Community Cinema

WILL - Community Cinema - September 06, 2011 ~ Comment (0)

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Champaign Public Library 200 W. Green St. Champaign, IL
Members of the panel at the Community Cinema screening at a table in the Champaign Public Library

This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," at the Champaign Public Library, September 06, 2011. Henry Radcliffe from Illinois Public Media moderated the discussion. Susan Ogwal, case manager at the Champaign Consortium and Irene Aninye, PhD candidate at the University of Illinois were on the discussion panel. There were about 70 people in the audience. Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the extraordinary story of a small band of Liberian women who came together in the midst of a bloody civil war, took on the violent warlords and corrupt Charles Taylor regime, and won a long-awaited peace for their shattered country in 2003. The women of Liberia are living proof that moral courage and non-violent resistance can succeed, even where the best efforts of traditional diplomacy have failed. Their demonstrations culminated in the exile of Charles Taylor and the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female head of state, and marked the vanguard of a new wave of women taking control of their political destiny around the world. This remarkable chapter of world history was on its way to being lost forever. The Liberian war and peace movement were largely ignored as the international press focused on Iraq. Moreover, the women's own modesty helped obscure this great accomplishment. Pray the Devil Back to Hell reconstructs the moment through interviews, archival footage and striking images of contemporary Liberia. It is compelling testimony to the potential of women worldwide to alter the history of nations.

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WILL - Community Cinema - April 26, 2011

Community Cinema, “Bhutto”

Community Cinema, "Bhutto

This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Bhutto," at the Champaign Public Library, April 28, 2011.

This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Bhutto," at the Champaign Public Library, April 28, 2011. Jack Brighton from Illinois Public Media moderated the discussion. There were about 20 people in the audience.

Two of the audience members one from Pakistan and the other from India helped the rest of the audience understand some of the issues facing these two countries. Bhutto chronicles the life of one of the most complex and fascinating characters of our time. It's the story of the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation: Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto was born into a wealthy landowning family that became Pakistan's dominant political dynasty. Often referred to as the "Kennedys of Pakistan," the Bhuttos share a painful history of triumph and tragedy, played out on an international stage.

Educated at Harvard and Oxford, and with an eye on a foreign service career, Benazir's life changed forever when her father, Pakistan's first democratically elected president, chose Benazir to carry his political mantle over the family's eldest son. Her two terms in power saw acts of courage and controversy as she eradicated polio and stood up for women, while fighting the male-dominated political elite, and a nervous military leadership, while battling accusations of corruption and scandal. With her assassination she transcended politics, but left a legacy of simmering controversy and undeniable courage that will be debated for years.

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