Saturday, January 31, 2009


"Pray the Devil Back to Hell"

“Pray the Devil Back to Hell” is a must-see documentary film about the unimaginable horrors of the recent civil war in Liberia and the heroic efforts of a Liberian Christian, Leymah Gbowee, to fulfill the dream of peace she had in 2003, by first organizing the women of her Lutheran church to pray for peace and then creating an all-women peace initiative, the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, that spread through both the Christian and Muslim faiths.

Tens of thousands of civilians had been slaughtered, rape was endemic, children were starving, and countless men, women and children had had their arms and legs intentionally hacked off in a brutal campaign of terror.

Thanks to the extraordinary courage of Ms. Gbowee and other Christian and Muslim Liberian women, a tentative peace was achieved, the brutal dictator Charles Taylor went into exile in Nigeria, and eventually, on January 16, 2006, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became president of Liberia, the first woman ever elected president of an African nation.

Bob Herbert writes about this story of courage in his op-ed piece, "A Crazy Dream," in the January 30, 2009, edition of The New York Times.

I can barely imagine where Leymah Gbowee gets her courage.

How many of us won’t even put a political bumper sticker on our car because we’re worried about what others might think, or that our car might get keyed?

We Americans sometimes criticize oppressed peoples for not standing up to their brutal dictators. But try to imagine taking action when the cost may be the torture, rape and slaughter of all those we love.

Ms. Gbowee, your photo should be in the dictionary next to the definition of courage.



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