And the Prize Goes to the Protesters

| 12/22/2011 9:59:06 AM

Leymah Gbowee 

“We used our pains, broken bodies and scarred emotions to confront the injustices and terror of our nation,” said this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee, when accepting her award ( The pain: rape. The bodies: women’s. The nation: Liberia, West Africa.

The violent crimes committed against women have been at the forefront of protests in Africa and the Middle East for years, writes, and the Nobel committee recognized the successes and value of feminist protesters with its prestigious award:

Ellen Johnson SirleafMs Gbowee, 39, challenged Liberia’s warlords as she campaigned for women’s rights and against rape. In 2003, she led hundreds of female protesters through Monrovia to demand swift disarmament of fighters, who continued to prey on women….

She called the peace prize a recognition of the struggle for women’s rights not only in Yemen and Liberia, but anywhere that women face oppression.

Gbowee shares the prize with fellow protesters Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was elected president of Liberia in 2005, and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, who was instrumental in the Arab Spring demonstrations and is the first Arab woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Says Gbowee, “There is no time to rest until our world achieves wholeness and balance, where all men and women are considered equal and free.”


Leymah Gbowee portrait by Michael Angelo for Wonderland, courtesy of Michael Angelo for Wonderland; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf photo by Center for Global Development, licensed under Creative Commons.

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