January 21, 2008

Gen. Butt Naked, a terrifying nom de guerre.

Joshua Milton Blahyi, who killed 20,000 people, has returned to his homeland Liberia where — clothed — he will face its truth and reconciliation commission
"I could be electrocuted. I could be hanged. I could be given any other punishment... But I think forgiveness and reconciliation is the right way to go.

"I have been looking for an opportunity to tell the true story about my life — and every time I tell people my story, I feel relieved."
This story includes — in addition to nude war-making — the pre-battle ritual of killing a child and eating its heart. He is currently an evangelist.


scott said...

I need to get out more. I don't meet such interesting chaps in my currently narrow social circle.

George said...

Congo...three times the size of Texas...anarchy...4 million dead...battlefield cannibalism as military strategy...transvestite M16-toting child soldiers wearing dried body part necklaces...

Harpers ran a series of reports from Hell's heart by the AP's Bryan Mealer that are being published in book form in April: All Things Must Fight to Live.

"The fear began trickling down into every stratum of society, affecting both the rich and the poor, those with everything and those with nothing to lose. The multitude of Kinshasa's beggars suddenly turned more violent in their panhandling, and friends began reporting mobs of street kids (or shegue) jumping onto their cars and pounding the windshields until each kid was paid. I also noticed the change in Kinshasa's roving bands of cripples, who already formed one of the toughest and meanest gangs in the city. Kinshasa was full of cripples: you'd see them every day asking for money in traffic--men with legs corkscrewed behind their backs from polio; war vets missing shoulders, legs, and arms; blind women being led from car to car by ragtag shegue. They congregated on street corners and under shade trees with their wheelchairs and hand-pedaled carts, a mass of shining steel like freaky Hells Angels. They'd gather in front of businesses, thirty and forty at a time, and demand money. If the owner refused, the mob would hurl bricks through windows and smash cars with steel pipes. Many business owners paid them off, which also gave their stores protection from thieves and miscreants." from Harpers....via highbeam.com

You can listen to him here.

Then there's FGM...

Ninety six percent of Egyptian women have undergone the procedure, the subject of the heartbreaking photo-essay in yesterday's NYT magazine.

Flood said...

Does this sentence strike anyone else as a funny way to report this?

'Between the time he made a pact with the devil circa 1980 and began his rampage and the time he stopped fighting in 1996, he said "more than 20,000 people fell victim (to me and my men). They were killed."'

It seems like "claimed" to have made a pact with the devil might be more appropriate.

I'm not saying there was no pact with the devil, I'm just saying the guy's a baby-heart-eating, murderous-rampaging lunatic and if I were reporting it I might be a little more circumspect about his alleged arrangements with Satan.

Cedarford said...

THe poor guy should put in for asylum in the USA so he can run for mayor of NOLA.
He'd start the primaries with 30% of the vote solidly in his pocket.

Middle Class Guy said...

According to the article he is 37 YOA. If he made his pact with the devil in 1980 he would have been ten years old. It is amazing what you can get a child to do.

Roger said...

I would like to be his executioner.
Africa is truly the cesspool of the planet.

PatCA said...

What's wrong with Africa?

Read this article.

John Lynch said...

In a weird way, Africa is hopeful. Despite all the horrible things that happen, people still survive and go about their lives. Most people are not psychopaths, and just want to get by.

Everything that Hollywood comes up with to end human civilization-- war, famine, disease, climate change-- Africa has it all. And yet they continue to live.

A good book on how and why it got that way is The Fate of Africa, by Martin Meredith. It's new and should still be around in stores. It's a good digest of the last 50 years.

Africans suffer because of war and bad government. Both happen on a scale unimaginable anywhere else. The Congo war is the bloodiest war anywhere since World War 2. Corruption in most countries can be measured as a percentage of GDP... in whole numbers.

Whether you read Niall Ferguson's cold calculations about where most Western aid ends up (back in the West through corruption), or watch a documentary about former child soldiers, it's an incredible mess.

I wasn't aware of the Harper's articles. I'll pick those up, maybe the book, too.

james said...

Let me clarify something about a "pact with the devil." In Liberian English the spirits of the jungle which the tribes revere are often called "country devils." He described himself as a priest, and it would not surprise me to find that a child intended to be a zo would be initiated as young as 10. This has nothing to do with the Faust legend--I believe he is merely saying that he was initiated as a servant of these "devils." To win the favor of the more powerful of these might require human sacrifice, though this is heatedly denied by the zoes. Corpses minus certain body parts tend to turn up in remote areas around election times, though.

Now that he is a Christian preacher, he will naturally describe them as devils in the usual Christian sense.