Leymah Gobwee on Peace

Women wake up–you have a voice in the peace process!

Leymah Gobwee won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. Inspired by reading Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and theologian John Yoder, and Kenyan author Hizkias Assef, this mother of four brought the women of Liberia together to face down a corrupt government and end war.  Through public singing and praying in the fish market,  curses and sex strikes, and when the peace negotiations dragged on for months, blockading the men in the room until agreement was reached to end a fourteen year war that had seen boys forced to become soldiers and girls raped.

In her memoir Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War, she writes of the time when hundreds of women clad in white T-shirts and headbands sat in a soccer field that the president of Liberia drove by everyday:

And still we sat in the field.

We want peace, no more war.

Our children are dying–we want peace.

We are tired of suffering–we want peace.

We are tired of running–we want peace.

Sometimes a group of us left Monrovia to sit in solidarity with the women in the more distant internally displaced persons camps. “We must come together as women, as only women, the one thing we share that can never divide us,” we told them. “When a rich woman bathes, what does she see? Breasts. A vagina. When a poor woman bathes, what does she see? The same. When the soldiers come to rape, what do they look for? When children die, it is always the mothers who grieve.”

Before long, fifteen separate groups of women in nine different countries were dressing in white and sitting with placards demanding peace.

Excerpt from Mighty Be Our Powers p. 144

Learn more…

Watch this PBS Bill Moyer’s Journal video about Leymah Gwobee http://video.pbs.org/video/1157137218/

Watch the Movie Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Her Website http://leymahgbowee.com/

And…on September 21 International Day of Peace consider wearing white T-shirts and hair ribbons in solidarity with all the world’s women who fight for peace.

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