Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Blacksmith turns Liberian civil war weapons into art

SYMBOLS OF HOPE:Blacksmith Manfred Zbrzezny employs young Liberians who are learning the trade and transforming pieces of destructive scrap into art

AFP, MONROVIA

The commission said a war crimes court should be set up to prosecute eight ex-warlords for alleged crimes against humanity, but the government is yet to implement the recommendations.

A decade after the war, no money has been made available and the only Liberian to face trial is former Liberian president Charles Taylor, and that was for his role in neighboring Sierra Leone’s civil conflict, not that in his own country.

Meanwhile a generation of traumatized children who witnessed untold horrors in Liberia are now struggling to come to terms with their country’s violent past as adults.

Emmanuel Freeman, 28, one of Zbrzezny’s apprentices, was a child during most of the conflict and saw both of his parents slain.

“They were killed by guns. These are the same guns I am transforming today into something else,” he said. “I am excited, happy and very pleased to do that. But sometimes when I am holding the scraps it reminds me what I saw during the war.”

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