Segments in this Video

America and Liberia (01:17)


Liberia was an American project, founded by freed slaves sent back to Africa. America's loss of interest after the Cold War left a power vacuum, producing chaos.

Taylor Indicted (02:15)

In 2003, the Liberian government agreed to peace talks with a rebel army controlling most of the country. G.W. Bush demanded that Taylor step down; the UN-sponsored Special Court indicted him.

Credits: Liberia: An Uncivil War (00:45)

Credits: Liberia: An Uncivil War

Red Cross and Liberia (01:06)

A Red Cross program seeking to reunite family members operates in Liberia. A radio host discusses his worry that Taylor's departure would create havoc.

LURD (01:49)

In 2003, filmmakers set out to document the opposing sides of Liberia's Civil War. The rebel LURD repeatedly attacked capital Monrovia. A cease fire is unlikely to last without a stabilizing force.

Taylor Announces Resignation (02:05)

Taylor meets with party supporters. He announces he is sacrificing himself for his country, yielding to international demands that he step down with the motive of preserving Liberia's independence.

Atrocities and Strategic Situation in Liberia (01:33)

A pending LURD attack on Monrovia could reignite atrocities that have subsided. Boys talk about eating their enemies.

LURD Objective (02:15)

LURD, a coalition of Taylor's enemies claiming he excluded them from army positions, controls most of the country but want Taylor out. A man in Monrovia talks about his fears of attack; children are shown playing.

American Soldiers in Liberia (02:02)

G.W. Bush sent troops to Liberia to assess humanitarian conditions. Liberians greet the troops.

American-Liberian Relationship (01:50)

A Liberian talks about Liberians' feelings for the U.S. and American influence on Liberian institutions. Liberia's historical links and alliance with America is strong.

LURD Camp (02:37)

With American marines in Monrovia, the LURD did not attack. The LURD has a women's fighting unit; their commander, Black Diamond, is interviewed. Guinea supplies LURD.

Questioning Taylor's Personal Significance (01:08)

We drive through Liberia's oldest city. A Liberian argues that Taylor is not solely responsible for the revolution which began in 1989, as conditions were ripe.

Charles Taylor (02:00)

In 1989, Taylor launched an uprising against Doe, who had seized power in a previous coup; civil war resulted. Taylor won 1997 elections, then supported Sierra Leone rebels, who committed atrocities; he is interviewed.

Taylor Defends Self (03:22)

Charles Taylor was indicted for war crimes while in office, and is accused of harboring Al Qaeda. Taylor attacks American motives and characterizes Bush as impulsive and misinformed.

LURD Motives (02:01)

The LURD claim see Taylor as representative of descendants of Americans who have long exploited Liberia's indigenous tribes. A commander emphasizes to his men that only Taylor is their enemy.

Archbishop Michael Francis (02:27)

Archbishop Michael Francis, an opponent of Taylor who has stayed in Liberia rather than fleeing, talks in an interview about Taylor's charisma. He then gives a sermon alluding to the fighting.

Consequences of War (02:51)

Americans say they won't send peace-keepers to Liberia until Taylor leaves; Taylor says he will not go until peace-keepers arrive. We visit a looted home, and refugees living in a stadium.

Education During War (02:04)

Sister Barbara runs a college amid constant crisis in Liberia; we visit a class. She talks about the need for security. Back in LURD camp, rebel strategy is explained.

America Considers Liberian Intervention (02:27)

G. W. Bush and Colin Powell address the situation in Liberia. The U.S. humanitarian assessment team visits Sister Barbara's facility. She is interviewed about her hopes for an American response.

Worship Rally (01:51)

A red cross station is briefly shown. We visit a prayer rally at Liberia's national stadium where refugees are camped.

K. A. Paul and Charles Taylor (01:48)

Bush sent K. A. Paul to Liberia to persuade Taylor to leave; Paul led a spiritual rally. He talks about Taylor's decision to leave. Taylor declares if he leaves before peace-keepers come, chaos will reign.

Government Soldiers (02:26)

Liberian government and rebel forces are on the verge of battle; a government general is interviewed. Anti-Taylor archbishop Francis says Taylor is right that peacekeepers need to come before he leaves.

Refugee Camp (01:52)

Fearing war is approaching, thousands pour into the Liberian refugee camp. There are no toilets. Angry residents yell at the director. People at the camps listen to the BBC.

Fighting Renewed (02:54)

11 miles from Monrovia, rebels march along a street; both sides prepare for a fight. Rebels take a key bridge. The refugee camp director laments America's unwillingness to separate the combatants.

Rumors of Peacekeepers (02:36)

Refugees walk down streets, carrying all they can. Amid shooting, rumor spreads of peacekeepers' arrival in Liberia. A government official says this is false and urges people off the streets.

Wartime Hospital (01:23)

Patients pour into the hospital as Liberia's war has resumed. The director worries the hospital itself will be hit.

War in Monrovia (02:21)

A Liberian man calmly talks about the disaster that will befall Monrovia as a result of the resumed war. We watch and hear shooting.

Rebels Take Monrovia (02:26)

July 20, 2003, war crashes into Monrovia; rebels gain control. Taylor's army makes a stand at two bridges. Liberians swarm to Greystone, American embassy land given over to house refugees.

Refugees at American Embassy Hit (02:16)

The American Embassy's Greystone annex is hit, killing and wounding. Panic ensues. People shout at cameras for American help, and bring bodies to the embassy to protest the war.

American Involvement in Liberia (01:27)

The U.S. sends a rapid response team to protect its embassy. Anger grows with America over the failure to send peace-keepers. Liberia gains media attention, and Bush addresses the issue.

Charles Taylor Criticizes America (01:16)

Charles Taylor argues catastrophe would have ensued if he had left before the latest fighting and blames the war on Americans. The mortar that hit the American embassy appears traceable to America by way of Guinea.

Civilians Living in Fear (01:24)

A woman shows a hole in a wall where she slept during shelling in Monrovia. A man talks about the need for foreign peace keepers.

Pentagon's Reluctance over Liberia Intervention (02:00)

The battle enters its fifth day; every day, the sides fight for control of Monrovia's bridge. The Pentagon is said to be urging caution about U.S. intervention, remembering Somalia.

Meeting Young Soldiers (03:14)

We meet boys serving as Charles Taylor's soldiers. They talk about their willingness to die for him and their country. They listen to rap music- very strong language.

Looting (01:12)

Control of the port means control of Monrovia's food supply. A woman shoots into the air at looters. Looting and warning shots continue.

K. A. Paul (01:25)

July 26, amid war, Dr. K. A. Paul returns for Liberia's independence day to lead prayer and fasting. In a speech, he is supportive of both Bush and Taylor and says he has convinced Taylor to leave.

Executing Looters (00:49)

An alleged looter in Monrovia is beaten, naked; we see bodies of looters who have been executed.

Suffering in Monrovia (02:42)

The rebel siege is starving Monrovia; some children at an orphanage have American families waiting to adopt, but cannot get out. LURD lacks enough medical supplies to treat its own wounded, let alone people in territory it controls.

U.S. Sends Marines to Liberia (02:07)

The Organization of West African States agrees to send peace-keepers to Liberia but lacks funding. Bush orders ships and Marines to Liberia; the U.S. urges LURD to accept cease-fire. Liberians hope the Americans arrive soon.

Marines' Unclear Mission (01:36)

Rebels seek to take territory before the internationally-demanded 10:00 am cease fire. The U.S. Marines in Monrovia are accomplishing little, though more are on the way.

Desperate Conditions (03:11)

Food still is not getting into Monrovia; because of scarcity, even some malnourished children are not eligible for food relief agencies are distributing. Stray bullets threaten the camp.

Taylor Under Pressure (02:44)

As his army's attacks fail, Taylor is running out of options but says he will not be taken alive before the war crimes tribunal. A U.S. official says Liberia is key to stabilizing West Africa. A Liberian is disappointed in American inaction.

Nigerians Bring Peace (02:46)

Nigerian peace-keepers arrive in Monrovia, ending war. The sides meet on the bridge and reconcile. Despite a U.S. official's plea to let in humanitarian aid, the rebel general will not relinquish the port until Taylor steps down.

Charles Taylor's Farewell Address (02:49)

Charles Taylor announces in a televised address that he will resign. He denounces emerging "one-world government" threatening African countries' sovereignty and expresses hope for return.

Liberia Immediately After Taylor (01:49)

The LURD celebrate Taylor's departure from Liberia. U.S. warships finally make themselves visible. Bitterness is expressed at the U.S. A man fears renewed chaos absent U.S. intervention.

Burying Dead, Reuniting Families (03:08)

In the aftermath of Liberia's civil war, men dig a mass grave, line up bodies, and cover them. The names of lost children in Liberia found by the Red Cross are announced on a radio program; one is reunited with her parents.

Marines Enter Liberia (01:31)

U.S. Marines arrive in Monrovia's airport. The plan is DDR: Disarm, Demobilize, and Reintegrate rebel soldiers. Military commanders discuss the mission.

Life After War (01:53)

Americans departed Liberia within a month; the UN stayed to rebuild. We learn what people and organizations featured in the film have done since peace came. Charles Taylor is in Nigeria, wanted for war crimes.

Credits: Liberia: An Uncivil War (02:10)

Credits: Liberia: An Uncivil War

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Liberia: An Uncivil War

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Reporter Jonathan Stack is besieged in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, where president Charles Taylor has just been indicted on 17 counts of crimes against humanity by the United Nations. James Barbazon is traveling with the LURD rebel army, which has pledged to pillage the country until Taylor steps down. In documenting the end of Taylor’s regime, the two journalists provide insights from both sides of the conflict to create an in-depth case study of one of Africa’s most brutal civil wars. Viewer discretion is advised. (102 minutes)

Length: 102 minutes

Item#: BVL49783

Copyright date: ©2005

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“I strongly recommend that all persons interested in bringing peace and security to places of conflict in Africa see this film.”  —Abou Moussa, Officer in Charge, U.N. Mission in Liberia    

“This is an educational, engaging documentary that I strongly recommend for every student, scholar, and human rights advocate to gain deeper insight into the decades-long conflict in Liberia and its wider implications for West Africa.”  —Charles Jackson, exiled Liberian journalist and Knight Fellow, Stanford University    

“This outstanding documentary is a noble and praiseworthy undertaking....I enthusiastically give my highest recommendation to this painstaking piece of work. The producers and all involved with making this film should be praised for their courage and resolve. The film gives a deep exploration of the civil war on a personal level and on a global level. Recommended for high schools, colleges, and adults who want to get a better understanding of the conflict within Dafur.”  —Educational Media Reviews Online      

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