Sunday, November 11, 2012

Leymah Gbowee

Mary and Jan meet Leymah Gbowee at a UMC Peace with Justice event!  Hoping that they talked her into coming to Camphor Mission to work with the students there!

At the 2012 Peace Conference at Lake Junaluska, NC there were many interesting and thought-provoking speakers and workshop leaders.  My reason for attending, though, was because Leymah Gbowe was the featured speaker for Saturday evening of the weekend conference.  I had built up the importance of her appearance in my mind and was so excited when Saturday evening finally came that it could have easily been a disappointment and not lived up to my expectations.  Even after we were told she had been awake a full 24 hours because of travelling from West Africa, and her tired eyes and voice gave her weariness away, Leymah's talk was in no way a disappointment.  Her story of leading and working alongside Liberian women to end the atrocities and terror of Charles Taylor and 15 other factions raised in the upheaval, all warring with each other, was compelling and inspiring.  The theme of her talk was that most notorious leaders of evil and goodness, such as Mandella and Hitler alike, share anger.  Using a cup of water as an analogy that anger is like liquid that can be poured into different containers, containers of either hatred or peace, she told many stories of how the women she stood with in the peaceful movement to change Liberia poured their anger into containers of peace.  One woman while hand-feeding a soldier was asked by that man if her daughter had been killed, and when she answered yes he admitted the killer was himself.  The woman kept feeding him in the spirit of forgiveness because that was what their movement to end war and terror was about.  Yes, Leymah Gbowe made a difference in Liberia, Africa and now all over the world with her message of pouring your anger into a container of peace.

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