The tyrant of Liberia is dead. The people are no better off. Monrovia, the capital city, has ceased to function. Three armies are in the field, four if the little band of loyalists holed up in the presidential mansion is considered. Four men claim to be president. Fighting goes on.
When 28-year-old Sgt. Samuel Doe and a few privates seized power accidentally in 1980 and then murdered the cabinet, some revolutionary meaning could be attributed. The native peoples who were always held down, always second class, had overthrown the Americo-Liberian oligarchy, descendants of the Americans who had settled in Liberia in the mid-19th century.
But the Doe regime never lived up to any purpose. Mr. Doe's Krahn tribe was top dog, and that was it. Liberia descended into worse oligarchy and poverty. A revolution today against all that could have some purpose. But it does not appear that clear vision governs the rebel armies.