"I am well educated." says George Weah

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Jack Tracey, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    A candidate for the Liberian presidency, George Weah, has come under fire from members of his opposition regarding the fact that he has claimed a degree from Parkwood University, a known degree mill. There was some small discussion of this in a previous thread but I couldn't turn it up. The original set of stories went something like this:

    I have a degree but I don't have a degree. It's on my resume but I didn't put it there. It's on my website but I didn't put it there. It' must be those opposition leaders trying to distract us all from the real issues. It's a good school but maybe it's not. I was misinformed. I was hornswoggled. I worked hard for that degree. etc, etc.

    Here's the latest version. More of the same, really.
  2. jouster

    jouster New Member

    Not to defend him at all, but FYI he was the World Soccer player of the year a while back. He played for Milan and was absolutely sensational.

    None of which excuses claiming a fake degree.
  3. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    You are thinking of that Parkwood thread over on "DL Discussions": http://forums.degreeinfo.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20279 which is still living on page 1. Click on the underlined words "this article" in Mr. DesElms' post.
  4. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Weah not amused.

    Or impressed.

    Mr Weah may be well educated*, but he is neither well-schooled nor well-bred.

    *purely rhetorical, mes enfants
  5. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    Re: Re: "I am well educated." says George Weah

    Thanks for the link Ted. Unfortunately however, this is not the one I had in mind. There was a thread about six months ago (maybe), probably starting out as a thread on St. Regis, morphing into other Liberian topics and ultimately including George Weah. Go one of those up your sleeve? ;)
    The real issue in the news article is that education is a critical issue for Liberia, as it is throughout Africa. Weah's opponents (correctly) point out that someone with a fake degree can't even pretend to really care about educational issues.
    (btw, jouster is right when he says it doesn't matter that he was a soccer player)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2005
  6. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    So, here's the latest follow up story in which George Weah reverses himself yet again. This time he seems to be saying that it doesn't matter that he doesn't have any real academic accomplishments. Of course, his sincereity in this matter would be more of a certainty if he hadn't tried to claim a degree from a mill. He'll probably win the election anyway but I think it's important for people to understand that this degree mill stuff is not just a bunch of people buying vanity degrees for laughs. This guy will hold the fate of thousands of people in his hands.
  7. Dave C.

    Dave C. New Member

    He's wrong - but let's give this man a chance


    Firstly let me say that like yourself I am against anybody claiming a fake degree for any reason.

    Any secondly despite me being a huge soccer fan I don't believe George's past achievements change anything, although it does impact one area; as Liberia's Number 1 celebrity he does have the ear of his people.

    Let's also look at the bigger picture before we condemn this man. He does appear to have a genuine vested interest in improving his country, which is an absolute mess, see this link: Liberia Country Profile

    Liberia has a GNI per capita of $110.00. Just think about the abject poverty those people live in. More than 200 000 killed in the civil war...try and comprehend these figures, 1 in 18 of the population.

    George is wrong if he has claimed a fake degree. But George may be the only person who offers a glimmer of hope for 3 and half million impoverished Africans. Let's not support any person claiming something that they haven't earned, but let's show a bit of mercy until we see exactly what George is made of.


    Dave C.
  8. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

  9. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    While it may be true that George is the only one with a hope of pulling the country together (I don't know Liberian politics at all), my view is that it is generally unlikely that an academic fraud is going to form an honest government.
  10. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    I understand that logic... and agree that your conclusion seems like it should logically follow. And in many cases, I'm sure it does. It might even in this case, too. But this fake credential thing is an interesting and almost unique kind of dishonesty unto itself. I actually think it's possible for a person to say, in effect, "Okay, I want to go and do this amazing thing in life that will help people. I know I can do it. But the world won't let me until I have this credential. But I already know what I'm doing. So I'm going to go get a fake one -- cheat this one time -- so I can go out and do good work. I'll never cheat again. Just this one time."

    And I'm not saying that even one syllable of something like that would be right; and I categorically condemn it, regardless. But I think it's possible -- and I don't mean remotely possible -- for someone to do just that: Cheat that one time, but then use the fake credential simply as a means of being taken seriously enough to get into a position where one can actually begin doing the good work one already knew how to do regardless.

    Is it right? Of course not! Am I defending his actions? No way! Is it statistically like that if he's willing to cheat that once, he'll cheat again later? Probably. Does his doing the good work excuse the cheat? Clearly no. Should anyone think that way in the first place? It would be nice if no one would.

    But might he end-up doing the good work he promised himself he would do, and never cheat again, as promised, and the world better for his having done so? Possible. And, if so, even though his having done so doesn't make it right, should maybe those around him take all things into consideration and be willing to overlook his earlier transgression? I'm thinking maybe yes. Academia never will, of course. But maybe the world, if his work was really that good and the world really that much better off for it, should consider giving the guy a pass.

    I think (and I stress the word "think") that that's what Dave C is suggesting we consider giving this guy a chance to do... if, in fact, there's that much character in him, despite his prior bad act.

    And I'm thinking maybe there's something to that kind of thinking in a dire, extreme or unusual situation such as this. I could be wrong. Maybe Bill's right. Maybe the guy will form a corrupt government as his prior transgression is probably predicting. Maybe this will be an academic fraudster-turned-fraudulent-leader-of-a-country to whom we can all point for years to come as an example of what happens when someone is allowed to fool people with a fake credential... just one more in a long line of many we've seen before in all manner of professions or political positions.

    Or maybe the guy just needed to be taken seriously long enough to get himself into a position to do what no degree could have trained him to do anyway: Lead a country out of poverty and oppression.

    Or maybe not. We'll see.

    I think it's right to point-out what he did wrong... and to predict (or at least worry) that it's a portent of things to come. Jack's almost certainly right to have brought it up; and Bill's probably right about what kind of low-life the guy probably is and, therefore, what kind of government he'll form once elected.

    But wouldn't it be grand if he really did something special once empowered by his presidency... notwithstanding his past dishonesty.

    I guess I still believe in the notion of redemption. Every man seeks it. For the sake of the Liberian citizenry, maybe we should pray for his.

    We can always talk about how Jack and Bill were right later. Maybe Dave C's got a point for the moment.

    Just maybe.
  11. Dave C.

    Dave C. New Member


    It is good to see this reasoned discussion developing.

    Gregg's assessment of both my view and the situation is accurate. Jack and Bill are a little more unwaivering in their condemnation of George Weah and probably have good reason to be. I know you guys have been battling these fraudsters for a good portion of your lives.

    Gregg talks of redemption. I would call it emancipation. Having spent 3 of the last four years working in Africa I understand (to some degree) the poverty and lack of opportunity in the last great negelected continent. I hope and pray that George is more genuine than his degree claiming would indicate. I hope he can do some good for his country and does not use this opportunity to line a Swiss bank account as most African presidents do.

    I really, really hope that George acts as Gregg suggests, using this one misdemeanour to get himself to a place where he can do good which will far outweigh his indiscretion.

    We are waiting and watching George. Please do the right thing.


    Dave C.
  12. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I certainly hope that Gregg nailed it for this specific case. Like I said, I don't know squat about Liberian politics and the candidates. George may be the only hope? If so it's truly a testament as to how desperate things are if the country's best hope is an academic fraud. (Yipee, I got to use the word testament in a non-religious context. Hey, I never denied that I'm wierd.)
  13. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    Like Bill, I do not know enough about the other candidates to even venture an opinion as to who might be the best person for the job. It seems clear that Liberia needs a leader who has more than a moderate amount of honesty and integrity (among other things). If George Weah is, in reality, that person then so be it. However, the small amount of information that I do have suggests he is not. I do not think that I would base my entire opinion on this factoid but it does get me leaning in one particular direction.
  14. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    And that's certainly the reasonable approach that most people do -- and probably should -- take. No argument there. I say, purely statistically, that Bill's probably right: This academic fraud is quite likely a predictor of more fraud to come. This candidate, soon to be president, would have to be an extraordinary man, indeed, for this not to be the case. Dave C's prayer is that he is precisely that extraordinary. I like the notion of hoping for that more than I do accepting, as I probably should, that Bill's prediction is probably what's going to be the case.

    Additionally, in my post, above, I really should have excluded from potential acceptability -- or at least forgivability -- such situations as when a person is convinced he can be a good doctor, but then gets a fake degree so that he can be in the situation to begin acting like one. Some things are indefensible, no matter what. Even if some guy had been the equivalent of an apprentice under a real physician for however many years; and, therefore, probably could walk the walk, until a real medical school grants, by whatever means, a real MD degree and the guy then goes and gets properly licensed, he has no business laying hands on anyone claiming to be a physician... even if he can do the job as well as any real physician.

    And there are numerous other professions wherein no one -- and I mean no one... ever -- should be allowed to do what I'm suggesting that maybe... just maybe, in this rare and extraordinary case, Mr. Weah might possibly be allowed to get away with if he really can save his country in an honorable way, despite, as Dave C nailed it when he called it his "one misdemeanour"... or so we should at least hope it's his only one.

    As I get ready to click on the "Submit Reply" button, the cynical little voice inside is saying, "Oh, for cryin' out loud! What're you doin', here! The guy's a slimebucket. Jack's dead-on, and Bill's a damned prophet on this one. What... are you some kinda' bleeding heart or something? They guy's an academic fraud! Anyone who could do that is gonna' be a political/governmental fraud... and people will be worse off for his having been elected. Gimmee a damned break!"

    The voices in my head can be very opinionated, as you can see. ;)
  15. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Would you vote for a US presidential candidate with a phony degree who continued to claim it after exposure?
  16. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Oohh, man... do I ever hate it when a masterful debater poses such "have-you-really-thought-this-through" kinds of questions. There's nothing quite like being put on the spot by someone whose point, which underlies his question, you know to be a good and right one.

    [sigh] Lemmee see if I can squirm outta' this...

    Hmm. Well... mmm... no, definitely not. In fact, I would probably not vote for him (or her... after all, we gotta' be fair, here... but so that I don't have to write "s/he" and "him/her" throughout, let's just settle on "him" for ease of typing) even if he stopped claiming it after exposure.

    Two discussions, if you think about it, can derive from this...

    First, there's the fact that, as Jack pointed-out, Weah is still claiming the fake degree on his web site. This, of course, is very bad... either that, or his webmaster just hasn't gotten caught-up yet. Of course, if we allow for that particular excuse, then we might have to re-think our feelings about Azad... which we definitely should not get into here. [grin]

    But your argument, if I know you, is that redemption -- assuming it's even appropriate, in this case -- is an awfully tall order if the guy won't even repent. Boy, it's hard to argue with that one and, to be candid, I sort of chose not to even consider that in my earlier writing, here. I did notice it, believe it or not... and almost addressed it. But, seeing their inherent value in this particular case, I guess I wanted to get into the spirit of Dave C's sentiments, and so I just chose to dismiss it. But I guess that wasn't really appropriate, was it. I mean... it most certainly is relevant, no doubt about that.

    However, I think my willingness to not let it get in the way -- as maybe I should have, I suppose -- is tied-in to what I would argue is the second logical discussion that could be derived from all this: The double-standard that at least I'm willing to have in the case of this desperate African nation (as opposed to my own, comparatively prosperous United States) precisely because of what Dave C describes in his post as the absolute mess in which Liberia finds itself. Desperate times -- especially when they're in someone else's country -- may call for making exceptions to our normal, white, wealthy (at least by comparison), empowered value systems.

    Of course, the slippery slopes are everywhere in philosophical discussions like this... at least once one is willing to go where I guess I'm going, here. But admitting, as I am, that it's a double-standard, and that I make no apologies for that being so, allows me to say that if it were a US presidential candidate, I would most certainly not vote for him if he continued to claim the degree after exposure; and, moreover, not even if he stopped. Am I, therefore, holding US presidential candiates to a higher standard? You bet. Given the vast disparity between the two nations; and the exceptional things that maybe we should be willing to accept in the poorer and more desperate of the two simply so that, perhaps, said vastness can be reduced, I'm not sure there's anything all that dishonorable about such a double-standard... or so could begin the second of the two discussions that could logically derive from all this.

    If Liberia were on-par with the US in all the normal ways that people tend to measure such things, it would be much easier for me to hold Mr. Weah to the same high ethical standard to which I would -- and that we all should, in my opinion -- hold a US presidential candidate. But if what Dave C (and the article to which he linked us) tells us about the unbelievable conditions in Liberia is true; and if the best that that desperate country can do in the way of a decent presidential candidate is Mr. Weah, then maybe it's appropriate to... I dunno... cut that country some ethical slack, I suppose... at least for the moment, anyway. I mean... look, maybe I'm wrong, but that's kinda' what I'm thinking right now... as I struggle, of course, to keep from sliding down the obvious slippery slope atop of which this perhaps tenuous argument rests.

    [sigh] These are not easy issues... at least not if we're to be appropriately compassionate, given Liberia's circumstances. And I'm wording my working-it-out-as-I-go position very carefully, if you'all haven't noticed, because I don't want to be misinterpreted as saying that a fake degree can be okay under certain circumstances. I'm not saying that. It never is... ever! But, in this case, the degree -- regardless whether it's fake or real -- almost certainly has nothing to do with the skillset that will ultimately be required of Mr. Weah to turn around his desperate country. That being the case, question, I think, becomes more along the lines of: Even though this Liberian presidential candidate's degree is fake and, worse, he seems unrepentant about it; is the desperateness of the situation sufficient, and is the likelihood that he holds the key to his country's salvation high enough, that these combined circumstances may trump the wrongness of his prior act? Are we right to suspend our ethical standards in these special circumstances, given how high are the stakes?

    I dunno. I'm thinking, maybe, yeah... for now, anyway. But that's just me. And only 'cause... well... c'mon... let's face it: A GNI per capita of $110.00, for godsake. Yikes! That makes even the impact on those who were already in poverty in New Orleans before the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina pale by comparison. I mean... things in Liberia are reallly bad. I'm not sure we shouldn't applaud a damned serial killer being elected president there if he can really and truly turn things around! Well... okay... that is over the top... but I think you get my point underlying point.

    And you know something else that drifts into my thoughts as I'm writing this? I'm thinking, just sort of parenthetically, how really and truly despicable the St. Regis gang is for exploiting Liberia's desperate situation for its nefarious purposes as it has. I mean... on top of being diploma mill and fake foreign credential operators in the first place -- which I think we would all agree is bad enough -- it makes them even lower, and more scum-sucking and bottom-feeding, forms of life that they opportunistically seized on Liberia's plight to throw around what, by US standards, isn't very much money in order to induce Liberians to lie and behave badly, knowing that their level of desperation would trump their sense of wrongdoing. There's gotta' be a special place in hell reserved for people who would do something like that. I know it's be done by countless people and countries pretty much since the first human walked the planet, but I still hope there's that place in hell for them.

    I'm so worried that the US Attorney will not, based on the evidence, be able to craft a set of charges that will survive a federal grand jury; and then, to put on a case that will convince a trial jury to convict; and then, mount a sentencing argument that will convince a federal judge to put these horrible, horrible people behind bars for a long, long time.

    Whether they'll also ultimately end-up in that special place in hell is not for me to decide. One can, however, hope. And I do.
  17. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    For the record, Gregg, I don't disagree with your argument. Like you I hope that it is correct.

    No I wouldn't vote for a US presidential candidate that was an academic fraud either but believe that there can be a difference between what exceptions might be acceptable for the two countires.
  18. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    Weah slightly stunned...

    ...by the voluble and thoughtful response. My point was less cosmic. Our concern here with Liberia has been crooked degrees. The new government shows signs of remedying this. A mill-shill bush heathen president won't help matters.

    Oh. One other thing. That so-called "white" value system ain't. It was the value system that ran Liberia before the butchers took over in 1980, that runs other responsibly-governed African countries, and which we all hope will run Liberia again. Civil society has no colour.

    May the Lone Star shine brightly, and that right early.
  19. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

  20. Dave C.

    Dave C. New Member

    See this link, George is still getting the benefit of the doubt from me - Liberia...


    Dave C.

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