Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Floor Debate

In the House of Representatives on Tuesday, here's Maryland County Rep. Dr. Bhofa Chambas yelling at Grand Gedeh County Representative Zoe Pennue, as quoted in The News:

"The Liberian people are aware of your record. We have documents on how you executed innocent people in this country."

In response, according to the story, Pennue accused Dr. Chambas of buying his Doctorate degree from a fake University in the US.

Government Bans Newspaper for One Year for Sex Pic

Now the Press Union is protesting, while just last week they were suspending their own members for broadcasting a mere verbal description of the photo. (Don't click if you don't want to see sex.)

It's ironic that every weekday, the majority of Liberian newspapers are willing to print complete falsehoods, damaging falsehoods, in exchange for money, and yet the day that one sex photo is printed, suddenly that's a controversy worthy of self-censorship.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Knuckles Resigns Over Sex Photo

Full story here, with reaction from Ma Ellen.

Isn't it interesting that CCN hasn't covered a Liberia-related story, probably since the elections, until this one?

More on TPS

This story on the end of Temporary Protected Status for Liberians in the US really gets to some of the important issues and conflicts. And it's the first time I've ever seen President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf quoted as saying that the country can't absorb all of the US refugees right now. I suspect that behind those words there's some concern for the country's loss of remittance income (wire transfers) from the US, which must be among the top three revenue sources for Liberia.

TPS ends October 1.

Footage of Monrovia in the 1960s

Looks like super-8 footage, posted on this blog by a Liberian in the US.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Yeah, Cancel it All!

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- The United Nations called on the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank to cancel about $1.5 billion of debt owed by Liberia, saying repayment would hold up efforts to consolidate democracy and promote development.

Liberians in US Lobby to Stay

Liberians living in the US, who have recently lost their Temporary Protected Status after more than 10 years, are trying to get a bill passed in the US Congress so that they can stay longer.

Come home, people! Your country needs you.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Liberian Expat Small Businessman Comes Home

...and writes an assessment of the business environment.

Norway to Cancel Some of Liberia's Debt

Press release from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Knuckles Sex Scandal Update

The Press Union has suspended the newspaper that printed the Willis Knuckles orgy photo, and they also suspended Radio Veritas for simply describing the photo on the air! Apparently freedom of speech is not a high priority of the news media in this country.

Some papers are calling for Knuckles' arrest, though the government has pointed out that having sex with more than one person is not a crime under Liberian law, and neither is infidelity.

I'm blown away by the amount of moral outrage expressed in the newspapers, be it real or feigned. My suspicion is that whoever took the photo is the same person that had lured him into the tryst. Incidentally, the media should really stop calling it "porno", as it's clearly a candid photo intended only to smear somebody.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

ICG on Guinea Crisis: Conte has the Choice

From the venerable International Crisis Group:

Guinea now faces two possible scenarios. There is still a chance, though a diminishing one, for a negotiated solution involving key Guinean, regional and wider international actors. Alternatively, if the Conté regime continues to rely on military repression, it could rapidly bring Guinea to a dramatic spiral of violence: full popular insurgency, with increasing chaos that is likely to stimulate a military take-over in a blood-bath, leading in turn to a possible civil war comparable to those that have torn apart its neighbours in the past decade and with uncontrollable consequences. Chaos in Guinea’s Forest Region, bordering Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire, could well destabilise its frail neighbours. Likewise, politically unstable Guinea-Bissau could suffer if its president, Joao Bernardo Vieira, seeks to support his long-time friend, Conté.
Full report, released last week.

Ex-Rebel Forces from Liberia Gathering in Guinea?

A former executive of the defunct rebel movement, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), Madam Aichia Conneh, has confirmed that ex-fighters of the disbanded rebel group have crossed over from Liberia into neighboring Guinea and are presently occupying several villages and towns in that country.
Hardly an unimpeachable source, but Guinea's [outgoing, we hope] President Lansana Conte seems to believe it, too.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sex Scandal

Yesterday at the parking lot where I buy my newspapers, I spent $20LD for a single sheet printout of a funny photo that's been making the rounds. It shows what appears to be Presidential Affairs Minister Willis Knuckles, Jr. engaged in an orgy with at least two women. The story has been at the top of the news for the last few days, with Knuckles accusing ex-House Speaker Snowe of being behind the release, and refusing to resign. But Knuckles doesn't deny that it's him in the picture.


Tubman Drive was lined with people welcoming President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf home on Sunday afternoon. Flags were everywhere (paid for by the govt?) and banners, too. All the newspapers--even the ones bought by her opponents--have been congratulating her for winning those big debt relief packages.

In one of her first statments back from the triumphant mission to DC, she told reporters that it's time for politicians to "lead, follow, or get out of the way."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

LL Media Awards

Best local newspaper (and now, website!): The New Democrat

For doing real journalism, as opposed to paid propaganda. And for paying attention to detail.

Best Radio Station: UNMIL Radio 91.5

We in the NGO community complain about the UN all the time. But I have to say, as a former radio person myself, I have been highly impressed with the quality of content on the Mission's radio station. They do everything from telling kids how to get their space organized to do homework, to reading the news in Liberian English, to explaining the government's anti-corruption programs. UNMIL is not very good on local news, but we have other stations for that.

Possible Guinea Spillover Planned For

Guinea's near the boiling point, according to this must-read IHT story. Bracing for a possible influx to Liberia, the UN High Commission for Refugees has been coordinating all the NGOs working in border areas and setting up possible camp sites.

Ma Ellen and Sierra Leone’s President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah "plan a very proactive mediation role in the ongoing crisis."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

US - Liberia Flights Coming Soon?

The two have signed something called an Open Skies agreement.
The agreement with Liberia will significantly modernize U.S.-Liberia aviation relations by allowing airlines from the two countries to make commercial decisions with minimal government intervention. It will provide for open routes, capacity, frequencies, designations, and pricing, as well as cooperative marketing arrangements, including code-sharing.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Female Lone Star vs. Ethiopia Sunday

Coach says Liberia will take them out, 3-0. Go ladies!

Update: our side got mashed.

Bush Tells Liberian Congress to Cooperate

"I have been following developments in Liberia especially with regards to the relationship between the Legislature and the Executive. Things have not been fine, but I want to call upon the Legislature to cooperate with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for a successful Liberia," remarked President Bush.

NPR Covers the Liberia Investors Forum in DC


Friday, February 16, 2007

Ghana Wins Amputee Soccer Tourney

Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone will represent Africa at the Amputee World Cup in Turkey later this year. Liberia will host the next Nations Cup in 2009.

House Speaker Edwin Snowe Resigns

"His stated reason is that the House of Representatives announced it has no confidence in him and he has no confidence in them," said spokesman James Jensen.

Snowe allies say he will decide in the next day or two whether he will resign from the House entirely.

He's still blaming the executive for his woes, but hasn't offered any proof of Ellen's complicity in the plot to oust him. I was just speaking with a Liberian colleague this morning, and we agreed that the Ellen camp played this really well, by mostly ignoring him. They had bigger things to worry about, clearly.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

One New (Half) Liberian

Welcome to the world, baby Charlie!

Charlie's mom is our UN buddy Catarina, and his Daddy led the parade on Armed Forces Day (Monday) of the first graduating class of the new Armed Forces of Liberia.


War Crimes Tribunal Advocate Arrested

The Government of Liberia has confirmed the arrest of Mr. Mulbah Morlu, head of a group calling for the establishment of a war crime court in Liberia.
According to the story, the authorities say he wasn't arrested for the war crimes tribunal advocacy, but because they think he may have been "the brain behind recent mobilization of some group of citizens who stormed the Unity Conference Center in Virginia outside Monrovia in solidarity with the embattled Speaker of the House of Representative Mr. Edwin M. Snowe Jr."

...which makes no sense to me, because I can't imagine that Snowe is a big fan of the war crimes tribunal idea.

The story wonders if he's being persecuted for going against the wishes of the government, which doesn't favor war crimes trials at this time. But that also seems unlikely to me. Ellen doesn't have a record of trying to squash the opposition, does she? The tribunal issue is not costing her much popular support, after all.

Do readers have any insight on this?


I can't figure out what the latest news on Liberia's debt means. Something about redirecting some IMF account.

Can somebody explain?

Meanwhile, the debt-relief ball contines to roll:

Germany announced it would forgive Liberia's entire 230 million dollars in debt to Berlin.

Amnesty International Flies in, Drops Off Report, Leaves

Launching a new report, Truth, justice and reparation for Liberia's victims, the organization urged Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to immediately put in place a plan to ensure that perpetrators of past human rights abuses are brought to justice so that the cycle of violence that plagued Liberia for years can finally come to an end.

"Although the Truth and Reconciliation Commission currently in place is an important first step, much more can and should be done by the government to address past human rights abuses," said Kolawole Olaniyan, Amnesty International's Africa Programme Director, speaking in Monrovia.

I think it would be insane for the government to suddenly announce that all evildoers will now be brought to justice. Amnesty International says it themselves: there are tens of thousands of "victims" of wartime atrocities. Doesn't that mean that there are thousands of perpetrators? With a budget of just $65 million and $3b in debt, severe brain drain and some of the worst human development indicators on Earth, how can the government hope to fund, staff, and manage a huge new justice endeavor?

AI report.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ledger Staff Overwhelmed

There's too much Liberia news this week for one person to comment on, and I have a job. Three examples:
About one thousand persons are said to be displaced in Nimba County as a result of rival clan clashes, which resulted to the burning down of several houses in Dorpa Town, an area in Blinlon Clan in Yarwin Mensonnoh District.

The RLJ Cos., headed by entrepreneur and investor Robert Johnson, is teaming up with three organizations to form a $30 million fund to promote and improve business activity in Liberia.

It has been disclosed here in Washington that Liberia needs to do more to be qualified for assistance from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

US Drops Liberia Debt!

Bowing to months of pressure from the Liberia Ledger, the US government has finally relented and dropped the debt.

"We will cancel that debt, all of it, under the framework for highly indebted countries," Condoleezza Rice told a donor conference at the World Bank in Washington on Tuesday.

Too bad it's under HIPC.
The IMF and the World Bank say that the country still has to pay off 1.5 billion dollars in arrears, or interest and penalties, before it can obtain partial debt relief or full cancellation.
Lots more detail from Inter Press:
Some U.S. lawmakers, non-governmental organisations and the World Bank are lining up behind calls for other major creditors to follow suit, since the country's total external debts are estimated at 3.7 billion dollars. This amounts to 3,000 percent of Liberia's annual export earnings -- among the world's highest ratios.
BBC says Bush has also asked Congress for $200m in additional aid to Liberia over the next year.

Amputee Soccer Tourney Update

BBC says Liberia is the underdog vs. Ghana today in the finals of the African championship of Amputee Soccer, being held in Freetown, SL. The winner goes to Turkey to play in the World Cup later this year.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Some in US Congress Call for Liberia Debt Cancellation

Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (D­CA) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, urging him to support immediate and complete cancellation of Liberia's debts and arrears during the Liberia Partners' Forum in Washington, DC, February 13-15, 2007.

The letter was signed by the following members of the House of Representatives: Barney Frank (D-MA), Chairman of the Financial Services Committee; Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee; Donald Payne (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health; Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health; Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology; and Tom Lantos (D-CA), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Thanks Sarah.

EJS Video from DC Event

At the Center for Global Development yesterday, an event called The New Liberia: From Conflict to Recovery:
"We believe that Liberia can be an example…that war-torn dictatorships can turn around and become responsible members of the international community," she said. "We are willing and ready to make the hard decisions, to adopt the right policies, to put in the right systems, if you are willing to be with us and support us, politically, analytically, and financially."
Scroll down the page for videos of EJS and Jesse Jackson, Jr.

I like that term, "The New Liberia". It would make an effective brand. Speaking of which, our friend Paul asks, when are they going to change the national seal, which is a symbol of exclusion, and for that matter, the flag, which is based on the US flag? If you want to change perceptions of your country, why not change the old symbols? They did it in South Africa, another former apartheid country.

Reminder: there's a conference on this issue of Liberia's national symbols in Indiana, USA, coming up in March. (Why not in Liberia? Good question.)

Conte Locks Guinea Down

President Lansana Conte has declared a state of emergency in Guinea, the cops have killed dozens of protesters, and US Embassy staff have been told to leave.

The violence started Saturday following Conte's appointment of a close ally from his Cabinet as prime minister. Many said he sidestepped a power-sharing agreement by naming a confidant, and angry youths took to the streets, throwing stones and ransacking buildings. Security forces fired into the crowds.

The African Union issued a statement condemning the military's actions and calling for an independent inquiry.

Step down, Conte!

Liberia Debt Issue in the Financial Times

Pressure to agree a plan to write off $1.2bn (€923m) debt owed by Liberia to the IMF and the World Bank will mount tomorrow when Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the reformist president, addresses a donor conference in Washington.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Amputee Soccer Tourney in Sierra Leone

We saw what must have been the Liberian team practicing at the pitch on the end of the airfield, Old Road Junction last week. Go team!


Update: We heard on BBC this AM that Liberia's team has made the semi-finals!

WB Pres. Wolfowitz Calls for Liberian Debt Relief

More from Sarah:
From The Times
February 12, 2007
Gabriel Rozenberg in Essen

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, pleaded with Group of Seven ministers at the weekend to widen their commitment to cancelling debt in some of the world's poorest countries.

He urged finance ministers to clear the log-jam that keeps Liberia heavily in debt, calling on them to endorse plans to clear the country's arrears.

The African state owes about $3.7 billion (£1.8 billion) to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and donor countries, which it has no realistic means of repaying.

However, Mr Wolfowitz said that the country was in a bind because, under existing rules, the Bank can write its debts off only when it has repaid its arrears, which have grown to make up the bulk of the total.

At the weekend meeting in Essen, Germany, Mr Wolfowitz "made a very strong pitch" to the G7 countries to pledge new funds for Liberia and allow the rules to be loosened. He told The Times that he hoped that other African countries could soon follow the same path.

After a four-year civil war, in which more than 200,000 people died, Mr Wolfowitz said that Liberia should now be supported for its voting in 2005 to elect as president the reformist Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. He said: "They were given a choice between a soccer star and an economic reformer, who is the first woman president in Africa. She's doing remarkable work."

Mr Wolfowitz said that he had received a "sympathetic reaction" and that Britain had agreed to the plans. "Gordon Brown has been strongly supportive," he said. "He joined me in working to impress on others the importance of moving."

About half Liberia's population lives on less than 50 US cents a day, the World Bank says. Liberia's debt-servicing costs are 22 per cent of its GDP.

10,000 Valentines Delivered to Cancel Liberia's Debt

Update from Sarah in DC on the Jubilee event:
Last Tuesday, February 6, Jubilee USA and partners delivered almost 10,000 handmade valentines made by US citizens to the US Treasury Secretary, asking him to "have a heart" and cancel Liberia's debt. Afterwards, representatives from Jubilee, Friends of the Earth, Church World Service, Africa Action, and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) met with the Treasury Secretary in person to pass on the message!

The activists don't think it's enough for the G8 to pay Liberia's arrears and have the country spend years going through current debt relief processes (HIPC). HIPC will take too long and will involve more harmful IMF-mandated reforms. They are pushing Treasury to move beyond HIPC and give Liberial immediate, unconditional debt cancellation.
Here's the Jubilee report about the event, including a photo of Emira Woods of IPS, a Liberian woman who took part in the chilly demonstration on the steps of the Treasury Dept.

You can also access several other photographs of the rally at this link, including great shots of demonstrators in wooly hats holding messages and signs about Liberia, some addressed specifically to the Liberian people.

xxx Sarah

Saturday, February 10, 2007

EJS to WH Wednesday

President Bush will welcome President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Republic of Liberia to the White House on February 14, 2007.

Soros and the TRC

Some people speaking on behalf of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have been complaining that the commission doesn't have the funding to continue. Other spokespeople have said otherwise. Things seem to have stalled, but sitting in Monrovia and consuming lots of Liberia newspapers, it's still hard to tell what's really going on. I think we can all agree that the TRC process is REALLY IMPORTANT to the country's future.

The other day visiting billionaire George Soros told the commission to narrow its objectives.

Criticism of NGOs

This piece makes some good critical points about the foreign NGO industry in Liberia. But they get many things wrong, too. At least the debate is getting into the newspaper. NGOs need to be held to better account for the way they spend money here.

State of the Nation Speech

Full transcript.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Former AFL Riot Yesterday

MONROVIA, 9 February (IRIN) - Around 1,000 former members of Liberia's security forces seeking salaries and demobilisation packages rioted on Thursday in a suburb of Monrovia injuring two policemen and setting up road blocks before they were dispersed by a joint team of United Nations and government police.
Apparently they waited outside the radio station where the president delivers her weekly address, carrying sticks and blocking the road.

They agreed to some kind of settlement in 2003, but they've rioted periodically since then, demanding more. They'll continue to be a problem for years to come if something's not done to reintegrate them. But they're probably the hardest group to reintegrate.

Snowe Looking Cooked, Again

I know I said this before, but this time it looks for real. Snowe didn't show up to work yesterday at the temporary parliament site (the US is renovating the building on Capitol Hill), even though he had promised to do so. The problem is that he knows he'll be sacked if he walks into the building, and if he doesn't show up to work, he could be suspended.

In a fit of creativity, he and/or his supporters appeared yesterday to have dreamed up a scheme to make it seem as though he couldn't get there because his supporters wouldn't allow it, barricading him into his own home. Some newspapers bought that tale--even VOA--but to me it seemed like a cheap ploy.

Most or all of his minority holdout bloc in congress yesterday decided to abandon him and show up for work, and they were applauded by the majority.

I guess it's still too early to predict his downfall, but if Snowe can manage to keep his job at this stage in the game, then he's a miracle worker. This in spite of the fact that the Snowe camp appears to have bought the loyalty of many, if not most, of the newspapers.

Again I want to congratulate the New Democrat for consistently shooting right down the middle. Liberia's best newspaper, no question.

Wait, did I mention [yes] that the guy who's been leading the majority bloc against Snowe is wanted by the US FBI for attempted rape of a child? Future Speaker of the House? Hmmm.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Measles Dealt a Big Blow

"I would like to celebrate over the report from the Honorable Minister that the 2007 National Integrated Measles Campaign reached an estimate of 97 percent of its target, reaching more than 600,000 Liberian Children under the age of five," Madam Chorlton asserted.

She said hundreds of thousands of children were also provided with Vitamin A capsules, de-worming mebendazole tablets and insecticide treated nets.

Taylor Team: Help Us

Charles Taylor's Lead Counsel's phone number was published in the Heritage newspaper today, in case the public might have anything to offer the defense.

+231 (0) 6 874 134

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Last Post on This Topic, I Swear

There are no quotes in the story, but I've heard this before, that President Johnson-Sirleaf frowns on what she calls "indecent dressing". I harp and harp against this garbage all the time, but the other day I did some research, and it seems that scientists have proven about 20,000 times over that there's no correlation between dressing sexy and being raped. Too bad EJS is perpetuating this dumb myth.

Snowe Between Rock, Hard Place

The political wrangling in the Lower House of the National Legislature may take a new turn if Speaker Edwin Snowe and his minority lawmakers in the leadership fail to attend the body's regular session at Virginia, outside Monrovia, on Thursday February 8, 2007. [story behind firewall]
Come to work, get voted out by the majority. Don't come to work, get suspended for deriliction of duty.

Here's a really detailed and uncharacteristically sane article about the whole debacle, if you're a historian or political science student.

GoL Condemns Sassywood, or Trial by Ordeal

I guess it was illegal already, but it must be pretty common still if this week the government is publicly condemning the practice of sassywood, or trial by ordeal:
...a practice in which guilt is determined by exposing the suspects to acute pain and interpreting their reaction. If there is no injury, or if the wounds heal quickly, the accused is deemed innocent.
I guess the name comes from the practice of making a poisonous tea from the bark of the sassywood tree, and forcing alleged wrongdoers to drink it. They used to do this kind of thing in the early American colonies, too, during the Salem witch trial era.


It's illegal to engage in homosexual acts in Liberia. It's a first degree misdemeanor. But FGM is legal and prevalent.


Story told by a friend, a foreigner:

The NGO where she works is testing a used car that they might buy. The car has no license plates. Right away, she and her driver are stopped by the police (unarmed, on foot, a traffic cop). The officer says, "I will impound this car!" My friend says, "No, you will not! We are in a hurry, doing important business!"

The policeman states rightly, "Madame, in your country, you know that a car found driving without license plates would be impounded immediately!

A heated discussion takes place between her driver and the policeman, with my friend waiting in the car. Eventually, her driver comes back and says, "It's okay, we can go. I left him my phone. I will come back and get it later."


Still more taxi slogans, sighted between Monrovia and Gbarnga:

BETTER DAYZ WITH MAN UTD. [soccer team Manchester United]
JOHNNET HERSELF [female cab driver?]
ZWEDRU BABY [Zwedru is a town]
AGENT 12-12

*reference to a song by Liberian rapper Real Nigga about how, even though we may have done terrible things to each other during the war, we can still be friends.

GoL Events Monday, Thursday in DC

H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President of the Republic of Liberia
with discussants
Antoinette M. Sayeh
Minister of Finance, The Republic of Liberia
Steven Radelet
Economic Advisor and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Moderated by
Nancy Birdsall
President, Center for Global Development
Monday, February 12, 2007
Jurys Hotel
Doyle Ballroom, 1500 New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, DC
Space is Limited - Please RSVP to
On Thursday February 15th, CGD and the Mortara Center will co-sponsor a second event describing the main outcomes of President Sirleaf’s visit to Washington and the path forward, featuring Finance Minister Sayeh and other key officials. Details will follow soon.

Thanks Sarah for the link.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Chuckie Wants US Torture Charge Dropped

Chuckie Taylor, son of Charles, who's currently in US custody for passport fraud:

MIAMI - The son of Liberia's former president Charles Taylor on Monday asked a Miami judge to drop charges that he tortured people when he served as anti-terror chief in the West African nation.

Judge William Turnoff ended the hearing without handing down a decision on whether Charles "Chuckie" Taylor would need to stand trial on torture charges.

Taylor, 29, in December became the first person to be charged in the United States for acts of torture outside the country.

The Snowe Thing

Reading 5 newspapers yesterday, this is what I could figure:

Last week's Supreme Court rejection of House Speaker Edwin Snowe's ouster vote was probably a good thing for the rule of law, since the breakaway majority in congress hadn't followed proper parliamentary procedure. Congress has already unanimously reinstated him as House Speaker, and friends tell me that they'll vote to get rid of him as soon as the gavel drops on the next session. The bribery investigation hasn't borne any fruit, if it's indeed underway.

Market Women on US Radio

Thanks Kristen for the link to this story on the women in Monrovia's Duala Market from The World, a US public radio show.

Johnson Sirleaf: "The market women have been the vibrant element of the economy, even during the war. They were the ones who went out to fetch food for the family. They were sometimes conscripted into these armies as sex slaves, to provide food. But throughout the war or not, they have been the ones that have been there. I mean they feed the nation."

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Vision

Here's a newspaper run by Liberian refugees in Ghana.

Thanks again, Sarah.

UK Wants G8 to Pay Liberia's Arrears

From our buddy Sarah:

Hey Josh, didn't notice this on your blog... Looks like [British chancellor] Gordon Brown is pressing the G8 to cough up Liberia's arrears so they can move at full throttle through HIPC to hopefully, eventually get 100% multilateral debt relief after, say, about 7 years. And of course, after more IMF-mandated economic reforms.
BBC story.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

1000 Hearts

From Jubilee USA, the debt-cancellation group:

We have now collected more than 1,000 Valentines addressed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, asking him to "Have a Heart and Cancel Liberia's Debt!"

Your heart and any hearts that you collect should be mailed to Saif Rahman at the Institute for Policy Studies, a Jubilee Network member organization helping to lead this effort. To ensure that the Valentines arrive in time, please mail them no later than January 31 to:

Institute for Policy Studies
Liberia Valentines
1112 16th St. N.W.
Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20036

We'll personally deliver the Valentines to U.S. Treasury on February 6 to send a message prior to the February 13-14 Liberia donors conference in Washington.

Thanks, Sarah.


Suddenly there are street lines painted on the road into Monrovia!

Was this in preparation for the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao?

Friday, February 02, 2007

EJS in Oregon USA in May

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is speaking May 18 in Portland, Oregon, USA at something called the World Affairs Council of Oregon, along with President Clinton and an unnamed Middle East leader.

The Wheelbarrow Economy

Don't miss these Chris Herwig photos.

Wheelbarrows are a really big deal in Liberia, to the extent that the country has at least three national wheelbarrow operators' unions. There's even a wheelbarrow on the country's flag. (Correction: it's on the national seal.)

Herwig's other work.

Not Bad for 48 Hours

EJS hosted Chinese President Hu Jintao, George Soros, and Queen Noor of Jordan.