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Ceasefire Liberia: Telling Their Stories And Interacting

Colton 1856 - Liberian Republic. Image by Edu-Tourist, under CC. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdorn/2155874/

Colton 1856 – Liberian Republic. Image by Edu-Tourist, under CC. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdorn/2155874/

Rising Voices grantee Ceasefire Liberia was featured in the Business Lexington by journalist David Wescott. While discussing about the Liberians in Kentucky, David quoted Ruthie Ackerman of Ceasefire Liberaia:

Ceasefire Liberia was started by Ruthie Ackerman, a U.S.-based journalist, with help from a grant from Global Voices, a global non-profit organization of online journalists and advocates. The project's home is virtual — www.ceasefireliberia.com, a blog that links the Liberian community in Liberia with those who have left.

“I am a journalist who is writing a book about Liberian youth in Staten Island,” said Ackerman. “As the project developed over the last few years, it became more multimedia focused. I decided that instead of just documenting the experience of Liberian youth living in this one community in America after they fled their country's 14-year civil war, I wanted to give the youth the chance to document their own experiences.”

The site has become where many Liberians go — to tell their stories — in their own voices with each other. It is also an outstanding resource for people outside the community to learn more about the real struggles of a 21st-century immigrant or refugee.

It also provides a lesson for what is needed most: acceptance. “There is always a struggle between the old and the new,” Ackerman said. “It is important for Liberians, like any immigrant or refugee community, to hold onto their cultural identities and not forget where they came from. But it is also important if they want to integrate into American society to assimilate and acclimate and integrate. The more the communities around Liberians reach out to them and provide much-needed services, the better off they'll be and the more integrated they'll feel.”

Read the complete interview posted in David Wescott's blog.

Ruthie's reaction on this article:

What excites me the most about this article is the hope that someone in Kentucky who may not have known about the Liberian community will now understand that much more about the world outside their four walls. This is the mission of the Ceasefire project — to engage others in a dialogue with Liberians and engage Liberians with each other — and in just a few short months we’ve begun to accomplish that. So to all you Liberian bloggers out there: Keep up the good work! To all of our readers, please keep reading and commenting and supporting our work.

During last May the first official blogging workshop in Staten Island took place. The participants and the instructor, Ruthie met each other and practiced making videos with the Flip video camera. Ruthie also writes about the visit of David Sasaki, the Outreach Director of Global Voices Online.

Now we will highlight some of the contents the Liberian bloggers produced.

Photo by Ruthie Ackerman http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruthieackerman/366151105/in/set-72157594496148864/

Photo by Ruthie Ackerman

Titus Anekperechi Alagba a.k.a Tituschristworld asks “What is Life in Liberia? He also provides an answer:

In Liberia, life is a link that calls for adequate perfection. One is incomplete until he or she is linked with others. If and only if life should exist, there must be existence of BLOG in Liberia…where every body will live in the village of information, message,image and picture.

Titus has a series of interviews of Liberians, which covers these questions among others:

  • “Where were you during the Liberia Civil war and what were your experiences?”
  • “How is life treating you in Liberia presently?”
  • “What are the challenges your Community is facing?”
  • “What is your advice to Liberians in Diaspora?”

He has so far interviewed Edward Sammy, a student of University of Liberia, Aminata Cassandra Worloh, a student of African Methodist Episcopal University (A.M.E.U), and Murphee R. Mcgill, a 38 year old teacher from Bong County.

Titus also writes about an anti-torture civil society workshop in Liberia. The goal of the workshop was to make Liberians more aware that acts of torture are offenses under Liberia’s criminal laws and the government is bound by the constitution to punish torturers.

nat_bayjayNat Nyuan-Bayjay, who graduated from the University of Liberia recently, writes how difficult it is to live without proper sanitation for thousands of Clara Town residents.

Denna Gibson informs that the female soccer league resumed in Liberia.

Prince Topkah asks “what is gender equity in Africa?”

Nat Nyuan-Bayjay informs that Michael Jackson's Liberian fans are divided over his death.

Nat also writes about the forgotten story of Sackie Nyanquoi–an armed robbery victim.

There has been a number of posts on the final reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Bill K. Jarkloh and Nat Nyuan-Bayjay discussed the issue in details.

Stephen Johnson discusses the ways how the new government of Liberia should approach to the developmental needs of the destitute and impoverished mass of Liberians. “The road to National Recovery requires a Multi-Dimensional Approach,” Stephen opines. The post invoked reactions from the readers. Jonah Soe Kotee, a commenter thinks that:

Information and Communications Technologies -ICTs, including the Internet, play a very imperative function in the poverty reduction of a developing country; like Liberia.

2tango's blog informs that Lt.-Col. Ershad Hossain from Bangladesh voluntarily donated his blood to save Menemon Jarbo, a pregnant Liberian woman who later gave birth to a set of triplets. He is the team leader of MILOB (UNMIL Military Observer from Bangladesh) Team Eleven in southeastern Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County in Liberia.

Below is a video of Marcus Brown, an 18-year old Liberian living in Park Hill Staten Island, who is now the Golden Glove boxing champ. In the video he explains about his preparations and lifestyle.

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