There is a superstition, I hear, in west Africa that if a elder/married woman bares her backside at you, you will practically turn to stone or be so cursed that you are as good as dead.- men who are exposed are considered dead. No one will cook for them, marry them, enter into any kind of contract with them or buy anything from them according to Wikepedia. Well, today I learned how this and a threatened sex strike allowed a lady named Leymah Gbowee to strengthen a women's peace movement that successfully quelled the Second Liberian civil war leading to the end of the cruel dictatorship of Charles Taylor ... and brought to power Africas first democratically elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. A stirring documentary film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell released in 2010, highlights this saga, and its one film I intend to get my hands on this week.
Along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkol Karman, Madam Gbowee went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 for her " non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".
Nobel Laureate Madam Leymah is currently in Sri Lanka and will be participating with the Association of War Affected Women in presenting a Sri Lankan Women's Agenda for Peace Security and Development to the Government of Sri Lanka, in Kandy today.
When we asked the charming Leymah what her message was to the women of Sri Lanka, her answer was simple " Put aside your differences, of ethnicity, religion, caste, class, and stand together to demand what is right for this country and for your children!"