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Old 07-21-2003, 08:19 PM   #1
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Liberia



[Q]A man walks through a pile of civilians killed by rocket attacks, which were laid outside the U.S. embassy in the Liberian capital Monrovia on Monday, July 21, 2003, in protest at the lack of U.S. intervention in the war-torn West-African nation. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) [/Q]

What in the world should be done here?
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Old 07-21-2003, 08:28 PM   #2
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dread, I have been asking myself the same question for the past few weeks. I don't know. There are reasons to get involved and reasons not to get involved. But it seems to me that at the very least, if we are to be taken seriously that our intentions in the world are humanitarian, we ought to help in some way. The US created Liberia as a colony for returned slaves after the Civil War. So we do have a history there. Still, it's a complex situation.
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Old 07-21-2003, 08:47 PM   #3
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OMG. What a scene.

I can't think of a correct way to act. I feel ashamed that I don't know enough about the objectives of the rebels or the crimes or lack of the gov't to know what side we should be on.

To me it is like El Salvador, I only know what I hear on the media, even the foreign media have not laid out the issues between sides.
But obviously we should react to the human rights crisis NOW.

*sarcastic* Oh gosh I forgot we pulled out of the International War Crimes Tribunal.
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Old 07-21-2003, 11:37 PM   #4
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Oh, my gosh.

That's so awful...god, that picture... ...

My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who were killed.

As for what we should do...I also am not sure. I do agree that we should take some humanitarian action.

I just don't know if we should get involved in another war.

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Old 07-22-2003, 12:03 AM   #5
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that picture really says a lot.
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Old 07-22-2003, 12:53 AM   #6
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Re: Liberia

We could stop buying tropical wood from countries like Libiria. All that money goes to weapons,...

In Liberia it is wood, in Congo it is Diamonds,....

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16437

Note,...change the word U.S into western world.
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Old 07-22-2003, 05:39 AM   #7
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The U.S. *should* have stepped in when *asked* by Liberia. It isn't often that a nation marred in civil war will actually have both the existing government and the warring factions asking for the U.S. to intervene as a *peacekeeping* force. No, instead, Dubya sits there waffling, probably trying to figure out how this little venture will make business sense, rather than as a humanitarian effort. It's sickening, because we have a situation that is an even *worse* human rights situation than Iraq...but then, Liberia also isn't sitting on billions of dollars worth of oil wells either.

Bush is a total failure, both domestically and in foreign policy. I am absolutely *sickened* by his current set of priorities.

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Old 07-22-2003, 05:45 AM   #8
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In case you want to read this sign and can't, it says, "Today G Bush kill the Liberian people," a testament to the anger with his inaction over the peacekeeping force.

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Old 07-22-2003, 10:02 AM   #9
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For anyone who is unfamiliar with the background of this conflict, it might be helpful to go to this coverage at Yahoo. There are links to stories, editorials, and history of what has brought the situation to where it is. You might also check out this short Q&A on the topic
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Old 07-22-2003, 10:04 AM   #10
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thanks sula!

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Old 07-22-2003, 10:07 AM   #11
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I honestly have no idea what should be done about this. It's horrible. I hate it that this is happening.
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Old 07-22-2003, 10:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
The U.S. *should* have stepped in when *asked* by Liberia. It isn't often that a nation marred in civil war will actually have both the existing government and the warring factions asking for the U.S. to intervene as a *peacekeeping* force. No, instead, Dubya sits there waffling, probably trying to figure out how this little venture will make business sense, rather than as a humanitarian effort. It's sickening, because we have a situation that is an even *worse* human rights situation than Iraq...but then, Liberia also isn't sitting on billions of dollars worth of oil wells either.

Bush is a total failure, both domestically and in foreign policy. I am absolutely *sickened* by his current set of priorities.

Melon
Yep, that's good ol' Bush for ya. .

Angela
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Old 07-22-2003, 10:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel


Yep, that's good ol' Bush for ya. .

Angela
I will agree, this doesn't exactly make Bush look good. This is no time for the President of the United States to be tentative or indecisive, but this is exactly what he's doing.
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Old 07-22-2003, 11:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the background of this conflict, it might be helpful to go to this coverage at Yahoo. There are links to stories, editorials, and history of what has brought the situation to where it is. You might also check out this short Q&A on the topic

Thanks Sula.

So, Taylor is willing to resign (why?) so long as peacekeepers are sent in. But if they are sent in, rebels are afraid Taylor won't leave (why, b/c he thinks they are protecting him?). Why is Nigeria offering him safe exile?

thx to anyone who can/takes time to explain..

From what I've read, I agree with Melon. It's sickening in this day & age to allow this to continue. Our president is so selfish.

Side thought- this is just another way the poverty in Africa allows a man like Taylor to stay in power. The poverty keeps the people down and disabled from taking serious actions. It reminds me of Bono saying how there are more Afghanastans out there...
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Old 07-22-2003, 11:05 AM   #15
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Thanks Sula for the link.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2003Jul21.html

"Put on the spot on the eve of his tour of Africa, President Bush promised that the United States would help but didn't offer specifics; instead, he dispatched a team to study the situation. His pledge, which was greeted with joy and hope in Liberia, now looks empty. "

"Yesterday shells fell on the U.S. Embassy compound and scores of innocent civilians were killed and wounded in fighting around the city. It was carnage that might have been prevented had President Bush responded to the international appeals with real leadership instead of dilatory rhetoric."

I swear that man is incapable of doing the right thing. Basically he is proping up Taylor through his inaction, much like Reagan responded in South America. He makes me sick.
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Old 07-22-2003, 11:12 AM   #16
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Well, as far as I can tell (I've been listening to discussion on this for the last week or so on NPR), Taylor has a viable point in demanding that peacekeepers come in before he leaves because if they don't there is a very strong possibility that the power gap will be filled by violence. He's been accused of crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone, and he's definitely a bad character. But if he can be gotten to step aside peacefully, it would be a very good thing for all involved.

some more information from this article on AllAfrica.com
Quote:
Reiterating that Liberia is "at the heart" of West Africa's turmoil, Mr. Ali Mukhtar Farah, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the country, told Africa Recovery in May that unless the situation there is brought under control, peace and reconciliation efforts in Sierra Leone also may be in jeopardy. Liberian President Charles Taylor is widely blamed for much of the turmoil in West Africa during the last decade, including rebellions in Sierra Leone and Guinea and most recently in Côte d'Ivoire. Liberia's newest exports are young fighters eager to take part in any regional conflict offering the possibility of payment.

Mr. Taylor in turn accuses neighbouring countries' governments of supporting the rebel groups Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL). A panel of experts established by the UN Security Council has documented Guinean support for LURD, including the use of its territory as a supply route for arms and supplies, apparently in retaliation for Liberian backing for Guinean anti-government groups. The panel also found evidence that the Ivorian government is backing MODEL.

These Liberian rebel groups renewed their offensive in early June, soon after peace talks in Ghana broke down. Around the same time, a UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone indicted Mr. Taylor on charges of crimes against humanity arising from his alleged support for the brutal insurgency in that country during the 1990s.
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Old 07-22-2003, 11:29 AM   #17
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This is an interesting commentary from a Detroit newspaper that gives some background on the connections to the US.

Quote:
Seeking help, Liberia looks home, to U.S.

July 15, 2003

BY DESIREE COOPER
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

As a nation fresh out of a war with Iraq, it's no surprise that President George W. Bush finished his five-country tour of Africa without committing American peacekeepers to Liberia. If you ask most Americans, they'd probably say that Liberian President Charles Taylor's bloody dictatorship -- which has destabilized neighboring Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast -- is regrettable. But what business is it of ours?

Few understand that Liberia -- along with many of its problems -- was created by America 150 years ago.

Finish what we started
In December 1831, the James Perkins left port in Norfolk, Va., with 339 passengers aboard. Included were some of the most talented people of Southampton County, Va. -- doctors, masons, blacksmiths, cobblers and carpenters.

The passengers, all former slaves, were headed for Liberia, a colony established by the U.S.-backed American Colonization Society a decade before. It had become a sort of reverse Middle Passage -- a way to rid America of the increasingly powerful blacks who had been born free or who had bought their freedom.

For their part, the blacks were less than enthusiastic about the Liberia scheme. They didn't want to leave behind enslaved family members to try their fortunes in the white-ruled colony. Many had never been to Africa; stories of the dangerous voyage and the rugged lifestyle were deterrents to emigration.

So, as a carrot, the U.S. government appropriated money to ship and resettle free blacks to Liberia. As the stick, states like Virginia passed laws forbidding freedmen fromremaining there on pain of re-enslavement. In some cases, they were terrorized until they boarded ships like the Perkins and headed for Liberia.

Upon arrival, they were blended into a strict caste system that reserved the most power and privilege for whites, followed by the former slaves, called Americo-Liberians. Removed from their land and forced into the lower rungs of society were the aborigines.

Liberia declared its independence in 1847, but tensions have continued between the elite Americo-Liberians, who make up only 5 percent of the population, and the aborigines. Last year, I interviewed Tuo, a 21-year-old Liberian refugee living in the Detroit area. "The Americo-Liberians are the educated class," he told me. "They look like Africans, but they speak like African Americans."

Since its establishment, Liberia has been treated as a U.S. protectorate. Firestone built the world's largest rubber plantation there. The CIA used it as a base for anti-Libya intelligence operations. In return, it became Africa's largest per-capita recipient of U.S. aid -- part of which was used in the 1980s to prop up corrupt dictator Samuel Doe. When the Cold War ended, so did most of the foreign aid, leaving Doe vulnerable.

In December 1989, Americo-Liberian Charles Taylor invaded Liberia. Trained in Libya, he touched off a 6-year civil war that has decimated the nation's economy and people.

Tuo was separated from his family during the war but was reunited in a Sierra Leone refugee camp. "When elephants fight," he said, "it's the grass that feels the pain."

It's no wonder that Liberians, whose flag is a cross between the Texas Lone Star and the Stars and Stripes, are looking to their homeland for help. And in this case, their homeland isn't in Africa -- it's America.
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Old 07-22-2003, 01:04 PM   #18
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melon,

So what did you think of Bill Clintons response to Rawanda?
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Old 07-22-2003, 01:07 PM   #19
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It wasn't addressed to me, but IMO the entire Western world has blood on it's hands with regard to Rwanda. They knew perfectly well what was happening there and yet they stood back and witnessed the slaughter of over a million people.
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Old 07-22-2003, 01:07 PM   #20
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sulawesigirl4:

Thank you for that little historylesson
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