"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


just another word for nothing left to lose

Does anybody really care who attended/sang at/wept outside Michael Jackson's funeral? Yeah, me neither. But from the coverage of every single news outlet over here, you'd think it was the only story out there at the moment. NPR, you have betrayed us. And that's all I have to say about that.

Speaking of betrayal, hype, and people who should probably be in jail, by all accounts, things are a little crazy in Monrovia this week. Not only is the long term political future of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at least theoretically in question (Surprise, surprise - the opposition is calling for her resignation), we're also seeing some very strange bedfellows come together in their mutual opposition to the report's findings and suggestions. Here are two reads from journalists on the ground that are both worth your time:
  • The Esteyonage has a fascinating report about a press conference Monday at which eight competing players in the civil war who were all fingered for prosecution by the TRC have agreed on one thing: they don't recognize the legitimacy of the TRC report and they don't deserve prosecution. Will this turn into an "enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend" type scenario? In my experience looking at how accused war criminals behave once they're being prosecuted, most of them spend opt to cover their own butts rather than worrying about anyone else's. But who knows? That, as Estey notes, the men had some legitimate points about the TRC's failures is a sure sign that this path to reconciliation is anything but normal.
  • Glenna Gordon knocks another one out of the park in an outstanding interview with current Senator/TRC target #1 Prince Johnson, who was late to the aforementioned press conference. Johnson not only provides a rather creative take on Liberian history and an account of his sleeping habits (he snores), but we also learn that he's found Jesus, and that Jesus never looked back, so neither should Johnson. (Of course, Jesus never sat around drinking beer while watching a sitting president get his ear cut off before his execution was filmed, but perhaps that's just a detail in the cosmology of Prince Johnson.) More importantly to war criminal-watchers everywhere, Johnson enlightens us regarding Charles Taylor's recent conversion to Judaism. According to Johnson, Taylor is under the impression that going Jewish will help him "be free" because he thinks that most of the Americans in power are Jews which will somehow help him to gain freedom. Looks like Taylor and Johnson are both in for a tough lesson on the nature of freedom.
I would love to hear from any other readers who are in Liberia and can give us a perspective on the TRC report from the streets of Monrovia or elsewhere. What are normal Liberians saying about it? Leave a comment or shoot me an email and I'll be glad to post interesting observations from the region.


Blogger Scarlett Lion said...

There's not much up there yet about the TRC, but check ceasefireliberia.com for more on what Liberians have to say. A neat project. Planning to link to it as soon as I recover from my TRC induced filing craziness...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009 6:36:00 AM


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