From Satan’s Phone-Pal to God’s Warrior – The Strange and Surreal Story of General Butt Naked

By W.D. Noble

War, Cannibalism, Pink Purses, and the End Time Train Evangelistic Ministries….

His real name is Joshua Blahyi.

He was born sometime around 1970, and had what passed for a normal childhood in Liberia during the presidency of William Tolbert. Tolbert was one of the ‘Liberian Elite’; descendants of the original repatriates during the Monroe Administration. At this point, the capital, Monrovia, had modern services (electricity; clean water; sewers) plus kept a lid on unrest.

Tired of the ‘few’ owning most of everything in Liberia (a lesson learned well from their American forbears), a Liberian master-sergeant, Samuel Doe, took power in a well-staged coup in 1980.

It was around this time that Joshua Blahyi got a phone-call.

Blahyi, a member of the Krahn tribe, had been named a tribal elder and a priest at the tender age of ten. This gave his next statements some credence, at least among the folks in the rural Liberian village in the eastern part of the country he called home.

He claims that Satan called him on the phone and told him to raise an army.

This, he did – first, among his boyhood friends; then among the surrounding countryside. What Blahyi probably didn’t know was that this was going on all over the country; small-time ‘leaders’ building power-bases which could be used to further their own economic gain through the application of military muscle.

One thing which wasn’t lacking in Liberia was firepower. Soviet and Chinese-made AK47’s could be had for US $10/each; ammunition included (RPG’s and artillery were a little more expensive). The diamond trade was in full-swing, and the local warlords who held a piece of this lucrative but destructive business made good money, in a hurry. Blahyi was no exception to this.

Now-President Doe, favoring authoritarianism, suppressed the media and arrested anyone he believed was a ‘socialist’ – which was anyone who opposed him. His methods led to a brief counter-coup after the first post-Doe-coup elections in 1985 (held to legitimize his rule; every political observer worth a damn agreed that the Other Guy had won, but Doe stayed in office anyway, his position secured by the military).

In 1989, the civil war in Liberia began. It was tailor-made for a man like Blahyi.

Blahyi and over twenty other small-time warlords jumped into the fray with their child-armies, supporting a rebel leader named Roosevelt Johnson against another man named Charles Taylor; it was then that Blahyi received one of many ‘visions from Satan’ in which he was told that to fully serve his new spiritual ‘master’, he had to fight naked.

Yep – naked.

No one in Africa leads a rebel faction without a pseudonym. Among other things, it’s far too easy for the UN to find someone later, if they’ve used their real name to commit atrocities. Also, pseudonyms are useful in striking terror into the hearts and minds of civilians, most of whom have never seen a radio, let alone a man wearing nothing but lace-up combat boots and an AK47.

There was a General Rambo (for obvious reasons). A General Mosquito (because mosquitoes carry disease, and there’s no such thing as insect-control in Liberia) was also a warlord and truly frightening character. The man who opposed him (fighting on the government side) was General Mosquito-Spray.

Also of note were General Peanut-Butter; General Fuck-Me-Quick; General Housebreaker, and General No-Ma-No-Pa (after a campaign slogan by Doe’s opponent, Charles Taylor).

As odd as all this might sound, it makes perfect sense in the sociopolitical climate of West Africa – and General Butt Naked fit right in.

“So, before leading my troops into battle, we would get drunk and drugged up, sacrifice a local teenager, drink their blood, then strip down to our shoes and go into battle wearing colourful wigs and carrying dainty purses we’d looted from civilians. We’d slaughter anyone we saw, chop their heads off and use them as soccer balls. We were nude, fearless, drunk and homicidal. We killed hundreds of people – so many I lost count.” – General Butt Naked

The first civil war ground on until 1990, when several African national organizations and the U.N. intervened to put an end to things. A subordinate of Charles Taylor, Prince Johnson, captured Doe outside Monrovia, and in a well-distributed video, drank beer behind the man’s desk while his troops carved him up, and ate him. Rumors persist that Johnson also partook of Doe; literally.

Meanwhile, Taylor’s rule was marked by more authoritarianism and mass-murder. This led to the second civil war in 1999.

The fighting, always severe, moved into Monrovia-proper in 2003, where it continued for the better part of a year. During this time, most of the city’s infrastructure was destroyed. Eventually, Taylor was deposed, seeking asylum in Nigeria. The U.N. moved in as a peacekeeping force, and the era of the warlords was over.

Our friend General Butt Naked, along with his protégés and opposite-numbers, had to find another way to make a living.

It was about this time that he received another phone-call – this time, it was from Jesus, who told him to change his ways. Blahyi traveled to Nigeria, where he attended a ‘seminary’ and received a ‘diploma’ – returning to Liberia, Blahyi founded the End Time Train Evangelistic Ministries.

In testimony to the Liberian congress in 2008, Blahyi stated that he and his men had killed no less than 20,000 people, but that ‘Satanic influences’ had driven them to this, and that they could not be held responsible.

At this point, there are no plans to do more than let the former General Butt Naked shuck-and-jive his particular brand of Christianity – and while most believe that Blahyi is doing this to avoid war-crimes indictments, the locals seem to have largely forgotten the crimes of a teenager during the Liberian civil wars.

Especially one who fought butt-naked.

(Financed by the Sundance Institute, a documentary entitled “The Redemption of General Butt Naked” is scheduled for release in 2011)


About astranavigo

Astra is one of the clever monkeys occupying space on the Third Planet From The Sun. While it was an early wish of Astra's to be one of the first to go to Proxima Centauri, he knows this is not to be; instead, you can find him here (some of the time) using simple tools to create communication. Holding up a mirror and saying 'Looky! Mistofer Emperor! Y'ain't wearin' no clothes!" is but one of the services he provides here. Others are subverting prevailing wisdom, peeing in people's Cheerios, trashing on their Imaginary Friends (he does this a lot,) and shifting paradigms without benefit of a clutch. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he hopes he'll never have to learn the true meaning of some of his dystopian fiction.

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18 Comments on “From Satan’s Phone-Pal to God’s Warrior – The Strange and Surreal Story of General Butt Naked”

  1. Who says there’s no humor to be found in mass slaughter, rape and pillage? The thought of such acts being committed by naked people in wigs with pink purses had me laughing out loud!

  2. Chris, that’s why the story intrigued me so much when I first heard about it — you can’t make this stuff up; you really can’t.

    Not even the U.N. has investigated the guy – because he’s one of the closest things to a ‘humanitarian’ they have right now, and doing so would be vastly unpopular. If anything, the guy’s charismatic in the extreme.

    Who would have thought that you could (1) get a phone-call from ‘satan’; (3) run around wearing a wig, a pink purse and an AK, shooting people at random; (4) get a call from ‘jesus’, telling you to go-straight, then (4) make a fortune as an evangelist.

    Pat Robertson has a thing or two about a thing or two to learn from this guy.

    As I said earlier – you can’t make this stuff up; you really can’t….

    -W

  3. He is now really not that much different from such people as Rick Warren and a great number of other “Christian” charlatans who get rich doing the same thing, but with less flair. We have had serial “evangelistic” proclaimers of end times since Billy Sunday; he probably wants to tap into Christian charities that believe in redemption obtained only by confessing sins and proclaiming Jesus as their personal savior. Given a choice would the “historical” Jesus have died for this guys sins?

  4. Will, are you confusing Prince Johnson with Roosevelt Johnson? They were both Liberian warlords, but Prince Johnson was the guy who captured Samuel Doe,”interrogated” him (kneeling on the floor begging for his life while Johnson swilled beer; check this video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFdCcRsKxYg ), cut off his ears and then finally killed him. Prince Johnson is now a Liberian senator.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Johnson

    The Liberian Civil Wars (more than one of them) and the related Sierra Leone Civil War served as inspiration for a trilogy of stories I wrote set in the fictional African state of Bisaria. Maybe Subversify might be interested in them someday.

  5. You handled the story delightfully, Will, blending the bizarre and barbaric with the political atmosphere. They must have been a terrifying group. If General Butt Naked is the closest thing they have to a humanitarian, i shudder. As far as the religious fervor goes, there’s no greater alibi for covering a wicked past than saying you’ve discovered Jesus. It’s kind of weird how it works, but it seems that the more you have sinned, the more you are loved when you’re accepted into the fold.

  6. Bill — I believe I stated pretty clearly that it was Prince Johnson who did the eating. Scary video; I’ve seen it. Johnson literally filmed it for posterity. Roosevelt Johnson was a ‘candidate’ (a higher-level thug, really) – I guess it all boils down to who gives the orders vs. who does the fighting.

    Karla — While religion was an undercurrent of this tale (it’s never far from anything, I’ve discovered), it wasn’t the main story. Still – once a person loses the pink purse, the wig, the AK, and puts on some clothes, what are they to do? I’ve often thought that I’d make the perfect evangelist, myself – all I’d have to do is abandon any shred of morality, and care only about money – sort of like Marjoe Gortner in the old days.

  7. Bill I believe the Author is correct, It was “Prince Johnson” who did the eating it was well documented due the fact that the Coup was televised, every press outlet in the world had been invited.

    Also I wouldn’t take at face value anything written on Wikipedia about Liberia, Liberian Warlords rewrite history, at the original Coup countless artifacts and documents were destroyed and “replaced” by the new administration. This was repeated when Gen. Butt Naked came in. I have no doubt they write whatever they want on the pages of Wikipedia.

    Religion is such an interesting thing in Liberia. It was before the unrest a Protestant Christian Country, everyone went, the old and the poor, but it was like a tent revival with walls and in the hills they never gave up their own rituals like sacrifice, fortune telling, dreamseeking and flesh eating. It was this tradition that Gen. Butt Naked comes from and He was told by the local “Heartman” or head Witchdoctor that he and his troops would be sucessful and not die if they wore ladies clothes and he went naked. And who’s to say it didn’t work, certainly gave them confidence.

    There is so much of interest in this situation in Liberia, even we the U.S. seem to have had a hand in it. The esteemable Pres. Jimmy Carter turned his back to the ruling class at just the right min. for the Coup, a Coup which never would have happened if the President’s elevator was in working condition. It has been postulated that Pres. Carter thought trade would be cheaper with the new administration, too bad all those cameras were there.

    As for how Gen. Butt Naked has re-packaged himself. I suspect the U.N. doesn’t investigate him for two reasons, they all ignored him the whole time this was occuring and knew absolutely it was happening, in a way the world is complicit. Also, they have to work with him, there is no other choice at this point because things there are so dire.

    A Rick Warren this guy is not, This is a much more dangerous fellow.

  8. I remember Charles Taylor sent his daughters to Delhi to “study” because allegedly India was the nation where women were faithful and remained virgins till marriage. I wonder where he got that from. The girls – they were interviewed by a newspaper – simply wallowed in money and lived it up, up, up; and forget studies,of course. They didn’t even pretend.

  9. And do you have any information about General Fuck-Me-Quick? I can’t rest till I find out something more about him…

    I’ll be submitting the Bisaria trilogy (so far; I’ll quite likely add more to the series in future) to Subversify, along with a couple of stories set in Rwanda.

  10. Great article W.D., it’s tough to tackle that kinda horrid reality, well researched and quite thorough at that, but some references might have been nice (where did you find all the freak General names?). Anyway, cheers!

  11. Raven, thanks for the vote of confidence!

    The “General” names were in a reference article; there wasn’t much more about either ‘character’; just the names – I picked the most-outrageous ones in the spirit of “you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up”….

    -W

  12. Oh, by the way, will, while trying to research more about General Fuck-Me-Quick (to no effect except a vague reference that he was a teenager, that he came to a sticky end, and that he and “Babykiller” used to man roadblocks decorated with human heads and entrails) I came across this page:

    http://forum.ebaumsworld.com/showthread.php?t=110315

    which should be good for a few more laughs.

  13. Bill, why is it that no one ever really aims an AK?

    I’ve always wondered that — any time I see one used (say, in a news report), it’s always like your photolink describes so well.

    Words fail – at least; this time…..

    -W

  14. I believe this is because they learn the art of war from playing Grand Theft Auto…no joke.

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