Saturday, 12 March 2011

Liberian Girl….

In 2010 my attention was brought to a documentary called 'The Vice Guide to Travel-Liberia' which was a truly shocking account of 'life' in Liberia in the so called 'civilised' 21st century.  The team that went in were truly brave and is an example of real 'investigative journalism' and not the 'news repeaters' we see daily.

The back ground story is that African American slaves were sent back to Liberia in 1821 and put in charge of Liberia, which is on the west coast of Africa neighbouring the current war torn Ivory Coast.  These African Americans came back 'home' and used the plantation slave way of life they had learned from America and imposed it on their countrymen enslaving the nation.
Somewhere along the line the President of Liberia, Samuel K Doe, was over thrown by a military coup led by American educated (and some say backed) Charles Taylor and friend 'Prince Johnson'.  He was tortured on t.v and it is rumoured that 'Prince Johnson' had eaten him….cannibalism is a recurring theme in the Liberian wars that follow.

The country descended into chaos as the rebel warlords fought for control as stories of corruption leaked out about the Presidents office.  What followed was nothing short of "a civil war on steroids" says Shane Smith of the Vice Guide team.  Former Liberian warlord Joshua Blahyi (General Butt Naked) now a born again Christian, tells his story of the civil war and the history of the warlords.  Blahyi (General Butt Naked) and his followers would fight naked after cutting out the hearts of, and bathing in the blood of, young children for it was meant to make them invincible.  Blahyi claims to have killed up to 20,000 people and now has a parish, been forgiven for his sins and has since been absolved of war crimes.

One of the biggest fears in Liberia currently is the withdrawal of the UN and its soldiers (scheduled to take place soon) and how this may lead to any of the warlords mobilising and trying to retake control of the country, leading to further blood shed on an unimaginable scale.

Cross dressing cannibals, rape, child soldiers on heroin and all before sunset, the Vice team take you on an emotional journey through the countries quite shocking history and current predicament.  I urge you to take a look at the documentary and make your own minds up.

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