Tuesday, July 06, 2010
It's rare that I watch a documentary that really moves me; even more rare that I find one that leaves me with hope (ever watch a Michael Moore movie and come away happy?).
Pray the Devil Back to Hell is that kind of documentary. It tells the story of the end of Liberia's hellish civil war, the end of the reign of Charles Taylor, arguably one of the most evil men alive. It tells the story of tribal warlords laying down arms and choosing peace just moments before the final destruction of Monrovia, Liberia's capitol, was to begin. Yes, it contains much in the way of gruesome violence and disturbing stories that will leave you shaken. But it's ultimately the story of the coming of peace, and the unexpected force that brought not just the end of bloodshed, but a movement toward reconciliation and future hope.
Because when the men (boys?) of the country refused to talk peace, it was the common ordinary women, Christian and Muslim alike, who engaged in non-violent protest, shaming the fighters into giving up their games of domination and violence. Using every weapon in their arsenal, from sex-strikes to threatening to strip naked, to treating the men as the boys they were, to simply sitting, singing, dancing, and a lot of praying, these women transformed the future of their country, and perhaps the world.
It's a story that has mostly passed the American public by, which is a shame, because it's a story that deserves hearing. The power of women, the power of prayer, the power of religion, the power of non-violent protest to end one of the most horrific wars on our continent. It's a story of hope, of redemption, of great personal risk, of tyrants being tumbled by simple people who declare "enough." With echoes of Rahab at Jericho and Esther in Babylon, it is a tale of biblical proportions, and a strong challenge to those who declare pacifism idealistic and unrealistic.
Here's the movie's official website: http://www.praythedevilbacktohell.com/v3/
It's also available through netflix.