Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Research Exercise for Sierra Leone. Post here. From Mike Lohre.



Our Topics:
Freetown and its unique origin story.NATHAN

This photo shows the streets of freetown in Sierra Leone 1996. This was the time of the civil war and around the same time Ishmael entered Freetown. The streets are flooded with soilders. It truely shows the struggle that the capital of Sierra Leone has stuggled with and has gone through a lot in its history.
Charles Taylor, who some call the most evil man in Africa.JUSTIN
He was Charles Taylor was accused of aiding the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) through weapon sales in exchange for blood diamonds.
President Ellen Johnson SirleafALEXIS
This is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She is the 24th and current president of Liberia. She assumed the position in office January 18th, 2006. Since then, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has won the Nobel Peace Prize as well as The Indira Gandhi Prize.
Mende tribe and cultureMACKENZIE
These men are a part of the Kamajors, which is one group in the Mende militia, these men are tribal hunters.  They are fighting against the rebels and along-side their government.
Temne tribe and cultureCOLLIN
This picture shows a group of newly inducted young women, and two already Bondo Society members after the event known as “Initiation” within the Temne tribe. The goal of initiation is to lead these young women into adulthood, and to embed a new sense of morality and sexual comportment within them as well.  (Comportment = The proper sexual behavior within the Bondo Society)
Nobel Prize winner Leymah GboweeCAMERON
This is a picture of Leymah Gbowee.  The woman above has changed and impacted thousands of lives not only through her actions, but her words as well.  Leymah along with two other outstanding individuals were honored and awarded with the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work.
The RUF rebel groupBENJY
This is a disturbing image of a young boy who is armed with a gun, with fellow RUF members.  What I found sad was the look of disappointment on the boys face, while the man leading him is grinning.  It's saddening how the child looks too small to even carry such a large rifle.  This really puts into perspective how young the kids that are being taken and recruited really are.
Mercenaries as a factor in the Sierra Leone civil war and AfricaFATHIA
Highly trained military soldiers were sent into different of Africa solely for the purpose of fighting a rebel group. Hired under contract, these groups never knew which side was the right one. They were just fighting for the money that was to be theirs.
The Lome Peace AccordMADISON
It’s hard not to get the chills when seeing, essentially, these murderers smiling seeming as if they’re enjoying life.  They’re apart of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the rebels. It’s hard to understand where their smiles come from, not only hard to understand but sad to think that they find joy in the gruesome ways they hurt others. Imagine living each day in fear that they’re after you, excited and hungry to capture you, kill you, rape you, etc.  

TRC in Sierra Leone (Truth and Reconciliation Commission)AMANDA
This sign along with many others were posted throughout Sierra Leon in order to let every know that there was help available and to make sure that they knew that the TRC was pushing for people to come to them or contact them in any way shape or form so that their voice could be heard in order to understand their side of the story.
Cassava as a food source and the things you can cook or make with it JILL
This photo shows casasva when it is being harvested. You are able to see how large the plant is. Cassava is a big source of carbohydrates and is commonly eaten in the tropical and subtropical regions.
Climate and Geography in Sierra LeoneCHAZZ
Here is a beautiful view of Sierra Leone. It gives us an insight into what the climate and geography is like. You are able to see the bright blue water as it washes upon the shore, leading us further into the image and making us explore the forest and sky as it appears at the very top of the photo...it's breathtaking!
Religion and Economy in Sierra LeoneRISHAT

Although the economy proves that Africa is a poor country financially. They are still just as humane, if not more, than the average individual. This picture shows that the boys still share whatever they have, Even if it's not much.

Fourah Bay College and University of Sierra Leone (higher education)COURTNEY
This is an image of an old building of Fourah Bay College. This image seemed to pop up everywhere when I was researching about this college.This building was proclaimed a National Monumet in 1955
Child soldiers in Africa (How many? Who uses them? Methods of capture and training?)CAITLIN
This is an image of a child soldier in Uganda. The irony of this picture is undeniable. This child is torn between two worlds. The world that he should be living and the one he is currently in. It's a sad reality when there are children fighting wars rather than learning to become productive citizens for their country.
Liberia and its origin storyASIYA
This flag is important to every Liberian citizen.
Joseph Cinque and Amistad revolt LIZ

This picture shows the revolt of 53 illegal slaves against their captors aboard the ship La Amisted in the year of 1839 that eventually led to their freedom and return to their homeland.
Sir Milton Margai and the SLPP BRYSON
 
This statue was built in remembrance of a powerful leader with a tremendous impact on Sierra Leone: Sir Milton Margai.
--You will report your research in the Comments section below this post.
--You will send an image and caption to me at mikelohre@gmail.com and I will add them to this main part of the blog so they are all in one post.

95 comments:

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  2. Leymah Roberta Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist. She is best known for leading a women's peace movement that helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Her efforts to end the war, along with her acquaintance Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, helped bring in a period of peace and enabled a free election in 2005 that Sirleaf won. This made Liberia the first African nation to have a female president. Leymah Gbowee was born in central Liberia on 1 February 1972. At the age of 17, she was living with her parents and two of her three sisters in Monrovia, when the First Liberian Civil War erupted in 1989, throwing the country into bloody chaos until 1996. In the spring of 2002, Gbowee was spending her days employed in trauma-healing work and her evenings as the unpaid leader of WIPNET in Liberia. By the summer of 2002, Gbowee was recognized as the spokeswoman and inspirational leader of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, described as a peace movement that started with local women praying and singing in a fish market. She, along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman, were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work. In the book, A long Way Gone, a big theme is peace. With the significant help of Leymah Gbwoee, her peace movement slowly but surely effected everyone throughout her country. Throughout Sierra Leone there is violence and crime everywhere. The opposite of peace which creates a conflict and with the help of people like Leymah, this conflict can hopefully one day be resolved.

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    1. Before reading your topic I didn't have a clue who Leymah Gbowee was, but your research was very insightful and easy to understand. Good job!

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    2. Great post! Gbowee is an incredible women. I had never heard of her which surprises me that I had'nt heard of such an incredible person. Thats incredible that she was the first female to be president of an African Nation!

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    3. Gbowee is great woman who fight her country to become a peace place. most African country needs like that woman. she is hero.

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    4. Before reading this post, I honestly had no idea who this woman was. I had never even heard of her. Its amazing all the things that she did. Being a peace activist and the first female president. She truly was an amazing woman.

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  4. Cassava as a food source and the things you can cook and make with it

    Cassava was introduced to Africa in the 1500’s by Brazil. Cassava is an annual crop in the tropical and subtropical regions. This allows cassava to be harvested whenever required because it is a perennial. Cassava is able to grow in poor soil and with little rainfall. That is why cassava is so important to the African culture. It is the third largest source of carbohydrates in the South. The long root is starchy and that is where the carbs come from. Cassava is a sweet and bitter vegetable. In many areas, cassava is similar to a potato. It can be fried, boiled or mashed. Cassava is also made into a sweet pudding and taste nothing like a potato. Cassava can also be grated, pressed then fermented and fried. They then mix it with boiling water and form a thick paste. Popular products made from cassava are known as gari, lafun and many others. Cassava is also made into flour and used in that way. The cassava leaves are also commonly cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The leaves can be added to other ingredients and used to create a stew. The stew is a favorite to many people.

    In the book, cassava is mentioned serveal times. We now know that it is a common food and also a carb. That is important to eat carbs while they are doing a lot of walking and may not know when their next meal is.

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    1. Before reading this i had no idea what cassava was. Sounds like a fruit or even a time of wine. Never would have guessed it was a crop. It can be fried, boiled and even mashed. Never new what it was until now and now i know why it is essential to be able to grow cassava. Very reliable food source because it can be harvested and grown in poor soil and with little rainfall. Great work!

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    2. I like how you explained the various ways in which you can prepare cassava. I also thought it was smart when you described the plant, and what each part of the plant is good for! The fact that cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrates in the South is very impressive. Your post definitely taught me a lot about cassava! Thank you!

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    3. Weird how this food has been around for so long yet I have never heard of it before. Sounds kinda gross and looks weird from your picture. I dont think I would ever try it espically because I am a picky eater.

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    4. I had no idea what this was when I was reading it in the book. I am glad I can understand now why it is so common and valued amongst African culture. Thanks for the background info.

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    5. I knew that cassava was a plant, but other than that i knew nothing. Your desription on the vegtable actually makes me want to try the diffrent ways its made. I realy want to see if it takes anything like a patato. Very interesting!

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    6. Very interesting post J-ill. I have never heard of this plant so I enjoyed reading about it. Your description really helps me understand this vegetable and I and very interested in trying to find one.

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    7. Cassava is a very interesting looking plant, honestly imaging Ismael eating it raw makes my hairs stand up. I find it unique that you are able to produce so much diversity out of one plant. It's interesting to think of Cassava as a poor mans plant because it's able to grow in poor soil and you are able to create many things from it. It makes sense that it's one of their most popular foods.

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    8. I found the information about the cassava interesting. When it first started coming up in the book, I did a quick check on my phone and it came back with the sentence that it had cyanide in it. Which my thought was the fact that Ishmael was eating it uncooked in large portions, I can't help but wonder if that is going to hurt him later in the story or in life. Yet, compared to nowadays here in the states, apples is suppose to cyanide in it as well. I try to have an apple everyday. So, at this point in the game I might as well say that I cannot start my day without the risk of death.

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    9. I never heard before cassava food, it is very interesting information.although i came from East African, I'm thinking West Africa use cassava and their culture.

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    10. I had never heard of cassava, but when I saw the picture of it, I kind of knew what it was. Its weird to think of it similarly as a potato. It makes me want to try out all the different variations of it. Especially the fermented and fried version.

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    11. The first time I heard about cassava was when I read it in the book, but had no idea what it was. I like how you explained how it can be used and its source of carbs. The people in the book must eat carbs in order to continue moving the way they do.

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  5. `The Revolutionary United Front is a failed rebel group from 1991-2002. They were created by Foday Sankoh. The group was popular at first because they promised free education, health care, and equitable sharing of diamond revenues. The views of RUF soon changed after people realized the cruelty of the group. The following information helps us better understand this terrible group that has already threatened young Ishmael’s life multiple times. The group was known for its child soldiers and terrible atrocities they committed to implement fear so their political views would be supported.
    A terrible part of RUF was the fact that they recruited children as soldiers. The recruitment range for kids would range from7-12 but can go as low as 5 years old. An estimated 11,000 children were used to carry out RUF’s wishes. Boys and girls were both abducted for use of RUF. They were turned into either soldiers or prostitutes. Those forced into soldiers were even sometimes forced to kill their parents. The will of RUF was imbedded into these children by carving “RUF” into their chests, and reportedly, rubbing cocaine into their open wounds. The hardships the children endured molded them into cold, sick killers, giving them the notoriety as being unquestionably obedient and enormously cruel.
    Equally as terrible, were the sickening atrocities that the RUF committed. The RUF would amputate limbs of its captives. For fun, some soldiers would even bet on the gender of an unborn baby, and then slice open the mother’s womb to determine the winner. Some RUF members even practiced cannibalism. These acts were meant to instill fear so that the group could get what they wanted. The RUF election slogan was once that people held power in their hands. The RUF then would hack off the hands of people to prevent voting. These tactics didn’t work, however, seeing as RUF only won 2.2% of the popular vote in 2001. The group’s candidate, Alimamy Pallo Bangura, received 1.7% of the vote.

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    1. This is terrible, I had no idea the extent to what these soldiers did. This is a terrible group and I am not surprised they only received 2.2% of the vote.

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    2. Yikes. all of it is just insane. It's even more scary that by reading the explanation that 11,000 of the soldiers were children. Which explains the way that the Rebels were attacking the villages and people as there was no rhyme or reason to the amount of chaos that was caused as it was left up to them as if there were adults. While I understand that the children were "conditioned" into that life. But in retrospect during the time of the RUF, they did not have much of a choice.

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  6. Charles Taylor is a former Liberian politician and was the 22nd president of Liberia. Previously, Taylor was arrested and taken to a high security prison in the US, where he later escaped and fled to Libya. After the official end of the civil war in 1996, Taylor ran for president in the 1997 general election. He famously campaigned on the slogan "He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him." He won, taking 75% of the votes. While in office, he was charged with aiding and abetting RUF atrocities against civilians that left many thousands dead or mutilated, with unknown numbers of people abducted and tortured. He was also accused of assisting the RUF in the recruitment of child soldiers. In addition to aiding the RUF in these acts, Taylor reportedly personally directed RUF operations in Sierra Leone. He was found guilty in April 2012 of all eleven charges levied by the Special Court, including terror, murder and rape. In May he was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said: "The accused has been found responsible for aiding and abetting as well as planning some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history." Later in the trial, it was said that Charles Taylor celebrated his new-found status during the civil war by ordering human sacrifice, including the killings of Taylor's opponents and allies that were perceived to have betrayed Taylor, and by having a pregnant woman buried alive in sand. He was also accused of forcing cannibalism on his soldiers in order to terrorize their enemies. He is known by some to be the most evil man in Africa.
    Along Way Gone is about the child soldiers who were captured and trained by RUF Operations. Taylor helped with this process and also sought out the attacks made in the villages.

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    1. This man is crazy... The most evil man in Africa and at first I didn't think it was true. After reading this passage above in which you talked about Charles Taylor, he is a true villain. This was the topic that i wanted to do but since i finished my quiz late I knew there was no way i was going to get him. Good work overall very interesting!

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    2. Charles Taylor sounds like a horrible man. The things that he had done were brutal and gross. I cant belive he had a pregnant woman burried alive. I would agree that he would be one of the most evil man in Africa. I can not believe he was a leader.

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    3. This is crazy, it is extremely troubling to me that a government official was one of the biggest supporters of a terrible cause. I had no idea that he was responsible for this... but it explains why maybe the RUF got away with as much as they did.

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    4. He sure sounds like the most evil man in Africa. I dont understand how anyone can bury a pregnant women and or forcing cannibalism on soldiers in order to terrorize their enemies. That is sick, and I cant believe he was ever a leader.

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    5. Nice post bro. This sounds like a crazy guy. I think it is important that we learn about these kinds of people so we can try and prevent them from being in our future. I researched RUF and was intrigued to see his name actually come up in my research.

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    6. Crazy. "some of the most brutal crimes in history" These are awful things I can't imagine having to worry about something so severe.

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    7. He really does sound like the most evil man in Africa. Its crazy to think that someone would willingly help commit some of these acts. I don't think his 50 year prison sentence was enough.

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  7. Fourah Bay College and University of Sierra Leone (higher education)

    The University of Sierra Leone is what the public university system used to be called in Sierra Leone, before it changed to the three individual colleges, Fourah Bay College, Institute of Public Administration and Management, and College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences.

    Fourah Bay College is located in Mount Aureol in Freetown, Sierra Leone. It is the oldest university in West Africa. Soon after this college was founded on February 18, 1827 it became popular for the ethnic group Krio, or Creole people, who were seeking higher education. As of about fifteen years ago the enrollment was around 2,000 in four faculties and five institutes. It has continued to expand. Now, there are four faculties and six institutes which I listed below.

    Faculties and Institutes
    • Faculty of Arts
    • Faculty of Engineering
    • Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences
    • Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

    • Institute of Adult Education and Extra-Mural Studies
    • Institute of African Studies
    • Institute of Marine Biology and Oceanography
    • Institute of Population Studies
    • Institute of Library and Archive Studies and Mass Communications
    • Institute of public administration and mgt(ipam)

    This is a public university, with about 3,465 students nowadays. This is incredibly small compared to what we are used to, say at OSU. Knowing that this is their higher education, when researching I found twenty five names that are notable alumni of Fourah Bay College. This is a lot knowing the enrollment.

    This subject is important and helps us understand the culture in A Long Way Gone because in the book it talks about how people they meet in some of these villages don’t ever leave their entire lives. It’s interesting because this could relate to why there are few people that attend college. They don’t need to learn anything besides their village. College isn’t even mentioned in the story, but the kids talk about when they used to be in school. School isn’t as important there as it is here.

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    1. I liked how you listed the different "Faculties and Institutes" that are within Fourah Bay College! And even though the number of students enrolled is relatively low, it's still good to see that these people are still finding it within themselves to get educated. I really liked your post, nice job!

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    2. Crazy that there is only 3,465 students in a public college compared to OSU who has like 54,000. You had a lot of infomation about the college, good work!

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    3. I believe you have the right idea here. Why would people need to leave their villages if that's all they're accustomed to? I do think that the schools in Sierra Leon can't provide for as many students as the U.S. can and so I believe that plays a factor into why some of the villagers do not attend school. I have a feeling the more privileged villagers who make money can attend.

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    4. I like how you explain your topic very good. the way list Faculties and Institute.i think why Sierra Leon students did not go college were their income, they did not have someone to pay their tuition. right here students used scholarships.

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  8. The Mende tribe is a tribe that is a sub-set of the Mande people. This tribe is the second largest tribe in Sierra Leone. They are mostly hunters and farmers. The Mende people are generally known as growers of rice, but along with that, local consumption consists of rice, pepper, groundnuts, and palm oil. During the civil war the Civil Defense Force, this is a militia group, which has a Mende himself fight the rebels along government troops. The forces included five groups which are all major ethnic groups in the country: Tamaboros, Hunters, Donso, Kapras and the Kamajors. Kamajor means hunter, this w as the most feared group among the militia. This group is honored by men and women for restoring the democracy in Sierra Leone. This subject is important because these people are fighting for their countries along-side government troops. These people are fighting the rebels to help protect what is left of their country after the rebels attempted to destroy everything.
    The topic helps us understand the conflicts, culture and the people in the book because this tribe is mentioned throughout the book. These people are fighting for their country and knowing about their hunting and farming skills lets us get to know them and how they live. These people are living the same way Ishmael was before and after they were attacked. They have so many similarities, so in a way, it is helping us understand Ishmael as well as themselves.

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    1. Before reading this i had no idea what the Mende tribe was or where it was located. Knowing that this group is honored by both men and women for restoring the democracy in Sierra Leone is incredible. This is very well written and you did a great job! I know you didn't go to Kilbourne but believe it or not you look really familiar and a lot like this girl that went there. Good work.

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    2. I think that it is very interesting that the group honors men and women for restoring democracy in Sierra Leone. I think that it is important that they are fighting for their countries and fighting the rebles. It shows that they are caring and protect their villages.

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  9. Freetown’s Origin
    Freetown became the capital of Sierra Leone and is also the largest city in the country. It’s located on the coat of the Atlantic Ocean which is used as the major port for the country. Freetown was founded in the year 1792 when African slaves were freed from the British and sent to Freetown in order to start a new colony. The slaves cleared the area until they reached one large cotton tree which later became the symbol of freedom for the town. The land was meant to be governed by the people on their own, but after being attacked by indigenous African tribes, British took control of the area and made it “Crown Colony”. This allowed expansion for the city of Freetown which eventually leads to the foundation of Sierra Leone as a country.
    Freetown is very important to learn about while reading A Long Way Gone for many reasons. In the late 1990’s during the years in which the book takes place, Freetown was home to a large amount of the fighting during the civil war. The RUF attacked the city at one point in order to take down the Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS. Freetown later becomes the setting of the book when Ishmael makes his way to the city later in the book.

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    1. This was realy interesting to read because its nice to know the setting most of the war took place and it gives us a sense of the travel Ishmael had to endure.

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    2. Really interesting story about Freetown. Makes reading this book more interesting knowing the backround of the places that the war and attacks are taking place in.

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    3. Good information about Freetown. It is nice knowing about Freetown while reading this book having background information about where most of the fighting of the war took place.

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    4. It's interesting that the town is called Freetown. Perfect name for a town founded by free slaves. It's amazing that a town started by people who had no experience were able to turn it into the biggest place in Sierra Leone.

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  10. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th and current President of Liberia. She is currently 75 years old. She assumed the position in office January 18th, 2006. Ellen Johnson Sir leaf won the Nobel Peace Prize and was recognized for her non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights and her participation in peace-building work in 2011. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was also awarded the Indira Gandhi Prize by the President of India on September 12th, 2013. As of recently in 2014, she is listed as the 70th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Ellen Sirleaf was a former World Bank officer and has become a huge icon since her days fighting against dictators and corruption in Liberia. Today she is ramping up efforts to bring foreign investment to her poor nation. She says her number one priority is succeeding and making things better for the citizens of her country.
    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf relates to our book we are reading in class because she took on a country ripped apart by the14 years of civil war. When she took office in 2005, Liberia's schools, roads and hospitals were in disrepair, the justice system was not in tack and many of the country's young people were skilled in just one thing which was how to hold a gun. This relates to our book A Long Way Gone because it was set in the civil war, and we read about the young boys carrying guns and how each town is torn apart with nothing left of it. This research really shows that it is in fact real information and not just a fictionalized book. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is one of the many people that is trying her best to get her country back to normal after being destroyed not only physically, but people mentally by the civil war.

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    1. I thought that your research on Ellen Johnson was very knowledgeable and now I have gained more of an understanding of who she is. Good work!

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    2. I like the connection you made with A Long Way Gone. Both were greatly detroyed by war and now both are trying to return things to the way they were as best they can.

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    3. Ellen Johnson story was very interesting. she is brave,hero and powerful woman. most African women should follow her step. she stand up her country to made a peace place.

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  11. Religion and Economy in Sierra Leone

    Sierra Leone is a country located in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia. Islam is the largest religion in Sierra Leone. According to a 2009 estimate, 71.3% of the population is Muslim, 26.8% is Christian, and 1.9% is either animist or follows other religious beliefs. Its economy is very poor. The GDP per capita is only $1,400. The country processes substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources. The country is still recovering from a civil war that ended in the early 2000s. Sierra Leone exports rutile, diamonds, and bauxite. Export partners include: China (51.1%), Belgium (18.2%), Japan (7.7%), and Turkey (4.8%). The country heavily relies on external assistance. Overseas grants make up ¼ of total revenue.
    The topic of religion and economy helps us to understand the conflicts, culture, or people in our book. Religion plays a big role in the way we live our lives. Religion gives and explains what morals and teachings we should follow. Because about 98% of the Sierra Leone population is Muslim/Christian, this shows that the characters in the book are most likely monotheistic. Because both these religions teach that killing the innocent is a major sin, we can assume the child soldiers feel drowned with guilt. Because the economy of the country is very poor, we know that the characters in the book are not wealthy, and do not have food and money as a convenience. They must fight for their food and money. It is not always given to them so they must sacrifice a lot, whether it’s their belongings or their energy. They must use their food and resources, to fight for food and resources.

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    1. I like your post because it gives us insight on the people were read in our book and the background of the country in which they live.

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    2. A lot of information about each, really helpful to understand more about places in our reading. I was surprised about the religions though. I figured that there would be more, but I'm not surprised that Islam is the largest religion.

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    3. I like your topic because it explains more information on the country, and let's people understand the traditions that are present in that country.

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    4. I like how animist is introduced in the book, it's a nice connection to Sierra Leone in reality. Wow, I really like the connection you made with how their religion looks down on murder is a great way to reflect on how the children must feel when recruited to become child soldiers. It's just another weight added to their shoulders.

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    5. I like how you broke down the different percentages of religion within Sierra Leone! Your second paragraph also proved to be very helpful with understanding the importance of religion and the economy. I also liked when you said, "They must fight for their food and money. It is not always given to them so they must sacrifice a lot, whether it’s their belongings or their energy." You placed me in the shoes of one of these people from Sierra Leone. Nice job!

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    6. I enjoyed reading your post, it gave great information. And I find it ironic that the popular religions in Sierra Leone, Muslim and Christian teach that the killing of innocent people is a major sin and yet there are so many that were sinning throughout the timeline of our book. Great post.

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  12. I chose to research child soldiers in Africa and some basic information on how many there are, how they are captured, what they are used for, and the methods of training. In Africa it is estimated that 120,000 children are currently used as combatants or support personnel. Combatant means a person or nation that is engaged in fighting during a war. The use of military children is to either take direct part in hostilities, messengers, spies, human shields, or used for propaganda. Who uses children in militaries vary, but I found that Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) places boys into violent gangs. It’s a militant movement which has been described variously as being extremist Christian. Its stated goals include ruling Uganda according to the Ten Commandments. When recruited children soldiers the recruitment is forced. Children are abducted and beaten into submission. As part of their training they are beaten, whipped, caned, and being chained or tied up. These are inflicted on children if they are accused of the slightest infractions. To coerce children to participate in combat and commit atrocities against civilians, commanders not only use threats of violence against child recruits but also against their families as well as the possibility of torture and death at the hands of the enemy. This subject is important because we live in a world where our culture will never have to live through the experiences that these children soldiers do. If we don’t acknowledge what is going on in the world outside of the U.S. how are we supposed to be able to help? It’s important to stay aware. In our book we are submerged into what Ismael Beah had to endure in his life, if we don’t have any basic knowledge of the facts then it’s harder to put what we are reading into perspective.

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    1. It is truly terrible what they are doing to these kids in Africa! It's amazing that they are taking so many kids and taking away their lives and futures. We truly do need to become aware of this tragedy becasue no children on this Earth should be beaten into fighting a war.

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    2. It is crazy how many children are apart of being a child soliders. 120,000 is a huge number and sad to think all those kids never expierenced a normal childhood. Children do not need to be apart and or expierence such horrible things.

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  13. Climate and Geography of Sierra Leone

    Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa, and is bordered by Guinea to the north and the northeast, Liberia to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The total area of Sierra Leone is 71,740 sq. km, and it is said to be smaller than the state South Carolina. Sierra Leone's coast, which is 210 miles long, has numerous bays, estuaries (rivers), and mangrove swamps. Moving inland are wide, rolling grasslands and scattered areas of scrub forest. In the east there are hills and low mountains marking the edge of western Africa's broad plateau. Diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite are also some of the natural resources that are found in this country.
    The climate of Sierra Leone is tropical, hot, and very humid. The climate also has heavy, although seasonal rainfall. Nearly all the rain occurs between April and November, and the greatest accumulations are along the coast. Sierra Leone develops a summer rainy season from May to December, and a wintry dry season from December to April. The climate can also be classified as a tropical monsoon climate, and a tropical rainforest climate. The average rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa. The climate also typically includes dry, sand-laden harmattan (hot and dusty) winds that blow from the Sahara (December to February), sandstorms, and dust storms.

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    1. I honestly did not know how big Sierra Leone was and its climate. So I love how factual your post was. I found it interesting that Sierra Leone is smaller than the state of South Carolina.

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    2. I like how detailed and factual you were in your post. It gives off a real vision of what you would actually see if one were to go there.

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    3. This post really helped me understand the context and setting of the book a little more. I was often questioning myself, for some reason when I think of Africa I don't think of the trees and water sources that it actually has.

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    4. I did feel that your explanation of the climate was very detailed and it did bring to light some of the areas that Ishmael and his friends were traveling through. I think I have a better understanding of the random bits of typical pieces of forest that would seem to appear out of no where. That and the reasoning behind the villages being spaced out and kind of isolated from one other was probably more for the amount of resource that comes back every year without fail vs and area that looks pretty and where the heat stays at a decent temperature.

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    5. While reading your post I was able to connect it to the book because I remember how in the book it refers to the palm trees a few times so that makes sense that the weather is tropical. And reading in the chapters that were assigned to us on Thursday it mentions how it rains a lot during May up until November and how July August and September are the months with the most brutal of the rain falls. Great post, very informing!

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  14. Mercenaries in Sierra Leone and Africa

    Mercenaries in Africa were created from a private military organization called the Executive Outcomes. The organization was created solely for the purpose of providing military combat forces including personnel and equipment, law enforcement and training. Its goal was to help African governments take control over their countries because of domestic wars. They provided highly trained military personnel, all with backgrounds in South African wars. The EO was able to retain a contract with Sierra Leone and other African countries that stated they would help push out rebel forces. Sierra Leone, the EO was able to help push RUF back, and regained control of the diamond fields, and forced a negotiated peace. With RUF under control, the Sierra Leone government decided that it would end their contract with EO to a different peacekeeping organization. In December 1998, EO was officially dissolved under the bill of “Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act".

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    1. This topic is very interesting. The fact that there are people out in this world that will essentially kill for money and have no opinion or preference of side they wish to be on is crazy. Also i thought it was interesting to learn that The organization was created solely for the purpose of providing military combat forces including personnel and equipment, law enforcement and training. Overall very well put together and the picture was great too!

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    2. I thought the picture you chose was a good image to explain the mercenaries. I can not believe that sometimes they didnt even know which side they should have been protecting. All they cared about was the money that they were getting. I wonder why they did not inform them better on who to protect?

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    3. I found it very interesting that the entire purpose of this organization was to take control over their countries because of domestic wars. Also that they created a contract to help push the rebel forces out. Overall very helpful and factual.

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    4. Very nice post. I wrote my info on RUF so I find it very interesting to read about the group that helped stop them. They must not have been too effective, however, since their contact was ended.

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    5. Interesting post. The fact that the Executive outcome was a private military organization. Which means there is a possibility that the organization already had funds to back and support itself. Yet, it was greedy and wanted more funds; however, I find it hard knock the financial methods they used from the business world thought process of if I do this for you, what's in it for me? Meanwhile the EO gets to sit back and collect the funds from the contracts and the mercenaries get to command and train an army of soldiers as they see fit to and reap the benefits of allying with such an organization.

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    7. I was confused on what mercenaries were before reading your post, but it sounds like they're essentially just soldiers who kill for money and could care less who they're fighting for and why. I found it neat that they made a contract to push the rebels out! Informing post!

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    8. Mercenaries interest me. It's strange how an army can be hired to fight for someone else but it is smart if the person hiring has the money to do so. It's great for avoiding casualties.

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  15. Temne Tribe and Culture

    In 1898, the Temne tribe fought against British rule in what was known as The Hut Tax War of 1898. The Temne are the largest ethnic group within Sierra Leone, and they comprise 35% of the total population. These people are predominantly found in the Northern Province and the Western Area, including the national capital of Freetown. The Temne people pride themselves on being rice farmers, fishermen, and traders. Their culture also revolves around this notion of “Paramount Chiefs”, and their various secret societies (most notably, the Poro society and the women’s Bondo society). The Temne are also heavily involved in rituals. Their rituals focus on the coronation and funerals of the “Paramount Chiefs.” They also take the initiation of new secret society members very seriously. Today, the Temne are mostly Muslim (85% of their population), and the rest are Christian (14% of their population). In culture, the interweaving of Islamic beliefs and traditional African practices are normal. The Temne language, and Krio serve as the major trading languages in Northern Sierra Leone. Temne is a language in the Mel branch of the Niger-Congo languages.

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    1. I think it's interesting how the Temne tribe is mostly Islamic. In the book we see that Islamic religion is more popular even in the Mende tribes. I like how we can connect ourselves with Islamic beliefs and Christian beliefs. In the book we are seeing that Christianity is still prevalent, even though this research it's at a low percent.

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  18. Truth and Reconciliation Commission aka the TRC in Sierra Leone

    The TRC was created in 1999 by the president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and Revolutionary United Front (RUF) leader Foday Sankoh. There sole job was to log the unbiased truth about any historical record of any violations and abuses of human rights as well as the international humanitarian law related to the armed conflict in Sierra Leone.
    The TRC had to track down information from the very beginning when it was referred to as the “conflict” in 1991 spanning all the way up through 11 years’ worth of violence and bloodshed. Once all of the documentation was collected the TRC then had to make a detailed report that would include but not limited to providing list of what the people needed in order to beginning the healing process and steps to make sure that this would not happen again. Between the public hearings and talking with the locals around the country it took 2 years spanning from November 2002 to October 2004 to obtain the information that was requested of them to obtain.
    In 2004, the TRC was able to provide Sierra Leonean government and the Sierra Leonean government and the United Nations Security Council all of the names and participants who were apart of the problem and not the solution.
    It helps us understand why the people probably felt like no one was out there to help them, and that they had to take the defense of their home into their own hands. Yet it does seem like there was not a lot of communication was widely spread about this group with everything that was going on. The TRC working in the background; however, I will admit that they were doing an involved process of trying to get help and the word out. But at least they were trying to help, which can’t fault them for trying.

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    1. It's amazing that the two parties were able to come together and put this together. Im glad the TRC was able to make mark down some of the details of these horible events in order to find who "was apart of the problem and not the solution." It's always interesting to learn knew information and yout summary taught me exactly that so great job!

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  20. Joseph Cinque was born Sengbe Pieh and was a West African man of the Mende people. Cinque was the most prominent defendant in the widely known case United States v. The Amisted. This United States Supreme Court case was very important due to the fact that it has to do with slavery and the court ruling in the favor of the illegally sold slaves. Aboard the schooner La Amisted in 1839, a group of kidnapped Africans who had just been illegally sold into slavery were traveling along the coast of Cuba to be resold as slaves. They had escaped from their imprisonment and gained control of the ship. In 1840, a federal court district court found the Africans transport and their kidnap across the Atlantic on the slavve ship was in violation of laws and treaties against the international trade.
    The captives were then ruled to have acted as free men when they fought their captors from their illegal confinement. I thought it was very interesting that even after the court ruled in their favor that they were entitled to take whatever legal measures that they found necessary to ragain their freedom. In 1841 the US Supreme Court authorized the return of the Africans to their homeland and were provided funds for travel by supporters of their case.
    The story behind Joseph Cinque reminds me immensly of the struggles and conflicts that Ishmeal and the others are going through. Both have the fear of being terrorized by horrifying captors. Both Ismeal and Joseph have the same mindset in my opinion, and that is the will to survive the demons that are put in front of them.

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    1. I found it interesting that The United States Supreme Court was part of this, due to slavery and and illegally sold slaves. I love how you compared this situation to Ishmael, it really puts it in perspective.

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    2. While I was reading your post, I really liked how you explained the events that took place between 1839-1840 aboard La Amisted. It served as great background information for me personally! Nice job.

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    4. I loved how you told us about the supreme court rulings. What an amazing event it must've been for the Africans to be able to return back to their homeland in 1841. Connecting Cinque with the characters in a Long Way Gone at the end of this post helped to understand another one of Ishmael's fears.

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    5. I really enjoyed reading your post, you also connected it back to A Long Way Gone well. Both the scenario's resemble living in fear of being captured and living each day with a mentality of just 'to survive'. Great post.

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    6. I really liked how you described the events that happened on the La Amisted. I never knew that the U.S Supreme court ruled that they be taken back to their homelands with funds for their travel. It was very informative and clear too. Great job on this.

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  21. I researched the Lome Peace Accord. I focused on three things for this research, one being -Why was this peace agreement necessary? Two -What was the peace agreement? And three -Did it last?

    One: The Sierra Leone civil war lasted from 1991-2002. This war started when the RUF (Revolutionary United Front), the rebels, intervened in Sierra Leone in attempt to over throw their government. This war left over 50,000 people dead. Before the war Sierra Leon's government was characterized by corruption, mismanagement, the education system collapsed and it was just all around a weak civil society.

    Two: The negotiations for the Lome peace agreement took place in the capitol of Togo, Lome--hence the agreement's name. The peace agreement was signed on July 7th 1999. The president of Sierra Leone, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah signed with the RUF leader, Froday Sankoh and gave Sankoh a position in the transitional government as well as amnesty for him and all combatants.

    Three: The agreement did little as far as stabilizing the security situation. Starting in 2002 the RUF's went around raping, and murdering the civilians of Sierra Leone in attempt to stop the people from voting during elections. Not-So-Fun-Fact- The rebels would go around asking if the civilians would prefer a long sleeve or a short sleeve; long sleeve meaning they would chop off you're arm starting at the wrists and short sleeves meaning they would chop your arm off past the elbow.

    This topic helps us understand what kind of war was going on during the days that Ishmael was living through. It helps us to better understand the rebel's purpose and roll in the novel.

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  23. Liberia is country in West Africa. It is bordered on the southwest by the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by Guinea, and Sierra Leon. Liberia was only country in Africa found by United State Late colonized. They also speak English language. They have many ethnic groups, Liberia’s one of African most cultures rich and diversity. They have flag kind look like American Flag; it has one star, white stripes and red. Most African American came from Liberia. “. Settled in the early 1800s by freeborn Blacks and former slaves from America, Liberia, whose name means land of freedom”? They were oldest republican Africa, but they became better known 1990. 1980 collapse their economic because they were civil war between two rebels group. When Liberia’s economic fall down, people dying malnourished. Most of that country suffered malaria. Liberia has most famous area in geographic.

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    1. Really good information on Liberia. I didn't know anything about it before but you included information that I will be able to remember and stuff that is relevant for our reading. It's cool how it means land of freedom.

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    2. I find it very interesting that Liberia speaks English. I did not know that. They have a flag that looks like our flag and most of the African Americans in America come from Liberia. Malaria is a horrible sickness and that is very sad that most of the country suffered from it.

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    3. I find it very interesting that they speak English. The flag even is similar to the American flag. Overall good work, I think I learned a good bit of information about Liberia.

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    4. Good information on Liberia. It is nice to have a little background information while reading this book in class.

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  24. SLPP stands for Sierra Leone People's Party, which is a social democratic party, and was founded in 1951. Sir Milton Margai was the first leader of SLPP and he became the first Prime Minister of Sierra Leone. Following the 1951 elections, he became Leader of Government Business and in 1954 he became Chief Minister. He was also the first local medical doctor in Sierra Leone, but in 1950 he decided to retire from the government medical service and set up private practice. Independence was brought to Sierra Leone by Sir Milton Margai in 1961. In 1962, Sir Milton Margai's SLPP won the first general election under universal adult franchise. An important characteristic of Sir Milton Margai was that he was neither corrupt nor did he flaunt his ego regarding his power and status. He was considered the perfect negotiator and a skillful strategist in respects to politics. It see as if Sir Milton Margai was the prime minister of Sierra Leone at one point in time, whicmsh is the place where the story takes place in "A Long Way Gone". The SLPP is also mentioned though out the book. This subject is important because it was a turning point in history as far as a government change and more power to the people.

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    1. I like how your topic tied into the story in a way. I learned more about the SLPP, and Sir Milton Margai.

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