Tuesday, June 01, 2004

a quick entry before hiatus resumes

ah, remember the amber hued days of youth coming up as a shorty in sierra leone...no? perhaps this will refresh your memory:

yeah, that's a 10 year old with an AK. i blame it on the rap music.

the picture comes from a bbc article on forthcoming war-crimes trials against those who recruited child-soldiers during sierra leone's civil war. as the article states, this is kinda the way civil warriors get down in central africa.

i'll post some more on the comedy of gigantic proportions that is western african warfare when i get home today, but for now, i will provide you with this series of articles (parts 1, 2, and 3) on the liberian civil war by canadian journalist alexandre trudeau:

I try to remember the characters I knew here in 1997. Many of the politicians and fighters I interviewed then have fled or are dead. One of them, Jack the Rebel, was a heart-eating mass murderer: one of Taylor's top bad boys. In a strange way, he had been my friend. He wore aviator glasses, and had a raspy voice and the bloodshot eyes of a crack addict. He was illiterate, inarticulate and highly volatile. I would bring him liquor and he would talk about the mysteries of Africa. Beneath his burden of horrendous sin, there was something wise, even likeable about him. But now I learn that after I left, he was captured by LURD forces. They set him free in the bush -- but not before cutting off his arms and legs. Jack had it coming. He would have been the first to admit it. But I still feel a little saddened by this grim news.
In Tubmanburg, I encounter a young fighter who calls himself Bad Blood. He wears a rosary and is of the Kpelle tribe. His story is a common one. The fighters came into his village and ran amok, killing his parents and torching his house. When they finally moved on, he had no choice but to follow them. Bad Blood and most of his comrades-in-arms do not have homes or families anymore. The only culture they have in common is the wild culture of war.


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