Leymah Gbowee: Leading Women in Liberia to Stop a War
by Karolyn Hart
I sat mesmerized watching my local PBS station. Bill Moyers was interviewing a woman named Leymah Gbowee. I had been channel-surfing when her presence leaped out at me. Something about the way she held herself told me I needed to tune in and I wasn’t wrong.
Who is Leymah Gbowee?
She is the woman who single-handily lead an entire war-torn nation to peace. She took on the warlord Charles Taylor and managed to get him to agree to peace talks in Ghana. A Christian woman she reached out and brought churches together and began issuing a series of calls for peace. From there she reached out to the Muslim organizations and together the Christian and Muslim women brought peace to Liberia. Abigail Disney did an entire movie on her life called “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” and received numerous awards including the Blue Ribbon for Peace by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She has also been chosen as a recipient of the 2009 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.There is something in my soul that awakens when I read about what Leymah did for her country. Such bravery! Such courage! Such humility! As I sit in the comfort of my life in North America I am so far removed from the challenges and fights that my sisters around the world must face. This past holiday season I am embarassed to say that the “biggest fight” some of my Christian sisters faced was sending around emails telling people to keep “Christ in Christmas”. I mean no disrespect to those that are passionate on that topic, but how blessed are we that this is our biggest concern? We do not wake up each day wondering what to eat instead we count calories as we determine how much to eat. We do not wake up in the morning knowing we will hear of a friend or classmate who is gone and their entire family slaughtered along with them. We simply wonder when we can next get together for lunch.Our world, here in North America, is one of abundance. A wealth of blessings beyond measure that include peace and liberty. As Leymah explains that women in her country understand that death, at one point, was better than life I sit dumbfounded staring at the television.
What can we learn from Leymah?
I was captivated by the fact that Leymah accomplished all she did and it started with a dream. One where she was told to get the women of the Church together to pray for peace. As she thought about that dream more ideas kept coming. Interestingly, Leymah explains in an interview that when she had that dream she felt “oddly placed” and was sure she was the “wrong person for the job”. She was also terrified and resisted being placed into a leadership position.
Source: Thrive Magazine: by Karolyn Hart: http://www.livewiththrive.com/change-the-world/leymah-gbowee/