Movies — St. Thomas
The Forum presents “Pray the Devil Back To Hell,” an award-winning documentary on the heroic and successful struggle of the women of Liberia to end the violence of civil war.
The filmis the extraordinary story of a small band of Liberian women who came together in the midst of a bloody civil war, took on the violent warlords and corrupt Charles Taylor regime, and won a long-awaited peace for their shattered country in 2003.
As the rebel noose tightened upon Monrovia, and peace talks faced collapse, the women of Liberia – Christian and Muslims united - formed a thin but unshakable white line between the opposing forces and successfully demanded an end to the fighting -- armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions. In one remarkable scene, the women barricaded the site of stalled peace talks in Ghana and announced they would not move until a deal was done. Faced with eviction, they invoked the most powerful weapon in their arsenal – threatening to remove their clothes. It worked.
The women of Liberia are living proof that moral courage and non-violent resistance can succeed, even where the best efforts of traditional diplomacy have failed. Their demonstrations culminated in the exile of Charles Taylor and the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female head of state, and marked the vanguard of a new wave of women taking control of their political destiny around the world. This remarkable chapter of world history was on its way to being lost forever. The Liberian war and peace movement were largely ignored as the international press focused on Iraq. Moreover, the women's own modesty helped obscure this great accomplishment.
The film reconstructs the moment through interviews, archival footage and striking images of contemporary Liberia. It is compelling testimony to the potential of women worldwide to alter the history of nations.
After the film, there will be a panel discussion featuring Leyman Gbowee, one of the characters in the film, Milton Barnes, Liberian ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, and his wife, Dr. Dawn Cooper Barnes, the director of Liberia Renaissance Foundation. The discussion moderator will be Neil Prior, chairman of the Forum.
It will be shown at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, at Prior-Jollek Hall, Antilles campus. Tickets cost $25, which includes a $10 donation to the Liberia Renaissance Foundation. Teachers are charged $10 and students are free with ID. Tickets are on sale at Reichhold Center for the Arts, Dockside Bookshop, Interiors (Fort Mylner) and Home Again (Red Hook Plaza).