On Charles Taylor

As part of my class on violence, we looked at the civil wars in Liberia as an example of civil conflict, and a springboard for talking about how civil conflicts develop and how acts of violence and atrocities come to be committed in them (we also watched the brutal but pretty solid documentary Liberia: an Uncivil War).  The students were very interested in the conflict – in part because of the roots of modern Liberia in a US “back to Africa” movement, and also because many of the COs at Jessup are from Liberia. A few reported to me that they’d had interesting conversations with the staff about it, and Mr. Greco tells me that he’s been making copies of my Liberia materials (mostly the Wikipedia page for a general overview, plus an excerpt from Liberian Women Peacemakers).

Here are one of my student J.E.’s comments on Liberia’s war.

Liberia was Lord Captured!

Charles “President” Taylor – War Lord or Robin Hood?

Fear of rebels and government retribution keeps many of Liberia citizens in silence.

Getting the inside story on Liberia most feared and infamous war lord was no easy take because Charles Taylor did not give interviews and the people did not know who to trust.

Liberia is among the top 10 countries with the highest homicide rates in the world. This is a high violence society with a comparable murder rate to Colombia, Jamaica, and South Africa, mostly due to political violence and corruption.

The US-controlled media say that almost 80% of the murderous violence that goes on in Liberia is caused by the rebels, while the residents say that it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the US backed rebels and the government forces.

Why did the people of Monrovia willingly die for Charles Taylor?

Some describe Taylor as Liberia’s answer – a modern-day Robin Hood in a sense, whose benevolence in Monrovia afforded him absolute control and respect as a role model and President.

Charles Taylor’s popularity stemmed in part from his generosity toward the people of Monrovia – he gave money to those in need and provided them with a source of livelihood and also kept them safe in his own way from the Rebels (smile). Through his generosity, Taylor gained the loyalty of his people.

This loyalty did not end with his national people, but with neighboring revolutionaries supporting him.

A lot of Charles Taylor’s supporters believe he was tricked by the US government in the first place, while others feel he is guilty because they blame him for letting so many innocent people die.

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