NPFL Rebels 1990

War in any form is unsuitable for anyone in its mist. Having survived three brutal civil wars, I can emphatically say that every war is destructive and is not a solution to a country’s problem. 

I based my hypothesis on three empirical facts. The first is that war shots down all form of normalcy in the country. Secondly, war destroys innocent lives and properties. Thirdly, after all the violence and destruction, you will find out that the only solution is dialogue, which should have been the first alternative.

Throughout the past century, we have witnessed or read about wars. There was the First World War, followed by The Second World War, then The Bosnia war, Iraq and Iran war, The Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqis freedom, The Liberian civil war, etc. When you look back at these wars, you will notice that violence was never the answer. At the end of the day, all the parties involved had to have a dialogue in order to have peace. There were no real winners or losers; instead, innocent lives and properties were lost. I will use three personal scenarios from my country Liberia to prove my point.

On December 24, 1989, rebel soldiers led by Charles Taylor attacked Africa’s oldest independent country. The insurgents, who called themselves “The National Patriotic Front of Liberia or Freedom Fighters,” launched their rebellion against the government of the late Samuel K. Doe, who himself came to power through a popular uprising in 1980. 

Charles Taylor, who was once a member of Doe's government, assembled a group of rebels most of who were from the Gio or Mino tribe and invaded Nimba County; a county in the northern part of Liberia. Later the Liberian Army retaliated against the entire population of that region; killing unarmed civilians and burning villages causing many to seek refuge in Guinea and Ivory Coast. This brutality by the Liberian army led to more opposition to the Doe’s leadership and resentment by many in the country. 

The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) 1990 Although many were happy to see the totalitarian regime of Doe removed, what we did not realize was the aftermath of the revolution. The civil lasted for almost 16 years and claimed the life of about two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) innocent people. 

During those brutal 16 years, schools and hospitals were shot down. Young girls were raped or used a sex slave for rebels and government soldier. Six months into the revolution, the warring factions started recruiting children as young as eight years old to fight for them. Most of the children that were fighting along with the rebels were fearless and trained to kill. 

They would chop off the ears of those suspected of stealing and give it to them to eat. Some of them were so desperate, and blood-thirsty, that they started to practice cannibalism. Many even ate the hearts of captured enemy soldiers. Despite the fact that we had a brutal dictator ruling our country, two hundred and fifty thousand people did not die from the Samuel Doe’s regime. Schools were open, hospitals running, and families had a good time. It was not until politician stir up the conflict before things took the worse turn. Once the civil war begins, everything changed overnight. Schools were shutdown, and families became separated while many died from starvation or disease.

Others found themselves in refugee camps. They had to sleep in tents without mattresses. Everyone slept in the open and there was nothing like privacy. Parents and children slept in the same place. The toilets were covered with maggots and flies. You had to change your clothes after using the toilet because the odor could remain on you for days. 

Life in the refugee camps was so depraved that it was called “Sodom and Gomorrah.” Young men, women, and children swim in that river at the same time. There were outbreaks of cholera and chicken pox in some camps. Worse of all was gathering to receive poorly cooked meals prepared by the United Nations staff working at the camp. We had watery corn Soya for breakfast, half cooked Pinto beans and wheat grains for lunch and nothing for supper.

It was glaring that Samuel Doe’s regime was sometimes brutal toward the citizen of Liberia, but we still had some normalcy. We did not have mass murdering of civilians or raping of women and children. Sometimes, I blame the international media for modifying the situation in the country in order to advance their agenda. They make it seem as though everyone in the country lived under fear, when in reality it not the case. Most times their information are usually false or somewhat true.

Another example is the propaganda that leads to the invasion of Iraq. There were allegations about weapon of mass destruction, and this was played in the western media so much that we tend to believe it, only to find out later that it was all lie. By then, nearly a million innocent Iraqis had lost their lives costing the United States and about 500 million dollars a day. Saddam Hussein was no doubt a brutal dictator; yet comparing Iraq now to Saddam’s regime, we can conclude that it was far better than what they have right now. There were no suicide bombing or sectarian violence like what is currently going on. 

The Iraq war did not only promote the destruction of lives, and properties but also cost the United States millions of taxpayer money that could have been used to cater to our numeral problems. Sadly, after all the brutality, we found out that a dialogue was the best alternative. 

In Iraq, we had to talk to the various religious leaders in order reduced some of the sectarian violence. For Liberia, there were many peace talks, followed by arbitration by the international community before the war was ended. If dialogue were used as the first resort, it would have saved innocent lives and properties. 


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