What Liberians Didn't Know About "Chucky Did it"?

By Bernhard and Elizabeth Rudolph, Germany

The Perspective
July 12, 2000

At the beginning of the Liberian civil war (1989), there was a phrase: " Chucky Did It," written on the official cars driven by Charles Taylor and his NPFL rebel officials. The nickname of Taylor's son is ''Chucky'', but this couldn't have been the meaning of the phrase written on the cars. Did anybody think about the meaning of this phrase? I have not seen or read anything about the phrase "Chucky Did It" in any of the volumes of books and articles written about the Liberian civil conflict.

I recently discovered an American film from about 1987 or 1988 - coming on the market just before the war in Liberia - with the title ''Chucky, the Murder Puppet'' or ''Chucky - Child's Play''. It shows a puppet, a harmless children's toy, which turns into a devilish creature. And that was the ''Chucky'' mentioned on the Mercedes cars used by Charles Taylor and his officers.

It is a bizarre but important story for Liberia, a nation that has become a victim of Chucky. People in Liberia did not know what the phrase meant because the film was not shown there. Taylor might have seen the film in America during his prison time or during his stay in Libya. Part of NPFL indoctrination regimes of young children was constant exposure to violent films. Many of the child soldiers took names like Rambo, Chuck Norris, Die Hard, Blood Sucker, as their nome deguerre. This film gave Taylor an idea for additional power in his war in Liberia. He acted in accordance with the film: he planned to murder innocent civilians and terrorize the whole population with the help of ''Chucky-Children'' - from the very beginning! He took the devil to Liberia. Taylor's intention was to kill anybody who was a perceived obstacle in his way to capture the Liberian presidency. This is the same evil strategy he has exported to Sierra Leone.

The boy in the film playing with the puppet ''Chucky'' as a toy later turned to be a speaking and acting ''friend." Chucky was a harmless sweet toy belonging to a little boy, but a switch on it turned it into a murder puppet with a long knife. Inside the puppet was the power of voodoo. The puppet couldn't be destroyed even when burned. The black-burned parts of his body continued to murder. Only after the puppet's heart was destroyed was peace restored.

The Liberian Opposition in America is hoping the best for the next election, maybe Madame Johnson-Sirleaf, the former head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will start again. How naive! A serious election will not be possible because, from ongoing developments such as clampdown on the media as seen in the closure of Star Radio, etc., Taylor will not permit it. Taylor has already indicated to confidantes that he foresees no opposition in the next election and would instead opt for petitions to continue as President since this was the norm under the late authoritarian President William V. S. Tubman, a man he admires immensely. He is keeping the devil behind him in reserve. People voted for him mainly out of fear, worrying about the safety of their lives. The same strategy of terrorism and the same calculated logic are now in play in Sierra Leone where Charles Taylor is interested in the diamond mines near the Liberian border because he needs money for his personal security while planning military buildup with an Air Force and Navy for Liberia, to qualify himself as the ''Napoleon'' in West Africa. The simple logical sequence is this: (1) Spreading fear, (2) transformation of vicious rebel gang into a political party, and (3) Orchestrating electoral victory because of fear as a power instrument of terror still existing among the people. His Number 2 is in Sierra Leone, the detained rebel leader Sankoh is a key player in this process.

The Liberian Opposition is simply inept and cowardly, not willing to face the reality - that there can be no democratic elections as long as Taylor is in charge. The Opposition make plans for the time after an election as a fata morgana [a mirage]. They are not realistic in facing the challenges that are in democratizing the country . They prefer to enjoy the peace and material prosperity of the civilized life in America and in other developed countries while pretending to care about their country. Nearly not one of them is really willing to fight for the country.

Taylor equated and identified his looting and killing army of under privileged children with the puppet "Chucky." So he proudly popularized the slogan, ''Chucky did it'' on his cars. Does anyone has to be convinced that this was also a calculated strategy to commit unimagined horrors and then find excuses for the atrocities he has committed since 1989? He has repeatedly told European media when questioned about the enormous atrocities that "this is war." But it was no war! It was a well-planned campaign against helpless civilians. And he prefers to make people believe that ''Chucky'' but not he (Taylor) did all this while Chucky and Taylor are one.

After the election, he tried to excuse himself for all the trouble the people suffered during the war, but he later ordered murder of several people thereafter. As he goes on a buying spree of European villas and other luxuries, his dream is to be free to enjoy power and his blood-stained luxury while Liberian people are still traumatized and unable to cope with a devastated economy.

As Liberians say crocodiles' tears turned to crocodiles' smile, Taylor's war was different from any other civil war in Africa because of these psychopathic ideas. They sang the songs of Lucky Dube (which were written against the civil wars as you know) while murdering for Taylor as Chuckies. Taylor's friendly speeches and sometimes charming behavior correspond to the harmless aspects of the puppet Chucky, but the danger resides in his switching into the role of the murderous Chucky as soon as the slightest danger arises.

Because he came to power by using ''Chucky-Children'' murdering under the influence of drugs, Taylor is afraid of being burnt and shot into his heart for all his deeds - like the puppet in the film. After all, one of his own followers or one of his ''boys'' might turn against him - reminding us of the end of the film. It is however unfortunate that America seems to be looking away and not taking any responsibility for Liberia as the tragedy continues.

Excuse me, but perhaps when Taylor was invited by an America college to receive a Ph.D., the thought for some was that he was being lured into the States to be rearrested and sent back into prison instead of ruling and devastating a country. Maybe the Liberians prevented this coup by protesting against the visit and the granting of the doctorate degree. No one knows what would have happened to Chucky since the other Taylor did not show up.

In August 1999, as indication of his paranoia for the "Chuckies" he has created, Charles Taylor forced his government officials to pray with him against the success of dissidents who had attacked him from Guinea. There were probably many Chuckies in the dissident group, one of them called ''Mosquito-Spray" who sees Charles Taylor as a pitiful creature who will hide himself under the bed at any danger: so some mosquito-spray might be enough for him. It is men like ''Mosquito-Spray'' that Taylor really fears. Taylor played the role of Chucky as being indestructible - and he produced Chuckies-children who laughed while they were murdering civilians with long knives (the same size as in the film) as well as with guns.

Taylor has two faces - like this double-faced puppet. And it is his murderous face that should interest Africa, the United States, the UN and the whole world that believes in human rights. Taylor turned democracy into its opposite. He wants to receive the fruits of democracy from the world, like a man who wants to receive life insurance settlement by killing his wife. His election was illegal because he did not allow any opposition in the counties he occupied (about 70% of Liberia) and because of the well calculated fear he spread among the population in order to force them to vote for him. So, I ask you and any interested person to see the film ''Chucky - Child's Play'', United Artists, David Kirschner production, (1989), featuring Karen Barclay, Mike Norris, and directed by Tom Holland; and to study Liberian history also under this aspect. More important are the conclusions out of this knowledge for the future.