Charles Taylor

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 1, 2003

Who? Charles Taylor. Would you call him &uot;Chuck&uot;? Not unless you’d call Bush &uot;George&uot; This Taylor is a president – you decide.

Never heard of him. You will, and often. George W. has practically ordered him out of his (Taylor’s) country. Let me tell you about him. Don’t think you’d want to send a daughter his way. Charles Taylor was born in Liberia of an African mother and an American father.

Of his youth I found nothing until I read his grandfather insisted he attend college in America. Lucky Bently College was selected in Boston (my part of the country.) Off he went and graduated. Got a job in a library. Was accused of stealing library funds, convicted, was sent to prison. He escaped (how I’ll never know) and flew back to Liberia.


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A few words about Liberia I think would be good here. Liberia is a small country in Western Africa. The citizens are mainly black, speak English and feel akin to U.S. citizens. Further details later. It’s a good story. Heck! Why not tell it now? Here it is: years ago three black men (former slaves who left America and went to Africa, their ancestor’s land. They founded Liberia and had only America to use as a guide to start a country. Watch the similarities. This new land had a house and a senate, a president, congress, a president’s cabinet, a vice president. Sound familiar? This is why the natives think they are related to us. Everyone from 19 on votes. Somehow Charles Taylor wound up president with a cabinet and all that power. He had his own troops and they fought for him so often but were not paid for two years. But a strange grant was given them. They were free to loot for food and never were jailed for it. It was just allowed. Everyone understood.

People in Liberia have been at war for 14 years. They are starving and are joyous thinking U.S. peacekeeping troops are coming and this brings U.S. money and peace. President Bush has ordered Taylor to leave the country. He’s getting good at this, isn’t he? Taylor says he’ll go to Nigeria only when the peace troops are on the ground. Right now it’s anybody’s guess who wins this point. Is our world turning into a get out of town, we’ll take over. Are we really that good? If we base it on Iraq – well, you decide.

Florence Arena is a resident of Hillcrest Retirement Center and a regular columnist for the News-Herald.