Yesterday, I went to get press accreditation at the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
As I rode the elevator at the UN complex, a tall guy in a checkered button down declared, “I’m going to join the army.” He listed a few reasons, only the last of which garnered any attention: “I want to carry a gun, here,” he said, slapping his left shoulder. “You want carry a gun?” another Liberian guy repeated. “What are you, a rebel?” Everyone laughed. Even he chuckled. “Nah, a person gotta protect himself. Someone comes at you with a gun, you want a gun.”
“You sound like a rebel, man,” the other guy insisted. “‘Carry a gun.’ This is Liberia. That talk scares me. We don’t want to hear that.” More laughs. As I stepped off the elevator, the Sensible Man urged the Would Be Soldier, “You want to carry a guy? Go to Afghanistan. They’ll be happy to have you.”