As Africa's first female elected head of state, one might expect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to sympathise with those who suffer discrimination and persecution. As the joint winner of the 2011 Nobel peace prize, one might expect her to champion tolerance and understanding. No doubt Tony Blair's foundation, Africa Governance Initiative, which supports her government's efforts to rebuild war-torn Liberia, would expect her to speak up for human rights.
Well, perhaps not all human rights. The Guardian yesterday released footage of this excruciating moment in a joint interview with Blair, when a young interviewer challenges Sirleaf about Liberia's anti-gay laws. Currently, Liberians convicted of "voluntary sodomy" face up to a year in prison, and new legislative proposals seek to mandate much harsher punishments. Worse than Sirleaf's halting defence of legalised bigotry may be Blair's stonewalling: