Ibrahim Abdullah. Between Democracy and Terror: The Sierra Leone Civil War. Dakar, CODESRIA, 2004, 274 p., ISBN 2-86978-123-7Number of visits: 6103
Between Democracy and Terror is the first serious study to engage the Sierra Leone civil war. It explores the genesis of the crisis; the contradictory roles of different internal and external actors; civil society and the fourth estate; the regional intervention force; the demise of the second republic; and the numerous peace initiatives to end the war.
This study articulates how internal actors tread the multiple but conflicting pathways to power, why the war lasted for as long as it did, and how non-conventional actors were able to inaugurate and sustain an insurgency that called forth the largest concentration of UN peace keepers the world has ever seen. The rich and fascinating book challenges tendencies to reduce all these happenings, these ‘thick descriptions’/ histories, to a footnote in a narrative that privileges the economic factor, thereby devalorising research and scholarship in understanding and changing the reality in Sierra Leone. Students of post-colonial Sierra Leone and Africa would find Between Democracy and Terror timely, innovative and provocatively instructive.
Ibrahim Abdullah is a historian who specializes in colonial and post-colonial history. He has published in the area of African social/labour history and has taught in universities in America, Canada, Nigeria, South Africa and Sierra Leone. He is currently working on a book titled Youth Culture and Counter-Hegemony in Sierra Leone.