The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

As I just tried to explain, I just tried to explain that there may have been different - I put it - I said idioms of terror. I experienced terror in Liberia clearly.

I will always remember, for example, the first person that was shot at a distance closer than the one that separates us here in this room, an old man who had put on his - who was in a mop up operation - mopping up operation in Sinkor actually, the part of town we referred to, the embassy part of town we referred to yesterday, by Mr Taylor's forces and he had hidden in his small house and he came out very old, skinny man and he had put one of the Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders stickers on his lapel because he thought that would protect him. And not speaking the correct language that was expected from him he was shot right in front of us journalists and photographers with obviously no reason at all. He repeated the sentences that were to prove his correct linguistic kind of origin and in a cadence that accelerated with his fear and got shot and things like this happened almost every day in Liberia, so there was outright terror.

The idiom of terror that was used to express or to convey political messages in Sierra Leone became worldwide known as being these amputations. And I would slightly disagree, and I hope I don't come across too much as a quibbling pedant about the publication here, it so not so much a rural resentment in my understanding. What really happened is people - drop-outs, people who saw themselves as victims of the new austerity measures, the post Cold War neo-liberal reorganisation of things when handouts from the big allies became scarcer, so people dropped out of the cities and went back into the rural areas with their mindset as urban dwellers and actually resented their marginalisation and became rabble-rousers in a sense of the rural population. And then in Sierra Leone this specific uprising took the form of using the human body in a sort of biopolitics to convey political messages that were messages of terror; do not vote, you don't have the weight to change the course of the nation, et cetera. And that was really inscribed literally on human bodies. That's the way I would put it.

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