In 1989 Charles Taylor began the Civil War in Liberia. He served as President of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, when he resigned amid accusations of war crimes, and from international and internal pressure. Much of this was due to the efforts of Leymah Gbowee and the Liberian women's peace movement, which brought Christian and Muslim women together. They had pray-ins and sex strikes and created international pressure that could not be ignored.
Liberia was the first African nation to elect a woman president--Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Without the women's peace movement, her election would not have been possible.
Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a segment from the PBS mini-series Women War and Peace, and has the same name as the feature-length documentary about the Liberian women's peace movement.
Leymah Gbowee and the women of the Liberian women's peace movement are inspiring. With International Women's Day coming up (Tomorrow, March 8!) it's hard to believe that even with their international fame and acclaim (Gbowee won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize), many people don't know about the women's movement's success in creating peace in Liberia.
One of the issues in studying international politics is that a lot of the focus goes to studies of war. This is, of course, important. Understanding war can help prevent war. However, there needs to be more attention given to the examples of successful peace. Gbowee is an inspiration not only for her impact in Liberia, but that she helped end a war peacefully. Why can't more leaders think about conflicts in these terms?