Saturday, December 6, 2008
Pray the Devil Back to Hell
When a small African country Liberia is mentioned, the images of bloody war, ruthless child soldiers, uncontrollable chaos, and devastated refugees might come to our mind. Indeed, Liberians suffer years of civil wars. The battles destroyed Liberia's economy and the lives of Liberia people.
A new documentary "Pray the Devil Back to Hell" (USA 2008, 72 min.) tells a little known remarkable story about how a group of courageous women altered Liberian's history by staging endless non-violent protests.
Through emotional interviews and archival footage, the film displays the unimaginable devastation of the war upon the Liberian people, especially women and children. Tired of suffering and running, a group of women led by Leymah Gbowee decided to stage protests at local markets. Women from all backgrounds, including different religions, continued their protests day after day wearing their white T-shirts.
Miraculously, these women were able to persuade the war lords and Liberian's president Charles Taylor to come to a peace talk. When the peace talk stalled, these women went one step further by staging a sit-in at the peace talk hotel. Eventually the peace talk resulted in the exile of the president and civil war ended in Liberia.
Before watching this film, I certainly did not know how peace in Liberia was reached and how the war was ended. While I appreciate this extraordinary story, I wish the film had explored more about how women from different religions come together to protest and tells me where all the men were when these women were protesting.
Knowing how brutal and ruthless Liberia's civil war is, it is really hard to believe how these brave women have made the history simply by singing, dancing, and "sitting" around with their white T-shirts.
Does anyone want to end the war in Iraq? Learn from these women, get a T-shirt and stage a protest. Anything is possible.