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West Africa, Malta and the Balkans in 1999


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World explorerWorld explorerWorld explorerWorld explorerWorld explorer Bec
2004-09-18 19:43:32
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The building on the left is the Florida Hotel where I paid 10$ for a grubby room with no electricity and no running water.

Fighting in and around Monrovia had stopped more than two years ago but the city was still in shambles. The copper conductors of the high voltage power lines feeding it had not been replaced and the few who had generators had very little fuel to run them.

There was an atmosphere of tension around groups of unemployed young men with nothing to do. I took very few photos, and did so surreptitiously, for I had been told of severe beatings suffered by NGO expats who had taken pictures openly. That is why these are so poorly framed.

This shot, taken from the hotel balcony, shows downtown Front Street with a street vendors carting 50 liter water containers in a wheelbarrow.

The reconstruction of Monrovia and of the country's economy will cost huge sums of money which nobody is eager to invest in a country that shows little prospects for lasting stability.

It is difficult to imagine the potential for violence that hides behind this peaceful view of the Mesurado River taken from my hotel window.

There presently is a democratic form of government but there is no real community of interest between the two dozen tribes that inhabit the country. On the contrary, the political tradition in Liberia, as in many other African countries, is that of oppression of the majority by a corrupt minority that hangs on to power by all possible means until it is violently thrown out.

Democracy means little to the average Liberian who does not know what it really is (more than having to vote now and then). Sixty two percent of the population is illiterate and only a fourth of school age children attend classes. Family and tribal solidarity is far more important than abstract notions of how the management of public funds by politicians and officials should be kept strictly ...

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I appreciate your contribution to the world, Mr. Cloutier, and I wanted to say that.

Goz, 2008-02-29 00:51:07

See photographs from: Liberia Gallery

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