'Guided by the Hand of God': Liberian Women Peacemakers and Civil War
The Review of Faith & International Affairs, pp. 23-29, Spring 2010
7 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2010
Faith and prayers played an integral part in the peace efforts by individuals, organizations, and religious institutions in Liberia during the1989-2003 civil war. Religious leaders critical of the government had their lives and church properties threatened by Doe and Taylor and this resulted in many religious leaders playing a less prominent role in the peace process. But there were exceptions. For instance, Archbishop Michael Francis defied threats and voiced Liberian citizens’ longings for peace and for greater respect of human rights. The Catholic Church also organized a nationwide reporting system on abuses and broadcast findings via a church radio station until it was destroyed. Beyond these examples of clerical/institutional leadership, it is important to also acknowledge and understand the roles that religious laywomen played as grassroots activists for peace. The effect of women’s peacemaking activities and the religious community on the peace process is difficult to determine. What is clear, however, is that female peacemakers systematically pressured rebel leaders to stop the carnage and prompted additional media attention at home and abroad to the war and its effects. The peacemaking efforts in Liberia provide encouraging evidence of the power of hope and faith to enable people from all segments of society to stand up and oppose evil despite the difficulties and risks.
Keywords: Libera, war, civil society, women's movements, non-violent resistance, resistance, social movement, faith, religion, prayer, women, activists, activism, human rights, democracy, civil war, conflict, peacebuilding
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