Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (b. 1938) is the current president of the African nation of Liberia. Currently serving her second term, she had become the first elected female head of state in Africa upon first assuming office in 2006.

In 2011 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her ‘non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights’. During her first days in office, she issued an order which made elementary school free and compulsory throughout the country. Also, in 2010, she signed the Freedom of Information Bill, becoming the first African country with such legislation.

In just two days, Liberia will celebrate what seemed an impossible dream last summer: The end of its Ebola outbreak.Saturday, May 9 will mark the 42nd day of no new Ebola cases in the country. A person with Ebola typically shows symptoms within 21 days of exposure. But the World Health Organization adds an extra 21 days for extra caution before declaring that an outbreak has ended. So on Saturday, WHO officials and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will announce that Liberia is Ebola-free.

NPR’s global health correspondent, Jason Beaubien, visited Liberia in August and October when Ebola was raging. He’s back in the country for this milestone day, and he spoke with us about the mood there.

On Saturday, The Ebola Outbreak In Liberia Should Be Officially Over

Photo by Jason Beaubien/NPR

Introducing Mr. Tarty Teh

Mr. Teh has long sought to shed light on the dark corridors of Ms. Sirleaf’s past. 

Below is a note he wrote to her after her testimony to the “101st” U.S. Congress subcommittee on Africa.  Testimony that has been completely off the radar and little known - even amongst her biggest detractors.  I provide much more detailed commentary on this in posts below.

But first…Mr. Teh’s letter in response to the testimony Ms. Sirleaf entered into that session of Congress.

‘Dear Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf:

I attended the Congressional hearing of June 19, 1990 at which Ambassador Herman J. Cohen of the U.S. State Department and others testified on Liberia.  You were scheduled to testify but could not; but your written testimony was entered into the records of the Sub-committee on Africa.  It is that testimony that I am responding to.

I would not have known why you try to hard to avoid mentioning any truths that favor anyone whom you oppose if I hadn’t learned much later on that you want to be president of Liberia.  Although I do not submit that your presidential ambition suffices as reason for the totality with which you avoid mentioning any opposing truths.  I have come to understand how you think such subterfuge is to your advantage.

You diminished yourself as worthy of my respect when you failed to note the conditions of total discrimination against African-Liberians before the coup of 1980; when you used the word “oligarchy” not to describe the status quo of 133 years under the Americo-Liberian Dynasty, but instead used it to describe President Doe and his flock of new arrivals into the rank of the privileged, the rank that was once the exlusive province of the Amercio-Liberians.  But what I find almost unforgiveable is not any of the above.  Instead, it is your sinister evocation of your dead mother’s name in your lamentation before a Congressional hearing, and portray her as someone who died before reaching the Promised Land.

“Saturday in Alexandria where I live I will bury my mother,” you wrote.  I suppose you buried here as you promised.  You are a good daughter for doing that.  I am sure you have marked the spot where she lies..  I think you’ve said far too much about your mother in a forum where her memory does not serve its most useful purpose.  I will therefore, spare her name further misuse; instead, I want to give you a worse-case scenario that actually happened.

President William R. Tolbert, the most democratic and most reform-minded of all before him shares a watery mass grave with 13 members of his cabinet.  Among the unlucky 13 was a man called C. Cecil Dennnis, Jr., an intellectual with whom I enjoyed fighting a good fight.  Although President Tolbert can be said to have a grave of sort, be it a crowded one, Thomas Quinwonkpa has no grave of any description.  If Moses Duopu has a grave, only Charles Taylor knows.  Then there are the more than 5,000 Gios, Manos, Krahs, Mandingos, Grebos, Krus, and others who still rot in the bush and in the streets of Monrovia and Buchanan.  One of them, a Red Cross relief worker, received rapid rounds of machine gun blasts before falling to the ground, but gathered his last breath and courage to raise his head one more time and asked, “Why, Why?”

Why are 5,000 persons dead?  So that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf can become president of Liberia?  Or are we being forced to give so many lives so that Charles Taylor, the true symbol of “conspicious consumption” and a convicted criminal, can have a second chance to prove to us that he will not import Jaguars from Liberia to Boston for his personal use as he did when he was chief procurement officer for the Samuel Doe Administration?

And do you really want to complain about President Doe’s wearing a “three piece suit”?  Is that, in your opinion, a good example of the waste in government, or might not your living in a penthouse over a bank building as Minister of Finance be a better example of both waste and “conspicious consumption”?  If that does not fit, let’s try your having all your children on government scholarship while many Liberian villages had no school.  I think your compalin about Does’s three piece suit is not as trifling as it seems.  It represents a deep prejudice that is burnt into the subconcious of the Americo-Liberians.  Nothing is more incongruous than seeing a “country man” in a three piece suit.

By what compelling reason did you expect president Doe–a then high-school dropout–to care for the nation’s finances any better than did you and college-educated Tolbert?  President William Tubman had only eighth-grade education.  So no one expected him to do much.  He built the longest paved road in the country from Monrovia to his farm in Totota for a total of 80 miles at a time when Liberia was enjoying a blance of trade surpluses.  He did well for an eight grader, shouldn’t we say?

We must all speak out against wrong, not only when it affects us personally, but when we know about it.  Have said that, you must be pittied for being jailed by the Doe regime.  I had just fled Liberia when I learned that you had been incarcerated.  I was not alarmed so much by your imprisonment as by the suggestion that you might be sent to Belleh Yallah.  I, therefore, wrote a letter to plead to President Doe, begging him not to send you to Belleh Yallah.  I didn’t care what your crime was.  I suspected it couldn’t be worse than mine.  My sole reason for not wanting you to go to Belleh Yallah was that I had been there as President Doe’s personal prisoner and didn’t think it was a safe place for a woman, no matter what her crime. You were lucky.  You were charged with something, so you had a chance to mount a defense.

Because he jailed me, abused my civil and constitutional rights, has he, therefore, forfeited his right to be credited for the good deeds he has done, however few?  Should I now work hard to bury any positive truths about him?  This is what I call simplistic absolutism.  You are absolutely good, and Doe is absolutely bad.  Of course, there is no such thing.  The problems in Liberia are more complicated than that.  And you, the Americo-Liberians with (not despite) your access to sound education, lay the groundwork for the mess we are in today.

I was hoping that I would learn something from you despite my suspicion of your deep prejuidice.  I thought you would give me a new insight that I am probably too bitter to afford.  I wanted to respect you for the depth of your perception, even if I ended up not agreeing with you.  Instead,  you shovel old cliches, practice uninspired and transparent duplicity, and mouth plain, outright lies.

I don’t think you should be trusted to tell coming generations of Liberians the real reasons their fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other kinsfolk died in such numbers while you sat in Washington D.C., drawing up plans about who would occupy this or that government position once Charles Taylor reached the Executive Mansion.  You would quickly sacrifice the truth–as you have done countless times–to advance your ambition.  That is no way to heal a bleeding nation.  That is no way to lead.

Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf, you have to learn how to follow, because so far if you have any leadership qualities, they have failed to show in all of your vainglorious pronouncements.  Besides, to follow is sometimes an ennobling endeavor.  It may help you see your own relative worth in its proper perspective.  Maybe that will help you understand that you don’t have to be an Americo-Liberia to have an oversized ego.

Please let me hear from you.

Sincerely yours,

Tarty Teh

Signed Tarty Teh

Source:  From A Nation in Terror: Author James Youboty  Page 164-166. 

More back and forth between Sirleaf and Teh here.

Liberia is now Ebola-free, WHO says cautiously

Liberia is now Ebola-free, WHO says cautiously

MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberia is now free of Ebola after going 42 days — twice the maximum incubation period for the deadly disease — without any new cases, the World Health Organization announced on Saturday. While celebrating the milestone, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Saturday told The Associated Press the damage wrought by the worst Ebola outbreak in history was “a scar on the conscience…

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There’s a lot to celebrate in Liberia: The number of new Ebola cases have been declining, kids are going back to school and life is returning to some semblance of normalcy.

Last year, Ebola struck the country and since then, it has killed more than 4,000 Liberians. But among the three hardest-hit countries in West Africa, Liberia has been the fastest at containing the outbreak. Just last week, the region reported 99 new cases of Ebola. Only one of those came out of Liberia.

Still, “there’s always that fear,” Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf tells NPR’s David Greene during an interview Monday on Morning Edition. It’s the fear that Ebola will erupt again and kill thousands more. “Until the other two affected countries [Guinea and Sierra Leone] have made equal progress,” Sirleaf says, “we’ll continue to be at risk.”

Liberia’s President: Ebola Re-Energized Her Downtrodden Country

Photo credit: Ariel Zambelich/NPR

The first all-female police unit in the history of @unpeacekeepers has arrived home in India after serving the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) since 2007.

“The contribution you have made in inspiring Liberian women, imparting in them the spirit of professionalism and encouraging them to join operations that protect the nation; for that we will always be grateful,” Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf told the peacekeepers before they left the country.

Read their story here:

Photo: UN in India

Photo: Ban Ki-moon at the UN Women event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. /UN Women

A host of artists, activists and global leaders were gathering in New York on Tuesday night at the UN Women event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action – the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights.

The inspirational speakers at the event included Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Academy-award winner Patricia Arquette.

Get involved with ‪#‎Beijing20‬ at:

See more photos at:

Liberia’s Ebola problem far worse than imagined, says WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a statement saying problems related to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia are increasingly dire.

Here is the full statement:

Situation in Liberia: non-conventional interventions needed

8 September 2014

During the past weeks, a WHO team of emergency experts worked together with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and members of her government to assess the Ebola situation in Liberia.

Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially.

The investigative team worked alongside staff from the Ministry of Health, local health officials, and other key partners working in the country.

All agreed that the demands of the Ebola outbreak have completely outstripped the government’s and partners’ capacity to respond. Fourteen of Liberia’s 15 counties have now reported confirmed cases.

Some 152 health care workers have been infected and 79 have died. When the outbreak began, Liberia had only one doctor to treat nearly 100,000 people in a total population of 4.4 million people. Every infection or death of a doctor or nurse depletes response capacity significantly.

Liberia, together with the other hard-hit countries, namely Guinea and Sierra Leone, is experiencing a phenomenon never before seen in any previous Ebola outbreak. As soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients, pointing to a large but previously invisible caseload.

Of all Ebola-affected countries, Liberia has the highest cumulative number of reported cases and deaths, amounting, on 8 September, to nearly two thousand cases and more than one thousand deaths. The case-fatality rate, at 58%, is also among the highest.

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