzing czar, and of course an avowed, determined, unrelenting, and passionate University Lecturer who found hope and consolation in the classroom.
Vallai dedicated most if not all his time on earth to advancing education and promoting excellence. In all of his academic pursuits on and beyond the shores of Liberia, Captain Mao straddles excellence, discipline, and hard work. He was certainly one of the few distinguished hybrid scholars that majestically walked the pristine shores of Liberia and left indelible footprints. As a dear mentor to many and a humble and cheerful teacher to many more, young Vallai Dorley bedazzled the nation with his stellar, intriguing, and mystical brilliance and erudition.
Oh death, where is thou sting? How silly and barbarous you are. It is hilarious nonsense that you take delight in claiming the precious lives of the good and noble people away from us and leave with us the wretched and wicked to ravish and terrorize us. What an extraordinary human being Vallai was, his humbling deportment and captivating smiles could illuminate a dark room.
Captain Mao was an unyielding, indomitable, and daring Patriot and an unapologetic revolutionary Marxist who wanted his country governed well and fellow compatriots to be given a life of socioeconomic dignity. He postulated countless times that a nation saddled with a high rate of illiteracy and perennial extreme poverty certainly has no dignity and such a mortifying condition of a nation must claim the attention of its Patriots and revolutionaries. For him, it was country above self, hence, he was willing to serve his country even with those he politically and fundamentally disagree with at the helm.
To our nation, a productive, exemplary, and noble citizen who would have been one of the fronting crusaders of its burgeoning future, has sadly trekked to the proverbial mountaintop. No doubt, our nation is clattered by your demise Vallai and the grief is too heavy a burden to bear.
To his family and relatives, they have lost a hero who was meant to grow to the age of becoming the Patriarchal of the Valley family but foolish and vicious death would gate-crash and undercut the glorious terrestrial voyage of a great son who in his short span on earth inspired a whole nation. So, for them, this loss is irreparable and the attending grief shall consume them forever. May we keep them in our prayers and ask Allah, the All-Merciful to be their shield and comforter during this murky period of grinding bereavement.
And for me, I have lost a lovely young brother with whom I had and enjoyed a blossoming bromance for many years. He was loyal and courteous to me. He loved me. He telephoned me regularly to check on me and I did similarly. He called me his leader and teacher. He was one of the few militants, comrades, and commandants in the ranks of the Boakai Movement who named and honored me “The General”. We had a lot in common ideologically, politically, and academically. He called me a prolific writer and a man endowed with wisdom. I felt flattered and mesmerized by his kind and enriching comments toward me, for I know nothing to be called a man endowed with wisdom, as in the words of my dear small brother, Capt. Mao who electrified everywhere he went with scholarly prowess.
I told him I could not be prouder of the International scholar he had become and particularly how delightful it was to see him give back to his homeland via the classroom. He called me up a year ago and said, “General, it’s time for you to begin scrabbling some books”. I responded, “great idea, I have been considering that for a while now. But will you finance the publication”? He laughed for few seconds, paused for a few more seconds, and said to me in a humbling and sobering tone, “I wish I could foot the bills for your publications, big brother, but you know I cannot afford it right now, but Allah will provide”. I responded, “don’t worry my small brother, I have started penning my first book and hopefully I will launch my first book in 2021 and shall have you autograph it”. He responded, “Inshallah, I am happy for that, I can’t wait for your book, I might read it in few days because I enjoy reading your ink”.
In fulfillment of our wish, I have completed the manuscript of the book and it is currently with the publishing company for publication. God’s willing it will be up in few months. My bookworm Vallai will not be around to autograph a copy and read it as he promised. Aye God. My eyes are red. Tears are rolling down my weary cheeks. My heart is pounding with rapidity, and my body trembles as I reach this point of my tribute. My hands are cold and weak. My spines are cracking and tumbling. I cannot write anymore. I should drop my pen at this point, please permit me to do so, Captain Mao. I am rattled and emotionally burnt out.
My dear peking Vallai, thank you for being my loyal friend and caring small brother. Thank you for touching our hearts in a mighty and surreal way. Thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for teaching us. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for your service to our country. And more importantly, Thank you for being a daring patriot. Your reward is etched in the shining stars above the stratosphere.
Yet, I have not written a befitting tribute to your honor. You will never be forgotten as your enviable life, enthralling works, and incredible legacy shall remain a burning flame in our hearts forever.
Revolutionaries do not die, we transition to another domicile upon the orders of the Almighty Deity and take on new assignments. Best of luck on your new assignment.
Salute, Commandante Captain Mao, and Farewell Thee!
Rest in Power. Rest in Salam. May Allah grant you compassion.
By: Moncio Robert Wilmot Kpadeh (Sage)
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