*Photo on Flickr by gbaku
Here we are about to start a new year and I am sitting at my computer reflecting on how far the Ceasefire Liberia project and website have come over the last nine months.
Since we received the first small grant from Global Voices to start our website in April, we have had over 180 posts from Liberian bloggers around the world. We have forged partnerships with organizations, such as The Niapele Project, The New Liberian, World Policy Institute, The Mantle, and GroundReport, and are in discussions with other organizations to see how we can enhance each others’ work.
Penelope Chester from The Niapele Project, along with Semantics King and David Maass from The New Liberian, are working with Ceasefire Liberia on a journalism project around the 2011 elections in Liberia (please reach out to me if you want to be involved or know of ways to enhance our work in this area). The New Liberian and Ceasefire Liberia have also begun to cross-post each others’ articles on our blogs so please look for The New Liberian RSS feed on our home page. We are also partnering on a book drive to benefit reporters in Liberia.
Rachel Sterne from Ground Report has agreed to cross post our blogs on her site to expand our readership. And The World Policy Institute and The Mantle are using their platforms to tell the world about the work we are doing.
In addition to our partnerships I was interviewed on MediaBistro about the Ceasefire Liberia project, as well as interviewed for an article in Planet Africa that will be published in the spring. CUNY TV has also been out to Staten Island several times to tape a segment on our project.
On the good news front: Our blog manager, Nat Nyuan-Bayjay, got married recently and will be sharing some photos and musings from his wedding on our site in the near future.
As for our bloggers, they have been hard at work and I’d like to give a shout out to some of our best blogs from November and December: Leroy Sonpon III reported on more reactions to the TRC report. According to Sonpon, the Country Director for Action Aid Liberia, Ernest Gaie, is warning the Government of Liberia of the re-occurrence of another war, if the recommendations of the final unedited reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) are quashed. Peter Massaquoi reported on a disagreement between Jewel Taylor, ex-wife of warlord Charles Taylor, and Pres. Ellen Johnsons Sirleaf. Another important story from Massquoi is about how health workers are boycotting a yellow fever vaccine right in the midst of a health scare. Boima J.V. Boima wrote about why Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull, a strong ally and sympathizer of Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has chosen to support opposition candidate Geraldine Doe-Sherif in the run-off of the Montserrado Senatorial by-election. Wellington Railey kept us up-to-date on a court case where a Liberian pastor was sentenced to prison after his lawyer, the Holy Spirit, failed to appear in court. Our staff reporter wrote about how Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE), operating in Buchanan, has cut its workforce by 150 employees. M. Welemongai Ciapha, legal writer for FrontPageAfrica, covered the trial of the gruesome murder of Keith K. Jubah. All ten suspects were denied bail. Armaa Johnson, a Ceasefire Liberia member living in Staten Island, posted a trailer for a film he is working on about the Liberian community in Park Hill, Staten Island. Wellington Railey wrote about the lack of reporting of rape cases in Liberia since the end of the war. And our staff reporter blogged about the disorganization of the senatorial elections, which may be a sign of things to come in the 2011 presidential election. There are many, many more blogs, but you will have to take a peek on the site to see what I missed!
I’ll leave you with a quick roundup of news from around the Liberian blogosphere: Paul I. Adujie wrote an interesting piece on The New Liberian about how African-Americans and Africans are undercounted in the U.S. census. The UN News agency reported that the arms embargo against Liberia has been dropped, allowing the Liberian government and the UN peacekeeping mission to have certain weapons. Dennis Jah, who started the Ning site The Liberian Way, wrote a very insightful piece about how he’s not ashamed of being a Liberian in the U.S. Somah Dahn wrote an article for The Bush Chicken about how corruption is devastating Liberia, while Harry Papa Mason writes about the difficulty of implementing the TRC report. There are many intereesting articles on Cafe L.I.B., but two that struck me are: “Beat Your Wife We’ll See You in Court,” which is what Pres. Sirleaf told Liberians at the SKD Stadium on Dec. 17 as part of her strategy to get tougher on domestic violence and the news that The Chairman of the ruling Unity Party (UP), Dr. Charles Clark, said Pres. Sirleaf would seek a second term and that the Party has already started planning for the 2011 general and presidential elections.
Please visit us at www.ceasefireliberia.com and leave comments. We’d love to hear from you! And have a Happy New Year!