I had never even heard of Liberia before someone suggested I watch this Vice doc (below). For instance, I think I even asked the person “do you mean Nigeria?” Oh ignorance. Anyways, Vice has this amazing doc where a camera crew follows Shane Smith, a co-founder of Vice, around the worst places of Liberia (sex shops, beaches where people shit everywhere, kids doing drugs), interviewing retired war-lords. These war-lords describe all the poverty, rape, drug abuse and cannibalism that the country was thrown into during the civil wars following the 1980 coup that overthrew the government.
Honestly, there’s too much fucked-upedness to even remotely summarize here…
Here’s a quick summary of Liberia from wikipedia:
The history of Liberia is unique among African nations because of its relationship with the United States. It is one of only two countries in Africa, along with Ethiopia, without roots in the EuropeanScramble for Africa. It was founded and colonized by freed American slaveswith the help of a private organization called the American Colonization Society in 1821-1822, on the premise that former American slaves would have greater freedom and equality there.
Slaves freed from slave ships were also sent there instead of being repatriated to their countries of origin. These colonists formed an elite group in Liberian society, and, in 1847, they founded the Republic of Liberia, establishing a government modeled on that of the United States, naming Monrovia, their capital city, after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States and a prominent supporter of the colonization.
A military-led coup in 1980 overthrew then-president William R. Tolbert, which marked the beginning of a period of instability that eventually led to two civil wars that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and devastated the country’s economy. Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of the civil war and related economic dislocation. Statistics indicate that about 85% of the population live on less than $1.25 a day.
One of the generals, whose name as a General was Butt Naked, because he and his soldiers (many of them children) would fight naked after consuming a sacrificed child, is now a Christian minister asking for forgiveness of the 30,000 people who were killed under his command (supposedly).
The doc, which was made in early 2010 (I believe…), questions what will happen to the country when the peace-keeping UN forces leave. In the doc, they say that will happen a year in the future…meaning really fucking soon in our time. I tried to find out more about this, but a short search through google news and wikipedia did nothing for me… 😦
Watch the doc below: