I want to put a face on my friends of Liberia. This Ebola outbreak has killed thousands and many more might die if a cure is not found. Yet, these are a strong people. There are thousands of Liberian Christians who stand tall and praise God amidst the storm. Their faith is far greater than ours in the United States as they live through this devastating Ebola outbreak. They deserve our greatest respect and never ending prayers.
When the news speaks of Liberia and the horrible disease of Ebola., what do you think of? So many of us do not know what Liberia is about at all. For instance, did you know that Liberia was founded by the United States? Liberia was established by citizens of the United States as far back as the early 1800’s as a colony for former African American slaves and their free black descendants. It is one of only two sovereign states in the world that were started by citizens of a political power as a colony for former slaves of the same political power.
Most of us would be very surprised to know that the basic language of Liberia is English. They speak proper English though, not the slang we use. In fact, it might be foreign for some of us to hear proper English as they speak.
We see the country of Liberia as it is in it’s current state of a third world country and have no idea that it was not always this way. Liberia today is the result of a fourteen year civil war. They had hospitals, schools and homes on streets that were much like our own here in the United States today. Our own country had a civil war so many years ago that we forget what our land must have looked like. Yet, these are a people who are fighting back to become what they once were.
During the 1980’s the United States had close ties with Liberia. Remember the Cold War? In an effort to stop the Communist movement in Africa , we thought Liberia was especially important for Cold War policies in Africa. Liberia was home to a relay station for Voice of America….a large navigation tower. This was the CIA’s main African base for most of this period.
The close relations with Liberia became strained to say the least during the Liberian Civil War. During Charles Taylor’s government there was regional instability brought on by corruption and human rights abuses. In the mid 1980’s thousands were killed trying to overthrow the government. There were mass murders of innocent Liberian people. Large amounts of money was embezzled from government funds and put into the pockets of government workers. There was a reason for this civil war. The people were being mistreated in ways that can not be imagined.
The United States did not intervene with the civil war in Liberia. Many wonder if the war would have lasted so long if they did. However, Liberia is not a country rich in oil or precious gems. There is no money in this country. The people of Liberia were left to fight against a horrible government on their own.
When Charles Taylor resigned his office in August of 2003, the war ended. However, the people of Liberia were left to rebuild, reeducate, and reestablish themselves in the world.
You may not believe all that I have said. However, I have to put a face on Liberia. Here are some photos of my friends in Liberia.
The Ebola outbreak has brought Liberia back into the spotlight of the world. Many times you will see the hospital where the patients are brought. The John F. Kennedy hospital was built by the United States. After the war, the people do not have the facilities that our hospitals have.
The people are dying by the thousands. Many infected are hungry. The worst part of it all is the hopeless looks on the faces of our brothers and sisters. There is no age barrier or color barrier to disease.
These are a loving and giving people. I do not look down at them in pity. I look up to them in awe. Praise God for having met some of the bravest, dearest people the world has ever known. Here are a few photos of these dear people with my American friends.