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The Power of Peace
Transcript of The Power of Peace
Leymah Gbowee, Liberian Peace Activist
2011 Noble Peace Prize
First-Elected Female President in Africa
Tawakkul Karman, Leymah Gbowee ,Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
continued to work with the ex-child soldiers and terrorists
"She is our mama."
gives international talks on empowerment and peace
"Women, War & Peace" - series on PBS http://www.pbs.org/wnet/women-war-and-peace/
screenings of documentary allowed widespread global recognition of movement
15 Years of Liberian Civil War
Government factions vs. Rebel forces
Gap between rich and poor
Ethnic group hatred
Control of natural resources (food, clean water, health care)
Later convicted of war crimes & crimes against humanity
Living in fear and poverty, no outlet
270 thousand citizens killed
Thousands mutilated by limb-chopping rebels
80% of Liberians evicted from homes
LURD “ Liberians United for Reconciliation Democracy
Rebel group wanting to overthrow Taylor for being denied a role in his government
Used children to aide in war
motivated by GREED, WEALTH, and POWER
Started with social worker,
Women of Liberia reached their limits
Christian and Muslim women
in a movement
strength and power
in each other
Went into the war camps, giving witnessing to the movement, listened to the war stories
Giving up was not an option, peace was the only way their families would survive
were nonpartisan, simple and clear”
Government and rebels must declare an immediate “cease of fire”
Government and rebels must meet and talk
An intervention force must be deployed to Liberia
Women's Peace Initiative
Taylor claimed to be a religious man, "He could pray the devil out of hell"
Women were praying the devil
back to hell
Women pressured the Pastors and Bishops,
Pastors and Bishops pressure the governmental leaders to bring about change.
Women worshiping in the Mosque were encouraged to join the movement for peace.
Take it to the Church
Taking it Public
(Process of Pain)
Between singing, chanting, and protesting women decided to have a sex strike.
Men were guilty and perpetrators of violence either by commission and/or omission
Denied their husbands sex declaring if they had any power in stopping the war, then they needed to do something
Caused husbands to join in prayer with them because an end to the war meant an end to the sex strike
Mission in the Home
“Sudden rain brings the sheep and goat under the same shed.”-Liberian Proverb
No Longer Ignored...
A DEMAND, Not an Appeal
Tubman Boulevard Protest (April 1st)
Goal: enforce peace not politics (nonviolent protest)
Risk: being beaten, tortured, raped, and/or killed by Taylor's security and Anti-Terrorist Unit (women were willing to die for peace)
Broadcasted on radio, 1000s gathered under the sun, in central location where Monrovians and Taylor would pass by daily
Protestors wore white t-shirts with WIPNET (The Women in Peacebuilding Network) logo
Biblical reference to Esther ("sackcloth and ashes")
Nonpartisan posters (couldn't be persecuted)
Peace: The Ultimate Goal
"We want peace, no more war"
Our children are dying
we want peace
We are tired suff'ring -
we want peace
We are suff'ring
we want peace
We are tired running -
we want peace
New Reality, New Power
“reminds us of the incredible power available to the most ordinary of people if they are willing to act with courage and unwavering commitment.” - Bob Herbert, New York Times Columnist
“In the past we were silent, but after being killed, raped, dehumanized, and infected with diseases, and watching our children and families destroyed, war has taught us that the future lies in saying NO to violence and YES to peace! We will not relent until peace prevails." -
“Can a bullet pick and choose? No, it just kills! Does it know who is Christian or Muslim? No it just kills!”
“for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to fully participation in peace-building work.”