Charles Taylor's forces were just pushing into Liberia five days before an American journalist's wedding day; a few months later she offered her home as shelter to her servants, but was forced by the US to leave the country. She welcomes the sentence and finds that now – as a mother – the horror of his atrocities are trebled as she thinks about what families went through to protect their children.
I have a very personal – albeit indirect – relationship with Taylor.
Before backing the unspeakable acts of murder, rape, and mutilation in neighboring Sierra Leone, he invaded his home country of Liberia in December 1989, in an attempt to unseat the then-dictator, Samuel Doe. That was five days before my wedding to a US diplomat, Dennis Jett, who was the deputy-ambassador at our embassy in Monrovia. We went ahead with the ceremony anyway; Monrovia was a long way from the fighting upcountry and the invasion seemed a minor thing.
That illusion was dispelled in the following months. Taylor and another rebel hacked their way through the country in what became a civil war of remarkable brutality. Never, even as a journalist working in other parts of Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, had I witnessed such wanton atrocities.