Leymah Roberta Gbowee, A Lutheran Liberian peace activist, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in the non-violent peace movement in Liberia. Her beginnings in this movement began in 2002, when she sat daily with thousands of women praying for peace. The war in Liberia has raged on for 14 years and these women were tired of being raped, while their men died and their children were taken by soldiers.
Gbowee is trained as a trauma counselor and worked with ex-child soldiers. It was this work that led her to become a spokeswoman for the peace protest. She said, “If any changes were to be made in society it had to be by the mothers.” The women kept coming and their voices were finally heard. In 2003, hundreds of women, including Gbowee, went to Monrovia’s City Hall demanding an end to the war. They continued to protest until their voices were heard. They gave the three warring factions three days to deliver an unconditional ceasefire and begin peace talks. They got what they asked for and the Accra Peace Accord was signed in Ghana.
Gbowee’s story is told in her recently published memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War. A documentary about her work has also been produced, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.”
The Nobel Peace Prize website lists this as the prize motivation, “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for the women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
Leymah Roberta Gbowee knew in her heart that something had to be done to save her people. She was not afraid to stand up for what she knew was right. As it says in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (NRSV) Gbowee has done just that, along with hundreds of women who knew it would take the mothers to bring about peace.