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May 05, 2012

West Africa: Liberia Soul-Searching.

In a multitude of ways, no African state is more closely tied to the U.S. than Liberia, the West Africa region colonized by freed American slaves beginning in the 1820s. See this gem in The Daily Beast we almost missed published April 28: "Liberia Rethinks Its Past in Wake of Charles Taylor War-Crimes Verdict". Excerpt:

Liberia’s fractured history was again in view last week when The Hague announced a guilty verdict in the trial of Charles Taylor, the warlord turned elected president. Taylor was convicted of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity in neighboring Sierra Leone during that country’s brutal civil conflict. In Monrovia, the verdict was welcomed by some Liberians and condemned by others, particularly former child soldiers for whom Taylor is a father figure—a sign that the verdict marks only the beginning of soul-searching for the country.

For most of its history, Liberian society and political life were dominated by the Americo-Liberians, descendants of the freed slaves, who mimicked the lives and culture of their onetime owners in the U.S. Citizenship was denied to natives until 1946, when then-president William V.S. Tubman granted them the right to vote, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that tribesmen won legislative representation. For 102 years, Liberia was a one-party state, with the True Whig Party enjoying a monopoly.

Jane Hahn/NYT

Posted by JD Hull at May 5, 2012 11:59 PM


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