Segments in this Video

Peace in Liberia (02:22)


Oct. 2003, Liberians celebrate peace after long civil war. Businessman Gyude Bryant takes over a transitional government, giving his Inaugural Address.

Charles Taylor (02:24)

Charles Taylor waged war on his own country, Liberia, from 1989, ruling by terror, plundering the country's resources, and arming terror groups in neighboring countries.

Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (02:16)

In 1999, rebel group LURD challenged Taylor's control of Liberia. It reached Monrovia in 2003, intensifying the fighting and mutual atrocities.

U.S. Involvement in Liberia (02:55)

The U.S. launched a diplomatic effort, setting Taylor's departure as a condition of any Liberian agreement; Taylor in turn agreed to leave if the U.S. sent peacekeepers. Liberians dumped dead bodies at the U.S. embassy to demand more action.

Taylor Forced Out (02:01)

West African states sent peacekeepers to Liberia. Taylor was forced to leave. A peace agreement allowed rebels and members of the old government to create an interim government and set elections for 2005.

UN Mission and Warlords (01:24)

UN troops arrived in Liberia in 2003 to uphold cease fire and coordinate humanitarian aid. They began disarmament in Monrovia, but the countryside was still carved up among armed groups.

Child Soldiers (02:23)

Most of Liberia's former combatants are young. Liberian society will have to reabsorb a generation of children.

Refugees in Monrovia (01:21)

The UN's first humanitarian task in Liberia focuses on people who fled to Monrovia during the war.

Liberian History and Ruin (03:02)

Doe's coup destroyed a caste system and a ruling elite dominated by descendants of American slaves, but also destroyed order and institutions of one of Africa's richest countries. Charles Taylor stepped into the void, creating devastation.

Gyude Bryant's Task (01:55)

Gyude Bryant, leader of Liberia's interim government, lays out priorities in his Inaugural. He leads a coalition of former enemies. Taylor has looted the treasury.

International Donors (01:28)

Bryant pleads Liberia's case to an international donor community at the UN, winning $500 million.

UN's Disarmament Program (02:35)

The UN's DDRR program seeks to disarm and reintegrate militias throughout Liberia, giving fighters money in return for weapons, attending counseling, and returning home.

Monrovia's Recovering (01:55)

Despite fickle recovery, Monrovia still struggles and harbors many displaced in the war. People in Monrovia talk about their lives now that war is over.

Rebuilding Institutions (01:57)

A generation of political activists, silenced under Taylor, has now emerged. Foreign countries are helping Liberia create an honest police force. In 2004, Liberia celebrates a year of peace and Independence Day.

Displaced Return Home (01:30)

The UN sends Liberian internally displaced persons home as counties are declared safe one by one.

Life of Refugees (02:45)

Liberian refugees returning home talk about how they live and what their plans are. Relief supplies pour in.

Liberian Education (01:28)

Kids kept out of school by Liberia's war are finally being educated. Government is not adequately funding education.

Liberian Health Care (01:49)

Few Liberian health clinics have been rehabilitated. Donor funding and government disbursement have been slow.

Liberian Government's Difficulties (02:34)

Officials in Liberia's interim government say the government lacks resources to meet all needs. Civil servants are often unpaid, resulting in unrest, while cabinet ministers spend on luxuries.

Factions Control Liberia's Government (03:16)

The three warring factions who were given control of Liberia's peacetime government divided up the spoils. Corruption is rampant.

Monrovia Riots (01:24)

Riots hit Monrovia in Oct. 2004 due to anger with government.

Challenges of Former Soldiers (02:20)

70% of Liberians live on less than $1 per day. Disarmed soldiers face difficulty finding a place in the economy.

Struggle to Reconcile (01:40)

There is uneasy co-existence between Liberia's former soldiers and civilians who suffered at their hands. To keep the peace, war crimes went unpunished.

Liberian Election Season (01:33)

Liberians are excited for the country's first free elections open to all. Candidates make their pitches.

Liberian Presidential Candidates (01:39)

Harvard-educated economist Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the more populist George Weah, a soccer star, were the leading contenders in Liberia's first election.

Runoff (01:56)

Liberians vote as international monitors observe. Nobody gets over 50%, necessitating a runoff between the top two candidates.

Sirleaf Wins (01:08)

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won Liberia's runoff with a surprising 59% of the vote, becoming the first woman leader in modern African history.

Liberians' Task (02:57)

The international community has demanded a more active roll in Liberia's new government, hoping to end corruption. Liberia has natural resources and potential.

Credits: Liberia: A Fragile Peace (01:35)

Credits: Liberia: A Fragile Peace

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Liberia: A Fragile Peace

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With the departure of the despotic Charles Taylor in 2003, the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces, and the election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in 2005, Liberia was ready to begin the arduous task of creating a viable economic and social infrastructure. How does a nation mired in years of anarchy establish itself in the modern world? Is it possible to find administrators who will be dedicated to government accountability and transparency? In examining Liberia’s attempts to abide by the four provisions of the UN’s initiative—to disarm, demobilize, rehabilitate, and reintegrate—this program provides a case study in the difficulty of rebuilding a society once it has lapsed into anarchy. Viewer discretion is advised. (60 minutes)

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL49782

Copyright date: ©2006

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“The documentary powerfully captures the crisis mode of Liberia as it struggles to transition from a long and brutal civil war toward a sustainable peace. The real task of reconstruction and reform now begins.”  —Prof. Elwood Dunn, Sewanee: the University of the South    

“This is just the right film at exactly the right time, as Liberia finally begins to turn the corner on a quarter century of violence and tragedy.”  —Nancee Oku Bright, producer/director of Liberia: America’s Stepchild

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