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Helene Cooper

  • A Liberian funeral is something like an Indian wedding, an Irish wake, and a British coronation rolled into one. Entire churchloads of people holler, bawl, and sing for hours on end, wailing at the passing of the dearly departed. Long-winded sermons are punctuated by piercing screams from designated mourners scattered throughout the church.

  • A typical Liberian graveside ceremony is almost always accompanied by a woman, usually not even a member of the immediate family, who throws herself on top of the coffin in the grave, begging to be buried, too, so great is her grief. 'You'all leamme here, oh!' she yells, as weary pallbearers climb in to extract her. 'My people, jes leave me!'

Helene Cooper, Liberian-born U.S. journalist, foreign correspondent

(1966)

Helene Calista Esmeralda Esdolores Dennis Cooper.