• Nicholas Nelson

Mighty Be Our Powers by Lehmah Gbowee (2011)


Following the rise of violence and war in Liberia during the early years of the First Liberian Civil War, Lehmah Gbowee flees to escape her hometown. Juggling children, abusive partners, patriarchal politicians, and short bouts of alcohol abuse, Gbowee shows us that power comes from within. She leads organizations in peaceful protest against the corrupt government in 1990's Liberia during the Second Liberian Civil War. From organizing large groups of women wearing white clothes to nearly undressing herself in front of parliament, Lehmah Gbowee never gives up in the face of adversity. From her experience with the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace and her entire journey, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, alongside President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman.


This book shows us her strengths, but reminds us that everyone is human. Many times she refers to herself negatively. She believes she's falling short for her family, not providing enough for her children or husband. At the end of the book, she even thinks her past is not enough to ever get her elected to office in future Liberia. Through this book we see her struggle. But more importantly, we see her prevail through fighting corrupt governments, informing the uninformed international organizations, and reintroducing alcoholic war-torn teenagers into a society that openly rejects them. I would even argue that because of her past she would be excellent in a future Liberia.


When finding texts in this next generation of readers, I dare us all to reach out into the unknown. I picked this book up because I had no idea what the Liberian Civil War was all about or who Lehmah Gbowee was. She led an organization in peaceful protest to gain the society she envisioned as equal. Although she didn't set out to do it, it shows that when the time to stand up rears its head, we must all take it. That's exactly what Lehmah Gbowee did. And that's exactly what Minneapolis, the Nation, and the World are doing right now.

 

To discover more about Lehmah Gbowee, the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell also follows The Women of Liberian Mass Action for Peace lead by Gbowee.

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