QuincyB and Traffic Safety in Liberia
By Komlan Aloysh
Liberia sits in grief as it mourns one of its rising stars, #QuincyB, whose untimely death in a car accident on March 3, 2017 in Monrovia took the country by surprise. Social media exploded with shock and grief in remembrance of this young and talented artist. His smiling face splashes across social media with #RIPQuincyB. Liberians on Facebook and Instagrams are expressing deep shock about the story circulating on their newsfeeds. And some are sharing stories of their affinity for his work in Liberian music, while others have resulted to using his photos as their profile pictures as remembrance of him and his music that touched them. QuincyB is being remembered across Liberia and the diaspora as humble and talented, one who dedicated his talent to moving the nation beyond its wretched past. Indeed he accomplished that. Liberians across the world have turned inward to their music – the Liberian music filled with Liberian English. However, the cause of his death [in a tragic car accident] raises important questions about the state of traffic safety and regulations in Liberia.
When I read about this young man's death as a car accident, I was quickly reminded of my short experience with motor vehicle safety in Liberia. Certainly, mine was not anything near fatal as QuincyB's sadly was, but it struck me deeply how driving in the country was and still is dangerous - especially at night and during rush hours.
I had just landed in the country from Accra, Ghana, and my [ex]-girlfriend lifted me from the airport on a cloudy mid-evening. My travel from Accra was longer than anticipated, for it came with a few delays due to technical issues. We spent much of the evening trying to find a place to dine. She was driving, and I was deeply concerned and nervous about the way she was driving; it appeared too reckless to me. And those who drove pass us were not better either. It seemed like a complete chaos.
It was just a few minutes after 21:00 hours, and we were headed home after dinner. I couldn’t recognize where we were because I was not quite familiar with the city, having arrived just few hours before. But I was quite certain that it must have been one of the major streets in the city. I didn't think it was Broad Street.
She had just turned right on a green at the traffic light when a car ran the red light and struck the driver side of our vehicle and nearly took off the view mirror. She quickly pulled over, so did the other car. The damage was not severe. She tried to rush out of the car, but I held her back trying to calm her down, for I was aware of road rages and their deadly outcomes. I wanted her to be calm before we got out of the car, but surprisingly, the gentleman had gotten out of his car, completely intoxicated with gibberish speech as he tried walking towards us. He could barely stand nor move away from his car that protected his wobbly standing. His aggressiveness and shouting enraged my [ex]-girlfriend, and they both began to scream at each other uncontrollably. No one could make up anything he was saying; he was too drunk, and sadly he was driving with three others in the car - all of whom I suspected were drunk and sound asleep. I tried calming my [ex]-girlfriend, and at least try to make the conversation more civil -- get to make sure that the gentleman understood what he had done. I guess I was wrong. One can never talk sense into a drunken man. The shouting was too strong enough. All I did was stand in a position that was better enough for me to protect her if he attempted to reach her. But he was too drunk to understand what he was saying.
Realizing that the conversation was going nowhere, I asked my [ex]-girl to put an end to the meaningless altercation. It certainly was a road rage but the gentleman couldn't make up a complete sentence. In the car, she said something that deeply struck me. She said, "The reason he got out of his car was to make sharp mouth, knowing that he was wrong. I know you're too diplomatic and want to fix things and have civil conversations, but in Liberia, sharp mouth wins even if it is wrong and not saying anything logical."
The details of QuincyB's death are yet to emerge, but with the information that we have now which seems to be a tragic car accident, I am very concerned about the traffic safety in the country. The lack of traffic regulations related to drunk driving and other issues should be of major concerns to everyone and must be addressed.
QuincyB will always be remembered in our hearts. He will be remembered for leading a fledgling nation into a new era -- drawing a bright spotlight on its untapped talents and creativity.
We all mourn QuincyB with heavy hearts, and we should, but the question that lingers is how do you prevent losing another QuincyB? If Liberia truly wants to mourn and honour QuincyB and others, it has an easy decision to make, which I believe QuincyB too would appreciate as a memorial, and that must be taking traffic safety and regulations very seriously. That will prevent untimely and fatal accidents that claim young and creativity lives in Liberia. Let’s love and thank QuincyB for his talent and melodious voice that put hearts and minds quietly at peace, but we must also act as an honor to prevent his untimely tragedy from visiting anyone else in Liberia. To honor QuincyB, we must save ourselves.