In 1989, warlord Charles Taylor helped plunge Liberia into a brutal, bloody and prolonged civil war. On Nov. 18, ProPublica and Frontline investigate the untold story of the relationship between Taylor and an iconic American business: Firestone.
Firestone's rubber plantation — the world's largest — left an indelible footprint on Liberia's economy and culture. Our investigation found that Firestone became the source of critical resources for Taylor's ragtag army. The company paid millions of dollars in taxes to Taylor's rebel government and hired Taylor's soldiers to protect its rubber plantation in Liberia, even as its own employees became caught in the conflict.
Few people know more about Firestone's impact on Liberia than the tens of thousands who have worked on the plantation. Were you a Firestone employee? Do you know someone who was? We're interested in hearing from Liberians, Firestone workers, or others who have memories from this time.
ProPublica invites you to follow this investigation by adding us as a WhatsApp contact.
Over the next several weeks, ProPublica reporter T. Christian Miller will be filing dispatches from this investigation to WhatsApp subscribers in West Africa and beyond, including audio and infographics. Once signed up, you'll have the ability to discuss the story directly with Miller and share your own questions and experiences about Liberia's civil war. Here's how:
Before you start, if you don't have WhatsApp, you can download it here.
- Save this number into your phone's contacts:
- Once you download WhatsApp, or open up WhatsApp, the number will already appear as a contact.
- Open WhatsApp and chat WARLORD to +1 917-331-4989
- You'll get a confirmation message once you've signed up and we'll add you to our reading list.
Talk to Us
This story unfolds in seven chapters, and we'll be filing excerpts on WhatsApp with every chapter. Miller will be inviting you to answer questions around key developments in each chapter — much like a book club.
So, over the course of the next several weeks, here's what you can expect from us:
- We'll message you a summary and link to each story chapter.
- A discussion question from reporter T. Christian Miller
- Three excerpts from the chapter, which may include images and audio
- An end-of-chapter Q&A directly with Miller (ask him anything about the story)
As you receive chats from us, we invite you to respond back with your comments and questions.
If you have any questions about WhatsApp and getting started, please contact [email protected].