The VICE guide to Liberia

Judging from its trailer, The VICE guide to Liberia looks amazing.

The documentary is coming out on January 19th, in eight segments released over the course of eight consecutive days.

Last year, VICE founder Shane Smith and Editor Andy Capper, visited Liberia's capital, Monrovia, to meet three men who participated in the 14 years of civil war. One of the men giving us a guided tour is Joshua Blahyi, aka General Butt Naked, an ex-war lord famed for forcing his soldiers to fight wearing nothing but shoes. Blahyi admits to killing more than 20,000 people and drinking the blood of children, but now spends his time preaching about his quest for forgiveness.

Despite the UN's intervention in the country, the majority of Liberia's young people live in desperate poverty. Surrounded by filth, drug addiction, and teenage prostitution, the ex child soldiers who were forced into war struggle to fend for themselves by any means necessary. As the former President Charles Taylor fights accusations of mass war crimes in The Hague, the people strive for positive change against all odds. America's one and only foray into African colonialism is keeping a very uneasy peace indeed.

The VICE guide to Liberia


  1. I’ll watch it. It’d be nice to see General Butt Naked, I was worried he was just a “Chick Tract” ish made up story.

  2. Whoa whoa, back it up there Chief. The phrase ‘America’s one and only foray into African colonialism…’ is extremely misleading. The ‘colonialism’ you’re talking about was done by freed slaves. I’m not sure I agree that you can colonize your own homeland. Obviously these ‘colonist’s’ ancestors were most likely not all from this particular region of Africa, so there is room for argument that they were colonists. I just don’t think that that should be pre-supposed and snuck into the end of the paragraph there.

  3. It’s the times we live in. Uneasy peace indeed. I know a few Doctors who came over from South africa and one got very heated about the black people being a threat to the whites. But, with all due sympathy, what on earth did they, the’whites’ expect when the moderating influence of Mandela was gone. These ‘blacks’ were slaves and servants and some ‘owners’ were good or bad in their treatment of them.
    To me it is logical that the black people
    should feel that freedom entitled them to celebrate and , as we know, celebrations get out of hand.

  4. If I had a tv, and if this tv had cable, and if this cable service had 500 channels I’d want the first 200 channels to have what Vice has to offer, mixed in with current tv and maybe Deutsche Welle. I used to trek across SF just to get their magazine.
    I have not heard of their “travel” guide series but I’m looking right now.

  5. Making children drink the blood of an innocent child to prepare for battle. So fucking depraved. Those journos are certainly intrepid.

  6. ‘America’s one and only foray into African colonialism’???

    Liberia was a pretty half-assed attempt at colonialism if you ask me, if it even counts as colonialism in the pure sense of the word (the colony was set up to give freed slaves a place to live back in Africa, not really as economic cash-cows, like the British East India and Dutch East India companies did with their colonial holdings, in fact the American Colonization Society was a tiny group who didn’t really have any grand economic aims.)

  7. Ah Yes, Liberia. Just like Superman had his Bizarro Superman, I have sometimes thought that Liberia is like a Bizarro United States, with similar flags, motto and seal, and traces of both cultures intertwined.No Mr.Mxyzptlk though.

  8. If General Butt Naked did half the things he’s claimed, then Idi Amin really was the king of Scotland.

  9. I think the people of Djibouti might dispute the idea of Liberia being the USA’s only foray into African colonialism.

  10. Looks interesting, but if it’s anything like the Vice Guide to Travel, it’s half-baked hipster bullshit.

  11. That feature film (#9) looks so much more interesting, if only because it doesn’t focus on the filmmakers or their trepidation.

  12. Shane Smith looks deep in the horrors that plague Liberia even after the war, though in a quite sensationalist fashion.
    If you are interested in African conflicts overlooked by mainstream media, I would strongly recommend The other side of the country by Cathérine Hébert.
    The feature documentary is set in Northern Uganda and is a true lesson in filmmaking. She manages to show things as they are without the jackass bullshit.

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