“The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three campaigning women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa’s first elected female president — her compatriot, peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner” according to the New York Times.
The Rev. Theodora N. Brooks, Clergy Deputy from the Diocese of New York and “one darn proud Liberian woman” comments:
I am deeply honored to be a witness and testify about the amazing power of God! We have come a long way – from the dark days of the senseless 14 year civil war that claimed the lives of over 200,000 of our sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and children; the horrible images of child soldiers armed and drugged, boys and men in wigs and night gowns; the destruction of our infrastructure, etc., to this day.
This only confirms that with God all things are indeed possible and that God is able to raise up leaders and use each person for the greater good of God’s children and the world He has so lovingly created.
I ask your prayers for a peaceful election in Liberia as our sisters and brothers go to the polls on Tuesday the 11th. to vote in the Presidential election.
From the NYTimes:
In Liberia, Ms. Gbowee, 39, was cited by the Nobel committee for uniting Christian and Muslim women against her country’s warlords. As head of the Women for Peace movement, she was praised for mobilizing women “across ethic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war” that raged for years in Liberia until its end in 2003 and for ensuring “women’s participation in elections.”
Her organization was founded in 2002 when Ms. Gbowee rallied women to sing and pray to protest fighting in a fish market.
In Yemen, Ms. Karman has been widely known as a vocal opponent of the pro-American regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh since 2007, heading a human rights advocacy group called Women Journalists Without Chains. But it was only earlier this year — before the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt had gained momentum — that her readiness to take to the streets inspired thousands more in Yemen to do the same.
Her brief arrest by the authorities in January incensed many people and is credited by some analysts in Yemen with starting the widespread protests that have convulsed the impoverished land since. Some of her supporters have labeled her “The Mother of Revolution.”
As the prize was announced, Bushuben Keita, a spokesman for Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party, declared: “We are dancing. This is the thing that we have been saying, progress has been made in Liberia. We’ve come through 14 years of war and we have come to sustained peace.
BBC report is here.
Huffington Post writer Katherine Marshall says “Hallelujah! The Nobel Prize Committee Blesses Feisty Spiritual Women”:
Both Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee are part of what has become the Liberian legend of women seizing the initiative for peace. Neither of them fell into the trap of ignoring the power of religion. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf gave powerful witness to women’s roles and their deep spiritual motivation at the Washington National Cathedral when it set out in 2007 to create an alliance of women and religion for peace and development. And Leymah Gbowee exemplifies the capacity of women to reach across the divides that traditionally separated Christians and Muslims, helping the women to see a common cause. She galvanized them to act together, with a determination that drew on spiritual power and a determination that a better life was possible. When the formal peace talks were stalled, Gbowee promised to “keep them in that room without water, without food, so they at least feel how we feel.” And by threatening to strip she and other women like her brought some shame into soldiers who had lost their capacity to feel and to reason.