Leymah Gbowee

  • Aired:  11/14/11
  •  | Views: 18,781

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee talks about leading war protests that resulted in the end of the Second Liberian Civil War. (6:34)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT, SHE IS A

LIBERIAN PEACE AND WOMEN'S

RIGHTS ACTIVIST.

SHE WAS AWARDED THE NOBEL

PEACE PRIZE.

HER STORY IS TOLD IN A

DOCUMENTARY FILM PRAY THE

DEVIL BACK TO HELL AND THE NEW

MEMOIR IS CALLED MIGHTY BE OUR

POWERS: HOW SISTERHOOD, PRAYER

AND SEX CHANGED A NATION AT

WAR.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM

LEYMAH GBOWEE.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

NICE TO SEE YOU.

>> THANK YOU, JON.

THANK YOU.

>> Jon: CONGRATULATIONS ON THE

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE.

MIGHTY BE OUR POWERS.

I CAN ONLY HOPE, FIRST OF ALL,

THAT I'M NEVER IN A SITUATION

THAT YOU FOUND YOURSELF IN IN

LIBERIA.

BUT IF I WAS, THAT I WOULD

HAVE THE COURAGE TO STAND UP

AND DO WHAT YOU DID.

HOW DID YOU FIND THAT WITHIN

YOURSELF?

>> WELL, THANK YOU FOR HAVING

ME ON THE TALK SHOW WITH THE

MOST POPULAR TALK SHOW HOST IN

AMERICA.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: I TOLD HER THAT IN THE

GREEN ROOM BACK STAGE.

YOU GUYS CAN KEEP IT DOWN.

ALL RIGHT.

THAT WAS A LITTLE JOKE WE WERE

HAVING.

>> IT'S ALSO GOOD TO HAVE THE

MOST POPULAR WOMEN'S RIGHTS

ACTIVIST IN AFRICA ON YOUR

SHOW.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

I TELL PEOPLE WHEN THE WAR

STARTED IN 1989 I WAS 17 YEARS

OLD.

FROM 1989 UNTIL 2003 WHEN I

WAS 31, I LIVED IN FEAR.

BETWEEN THOSE YEARS I GAVE WAY

TO ANGER.

ANGER GAVE WAY THE NEED TO

TRANSFORM THE SOCIETY.

THAT POWER THAT CAME FROM

WITHIN, NOT JUST FROM MYSELF

BUT FROM MY SISTER, WAS

SOMETHING THAT OUR BROKENNESS,

THE RAPE AND ABUSE THAT A LOT

OF MY SISTERS SAW, THE DEATH

OF OUR CHILDREN AND RELATIVES,

IS JUST TELL PEOPLE ANGER IS

FLUID LIKE THIS WATER.

IF YOU PUT IT IN A CONTAINER

IT COMES OUT SHAPED LIKE ANGER

AND VIOLENCE WILL ERUPT.

WE TOOK OUR ANGER BECAUSE WE

HAD SEEN ANGER DESTROY OUR

COMMUNITIES AND DECIDED WE'RE

GOING TO USE IT TO TRANSFORM

OUR COMMUNITIES.

EVERY MORNING WE WOKE UP WITH

A RESOLVE THAT WE WOULD DO

SOMETHING.

IF WE DIE TRYING, FINE.

IF WE SURVIVE ONE DAY, FINE.

WE'RE AT THE END OF THE DAY

LIBERIA WAS THE KEY FOCUS FOR

US AS WOMEN.

>> Jon: IT WAS INCREDIBLE.

AND THE STORE... STORY THAT

YOU TELL, YOU GATHERED THESE

WOMEN TOGETHER AND YOU SAT IN

A FIELD.

THERE WAS A SOCCER FIELD.

>> SOCCER FIELD.

OPEN PLACE.

EVERY MORNING IT WAS LIKE....

>> Jon: TWICE A DAY.

>> EVERY DAY GO TO WORK, COME

BACK.

WE FELT LIKE IF PEOPLE WERE TO

SEE US, BECAUSE THE MEDIA

REPORT OF THE WAR WAS ALL

ABOUT THE MILL TARISM, THE

BOYS WHO HAD THE GUNS.

WE ACTUALLY WANTED FOR PEOPLE

TO SEE THE OTHER SIDE OF THE

WAR.

WOMEN WITH CHILDREN WHO HAD

WALKED MILES, WHO STAYED

HUNGRY FOR DAYS REALLY PUTTING

THEMSELVES OUT THERE TO

PROTEST THE WAR, TO DO

SOMETHING.

SO WE SAT AT THAT OPEN FIELD.

THE BLAZING SUN, 90 DEGREES

SOMETIMES, 95 DEGREES CAME.

MET US THERE.

THE RAIN FELL.

MET US THERE.

WE DID NOT SERVE FOOD.

THE ONLY THING WE SEARCHED WAS

WATER.

WE CAME FROM 6:00 IN THE

MORNING UNTIL 6:00 IN THE

EVENING PROTESTING.

>> Jon: EVERY DAY.

AND THEN THE PEACE

NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE

REBELS AND CHARLES TAYLOR, YOU

FIND IT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

>> NOWHERE.

WE WENT THINKING THAT THESE

NEGOTIATIONS WOULD TAKE THREE

WEEKS.

IT WAS GOING ON THREE MONTHS,

GOING NOWHERE.

WARLORDS WERE WEARING NICE

SUITS NOW.

THEY HAD GIRLS MASSAGING THEM,

LIVING THE LIFE THAT THEY

NEVER THOUGHT THEY WOULD LIVE.

ONE OF THESE DAYS WE GOT ANGRY,

BARRICADED THE HALL AND THEN

THE SECURITY PEOPLE DECIDED TO

ARREST ME.

I SAID I'LL MAKE IT EASY FOR

YOU.

I'LL STRIP NAKED SO THAT WHEN

YOU TAKE ME TO PRISON, IT WILL

BE EASY FOR ME.

BY THE TIME I STARTED TAKING

MY CLOTHES OFF MAYBE THEY WERE

AFRAID OF WHAT THEY WOULD SEE,

THEY ALL RAN AWAY.

>> Jon: THAT IS HOW YOU GOT IN

TO SEE CHARLES TAYLOR.

YOU BASICALLY JUST SAT THERE

IN FRONT OF THE OFFICE AND

SAID, UNTIL WE SEE THIS MAN,

WE'RE NOT GOING.

>> WE'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

WE WANT TO PARLIAMENT.

WE BARRICADED WHERE THEY

PARKED THEIR CARS.

IMAGINE TAKING OVER THE

CAPITOL BUILDING.

SOMETIMES I THINK THE

AMERICANS NEED TO DO THAT,

GIVEN THE STATE OF YOUR

NATION.

( APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: WE'VE BEEN TRYING.

>> YOU HAVEN'T BEEN TRYING TOO

HARD.

>> Jon: HERE'S THE THING WE

DID WRONG.

WE TOOK OUR CLOTHES OFF FIRST.

YOU HAVE TO WAIT.

>> YOU PROBABLY TOOK YOUR

CLOTHES OFF IN THE WRONG

LOCATION.

>> Jon: THAT'S PROBABLY IT.

THAT WAS THE OTHER THING THAT

YOU DID THAT WAS INCREDIBLE.

YOU DECIDED TO ASK, BECAUSE

THE WOMEN IN THE RURAL COUNTRY,

IN THE AREA THAT COULDN'T GET

TO THE CITY, SUFFERED EVEN

MORE GREATLY.

YOU ASKED THEM TO STRIKE.

TO HOLD BACK.

HOW DID THAT WORK?

>> WELL, THESE WOMEN STARTED

PROTESTING ALSO.

I MEAN, THIS WAR STARTED AND

HAD BEEN 14 YEARS.

BY THE TIME WE STARTED

PROTESTING, THEY STARTED

PROTESTING.

WE DECIDED WE WOULD DO A SEX

TRACK.

THE GOOD MEN WERE NOT DOING

MUCH TO SAVE SOCIETY.

YOU SEE SOMETIMES THE PEOPLE

IN THE URBAN AREA THEY THINK

THEY KNOW.

THEY KNOW NOTHING.

WE WENT TO OUR MEN LIKE WE

WERE HAVING A SEX STRIKE.

THE ORAL WOMEN SAID WE'RE

FASTING AND PRAYING FOR PEACE.

IN THE GOOD BOOK WE'RE NOT

SUPPOSED TO DO ANYTHING.

SO IF YOU JOIN US TO PRAY,

YOUR STRUGGLE FOR THE HUSBANDS

JOIN THEM.

FOR TWO YEARS THEY WERE ON A

SEX STRIKE AND THEY DIDN'T

KNOW THEY WERE ON SEX STRIKE.

ALL THEY KNEW IS THEY WERE

FASTING AND PRAYING.

>> Jon: CAN YOU SPEND FIVE

MINUTES WITH US?

WE HAVE TO GO TO COMMERCIAL.

WE'LL PUT UP ON THE INTERNET.

WOULD YOU MIND SPENDING

ANOTHER FIVE OR SIX MINUTES

WITH US.

FASCINATING STORY.

THE BOOK IS CALLED MIGHTY BE

OUR POWERS.

IT'S ON THE BOOK SHELVES NOW.

YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLY CHARMING

AND VIVACIOUS ADVOCATE FOR

THIS.

WHEN YOU READ WHAT THIS

POWERFUL WOMAN HAS GONE

THROUGH IN THE COUNTRY OF

LIBERIA, YOUR COUNTENANCE IS

EVEN MORE IMPRESSIVE.

SO PLEASE READ IT AND SEE IT.

Loading...