We watched the outstanding documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell last Saturday completely oblivious to an event happening this week in Norway. It is an inspiring story of the fight to stop the war in Liberia during the early years of last decade. It is a story of strong women taking a stand against violence in their country; of their heroic and ultimately successful struggle to end the civil war.
The following day the Nobel Peace Prize was presented in Oslo. Somehow, while travelling in the U.K., we’d missed the announcement of the 2011 winners. British television, much less the tabloid TV, didn’t seem interested in overseas stories, good news or both. The BBC was obsessed with court circuses: the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor and Amanda Knox’s murder appeal in Italy.
Two of the three recipients are Liberian women: Leymah Gbowee of Woman in Peace building Network (WIPNET) and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The third is Tawakkol Karman , a journalist from Yemen and co-founder of Women Journalists Without Chains and leading activist in the uprising early this year. According to Wikipedia she is ‘the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize and the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date’.
In her address Leymah Gbowee expressed sentiments that the three winners share:
"This prize could not have come at a better time than this; a time when global and community conversations are about how local community members and unarmed civilians can help turn our upside-down World, right-side up. It has come at a time when unarmed citizens — men and women, boys and girls — are challenging dictatorships and ushering in democracy and the sovereignty of people;
Yes! It has come at a time when in many societies where women used to be the silent victims and objects of men's powers, women are throwing down the walls of repressive traditions with the invincible power of non-violence. Women are using their broken bodies from hunger, poverty, desperation and destitution to stare down the barrel of the gun. This prize has come at a time when ordinary mothers are no longer begging for peace, but demanding peace, justice, equality and inclusion in political decision-making."
if you get a chance to see Pray the Devil Back to Hell, don’t miss it. You can get more information by clicking the link.
The lyrics from the classic song ‘We shall not be moved’ seem highly appropriate with just one change: ‘We're sisters together’.
We shall not be moved.
On the road to freedom
We shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's standing by the water side,
We shall not be moved.