This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa's First Woman President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
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In January 2006, after the Republic of Liberia had been racked by fourteen years of brutal civil conflict, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—Africa's "Iron Lady"—was sworn in as president, an event that marked a tremendous turning point in the history of the West African nation.
In this stirring memoir, Sirleaf shares the story of her rise to power, including her early childhood; her experiences with abuse, imprisonment, and exile; and her fight for democracy and social justice. She reveals her determination to succeed in multiple worlds, from her studies in the United States to her work as an international bank executive, to campaigning in some of Liberia's most desperate and war-torn villages and neighborhoods. It is the tale of an outspoken political and social reformer who fought the oppression of dictators and championed change. By telling her story, Sirleaf encourages women everywhere to pursue leadership roles at the highest levels of power, and gives us all hope that we can change the world.
law abiding behavior in the exercise of this tolerance. My Fellow Liberians, Ladies and Gentlemen: By their votes, the Liberian people have sent a clear message! They want peace; they want to move on with their lives. My charge as President is to work to assure the wishes of our people. We will therefore encourage our citizens to utilize our system of due process for settling differences whether those differences are within or between ethnic groups, or whether they are within or between
1983 and fled to America. Word that he had returned from exile to topple Doe had many people dancing in the streets. Some of those people came dancing into our yard, followed by Harry Greaves, who raced in in a pickup truck. He was rejoicing too, but he was also concerned. “I am going to find Quiwonkpa,” Harry said, “because the man is doing some silly things.” Harry said he had heard that Quiwonkpa was parading around the city and announcing victory when in fact he had yet to reach the
me names, to make obscene gestures and point their fingers and jeer. “Who are you?” they cried, banging on the bars with the butts of their guns. “Who are you to trouble our Pape?” “You old, dry, red, funky woman!” “Coming here to bother our Pape! Who you think you are?” Obviously, sleep was the furthest thing from my mind that night. I didn’t know what might happen from one moment to the next. The soldiers had taken those poor men out and shot them without a moment’s hesitation, and they
from UPI and Reuters would later report finding hundreds of skulls and bones at the end of a runway at Spriggs-Payne Airfield. Office buildings and homes were torched, utility poles uprooted, vehicles overturned and destroyed. Whole sections of Monrovia went up in flames, including the offices of the Daily Observer, a leading newspaper often critical of Doe. It was days before ECOMOG was able to bring Doe’s troops under control. At the end of November 1990, ECOWAS held another summit on the
Even while Taylor was busy exporting terror into neighboring countries, he had issues at home. By early 2000, a new insurgency group had arisen, this one calling itself Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, or LURD. LURD was a loose coalition of dissident groups, many of them formed in exile and all of them opposed to Taylor. The militia was led by a man named Sekou Damante Conneh and included former members of ULIMO-K and ULIMO-J under the leadership of Roosevelt Johnson, among