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France 24 | May 30
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor has been sentenced by a special United Nations court to 50 years in prison following his landmark convicti...
TITLE: VBS.TV presents a Vice Films Production
SHANE: So, Is that why your nickname was General Butt Naked?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED [Ex-Liberian Warlord]: Yes, because I was naked, because I fought naked.
SHANE: A lot of people would drink, or do drugs before fighting?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yeah most of my boys, they would drain the blood from the innocent child and drink it, before going into battle
SHANE: So you'd kill the child.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yes.
SHANE: And then drink the blood?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yeah.
CHILD: I lifted it up to the temple. Now I'm going to eat it. It's a Liberian General's heart.
REPORTER: So what kind of war is this?
FIGHTER: It's World War Three.
SHANE: We here at Vice have been fascinated by Liberia for a long time. It's America's first and only foray into quasi-colonialism in Africa. It started as a back-to-Africa movement for freed slaves, and in fact the constitution was written in Washington. Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia, is actually named after President Monroe, and it became a state in the 1840s. So the freed slaves go back to Africa and promptly enslave the native Africans, based on the plantation method, which they learnt in the US, which lasts about 140 years, until Samuel K. Doe...
TITLE: SAMUEL K DOE, PRESIDENT OF LIBERIA, 1980-1990
SHANE: ... the first native African-born Liberian, was elected. But, this doesn't last very long. Why? Because an American-educated...
TITLE: CHARLES TAYLOR, PRESIDENT OF LIBERIA, 1997-2003
SHANE: ... some would say, American-backed, rebel leader named Charles Taylor and his buddy Prince Johnson...
TITLE: PRINCE JOHNSON, CURRENT LIBERIAN SENATOR
SHANE: ... came from America and overthrew him.
CHILD: We are not a military group; I'm not a soldier! What we seek to do is to destroy these military dictatorships around Africa. And that's the Charles Taylor virus. If the civilians can throw out the army, wow, we are in trouble. Well I love it! We will fight to the last man. I will get weapons from wherever I have to get it. If the Pentagon's got some, please give me some.
REPORTER: Despite reports that the government wants talks with the rebels the violence goes on.
SAMUEL K DOE: The government and people of this country assure you, that the armed forces will protect them, and that the rebels will soon be eliminated.
REPORTER 2: Rebel forces stormed into the centre of the capital today. They are now less than a mile from the executive mansion where president Samuel Doe has barricaded himself with about five hundred soldiers.
VOICEOVER: In fact, Prince Johnson got to Doe before his buddy Charles, ended up torturing him, cutting him up, and is rumoured to have eaten him, while filming the whole thing.
PRINCE JOHNSON: If you listen to me I'll talk... I don't want to kill you, I told them to get Doe in shape.
SAMUEL K DOE: That's enough! Prince! Prince! Enough! I'll talk!
VOICEOVER: So Charles Taylor finally gets elected with a campaign slogan that reads: he killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I'll still vote for him. And it worked. He gets elected. But he's so corrupt, that soon after, there's a bunch of warlords fighting for control over Liberia, the country dissolves into civil war, and things go from bad, to severely fucked up.
Rebel fighter: I know that if somebody wants to kill me, I will grab you, I will eat you... raw.
SHANE: This is like a civil war on steroids; it's a post-apocalyptic Armageddon. With child soldiers taking heroin, cross-dressing cannibals, systematic rape: it's total hell on earth.
FIGHTER: We love the music, the sound of music.
REPORTER: They call it the sound of death.
FIGHTER: Yeah, but it's the sound of music to us.
SHANE: Liberia's been in the news a lot lately because Charles Taylor is on trial at The Hague for war crimes. We wanted to know, what happened to all the other warlords, so we contacted a Canadian journalist who lives in Liberia named Miles Estey, who's kind of a Kurtz-like character, kind of a tall, skinny, skeleton guy, he said, he could get us access to all these ex-warlords. We got on a plane. And we flew to Liberia.
TITLE: MONROVIA, LIBERIA
VOICEOVER: When you first get to Monrovia, the first thing you think is: it's really hot. It's really hot, it's really poor, and it's totally chaotic. In fact, when we went to pick up Miles, he'd just got out of hospital with malaria. He gets in the car, and he says: are you ready to go? We're going to baboon town, in the red light district, to meet our first general, General Bin Laden. A lot of the generals took different names because they didn't want to be identified after the various wars, and these pseudonyms were meant to strike terror into the hearts of their enemies, so there was a general Rambo, cause he's scary, there was a general mosquito, cause mosquitoes are terrifying cause they bring malaria, and of course, there's General Bin Laden. Our General Bin Laden, we found out en route, had just been put in jail. We didn't know why, but we suspected, because the authorities found out we were coming, with cameras, to shoot him.
MYLES ESTEY: Erm, they say they're not going to let him out but we can interview him in the jail, and we can interview the commander.
MAN: Let's do that. Let's go there.
SHANE: Can we go in now?
MYLES ESTEY: Yeah.
MAN: Let's go in now.
VOICEOVER: So the minute we arrive in baboon town, our car is surrounded by a bunch of sketchy dudes, so when Miles came back and said we could interview bin laden inside the police station, I was like: yeah. Let's get out of here and get in there really quick.
VOICEOVER: So we get into the police station, and it's chaos. Some guards are saying you can go see him, other guards are saying you can go see him, and we just have to sit there and wait.
SHANE: I like being in the police station, ha ha, it's nice. Monkey! Little monkey. He's got herpes I think, or something. Hi. What's wrong with the monkey? Why is the monkey here?
MAN: What did the monkey do wrong?
SHANE: Why is the monkey here? We're in, ha, a police station, ha, in the red light district, to meet general bin laden, and wondering why the monkey's here.
VOICEOVER: Then eventually, after sitting these for a little while, we realised: Oh, we've got to grease some palms, so we gave them some money and bang! We were back into the jail, and we could talk to bin laden
SHANE: Hey, bin laden! How're you? Shane! Nice to meet you. We're going to try and get you out of here now and then we can go back.
GENEARL BIN LADEN: We can go back and do the interview. Very Nice. That'd be fine.
SHANE: Alright, ok, we're going to do that right now.
GENERAL BIN LADEN: God bless you.
MYLES ESTEY: To get him out what do we have to do?
GUARD: You know what he did?
MYLES ESTEY: Yeah, I know what he did, I'm talking about, to get him out, what do we have to do?
GUARD: You gotta pay that money...
MYLES ESTEY: To who?
POLICE CHIEF: Woa, woa, you want to videotape this station without my permission? Is that what we do? You did not get any permission from me to videotape my office!
SHANE: OK, ok, we've stopped, the video's off, it's off, he's just carrying it.
POLICE CHIEF: Well, I hope that I haven't been recorded here, ok? Because there's a criminal...
SHANE: We're good people, nobody's recording anything
POLICE CHIEF: You pay some cash; you can get him out of here.
SHANE: Sure, I can give him cash; can we pay him and pay you a fine, and then take him?
POLICE CHIEF: Fine! That's good.
SHANE: OK, great. Let's go, let's go, let's go.
GENERAL BIN LADEN, EX-LIBERIAN WAR LORD
UNIDENTIFIED: Hey! You!
SHANE: We went in there; I think we're being followed by the police right now.
UNIDENTIFIED: Are you serious?
SHANE: We might have to do something like change tapes or something. What we do is we shoot cards, and when they come we can give them the tape, there's nothing on the tape.
UNIDENTIFIED: You have a blank tape in there?
SHANE: Yeah we do, right now. We should just get out of here.
GENERAL BIN LADEN: Let's go to the warehouse. Don't worry; no one is going to take the tape.
GANG MEMEBER: This is our boss man
GENERAL BIN LADEN: Photography, anything you want to do here. This is my compound, you are free. No police come here to do anything to you.
GENERAL BIN LADEN: You will mind the step, but nobody past here!
SHANE: Our trip is getting progressively heavier
GENERAL BIN LADEN: We will go on top of the building
SHANE: Yeah that'd be good. I'm kind of worried that the police are going to come get us right now. I gave them a fake name and fake number.
GENERAL BIN LADEN: He's one of my lords.
LORD: I'm the Minister of National Security
SHANE: OK, nice to meet you.
LORD: I want you to see for yourself. We are happy that you people are here.
VOICEOVER: So after we got Bin Laden out of jail, he was very excited to take us up to his rooftop and tell us his story, and according to him, the ex-generals, or now the community leaders, are the only ones doing anything to help the people.
SHANE: So maybe you could explain, eh, a little bit about, so, first of all you became known as Bin Laden during the war
GENERAL BIN LADEN: During the war, yes
SHANE: And now after the war you're trying to help people by doing carpentry and by karate.
GENERAL BIN LADEN: Karate, mm. After the war, I saw some friends going astray. Since I was a general, I made sure I would bring them together. So I do both carpentry and masonry. And I've got men that are in my workshop who do carpentry work, and then we go out to the field and do martial arts.
SHANE: Do you get any money here?
GENERAL BIN LADEN: We do our own collections sometimes...
SHANE: No but the UN, the government, doesn't give you any money?
GENERAL BIN LADEN: The government does not give me support. The UN does not give me support. This is the first time, meeting you people, recording me and getting information from me. We really need the government's attention to our program.
SHANE: And is this area, this area is red light here?
GENERAL BIN LADEN: It is red light
SHANE: Is there a lot of crime in red light?
GENERAL BIN LADEN: Yeah, all the time, this is red light.
UNIDENTIFIED: What's the problem?
MYLES ESTEY: Now it seems like everyone hanging around knows how we got him out. And for how much. And that has gotten around. It's a hot topic of conversation. I don't think Shane knows that, so he's nice and calm on screen. But I'm keeping the stress level slightly higher than usual.
GENERAL BIN LADEN: Look at Liberia! Look at Liberia! We can build this place! We don't expect that in this country, founded on Christian principles, people should be in government office with blood on their hands! Let them open their minds and their hearts to the country! Why should Mama Liberia sink into poverty?
VOICEOVER: So Miles comes over, stops the interview, and says: we have to get the fuck out of here now. Bin Laden look down and says, yeah yeah, those aren't my guys, you guys should really go.
UNIDENTIFIED: Now be careful so you don't fall down the stairs.
VOICEOVER: So Bin Laden gave us an escort and a couple of his guys got us through the crowd, to the car, and we got the fuck out.
SHANE: OK, let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. Holy fucking shit. That was outta hand we gotta get outta here. There were some heavy duty vibes there.
VOICEOVER: So after meeting and being freaked out by General Bin Laden, we wanted to see what the UN and government were doing to rebuild Liberia. So we asked a local journalist named Nagbe, and we asked him. And he said: you want to see what the government and US are doing? I'll take you to West Point.
VOICEOVER: So West Point is the worst slum in Liberia, which makes it one of the worst slums in West Africa, which makes it one of the worst slums in the world. And when you first get there, the first thing that you want to do is get the hell out. It's open sewers everywhere, shit, piss, garbage, everything mixed in, and the stench is overpowering.
NGABE: This is West Point. People live here like this for years. It's more or less a microcosm of the city. Virtually all the major tribes living in Liberia live in West Point. Now, West Point happens to be one of the most devastated parts of the war, because the people here don't have toilets. And because they have no toilets, they use the beach.
SHANE: Oh, dude. It really stinks here.
NGABE: They're not taking care of the community, you know?
SHANE: But I mean one of the first basic rules is don't shit where you eat.
NGABE: That's right.
SHANE: That's the number one rule
NGABE: The people violate that rule, obviously.
SHANE: But the government has to do something about that right?
NGABE: Seriously! But they're not doing it. The commissioner himself sometimes goes on the beach and squats and shits with the people.
VOICEOVER: So even in one of the worst slums in Western Africa, you see the cultural impact that America has there, all the kids are wearing Biggie or Tupac t-shirts, and in fact one kid came up to us and said, hey, I'm a rapper, Can I rap for you?
RAPPER: AIDS getting busy drinking blood from the body/ Same as the first, death is a lie, believe it or not/ AIDS is out to attack, every woman needs a man/ Every hand is on the shoulder/ Mothers did loving/ What's the point, Liberians?/ She never had money/ so she started sucking dick/ A pretty young woman is another man's slave/ Mother did loving, now the pharaoh/ got AIDS on her face/ Which type of sickness killing boys? AIDS/ Which type of sickness killing girls? AIDS/ Which type of sickness kill the neighbour? AIDS/ Which type of sickness kill everybody? AIDS
SHANE: And is there a lot of malaria in here?
NGABE: A lot
VOICEOVER: Needless to say in West Point health conditions are fowl. Diseases are everywhere: malaria, infections, AIDS, are rampant
ORPHAN: My ma and my pa died, so I decided to come to the streets because we don't have any schools. We have no help. No help.
NGABE: These electronic shops, they are just cover-ups for heroin. It's big business.
SHANE: We heard stories that during the war, the rebels would go out in boats with diamonds and trade the diamonds for weapons and cocaine. There was a lot of Colombians and Mexicans.
NGABE: It did happen here.
SHANE: We find it interesting because Cocaine and Heroin are very expensive drugs. So we're surprised to find heroin here, usually in poorer countries, there's, you know, speed or meths or things you can make
NGABE: It's pure tar coming here
SHANE: Why is that?
NGABE: The Nigerians. The Nigerians bring it.
ORPHAN: The cocaine will make us high. Make it so... make it so...
MAN: What we're smoking now... We smoke two types of market, we smoke heroin and we smoke coke. We smoke to be vigilant. I told him to slow down. Don't waste the money.
ORPHAN: Break noses, break teeth, cut ears... What else we going to do for money? I raped a big-belly woman. I raped her on the floor. I saw her coming in her robe, when she came closer, I took her money, I put a gun to her head, I told her to bend down, she turned her face, and I...
MAN: That high is all pleasure. You see this here? He's high. This boy is nupping, He's nupping. You know why they call it nupping? If you smoke heroin and you want to sleep, but you don't sleep. So, he's nupping now. He only want to sniff cocaine now. That's the only way he'll calm down.
NGABE: Look, behind these areas are small shops that are used as brothels. And you can pay between 50 to 75 to 100 dollars. Liberian dollars.
SHANE: So how much is that?
NGABE: Less than one dollar
SHANE: So because of the poverty a lot of women have to become prostitutes
NGABE: Yes, or we like to use the term ‘sex worker' ha. We can go this way
PROSTITUTE: I don't have any money. I work in sex trade to get money. I do the sex work to feed them because their father died in the war. 50 dollar, 30 dollar, 20 dollar to fuck... just to eat something. In my won sex work, I say I'll give you car-rocking sex, like a rodeo.
NGABE: We can turn the corner and I'll show you the brothel we're going to go to tonight. But we're not going to do anything yet. We'll just pass through alright?
MAN: No small children can come inside here.
SHANE: So now we're in a brothel. We're going to come back tonight it's not open right now. We got some stains here... some blood... Not very clean.
NGABE: a towel used for wiping.
SHANE: That's pretty grim. How do we get outta here?
NGABE: This way.
VOICEOVER: The legacy of civil war in Liberia is staggering. It's the fourth-poorest country in the world. Fifty percent of the country is illiterate. Seventy percent of the female population has been raped. Eighty percent of the population is unemployed. And a large percentage of the population has eaten human flesh.
BOY: It tastes like real meat. If you taste it you like to eat it every day. You want to see some piece?
NGABE: It happens a whole lot, even in Liberia now. Whenever you see that there are bodies found somewhere, maybe drowned in the river... Genital parts are taken out. Some legends have it that the female genitals are prepared in a way where the man can put it in his wallet and carry it around. And use it as a source of power, you know? And some people believe that when they do these things, they have power over their colleagues, you know?
VOICEOVER: Now one of the warlords responsible for these atrocities, who fought in all three civil wars, is a guy named General Rambo, who we picked up at a market. He said: I'll talk to you if you take me to the old headquarters of the rebel faction outside of town.
GENERAL RAMBO: Nice building...
SHANE: When did the hotel stop working?
GENERAL RAMBO: 1990, when the war came. At that time I was in the army as an AFL soldier, Master Sergeant. Oh, in those days, the place was so beautiful, so nice... Our country... Country destroyed... beyond all reasonable doubt there is no easy way to fix it. Everybody stranded around, bodies were laying all over the city. So overnight they go and do their butchery, boil and cook. They'd have some of the human parts in the wagon, carry it around, and sell. Many people were not normal. Because the rebel leaders, at that time, used to sell drugs. The cocaine, the bubbles (pills), the dooji (heroin), the marijuana, and other things. So they did things wrong because of the drugs that they took.
SHANE: So you were one of the ones that came in to take out Taylor?
GENERAL RAMBO: Yes.
SHANE: And then, at one point the Amerian government came to try and get you to go out to Iraq.
GENERAL RAMBO: Yes, the people sent people here. Because you know Liberia, back in the day we used to call it “Small America”. And all our training that we took is under America. Strictly American. So we know ourselves as the reserve soldiers of America. So when the Americans have problems, we're supposed to be second in motion to help.
SHANE: And so when there was Iraq, it was like, let's go we can help, so what happened?
GENERAL RAMBO: The government denied us from going.
SHANE: The government didn't let you go?
GENERAL RAMBO: They disrupted the whole process.
SHANE: Do you think it's a problem that you have all these ex-combatants who grew up fighting, you fought in three wars, they have no money, they have no job, isn't that a problem?
GENERAL RAMBO: It's a big problem. Because when you have most of the youth that have the muscles that can cause trouble anytime, and are not satisfied, then that means bad things will happen. Things are not ok. Anything can happen. Anything can blow up at any time.
GENERAL RAMBO: The problem here is that we don't come out to talk too much. Rest assured that bad things are coming. So, therefore, the country should be free of arms. I used to go to every hole to do searches. We went in the Lofa jungle for one month. We met people with muzzles that said they could launch rockets at elephants with RPGs.
SHANE: So they're still there with the guns.
GENERAL RAMBO: Yeah they're still there with the guns. The war is hot.
SHANE: So if the rebel forces wanted they could take over tomorrow?
GENERAL RAMBO: In less than two, three hours.
SHANE: Two, three hours?
GENERAL RAMBO: Sure. I'm an ambassador of war. So if I see firing coming, you think I would not be part of it? I will be part. Because I can't let someone kill me like that. Me I'm a straight soldier. And I'd love to be a soldier until I die.
SHANE: And do you think there's a possibility of that happening?
GENERAL RAMBO: Yes. When UN is not here, there's the possibility that can happen. Yes.
SOLDIERS: Commando! Pray! Strong! Protected!
VOICEOVER: So what Rambo was saying is, there's still plenty of guns in Liberia, and him, or someone like him, can take over Monrovia in two hours if the UN leaves. The UN is scheduled to leave next year.
VOICEOVER: And as we said our goodbyes to Rambo, we said we were going back to West Point.
GENERAL RAMBO: That place, West Point, is dangerous, very dangerous. You're very lucky that you got out, and they didn't steal the camera. You can still see the violence in them. No law and order in rebel activity.
SHANE: Cannibalism, chaos, killing, rape, everything
GENERAL RAMBO: Everything.
VOICEOVER: A few years ago we did an article in Vice magazine called General Butt Naked vs. the Tupac army, about a particularly fierce Liberian warlord called Butt Naked, who fought naked, his child soldiers fought naked, and they were cannibals. So we asked Rambo if he knew him by chance and he said, in act, we're from the same tribe I know him well. He promised to set up an interview while we did our follow-up in the brothels in West Point.
VOICEOVER: Driving into West Point at night is pretty freaky. There's no electricity grid in Monrovia, so it's pitch black. It's kind of like, if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? If a fucking van goes missing...
SHANE: So, the craziest, scariest drive ever down here we got a little bit lost in the port, and you couldn't see anything cause there's no electricity, you can just see people, like, wandering around, fucking shit piss, fucking yelling at us gaaah we want money we want money. Now we're going to go in here, this is the brothel.
SHANE: A lot of dudes are coming in now it's crazy. I don't know where we're going. Wow. That room looks... This is the exemplification of hell, really. I don't know what happens in here but I don't want to know. Wow. What the fuck goes on in here dude. Wow wow wow wow wow. Well, we were here a little bit earlier there was used condoms and blood stained sheets now they've sort of, done it up. So we're going to interview some of the girls. See what they have to say.
SHANE: We have a code, if something's freaky, we go it's gnar gnar ha. Gnar gnar
VOICEOVER: One of the things we'd heard since we'd been in Liberia was about the alleged misconduct of the US staff. So we asked the girls at the brothel about it.
NGABE: I've seen UN guys having sex with small, small children. Have you seen it?
GIRL: Yes. They just have sex with you. Throw you off and then they beat you. I have received some beatings.
GIRL: No support, nothing, we're suffering. No job, nothing.
GIRL: I live here. They call it paradise.
NGABE: OK, paradise.
GIRL: I want to get a job, for myself.
NGABE: What do you do in West Point now?
GIRL: I'm a beautician. I came from a cosmetology school. From Rogerstown, which is under TAP. Trade Assistance Programme. I want to tell him that. I got my certificate. I got everything for myself. But I won't go forward until he gives me what I want. Now. Why are you flashing in my eyeball? That's my eyeball. Why are you flashing that there? I will tell my whole life story. Me, I'm an orphanage child. I got no pa I got no ma. My parents are dead. My want money!
VOICEOVER: As soon as the girl started screaming, a bunch of heads popped in the room, and when she started screaming about money, everyone was going money money money, where's the money. And at that point Ngabe said to us: you'd better get the hell out of here. So we sort of took off through the tangled alleyways and just tried to get back to the car.
GIRL: Give me what I want!
SHANE: So we're getting the fuck out of here right now.
VOICEOVER: So when we got to the car our driver, who was also supposed to be our security, was so freaked out that he peeled out, nearly hit a group of people that had surrounded the car.
UNIDENTIFIED : OK, stop! Stop!
VOICEOVER: And if you hit a group of people down in West Point. That's it; it would be a death sentence. They would have torn us apart.
SHANE: That was very fucking heavy! Dude! Dude dude dude... It's like, whenever I get into weird situations, I'm just trying to envisage myself explaining it to my dad. So dad, just to recap: worst slum in history, heroin, hookers, white, fat men... He'd probably say ‘you're a stupid little fucker' ‘you deserve to die'
VOICEOVER: And to make things even freakier as we're pulling out of West Point, Rambo texts miles and says, not only does Butt Naked want to do the interview, but that he's waiting at our hotel for us.
SHANE: Now we're going back to sanity. To hang out with an ex-cannibal, multi-murderer who's now staying in our hotel, and decided not to leave, cause he wants to hang out. Meanwhile he knows I have tons of money. And he's on the run because people want to kill him. Should I just leave my door open General? Do you want to come in?
JUDGE: You mentioned about sacrifices. Can you give us maybe an estimate of how many civilians you think lost their lives when your group was fighting or as a direct result?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: It should not be less than 20,000
JOSHUA BLAHYI, EX-GENERAL BUTT NAKED
VOICEOVER: Now we're very nervous to meet General Butt Naked, but he's very nervous to meet us, because he's had several assassination attempts against him, and he wants to meet us and vet us before he'll ok an interview.
VOICEOVER: When we told him about our escape from West Point that night, he laughed and he seemed to ease up. And after that, he asked for a phone, called Rambo, and it was on.
GENERAL RAMBO: Blahyi, what's up?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Joshua Blahyi, Butt Naked.
GENERAL RAMBO: I told them that you're my little brother...
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: So the white guys, the guys are good guys. Tell the boss lady hi, yeah?
GENERAL RAMBO: Alright, I'll do that.
JUDGE: Butt, you became converted. Right?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yes, ma'am.
JUDGE: Are you the same Joshua Blahyi now they call evangelist Blahyi?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yeah.
VOICEOVER: We asked the General, now known as Joshua Blahyi, why people were trying to kill him. And he told us because he had been recently pardoned for his war crimes. And when we asked him how he was pardoned, he said it was his conversion to Christ, and his becoming a man of God.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Because when I got converted, it was household news. Everybody in Liberia... ‘General Butt Naked got converted?!' All over Africa. Because the first question people ask me, they say: ‘Joshua, don't you think you decided to be Christian so that you can escape persecution?' And I said no, because I could have gone back. Several times I was attacked. And I told them, ‘if anybody wanted to kill me, you're only killing me because two years ago, I fought you, or, you don't like my preaching. But I cannot go back to my vomit. I have left the war'.
VOICEOVER: So we talked with Joshua late into the night, until he told us to get to bed because the next day, he was going to show us his Liberia
VOICEOVER: SO in the morning Joshua Blahyi took us out, and the first stop was the area of Monrovia that he used to control during the war.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: So this was my, this was my controlled area.
SHANE: And who would be attacking?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Charles Taylor's men. NPFL. They were calling themselves government forces at the time.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Right here... This is where I had my ‘koocha' chair. I sat in the chair. My boys are all around, singing. The elders bring an innocent child, and we open the back of the child and take out the heart.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yes. And we cut it into pieces. And distribute it to the boys.
SHANE: And what does that do?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Just makes them brave and charges them for the battle, with the belief that the bullet will not affect us.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: The bloodstains were still on my hands when my boys went for water. Just before they got back, I heard a voice behind me, ‘My son, why are you slaving?' But this was in my dialect. I looked back and I saw this man and lady... white lady... But the light radiated through that man was so bright. Brighter than the sun.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: And then I thought I was not a slave. He said, ‘My son, why are you slaving?' And I said, ‘Well, in this whole territory I am the King. I'm supposed to be a King.' And he said, ‘You're right you're supposed to be a king. But you're living like a slave.' And those words were very hard words in my dialect. I said, ‘I don't understand. What are you saying?' ‘I mean repent and live or refuse and die.'
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: And he vanished. And the light vanished. And I came to my sense and I was so confused. Now, when I went into battle, I tried to use my pistol and it got busted. I got so afraid I retreated from the front. I got afraid for the first time.
VOICEOVER: The next stop was the place where there had been an assassination attempt on Joshua's life just the day before.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: This one is broken. And the whole thing was there, broken... and he got back on the road.
SHANE: And he just, he hit you and then ran?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yeah.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Picked up the other guy, and left. I heard the call. I heard the person. ‘He's out now'. Then I looked, and the person was on the phone. So I'm going... And I'm looking. Just turned like this and I saw the car crossing. The tyre mark is there. They left from there and crossed here. So I went to leap over. I jumped over the car. Since I was not close to the car to go over it, my shoulder was hit and the car pushed me back.
SHANE: And who do you think it was?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Ah... Maybe one of the people who I hurt is trying to get revenge. In the war, I hurt a lot of people and I don't think I've had the opportunity to appeal to everyone of them.
VOICEOVER: Next, Joshua wanted to show us his mission in the country, where he was rehabilitating ex-child soldiers.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: There are some guys who are very brilliant. As you go there, you will see them. Very brilliant, very intelligent young kids. But unfortunately the war has affected them. I tell them violence is not the best way. It's an ancient strategy. And once violence, as a seed be sown into a child, it's very hard for a child to come out of it.
SHANE: And are there a lot of people who fought during the war that can't get rid of the violence?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: It's very hard. It takes time to get rid of the violence.
SHANE: How did you get rid of the violence?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: To be frank, it's not 100 percent gone. I still have nightmares, I still have flashbacks. I wish that I never took part in the war. That's my mission.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Come, come and see
SHANE: Did anybody bring any bug juice? Nobody brought bug juice.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: I would have taken you, but my back...
SHANE: No, no, no, it's ok, well I don't mind getting wet
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: It's safe. People drink this water.
VOICEOVER: About a million people die from malaria every year in Africa. And malaria thrives in swamps like this.
SHANE: It's very sploochly on my moochly. Some worm is going to go in my foot. And I'm going to get a filthy little tumor. End my days just shitting out blood. This is where all fear stems from.
SHANE: So some of these are the boys you fought with before.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yeah, some of them fought under me. Those are the fighters who used to fight naked.
SHANE: So, is that why your nickname is General Butt Naked?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yes, because I was naked. Because I used to fight naked.
SHANE: A lot of people would drink or do drugs before fighting?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yeah, most of my boys, they would drain the blood from an innocent child and drink it. Before going into battle.
SHANE: So you'd kill the child, and then drink the blood?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yeah.
SHANE: Why would you fight naked?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: It was believed that once I'm naked, no bullet can affect me. Once I'm naked I could disappear.
SHANE: This is his mission. The building. They're singing now.
Singing: Thank you, oh, thank you, thank you thank you. What is so hard, what is so hard in my life that God cannot do?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Welcome to our home. Moustapha was one of the Generals who fought for Charles Taylor
SHANE: So he fought for Charles Taylor and you fought for Roosevelt Johnson. So you were enemies before?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yeah, we were enemies.
MOUSTAPHA: I was 16 at that time, when they initiated me as child soldier, and I stayed with them until I became a target commander. After the war we became parentless, friendless. Nobody wanted to see you, because you were fighting in the war. We ended up in the streets. I was in the graveyard. I used to smoke drugs. Taking drugs, sleeping in the streets. And then I knew him when he was Butt Naked. I fought against him. When I saw him again, he was already a pastor. He took us to the church. And from the church, continually, he has been helping us until today, as you see us.
MOUSTAPHA: We were children, and they damaged our lives. The same people that recruited us, now that the war's over, they don't have time for us. By the grace of God, and him, we are living.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: I tried to run away from it before and I saw that running away could not help me. My daughter was walking one day, Makayla, she was a baby, and somebody told her ‘You're Butt Naked's daughter.' And she started crying. She never knew who Butt Naked was. Because of that, I tried to run away with her. One day, she will have to go home. So, since there is still time... Go back, and see how you can repair some of those things. Time will come, and somebody will tell her what Butt Naked did. And then she will have the opportunity to tell them what Joshua Blahyi did.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: So, there will be a monument built for him. A memorial that she can be proud of. So that is how I take the challenge. You can make the change. You can make the difference.
SHANE: Where are we right now?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: This is the Central Monrovia Cemetery. After the war, the ex-combatants went into crime and they were looking for hideouts. Nowhere for them to stay.
SHANE: So, this is the cemetery, where, after the war, there was nowhere to live, so the people would come in, empty out the graves, and live in the graves.
SHANE: And maybe up to about 4000 people would live in the graves.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: See all these are empty?
SHANE: It's a very heavy vibe. Empty graves everywhere.
SHANE: We were just at lunch. We were talking about, we ordered some ribs, and you said, no I don't like to eat flesh, and I asked why don't you like to eat flesh and you told me the story about coming back from Nigeria, could you tell us that story?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Specifically one time, I was very hungry and I saw the only thing was around was sticks of dried meat. When I took the first bite, I noticed it was human, human flesh. So I washed off the pepper to be very sure, to get the taste. And I got a taste. It was human. So I called the police. And they came and arrested the guy. And I told them I was one of the generals in Liberia, and this is my name, and this is what we did. I ate it several times before, though I'm converted now.
SHANE: You ate human flesh?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Yeah, a lot of times. They saw the pictures and they went to the Internet and they knew it was true.
SHANE: What would you eat?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Some people eat the heart. Now for hunger... People eat around here, because it's softer.
SHANE: OK. We're talking about eating human flesh in a graveyard it's a bit weird. So we can go.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: I want to eat some African stuff.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Now the trumpets call/ They'll feel all right in the world.
PREACHER: This morning, we are going to pray for the holy servant of God that He has prepared to speak to us on this day. Amen!
PREACHER: Somebody shout me hallelujah!
PREACHER: Indeed, our God can do it. In Jesus name. Today we are honoured to have in our midst... It usually takes time for people to recognise him, because he was someone different when we saw him before. But the Bible says that when the light of God shines upon a man... Amen! He's not what you think he was. Evangelist Joshua Blahyi. I want you to stand and put your hands together as we welcome him.
PREACHER: We've all heard the name Butt Naked and what has happened... but we thank God that he was a general for the devil and he's become a general for God. I want you to extend your hand forward, and let us pray that God's Will will indeed be done upon his life. Raise your voice and let us pray... Father we thank you, we bless you, oh God, for what you have done.
PREACHER: The word of God says that you shall know the truth. I've been receiving some dangerous calls. My people have been threatening me, and why they tried to kill me is what I want to make meaning about today. I am an old sinner. I was the about the age of 11 and I was initiated as a priest to my tribe. I did a lot of human sacrifices, killed a lot of innocent people. Now I know I was wrong. But thank God that he extended his mercy to me through Jesus Christ. The Bible says in the Book of Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 28... He said ‘All things' All single things! Not some things... but every single thing works together for good. But one thing I am sure of... I am convinced that I am called by God's own purpose. And once you are called by God's purpose the Bible says all things work together for good. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free!
VOICEOVER: Liberia on the one hand has more crime and poverty and rape and cannibalism than you've every seen. But on the other it's also got a church on every street corner, every car has a religious slogan. They have huge revivals with tens of thousands of worshippers. It's some sort of weird Heaven and Hell scenario.
PREACHER Hallelujah! Come on everybody! Liberia!
VOICEOVER: Hanging out with Joshua I started to get a bit of Stockholm syndrome because he's charming, the churches are nice, there's not as much danger and I started to like him. But as he was preaching I thought to myself: this guy has killed tens of thousands of people. In fact he's probably killed the relatives of the people in the church worshipping and adoring him now. And I'm thinking to myself: what the fuck is going on?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: This morning I want to preach on a theme. Effective generational transfer. Before that I want to introduce one of my latest friends. Shane and a group that had interest in coming to Liberia to go to some dead areas. Areas that people to not commonly go. And I thought they were not serious because there are some places that I go to evangelise, and nobody wants to go there with me.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: We reached the water to where my camp is. Most of the time if guests come who are not used to Liberia, they're afraid of the swamp. So we have to tow them. And these guys refused to be towed. They walked in the water with us yesterday. I was in a little doubt, but after a moment with them, I knew they were true friends. So I want to stick him in a corner this moment, and he'll say a few words. At least greet you.
SHANE: I just want to say thank you for having me in your church. Praise God. And I'd like to say thank you to Joshua Blahyi, for all the good work he's doing and hopefully we can help and hopefully we can show what we're doing here in Liberia, what you're doing here in Liberia, and we can help make it better, and bring more awareness to what's happening here.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Amen.
VOICEOVER: I have to admit that when Joshua handed me the mic, I had no idea what I was saying. At that point of the trip I felt like I was on acid.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Believe me, the world is changing. What are you teaching your children? The war has come. It has passed. You will soon be old. Thirty, forty years from now, you will soon be old. And you will pass. What are you leaving, as a principle for your children to follow?
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: What? The whole world knows me as General Butt Naked, a killer, a rapist. But my children will know me as a man who stands for the truth. Am I talking to somebody? Before the future, according to morals, those reasons do not hold. I'm a murderer. I'm a bloody-handed person. The world is changing. The mistakes of our fathers cause less harm to the mistake that we'd make to our children. That is, if we fail them. Stand to your feet!
VOICEOVER: As I sat and listened to Joshua preach I thought about the fact that the UN is leaving in less than a year, and Rambo had told us that the generals are ready to fight. They have the soldiers, they have the guns and they're living in abject poverty. And I wondered if that happened, would Joshua stay with God, or would he return to being general Butt Naked.
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: You can deliver your generation! You can deliver this nation! You can deliver your community! You can deliver your tribe! You can deliver this continent! Somebody shout glory!
GENERAL BUTT NAKED: Let us pray.