Peter’s grip on the wheel tightened when the front left tire of the ambulance slammed into a pothole, which was large enough to swallow a baby. He veered sharply to the right to spare his back tire the impact, but he was moving too fast. The ambulance bucked and the woman and child in the back cried out as their bodies banged against the sides.
“Sorry’o!” Peter said, but he knew they couldn’t hear him over the siren. The best thing he could do for them was get to Blessed Cross in the next five minutes. But now the morning traffic was barely moving.
Released on Nov. 18 to fanfare in the United States, the ProPublica/Frontline investigative documentary ‘Firestone and the Warlord’ is nevertheless steeped in stereotypes, overly hyped and unappealing. Having intently studied and written about Firestone’s exploits in Liberia, I believe the film’s producers simply did not dig deep enough.
Although there are some merits to the documentary—particularly revelations from declassified court documents, US State Department cables, Firestone corporate records, correspondences, and video footage—it conceals more than it reveals the true nature of Firestone’s asymmetrical relationship with Liberia.
“She refused to smile because she was called in from playing to receive the packet. All the nudgings, teasings didn’t work. But, I sense a tiny smile in there. Can you see it?” ~Brenda Brewer Moore, Founder of Kids Educational Engagement Project, which provides children with educational kits while schools are closed.
On the Ebola ride,
paranoia is the driver.
It takes you on a high
leaving your senses hanging in the wild.
Fear is its deputy,
and panic, the conductor.
Liberia has become the bio-terrorist of the new modern age, a sort of North Korea with personalized, microscopic nukes. And this state of mind, which holds that Liberians are proliferators of deadly agents, is far more destructive than the EBOLA virus which has lamentably claimed 5,000 lives in three countries. Coupled with our own ignorance and fear in Liberia and the continuing loss of our compatriots, the internationalized STIGMA of our people and country has far reaching and deleterious effects in every sphere of our society and economy. The loathing, suspicion and mistreatment of Liberians gallop into a surreal career of its own, creating a brand, a “STIGMA” which nobody wants.
A few days ago, I participated in a workshop in the Netherlands that focused on the perspectives that emerge around a crisis and how to deal with them as an outsider. The crisis in this case is Ebola in Liberia. The perspectives are the myths or narratives that have crowded around Ebola since the disease broke out in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. One of the first narratives was the denial of the existence of the disease. It was believed it was a form of Malaria, or that it was a story concocted by the government to divert people’s attention from real issues. These narratives were soon replaced by other myths about Ebola being invented in a lab in Sierra Leone with the single goal of reducing the black population.
JAMES ALEXANDER HARDING is a Photographer, born in Liberia, West Africa.
It is a silent war raging in my country, shaking the foundation of governance and eroding the modest […]
There is no math to the roads of Logan Town in Monrovia. In Logan Town, a name that sounds like “Lukin” when spoken with the northern Liberian accent of most of my relatives, the front of a cement house may face the side of another. Two back yards may serve as necessary borders for a make-shift zinc house. This asymmetry is what makes the middle-class neighborhoods of Monrovia and their residents as married as they are. Laughter is a group art, tears are just as intertwined and there are plenty of Ol’ Mas in the pot to choose from.