Arts, Culture & Media

The women in white

(I asked LB why she and the other women in white took such risks for peace). Well we took our lives in God's hands and we had nothing to lose. Rape was a toy of war, the female body part had no privacy, our children were abducted before our very eyes. We needed to do something desperate and we had no other choice. (Why do you think you were not killed by Charles Taylor?) Initially some of word we got out is this was a group of frustrated women but I can't give you a good answer. Taylor's secret aids were giving us secret calls telling us not to give up and that gave us hope. It would've also been difficult for him to say to his fighters to target those women. (AD, tell me about the title.) That's a good question. Taylor was a religious man but at one point, LG says sarcastically in the film that Taylor was so religious he could pray the devil out of hell. When we thought about what to call this film, that line popped out at us. (LG, tell me about the dream that was the inspiration for your action.) It was just one of those nights, and I always have this person who talks to me and I had never seen the face of this person. So I went to work and I said I had this strange dream, and we called the leaders of the Lutheran Church in where I work and we realized it was bigger than us. (Do you think the women in white protests would've been so successful if you had only had women from Lutheran churches?) I doubt it, because for one, if you look at where the rebel groups came from, they were from around Muslim areas. But secondly, the Muslim women in our protests legitimized the work we did. (Why did you find out about this story after Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became president?) There's a good reason for that and it's because this is not how we cover war. When we went back to find archival footage of women protesting for peace, there was none. There was mountains of men with guns, political leaders, and this is how we report war. What's not glamorous is the constructive work of bringing peace to countries. The women who are trying this think it's the first time they've tried it and they don't understand how many other women could help them because they're not aware of what's happened in the past. (During the peace talks you got frustrated at the lack of progress and you found your final straw was to lock arms with your other women protesters and to start taking off your clothes. What would've that achieved?) The sides were not committed to the peace process. That was a day where we decided we'd get to the media to come out and have the sides stay in until peace was reached. They threatened to arrest me so I thought it would be a humiliation to strip naked to show these men that they've crossed the line. It's also a curse for a woman to deliberately strip naked in Africa. AD: We got a really interesting off camera interview with one of the warlords. I asked him how is it possible that one woman threatening to strip naked could make a difference? And he said there wasn't one man in that room who didn't ask himself, what have I done to get us here?

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