Every once in awhile a news item really hits home. I just received this concerning my very good friend Mae Azango. I first met Mae in 2006 when she  came to UMass Boston as part of a contingent of journalists who were doing internships at various media outlets around town.

Since her stay at UMass Mae went on to be one of Liberia’s most famous and fearless journalists who took it as her mission to tell stories about the sufferings of ordinary people. Her coverage of the persistence of female genital mutilation in Liberia has obviously outraged supporters of the practice and we can only hope that she receives the full protection of the Liberian government. To its credit, the government has recently issued a statement in defense of Mae after public campaigns by the Committee to Protect journalists and Amnesty International,  but let’s hope they follow-up with decisive actions.

Another controversy riling Liberia this weeks concerns legislation targeting gays. Despite her recent Nobel Peace Prize, the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has come down strong against the rights of homosexuals in Liberia saying, “we like ourselves just the way we are.” Check out this video exchange between the President and a very uncomfortable looking Tony Blair

Michael Keating

photo: New Narratives