This morning, however, there was a rumour of war on the other side of the city. There have been no rumours before today, no sense of discontent, no announcements of groups forming against the government. So where on earth does a rumour like this come from? The biggest disturbance this country has seen in two years has been a labour dispute at the UN. Who would start a war here? The powerful elect, that's who: those making six figures but not seven in a country where teachers and civil servants make $50 per month.
Of course this morning's panic was just a mix-up -- the Drug Enforcement Agency destroying confiscated dope apparently sounded like gunfire -- but it so quickly becomes "War!" as word-of-mouth quickly exaggerates. My heart sinks a little to see my Liberian friends revert. The old fear -- and curiosity -- return quickly, the dual instinct to run away and toward. Common sense is the first casualty of any conflict, I imagine, as it becomes every man for himself.
I pray that the majority prevails in Liberia, that a handful of the arrogant rich don't ever again stir to conflict the good and simple common man. To me this is the most urgent reason to close the poverty gap, not between Africa and the West, but within African nations as they develop.