Today the ladies of the GLP program and myself watched a movie called “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” a documentary film directed by Gini Reticker. The movie was about the Civil War that took place in Monrovia, Liberia under the presidency of Charles Taylor from 1999-2003. Liberia under Taylor was chaos to say the least, there was a lack of food, security and economic stability for its people. To add gasoline to the already burning flame Taylors army were terrorizing the men, women and children of Monrovia. The group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), sought to over-through Taylor and his army, the LURD’s where also terrorizing the citizens of Monrovia. Tension in Liberia rose as the civil war between LURD and Taylor’s forces continued.
The war was getting out of hand and the people mainly the women had reached their tipping point, they could no longer sit with their hands tied and allow the chaos to continue. There was two main religious group in Liberia that were involved in the civil war, the Muslim group (LURD) and Christian group (Taylor’s Forces). Though the women that belonged to these two different religious sects practiced different faiths, they had common problems. The saying goes “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Since both groups of women were sick and tired of seeing their daughters raped, husbands slaughtered and villages raided they banded together to seek peace for their people. As a result a peace movement called Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace (WLMAP) was created.
The women were resourceful in their tactics to gain peace in liberia. They gathered a group of women to protest on a major street in which they new that the president frequently pasted by. They were persistent and waited weeks until the president would meet with them. The women also utilized a connection that they had in the radio industry who communicated the women’s protests to the public. Also they had an ally/fellow protestor on the inside (Asatu Bah Kenneth) who was a security/law enforcer who let them know where the soldiers were mobilizing, this was key in keeping many women and children safe during the protest. The women protestors were lead by Leymah Gbowee. The WLMAP were able to eventually get both armies at war to sit down and sign a peace treaty that ended the war and exiled Charles Taylor to Nigeria.
The significance of these women in ending the civil war was paramount. These women had no personal gain for seeking peace, they had no desire to have power but simply saw an injustice that effected their families and stopped at nothing to cease it. Their non-violence movement was effective because of several reasons 1) violence dose not solve problems but creates more conflict (this was the second civil war in liberia which was a result of the first) 2) The women were compassionate and forgiving of the men/child soldiers that had once raided and killed their families(forgiveness/compassion is a trait that makes women great/effective leaders) 3) They were able to cure the animosity of both groups at war with love and compassion, this became a long lasting antidote.
Women in leadership is important. It is mind blowing what passionate women, who band together can do WITHOUT VIOLENCE. Women tend to be more wiling to work together, do not have ego’s or seek social change for personal gain. With more women in leadership roles there will be less corruption and more focus on our future; education, sustainable agriculture, health care and stimulating the economy.
If you have not had a chance to watch the documentary “Pray the Devil back to Hell”. I strongly recommend it to everyone regardless of your race, gender or ethnicity. This movie was very motivational to me in many ways. Below is a link to a youtube clip that features a trailer of the movie: