Why the U.S. Army Is Our Best Weapon Against Ebola Now
September 18, 2014

This could be the gamechanger we need.

Charles Taylor Is Guilty Of War Crimes. Who Were The Fighters He Supported?
April 26, 2012

In an historic ruling today, an international court convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor of aiding and abetting war crimes. The crimes in question—which include the mass murder and slaughter of civilians, mass rape, and the use of child soldiers—were committed during the civil war of Liberia’s neighbor, Sierra Leone, throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. (Taylor aided rebels in that war; he is the first head of state convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials.) Understandably, all of the news today is focused on Taylor.

Why Liberians Are so Unimpressed by Their President’s Nobel Prize
October 11, 2011

Monrovia, Liberia—The sirens usually sound on Monrovia’s Tubman Boulevard in the early evening. In the Sinkor district of the Liberian capital SUVs belonging to NGOs, motorbikes, and local jalopies pull over to either side of the road to make way for the absurdly over-sized motorcade that follows. There are men with guns in pickups, cars and four-wheel drive vehicles, perhaps an ambulance, and U.N. personnel in bulky Nissan Patrols.

The Comeback
September 28, 2011

Monrovia, Liberia, September 9, 1990: Many Liberians once thought that President Samuel Doe was invulnerable, protected by powerful black magic. But, in the video, he is slumped on the floor, his hands tied behind his back, naked except for blood-stained underpants. A crowd of young men in fatigues surround him, some carrying machine guns, one holding a microphone in front of Doe’s face. As Doe cries, a fighter strokes his head gently and then grins at the man sitting behind a conference table in a black executive chair, underneath a picture of Jesus. This man is clearly in charge.

The Horror, The Horror
May 19, 2011

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa By Jason K. Stearns (PublicAffairs, 380 pp., $28.99) The history of Congo is the history of mass murder. What is going on today—with rebels, government soldiers, and armed groups from neighboring countries raping and slaughtering Congolese civilians—is a continuation of the ruthlessness that has been embedded in this country for more than a hundred years.

Reporting, Risk, and Death
April 22, 2011

I met war photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington two years ago in New York. I was working at The New York Times and, one evening, went to the Umbrage Gallery in Brooklyn to the launch of a retrospective of Tim’s work from Liberia. Amid the pale walls and bottled beers, in the center of the room, a tall, dark-haired man held court in an understated manner. Later, I emailed Tim—explaining my own more modest photographic work—and asked to meet him for a drink. To my surprise, he accepted. After that evening in the Meatpacking District, we corresponded.

Is This A United Nations Joke? Or An Iran Joke?
April 29, 2010

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) yesterday elected Iran to a four-year term, beginning in 2011, as a member of the Commission on the Status of Women. Lucky Iran! Or is it lucky women? Other members elected were Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Zimbabwe, joining Belarus, China, Cuba, and Libya. A full report can be read in today’s “EYE on the UN.” So is not the U.N. a horrible joke?

Obama in Seoul: My Problem with Foreign News
November 19, 2009

I used to be the foreign editor of In These Times in Chicago. I didn’t particularly enjoy the job, because I have never been fascinated with the world outside of the United States. I am not sure whether I could find Honduras or Liberia on a map, and I have never mastered the current spelling of Chinese names.