liberian war

LIBERIA. Monrovia. June 25, 2003. One of the most influencial weapons in the rebel forces are the 12.7 belt-fed anti-aircraft guns, mounted onto the backs of pick-up trucks. LURD forces advance on the capital during the Siege of Monrovia (2003). Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003).

Photograph: Tim Hetherington/Magnum Photos

Los Angeles Times photographer Carolyn Cole took this terrifying photo during her assignment in Liberia. It shows the devastating effects of the Liberian Civil War.

Bullet casings cover entirely a street in Monrovia. The Liberian capital was the worst affected region, because it was the scene of heavy fighting between government soldiers and rebel forces.

Can we please talk about how amazing Broadway is right now

I mean we got:

Fun Home - The true story of lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel and her coming to terms with her sexuality alongside her gay father

Hamilton - A hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton including a cast comprised of POC playing traditionally white characters

Deaf West Spring Awakening - The revival of Spring Awakening starring many deaf actors and the first wheelchair-bound Broadway actress

The Wiz Live - The NBC live broadcast of The Wiz starring an exclusively black cast

Allegiance - The true story of a Japanese war veterain starring many asian actors and actresses

Gigi - The short-lived revival of Gigi which just closed on Broadway starring Vannessa Hudgens (a Filipino actress) in a traditionally white role

Eclipsed - A play about the story of women during the Second Liberian Civil War starring amazing Black women

what a wonderful time to be a Broadway fan!!
Lupita Nyong’o and Trevor Noah, and Their Meaningful Roles
The actress and the “Daily Show” host talk about the challenges of diversity, childhoods lived under oppressive governments and #OscarsSoWhite.
By Philip Galanes

The most intriguing stars seem to appear from out of nowhere.

Take Lupita Nyong’o, the Mexican-Kenyan actress who had not even graduated from Yale School of Drama before landing her star-making role as Patsey in “12 Years a Slave,” for which she won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2014.

Or Trevor Noah, the comedian from Johannesburg, who had appeared on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central a scant three times before being named Jon Stewart’s successor last March.

Ms. Nyong’o, 32, has since appeared in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and lent her voice to “The Jungle Book,” which will open in April. She has also acted on stage in an Off Broadway production of “Eclipsed,” about the struggles of a group of women during the Liberian Civil War. (“Eclipsed” will open on Broadway next month.) Ms. Nyong’o quickly became a fashion darling, too, as the first black face of Lancôme. She has appeared on the cover of Vogue twice.

Before taking the reins of “The Daily Show” in September, Mr. Noah, also 32, had hosted a number of television and radio programs in South Africa, starred in several comedy specials and toured widely as a stand-up comedian. He was the first South African comic to appear on “The Tonight Show” (2012) and “Late Show With David Letterman” (2013).

The pair met recently for brunch at the Dutch in SoHo. Over beet salad and a cheese omelet (for Ms. Nyong’o) and a bagel with smoked salmon (for Mr. Noah), they discussed the subtler challenges of diversity, childhoods lived under oppressive governments and a new spin on “The Ugly Ducking.”

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SW: I’m glad they discussed the “gatekeepers” (agents and managers) and other walls preventing and making it difficult for diversity to be present 

Lupita Nyong'o & Danai Gurira on making Broadway history with Eclipsed

A few weeks before the March 6 opening of Eclipsed on Broadway, playwright Danai Gurira and star Lupita Nyong’o took a break from rehearsals and sat down to chat with EW. The play – harrowing, heartbreaking, with glimmers of humor – tells the story of four captive “wives” of a rebel officer during the Liberian civil war. The longtime friends discussed the show – directed by Liesl Tommy and costarring Saycon Sengbloh, Pascale Armand, Akosua Busia, and Zainab Jah – and the power of trust and sisterhood.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where did you get the idea for Eclipsed?

DANAI GURIRA: I read a newspaper article in 2003 about Black Diamond, a revered rebel soldier. I found her fascinating. I grew up in southern Africa, but I had never seen a depiction of an African woman like her—that began the journey.

LUPITA NYONG’O: What I love about Danai’s play is that it invites you in. So you may not have known anything [about Liberia or its civil war] when it begins, but the play welcomes you into this compound. You learn something very deep. You’re shocked, your mind is open, and your heart is broken. Where you may have known facts, now you have feelings.

When did you two first meet?

NYONG’O: At the Obie Awards in 2007. She’s an African artist so I was aware of her and had seen her work in The Visitor.

GURIRA: Yale and Tisch were fighting over her [for their graduate programs], and Tisch had assigned me the job to –

NYONG’O: Woo me!

GURIRA: [Laughs] To encourage her to make the right choice. But we knew we were in trouble, and Yale won.

NYONG’O: And then the first role I was assigned when I got to Yale was as an understudy in Eclipsed. One of the things I had been coming to terms with in choosing which school I would go to was the fact that I would be doing a lot of Eurocentric work. Then I arrive from Kenya and I get this incredible, groundbreaking Liberian play. It was manna from heaven! I made a promise to myself: I have to do this play one day.

So how did the 2015 run at the Public Theater come together?

GURIRA: Lupita emailed me and said, “Let’s do this.” I was like, “Uh, of course!”

NYONG’O: Every time I saw her I’d say, “I want to do Eclipsed!” I was hungry to be back in a rehearsal room and to create a story with a group of artists.

GURIRA: I saw that she mentioned it in her first Vogue cover story, and I thought, Oh, she really does want to do it!

How has the play evolved as it’s moved from Off Broadway?

NYONG’O: Because we’re the same ensemble, there’s a level of trust and ease in which we work together. This is like a mountain to climb every night. But we know the mountain and it’s allowed us to find new natural and surprising things.

GURIRA: I feel a great comfort hearing that. The playwright has to step away – you want to see it fly on its own. I can’t always be in the room with them.

NYONG’O: You did the foundational work, and we always have that. So you’re always in the room.

GURIRA: That’s so sweet, Lupita. I appreciate that.

NYONG’O: It’s true – this has been a godsend of a production because of the level of love and respect in the room. We genuinely like each other, which helps. This is the kind of play where you need a sisterhood.

GURIRA: Oh, for sure. Like the scene where Lupita gets her ass kicked? [Laughs] There’s an insane amount of trust involved because it really is like flying without a net. That’s because there’s such a sisterhood.

This is the first time that a Broadway production has had a female playwright, a female director, and an all-female cast.

GURIRA: It’s crazy, right? It shouldn’t be an event. We should have far more of this scenario on Broadway. But it is an event, so we should make it clear that this should be celebrated and happen more.

Lupita, now that you are actually playing this part, is it everything you thought it would be?

NYONG’O: I can confess now that though I always told people I wanted to do Eclipsed, I did not pick up the script again until it was actually happening. In our first read-through before the Public run I thought, What did I do? [Laughs]

GURIRA: I remember that – you were like, Whoa.

NYONG’O: What I love about my work as an actor is that there’s always that moment of panic before you step into something. Because you’re stepping into the unknown. So to have this opportunity and to do this with women I deeply respect has been invaluable. I feel full. Challenged. Oooh, do I feel challenged [laughs] every day…. But it’s a joyful toll. It’s wonderful.

Lupita Nyong'o’s New Broadway Show Is the Ultimate Feminist Triumph. Lupita Nyong'o made her Broadway debut in Eclipsed earlier this week and, unsurprisingly, knocked it out of the park. New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood called her “one of the most radiant young actors to be seen on Broadway in recent seasons.” But what really makes Eclipsed a true standout is the fact that is the first play in Broadway history to be written, performed, and directed entirely by women.

Danai Gurira penned Eclipsed, which chronicles the lives of five women living through the Second Liberian Civil War. They are held captive by their warlord husband, but, despite the turmoil surrounding them, these five wives find strength, support, and humor in one another. When it came to telling that story, Gurira knew that she wanted a woman’s voice like Liesl Tommy’s. “This is a play I wanted a woman director for,” she told the Cut. “I wanted a play where you took out the male voice and the male face and said we’re going to extract, in this case, the antagonist and just make it about these women.”

The production is earning rave reviews, and the critical consensus is that Nyong'o shines in her Broadway debut. Prior to opening night, Nyong'o took to Instagram to share information on the Second Liberian Civil War, her history with the character she plays (“I first played my character as an understudy in Drama School. I never went on, and I promised myself back then that I would play [her] some day…it’s mind-blowing to get to do it on Broadway.”), and being part of such a groundbreaking production (“We are the first play on Broadway to be written, directed, and performed by ALL WOMEN. Making history!”).

Raiden vs public school

Raiden says he was six when he first picked up a gun, and the Liberian Civil War was 1989-1996. So if he started fighting at the very beginning of the war, and left right when it ended, he would have been around 13 when he was brought to the US.

This has some larger implications. 

In the US, most 13 year olds are finishing up middle school. Raiden would be coming from a 3rd world country, without any previous education, probably not even knowing how to read, and then attempting to catch up and prepare for highschool.

Oh my god… Highschool. Can you imagine imagine both the social structure of highschool and the college/test pressure, for someone that learned to read a year ago? (I see all these highschool fics, and they’re all shitty character transposition fics. Where as an actual, HS fic that takes into account the struggle and his problems contrasted with everyone else’s first world problems would be really interesting.) 

It also explains a lot why he’s in the army in the first place. Since first, he wouldnt have a family to save for college for him. And the other problem being that he’s probably too academically behind to do well on entrance exams. Like, imagine never being taught basic science, and then taking chemistry in highschool, or having never learned any math beyond simple addition, and having to complete a required calculus course. Or having learned to read 2 years ago, and then having to take the writing portion of the SAT. 

Besides getting a dead end job out of highschool, joining the military was probably his only chance at anything meaningful….. especially with the college program afterwards.

Given the inevitable previous difficulty, it’s actually pretty sad when you look at MGS2 and how hard he tries to do well. He might not have done well in school, but man, he ran those VR trials until he got those scores perfect. He’s jsut so chipper about things, because every new challenge is chance to prove himself, to shine, and not be that one really old kid in remedial reading. 

And he followed directions perfectly, did his best, and did so well that they thought he could be the next snake…. the ultimate soldier…..

….but even the ultimate soldier was only human……but the patriots had an answer for that.

Leymah Gbowee (b. 1972) is a Liberian peace activist, the leader of a movement called Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, which helped end the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. For her efforts, she was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, alongside her conational Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

She started her humanitarian efforts working for UNICEF during the First Civil War. She was a volunteer in trying to counsel and rehabilitate former child soldier who had lived through traumatic moments. Upon leading the women’s movement, she managed to mobilize women from many different African nations in mass protests and actions for peace.


Playwright Danai Gurira, actress Lupita Nyong'o and director Liesl Tommy discuss their collaboration on “Eclipsed,” Gurira’s powerful drama about young women kidnapped and used as “wives” by warlords during the Liberian Civil War. Also on the program, journalists Adam Feldman of Time Out/New York and Imogen Lloyd Webber of opine on the approaching TONY Awards race and how the incoming spring 2016 shows measure up against “Hamilton,” the season’s odds-on winner of every Broadway musical prize.

LIBERIA. Tubmanburg. May 2004. Memanatu Sesay, fighter with the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) poses with her weapon at a UN disarmament point. She was in fact a native Sierra Leonean who had been caught up in the war in Liberia during the instability in the north west region.

Photograph: Bruno Barbey/Magnum Photos

LIBERIA. Tubmanburg. May 2003. Abraham, a child soldier with the rebel group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), approaches a derelict house during a patrol on the outskirts of Tubmanburg. Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003).

Photograph: Tim Hetherington/Magnum Photos

LIBERIA. Monrovia. June 25, 2003. After walking for four hours, the advancing LURD army is attacked by government forces. A casualty of that encounter lies dead below the comfort of a 12.7 anti aircraft gun. Siege of Monrovia (2003), Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003).

Photograph: Tim Hetherington/Magnum Photos

LIBERIA. Tubmanburg. 2003. Rebel fighters from the group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) in prayer before heading off to attack the capital Monrovia. Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003).

Liberian religiosity often was a mixture of Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, and native West African Shamanism. The result was often a confusing mysticism that seems to have been fully believed by many combatants. Several leaders claim to have chosen sides or determined battle strategy after crying or receiving visions, portents, or prophetic dreams. Perhaps the best known of these was Joshua Milton Blahyi, an anti-government warlord who declared war on Charles Taylor after receiving a phone call from the Devil.

Photograph: Tim Hetherington/Magnum Photos

LIBERIA. Tubmanburg. June 2003. Black Diamond (Mamaya Sesay) was the leader of the women’s unit of the LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy). She was raped by Taylor forces and later joined the LURD, becoming a feared frontline commander. Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003).

Photograph: Tim Hetherington/Magnum Photos

LIBERIA. Tubmanburg. June 26, 2003. A Sierra Leonian fighter, trained by the British army in Sierra Leone, parades himself before the advance on the capital of Liberia. The conflict cannot be viewed as the isolated problem of only Liberia, as the cycle of violence generated by warlords ends up affecting the whole region. Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003).

Photograph: Tim Hetherington/Magnum Photos