Community Cinema

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Champaign Public Library 200 W. Green St. Champaign, IL

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.