Today, I want to tell you a story. It is not my story. It is Saah Millimono’s story. Maybe it is actually not his story, it is the novel’s protagonist Tarnue’s story. And not just Tarnue’s, it is also Kou’s story. I know that if I go on, and on, this will end up as a story of Tarnue’s family, Kou’s family and by the time we are done, it will be the story of lives in Monrovia, Liberia and beyond to other countries that have been through civil war. As some commentators would want us to believe, this means not just neighbouring Sierra Leone, but much of Africa. Is this is a book about Africa? What never seems to be mentioned is that this has happened, civil war happens and will happen anywhere in the world. That war is human. And love is human too.
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.