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Charles Taylor in Liberia was an era of terror and bloodshed in a war-torn landscape. The administration was in constant battle with the LURD and its warlords in an unending struggle for power. The documentary ‘Pray the Devil Back to Hell’ chronicled the…
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The reign of Pres. Charles Taylor in Liberia was an era of terror and bloodshed in a war-torn landscape. The administration was in constant battle with the LURD and its warlords in an unending struggle for power. The documentary ‘Pray the Devil Back to Hell’ chronicled the role of women who cried for change and advocated for peace in their country. The experiences of the women and the atrocities they have witnessed compelled them to take matters to their own hands. It was in the halls of the church that they have devised a plea to be heard and call for peace talks to stop the war. The originally Christian women group knew that they have to encourage Muslim women to join their cause. Together they had forged a formidable alliance worthy of being noticed by the warring men.
Leymah Gbowee played the major role in the women’s peace movement through the group she had organized known as the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. She was designated as Coordinator of the group but in essence the entire movement was her brainchild. At one point during their protests, some went to the extent of calling her General Leymah and an encounter ensued for her to be arrested for obstruction of justice. Asatu Bah Kenneth played a vital role as a member of the Liberian National Police. Her position in the government made her a confidant on what is happening on the frontlines. It was upon the information she provided on April 1, 2003 that they became aware that the war had just reached its highest tension. Janet Johnson Bryant then became the next piece of the puzzle as journalist for Radio Veritas. The story became headline and the women’s movement was made known to a larger audience. The group decided to send Asatu and Etweda ‘Sugars’ to go to Sierra Leone where the rebels are to establish the group’s existence and assess the situation. The movement’s secretary, Vaiba Flome, was among the most determined and influential member of the group appealing to other women to assert their power and take it to the streets.
These women were able to show how peace could be possible and that it is important for women to take an active role when they see that something is awfully going awry in society. The women made ways to ensure that they are taken seriously. They enforced pacified and innovative ways such as the sex strike to get men to listen. The women flocking the streets in their white shirt and never backing down despite being undermined by the groups showed courage and fortitude. Their determination paved the way for the election Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first African woman president.
Disney, Abigail E, and Gini Reticker. Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Sausalito, Calif.?: Distributed by Roco Films Educational, 2008. Read More
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