Nobel Prize for Liberian
- Created: Tuesday, 11 October 2011 12:50
Here is something to celebrate. In fact three lives to celebrate - those of the three women who jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. One of them is Leymah Gbowee, aged 39, for her work in mobilizing women from across Liberia's ethnic and religious divides.
Born in a village in central Liberia in 1972, she is married to Liberian IT consultant Gay Fatormah and has six adopted and biological children.
She lived through the two civil wars which her country endured. In Liberia, 4% of fighters were women. Others were the mothers, wives and sisters of the men doing the fighting. Women (often the same women) were the victims of a war which saw high levels of physical and sexual violence. She trained as a trauma counsellor, working among girls and women raped by militiamen. She saw how women needed to have more influence for the good.
In 2002, she started a peaceful campaign to oust (now ex-) President Charles Taylor when she brought thousands of women together to protest in the capital, Monrovia, helping to push Mr Taylor out of power and end the conflict. When Mr Taylor flew to Ghana's capital Accra for peace talks, the women followed him to continue their protests. He is now on trial at The Hague on war crimes charges.
They called for an end to Liberia's brutal 14-year civil war. One of the most visible protests started in 2003 was an almost permanent prayer meeting on a football field on the edge of Liberia's capital, Monrovia, Amid the shells and bullets, they prayed and protested for days on end, demanding that the conflict between former President Charles Taylor and rebel forces stop. Mrs Gbowee even suggested that women might go on a sex strike in a bid to bring the warring men to their senses. Their message to the men would be that they cannot go and kill mothers and daughters and then come home to expect sex.
Mrs Gbowee became more politically active, to ensure women's participation in elections, when the war ended in 2003.
Source (BBC): Leymah Gbowee - Liberia's 'peace warrior'