Friday, November 12, 2010

Is Jenkins Scott Crazy?

Doctors To Determine, As More Crazy People Roam

Jenkins K.Z.B. Scott
 Liberia: Democratnews

Jenkins K.Z.B. Scott
 With his case now claiming public attention, former Justice Minister Jenkins Z.B. Scott is slated for mental examination following the intervention of a US-based Liberian medical doctor who read about his plight in disbelief. There are conclusions that the once all-powerful minister in the military junta has lost his mind or gone crazy. This weekend, his colleagues, former cabinet ministers in the junta, will meet to complete arrangements for his mental examination.

But according to various examinations that American health experts have undertaken here, people exposed to extreme violence suffered mental disorders in the end. In the case of Mr. Scott, he was at the center of a highly violent regime, with reports that it mutilated several of its victims alive. These studies showed that fighters exposed to sexual violence suffered more mental illness than those that were not.

A study of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSD), entitled 'Path of Mental Illness' Follows Path of War, 20 Years After Conflict Ends’, by American health experts, shows that areas in the country in which the conflict was heavier suffered more. These include, according to the study, Nimba County, dating from 1989:

ScienceDaily (Aug. 9, 2010) — Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health assessed the geographical distribution of the long-term burden of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a region of Liberia and report that the prevalence of PTSD remains high nearly two decades after the principal conflict there and five years after war in Liberia ended entirely.”

Of particular interest to the researchers was the geographic distribution of PTSD.

“Investigators found that certain villages in the region had a much higher prevalence of PTSD than did others. When they compared to the historical record about the path of the violent civil conflict that Nimba County experienced from 1989 to 1990 the team found that these were villages that had experienced the greater burden of war.

"This suggests that there is much more to the aftermath of conflict than a 'path of blood' and that populations who are unfortunate enough to have been in the 'path of trauma' experiencing severe, violent conflict are likely to bear a burden of psychopathology for decades thereafter," says Sandro Galea, MD, chair of the Mailman School Department of Epidemiology, and the study's first author.

The pattern of conflict and psychopathology is even more remarkable, observes Dr. Galea, when considering that so many in the sample were very young during the period of these events and did not themselves experience some of the traumatic events firsthand.

The investigators based their findings on a representative survey of the population in post-conflict Nimba County, Liberia, combined with a historical analysis. Following 14 years of civil war in the Republic of Liberia, more than 250,000 lives were lost and more than one-third of the population was displaced.

Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Another study published in 2008 revealed that Liberian fighters exposed to sexual violence have more mental health disorders after war, according to ScienceDaily.

The study said: "Liberia's wars since 1989 have cost tens of thousands of lives and left many people mentally and physically traumatized," the authors write. "This conflict has been characterized by ethnic killings and massive abuses against the civilian population between 1989 and 1997, and again in 2003 and 2004."

Science Daily: Kirsten Johnson, M.D., M.P.H., of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., and colleagues conducted a study to assess the prevalence and impact of war-related psychosocial trauma, including information on participation in the Liberian civil wars, exposure to sexual violence, social functioning, and mental health. The researchers surveyed 1,666 adults aged 18 or older using structured interviews and questionnaires. The survey was conducted in Liberia during a three-week period in May 2008.

In the Liberian adult household-based population, 40 percent met symptom criteria for major depressive disorder, 44 percent met symptom criteria for PTSD and 8 percent met criteria for social dysfunction. Thirty-three percent of the respondents reported serving time with fighting forces, and 33.2 percent of the former combatant respondents were women.

"Both female and male former combatants who experienced sexual violence had worse mental health outcomes than non-combatants and other former combatants who did not experience exposure to sexual violence," the authors report.

Among women, 42.3 percent of former combatants experienced exposure to sexual violence, compared with 9.2 percent of non-combatants. Among men, 32.6 percent of former combatants experienced exposure to sexual violence, compared with 7.4 percent of non-combatants. Symptoms of depression, PTSD and thoughts of suicide were higher among former combatants than non-combatants, and higher among those who experienced sexual violence than those who did not.

Seventy-four percent of female former combatants who experienced sexual violence had symptoms of PTSD, compared with 44 percent who did not experience sexual violence. Among male former combatants, 81 percent who experienced sexual violence had symptoms of PTSD, compared with 46 percent who did not experience sexual violence. Male former combatants who experienced sexual violence also reported higher rates of depression symptoms and thoughts of suicide.

"Like their female counterparts, male former combatants who experienced sexual violence have worse mental health outcomes than both the general population and also other former combatants," the authors write. "Rehabilitation programs that do not address this specific population risk failing a critically vulnerable group."

"This unexpected finding suggests that standard post-conflict rehabilitation programs and gender-based programs will need to adjust current programming to take into account males who have experienced sexual violence, especially former combatants," they conclude.

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Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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