Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Uplifting Film on Liberian Women who Achieve Peace & Change - Overcome Religious Differences

Mama Tumeh, leader of the country-wide Traditional Women for Peace — a Carter Center partner—is regarded as the spiritual leader of women throughout Liberia.

Praise for the FILM on the Liberian women's movement for peace:
"Pray the Devil Back to Hell"

"Uplifting, disheartening, inspiring, enraging - the mind reels while watching the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, even as the eyes water, the temples pound and the body trembles. Directed by Gini Reticker and produced by Abigail E. Disney, this no-frills, no-nonsense inquiry into human beings at their absolute worst and heartening best charts the overlooked victory of the Liberian women's peace movement. Even those who think they know the story of modern Liberia may be surprised at what they discover."
-- Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

"It's a marvelous documentary detailing how the everyday became extraordinary, 'how ordinary women,' in the words of one of them, 'did the unimaginable'…Pray the Devil uses its brief 72 minutes to tell one of the truly heartening international political stories of recent years."
-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

"Relates a powerful story with intelligence, concision and a minimum of distracting stylistic flourishes."
-- Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

"Pray the Devil remembers the golden rule of moviemaking -- rather than tell, it shows, and what it shows is quietly affecting."
-- Tim Grierson, Village Voice

"Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a remarkable documentary about a remarkable, and historic, movement."
-- Stephen Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

"I'll start with a hot serving of social consciousness, thanks to Pray the Devil Back to Hell, the riveting documentary about the Liberian women's uprising against their tyrannical warmonger president. (God, this is so not like me.) At a special screening, the crowd was buzzed and host Gloria Steinem joined in the commotion, saying the film should be "shown on blimps above every conflict zone." I'll gladly volunteer my backside."
-- Michael Musto, Village Voice

"Compelling docu chronicles the actions of the coalition of Christian and Muslim women who prevailed over warlords and warriors to halt the decades-long fighting that claimed their fathers, brothers, husbands and children."
-- Ronnie Scheib, Variety

"Gini Reticker's simply made, affecting documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell reveals how these heroic ordinary women prodded the factions to peace and literally brought down Taylor, a leader of sociopathic cruelty."
-- Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

"Without their guns, the men prove surprisingly helpless. And when a [mediator] tells them that if they want the women to stop treating them like children, they must behave responsibly, you sense a corner has been turned."
-- Bob Mondello, NPR

"An amazing story."
-- Gerald Peary, The Boston Phoenix

"Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a potent reminder of what power in numbers can accomplish."
-- David Fear, Time Out NY

"The story of the women's groups -- Christian and Muslim, uniting for the first time in the nation's history -- is unbelievably inspiring."
-- Bob Strauss, L. A. Daily News

“Gini Reticker's documentary is powerful enough to make even the most cynical believe in the ability of ordinary people to induce political change.”
-- Frank Scheck, Reuters

"I want to bring people's attention to it. It is Muslim women working with Christian women for a common goal to bring freedom to their country and they succeeded at the risk of their lives.... It is an inspiring story that brings to life a group courageous women on the streets of Monrovia demonstrating for a common goal and they won in the end. It is now a free country."
-- Jeffrey Lyons, Lyons & Bailes ReelTalk

“Pray the Devil Back to Hell shines like a beacon of hope.”
-- Jay Antani, Filmcritic.com

“An economically told, extremely powerful story.”
-- Katey Rich, Cinema Blend

"Just when movie goers may be emotionally overwhelmed about brutal violence in Africa—genocide, child soldiers, blood diamonds, rape—comes the good news. Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the inspiring story of how one of the continent's worst and longest civil wars was ended by a disparate group of determined women working together." •
-- Nora Lee Mandel, Film-Forward.com

"Eloquently captures the power each of us innately has within our souls to make this world a far better,safer, more peaceful place"
-- Desmond Tutu, Winner 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

"I was very moved. I think Pray the Devil Back to Hell can educate and maybe prevent other countries from slipping into the kind of chaos that my country experienced. It's going to make a major contribution."
- President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

"Outrageous, at times outraging, surprisingly warm and funny, and throughout deeply moving"
-- Philip Gourevitch

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is inspiring, it is exciting and it is riveting storytelling. And, I know from my own experiences in Liberia, that it is brilliantly real. The women in this story are a model for all of us and Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker's tour de force left me full of hope and optimism.
-- Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan

"'Pray the Devil back to Hell' is a real uplift. This piece of might-have-been forgotten history now will launch a ripple effect among women the world over. Thank heavens Gini Reticker and Abby Disney committed to making it."
–- Jane Fonda

"A lucidly impassioned film, filled with strong, eloquent spokeswomen."
-– Ronnie Scheib (Variety)

"This film could change the world."
-- Michael Moore

"You won't be quite the same person after seeing this documentary. If a critical mass of all of us ordinary people could witness this, it just might be the turning point on this fragile Space Ship Earth."
-- Gloria Steinem

for more from 2008 Fork Films LLC Go to here

There may also be something of an analysis of the historic events here

Also from the Carter Center website:Carter Center Partners with Traditional Leader
of Liberian Women

For more on this and other Carter Center work Go

Mama Tumeh, leader of the country-wide Traditional Women for Peace — a Carter Center partner—is regarded as the spiritual leader of women throughout Liberia. Her work is bringing a message of hope and empowerment to women who are survivors of the country's 14-year civil war, many of whom lost their husbands and other family members. In this Q&A, Mama Tumeh reflects on the "new Liberia."

What difference will the new laws in Liberia make for Liberian women?

The new laws and the new government have opened their eyes, so now they know their rights as women of Liberia.

What does the average Liberian woman face today?

They have empowerment to be able to succeed for themselves and their children, because they lost everything in the war. They have empowerment to be able to keep themselves busy; and once they are busy, they will not going to sit down and worry about the war, to keep thinking about the war, but they will moving forward. They will be busy doing things.

Where would you like to see the women of Liberia in five years?

Five years from now, the women will be in the forefront of development because of the support they are getting from the government and from Madame President (President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman elected president on the African continent). In the past, women were not involved in meetings with government officials, but right now, they are involved.

How have you seen Liberia change from before the elections until now?

Number one, you are getting your salary. People are getting paid now on the 25th of every month, and they have increased the salary. So…you can go straight to the bank and cash the check, and you can laugh about it. You have money in your hands. The salary and payment structure—everything—is alright. Even the street vendors are getting their money on time, and so they are happy to work.

What would you like people in the United States to know about Liberia?

I would like President Carter and the world to hear that they should not get tired of helping Liberia…to continue to help Liberia. We are the grandchild of America, so you should not get tired of helping Liberia.

If President Carter were sitting here with you, what would you say to him?

I would tell President Carter 'thank you' and also thank The Carter Center for giving support to the TRC (Truth & Reconciliation Commission) and the work that the Center is doing in other communities along with other NGOs. The Carter Center helped to end the war and we thank the Center for that, and for encouraging us through work you are doing in the rule of law, so that people do not go back to war. The Carter Center did not make a mistake to come back to Liberia, to be engaged with the local communities….by engaging with the women and empowering them to do more.

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