I can't remember when was it the first time that I've read/heard a report about the war in Sierra Leone, but if my memory doesn't fail me, I've come into that subject something like one year ago. I was assisting to an open debate focussed on ethno-psychiatry and this psychopathologist started discussing about the whole problem of re-education of child combatants, about the myth of "magic/secret-societies", "initiation rites" and he closed speaking about war-crimes, violence and the psychological effects of it. I think if you ever had the chance to read, hear or see Meira Asher, you probably won't be surprised by the fact she's been confronting with such a touchy and uneasy (or I’d better say "uncomfortable") subject. This book is the "instruction manual" accompanying the installation Asher's been bringing around for quite a while and it also include an amount of pictures and informations to make everything clearer. "Face_WSLOT" could be appealing also for those who don’t know anything about this young artist, infact it includes a series of interesting essays from Guy Harries, plus several interventions written by experts and by some aid co-operator and so on.
The words of Yekutiel Gershoni (University of Tel Aviv) enlighten and makes intelligible the intricate political/economical dynamics that brought Sierra Leone into the abyss of such a tragic conflict. The most of the other articles discuss about the social impact of violence and about the abuses on females (indirectly showing how the weakest in general are always the real victims of the war).
The most copious section of the book and also the core of the performance itself is represented by the biographies of three women from there. The choice of translating the words of these women but at the same time of leaving it also in their original language, is meant (according to the discussion of the author with Guy Harry) to emphasize the fact recording, transcribing and translating a report implies a sort of reinterpretation. The books comes with a load of information about the post-war situation in Sierra Leone and various kind of appendixes. I will avoid to speak about the cd just for the fact you’ll read about it in the cd reviews but as you can easily imagine the music is complementary to the images of the performance and it gets clear while reading the written text. I guess if I say people like Meira Asher deserves your attention should be cheap and easy, but I think she embodies perfectly the fighting spirit of "angry women" like Lydia Lunch or Diamanda Galas but at the same time she’s able to remain personal and far from a cheesy clone. Some of the income generated by the sales of this cd-book is directed towards the support of third level education for Sierra Leone’s women. I think this book/project is definitely worth of of your attention.