Thursday, 14 July 2011


I thought I'd post this. . I met Mariatu some years ago, when she was fifteen. She was on the way to Canada, where a family was adopting her, and had stopped in the UK to be fitted with the latest artificial hands. The woman looking after her was an old school friend of my wife's, hence the connection. The hands were purely cosmetic; I remember her struggling to eat a biscuit with them at church. As soon as she got home, she dumped them behind the door with the shoes (no shoes in our house!), put on an elastic wristband, and managed to eat with a fork stuck in it.

The Sierra Leone ivil war was was nothing more than a glorified bandit gang taking over most of a country whose goverment had collapsed under the weight of its own corruption. They never seriously wanted to rule, just to use the country as an extended diamond mine. Killings, rapes and mutilation were a way to drive away the civilian population and leave the diamond fields to themseves and their slaves.

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