I think its fair to say that everybody wants to feel like they are connected in some way – My mother loves being able to send e-mails at any time in the day. I was phoned at 11 o clock in the evening the other day as she panicked as the e-mail she was trying to send would not send, of course I went to her aid and realised the problem was not of her own creation rather a very stupid computer program being well, just silly.
Liberia has a fairly interesting past seemingly mauled by poverty and a lot of civil wars. This leads to obviously a complete lack of credible internet connections, which of course helps to keep people informed as to what is going on around them in the world. Of course there are newspapers but whats the point in newspaper when the hip world wide web is around.
Vice is also a good magazine – I can never seem to find actual hard copies so I reside myself to the fact I can just type in ‘VICE MAGAZINE’ into Google and it will come up with what I want. Recently they went to Liberia (see the connection?!) on a mission to write about the local warlords : General Rambo, General Bin Laden and General Butt Naked (stupid names but I wouldn’t mess with them). They came across the interesting Alfred Sirleaf a man who despite any form of internetty connection manages to ‘blog’ using a blackboard and some chalk.
Vice also interviewed the man who met Alfred, over the an internet connection despite being sat opposite each other.
The interview is posted below.
Vice: Where’d you meet this one-man Reuters?
Andy: We met this guy on the last day of the trip to Liberia. We’d been there to meet these three warlords called General Rambo, General Bin Laden and General Butt Naked. We’d spent a lot of time with these guys in really dangerous situations and so working with Alfred was a really relaxing shoot to do, as opposed to fleeing a brothel at midnight in the worst slum in Monrovia.
Yeah, he seems very charming. Is he famous round there?
Yeah, he stands on one of the main highways and every morning he updates this Daily News chalkboard with stories. He’s an “analogue blogger”. The things he was talking about at the time were Charles Taylor’s trial at the Hague and whether or not the United Nations’ occupation of Liberia was actually the work of the devil.
He says “the UN are the devil” a lot when he’s explaining. Does he have an agenda?
Liberian people are very religious. They relate a long of things back to the Bible. He’s a Christian reporter and he’s hearing a lot of things that typically happen when the UN set up shop somewhere, i.e. an increase in the sex trade and rampant corruption, so I suppose that informs his news a little.
And everyone trusts him like a preacher or Jon Snow?
Very few people can afford to buy the papers or get on the internet so he’s one of the main news sources in Monrovia. I prefer him to Perez Hilton.
Oh, I don’t know about that.
He’s not as great at reporting celebrity stuff, but he has a better style I think.
Here is also the fairly interesting video.