Liberia – where housing and politics meet

In most places of the world, getting locked out of your apartment and being threatened by your landlord (to “either leave the premises or things will get nasty”) would be rapidly resolved by two phone calls, one to the cops and another to a mental institution.  Not so in Liberia.  And not so when your landlord’s father is a deputy in the Ministry of Justice and has all the police under his thumb… and, especially not so when your landlord is no other than the niece of the former dictator of the country, a dictator who fueled rebel groups with blood diamonds, enlisted child soldiers, forced gang raping, and made a mother laugh and carry a sack full of heads, heads that had been ripped off the bodies of her children… Then a call to the police will not be all you need.  Because our landlord is (was) no other than the niece of Charles Taylor (1) and (2), Liberia’s former dictator.

So yesterday at noon, when all of us learned that we were being locked out of our apartments, with no hope of getting in unless unreasonable conditions were met, it was not a simple phone call that was needed to solve the situation.  The details are boring, the police came and tried to help, but they could not go against their boss, because in a country where corruption and bribery are the norm, justice and the law do not play a role.  It is enough to know that finally, close to 9PM after screaming, and hysteria, pacing and finger pointing we were able to get inside our apartments throw everything in bags and suitcases, and high tail it from Eagles Landing Apartments, where housing and politics meet.

Landlord, policemen and bystanders arguingIMG_0896 waiting for the situation to be resolvedIMG_0887 the lava hut where most of the evening was spentIMG_0883not sure if we should feel fear or excitement
IMG_0862IMG_0858 at the police station, trying to get someone to do somethingIMG_0838 IMG_0833sometimes all you can do is sit and waitIMG_0831