Film Chronicles Liberian Women’s Faith-Based Peace Movement

November 17, 2008

Author: Jennifer Hahn

Source: Religion News Service

For 13 years, Leymah Gbowee watched as her native Liberia devolved into an earthly hell. Violence, rape, and murder had become part of daily life as violent warlords battled the country's equally depraved president over control of a nation once founded in peace by freed American slaves.

Then one night, Gbowee had a dream that she should gather a group of women together to pray for peace. And from that dream the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a movement of ordinary Christian and Muslim women, rose up to help put an end to Liberia's civil war.

The new documentary feature, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," chronicles how this interfaith group of women became the conscience of their nation, convincing President Charles Taylor and the warlords alike to attend peace talks in Ghana in 2003 and shaming them into action when those talks stalled.

Despite their significant role in the peace process, however, the story of the women peace warriors remained virtually untold internationally until producer Abigail E. Disney and director Gini Reticker decided to reconstruct their journey through archival footage, interviews, and present-day video of the country.

The film premiered here Friday (Nov. 14) and is currently making the rounds of local film festivals.