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Reparations, Labor Rights and More in WhatsApp Chat on ‘Firestone and the Warlord’

We’re using the chat platform WhatsApp to give readers a direct line to the reporter behind “Firestone and the Warlord.” Here’s what they are saying.

In November, we published " Firestone and the Warlord," an examination into the relationship between one of America's most iconic companies and the Liberian warlord Charles Taylor.

As part of the story, we've been using WhatsApp to keep people around the world connected to the story. We are not only sending out updates and information from inside "Firestone and the Warlord," but reporter T. Christian Miller is answering questions sent to us from our WhatsApp followers. Below is a recap of some of the best questions we've received over the last two weeks (edited for clarity):

Press play in the player below each question to hear Miller's answer.


Farouk, Liberia, asks: "If indeed Firestone financed the war in Liberia, is it not only right that they should pay reparations for the damage and loss of human lives?"


A list member from Nigeria asks: "Were any Firestone employees or family members compensated for lives lost?"


Brian, Indiana, asks two questions: "Much of this occurred while they were controlled by the Japanese parent company Bridgestone. Aside from the PR response or the legal response, has Bridgestone or the Japanese government responded?"


And: "In May 2006 the UN mission to Liberia released a report claiming 'Firestone managers in Liberia admitted that the company does not effectively monitor its own policy prohibiting child labor' and the company responded by claiming it was the only safe refuge in the country during the 2003 fighting. What does your team know of as alternatives to assist US companies in the minimization of children workers in places outside US control?"


We also asked our WhatsApp followers to weigh in on our book club discussion questions. Here are some of their answers.

What do you make of Firestone's relationship with Liberia's ruling elite?

Melvin Barclay, Liberia, says:


What do you make of the dual role played by Liberia's Americo-Liberian settlers?

T. Wesley Brown, Liberia, says:


Finally, Liberian D. Kengu Gerald Zaizay shared this comment with us:


Are you following us on WhatsApp? Chat WARLORD to ProPublica at +1 917-331-4989.  You can also join the discussion online every week in our  book club forum with Miller.

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