The hunger for power can make men do atrocities and unthinkable actions that destroy others ‘dignity. During the Liberian War in the early 21st century people where replaced from their towns, women and children were raped, boys were taken as soldiers, families were destroyed, the population lived in fear and in deplorable ways. They were not treated as human beings.
Fortunately, there was a group of the population that took action. They did not share the same religious beliefs, or belonged to the same social group but what brought them together was peace. Peace for them, for their loved ones, and for their country: Liberia.
The Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace in Liberia, Africa brought an end to the second Liberian civil war 2003. Organized by social worker Leymah Gbowee, the movement started with thousands local women praying and singing in a fish market daily for months. Thousands of women mobilized their efforts, staged silent nonviolence protests that included a sex strike and the threat of a curse
Watching the documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” and watching how these women´s energy changed the story of a country made me realize how powerful we are. Carol Anderson and Patricia Shafer define authentic power as: “a passionate force of energy operating with crisp intention toward a clear objective”. These women showed us that nothing is impossible if you have the passion to achieve what you want.
This situation leads me to explore the type of leadership these women took and I found out that it matches exactly with the term of “citizen leadership”. This type of leadership was certain characteristics:
- Do not seek power:
They did not want to have power, the only thing they were asking for was peace, a country to live without violence, escaping, and hunger.
2. Outside formal politics:
They did politics in pushing the leaders to negotiate for peace because they wanted to ensure that human rights stop from being abused.
3. Critical thinkers and problem solvers
They found the best way to end war. They had a plan and took action when it was the right time.
4. Active and inspire action in others
More women joined the movement not mattering religious beliefs.
This women´s movement is a great example of how we must help each other, join our causes, support our gender, fight peacefully, do not surrender and give up. When we are united we are capable of stopping war, bringing families together, and look after our children´s fate.