On the eve of International Women’s Day, I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” hosted by our friends at CARE. This bold film is the first in “Women, War and Peace,” a special five-part series on PBS that challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain.
“Pray the Devil Back to Hell” tells the story of Liberian women unified to restore peace once again to their country by fashioning gallant demonstrations and assembling communal prayer. Their reconciliation efforts were directed toward the violent warlords and Charles Taylor’s corrupt regime, which had inflicted grievances on Liberia for several years.
A notable leader in the Woman in Peace building Network (WIPNET) was Leymah Gbowee, recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman. Under the leadership of Leymah, WIPNET forced a meeting with Charles Taylor, further compelling him to attend peace talks in Ghana. As a result, Leymah and her gang of wives and mothers pressured the leaders of the Ghana peace negotiations to arrive at quick and just conclusions.
The demonstrations of these women led to the exile of Charles Taylor and paved the way for the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state. The courage of the Liberian women set the stage for women taking control of political outcomes, and they are evidence that nonviolent resistance can succeed.
Shayne Moore, a longtime ONE member and ONE Mom, had the chance to interview the director of the film, Abby Disney, after the screening. In her interview, Abby describes the filming process as experiencing a fleet of women, young and old, Christian and Muslim, rising up in a collective voice and network to combat the atrocities in their country with incredible courage and imagination. Check out more of the interview here: