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Leymah Gbowee quotes (showing 1-12 of 12)

“The person who hurt you--who raped you or killed your family--is also here. If you are still angry at that person, if you haven't been able to forgive, you are chained to him. Everyone could feel the emotional truth of that: When someone offends you and you haven't let go, every time you see him, you grow breathless or your heart skips a beat. If the trauma was really severe, you dream of revenge. Above you, is the Mountain of Peace and Prosperity where we all want to go. But when you try to climb that hill, the person you haven't forgiven weighs you down. It's a personal choice whether or not to let go. No one can tell you how long to mourn a death or rage over a rape. But you can't move forward until you break that chain.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“Sometimes, people call my way of speaking ranting. Why are you always ranting and screaming, they ask. But here’s the thing…the reason why I rant is because I am a voice for many women that cannot speak out to heads of state, UN officials, and those that influence systems of oppression. And so I rant. And I will not stop ranting until my mission of equality of all girls is achieved.”
Leymah Gbowee
“You can tell people of the need to struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“Organizations like the UN do a lot of good, but there are certain basic realities they never seem to grasp ...Maybe the most important truth that eludes these organizations is that it's insulting when outsiders come in and tell a traumatized people what it will take for them to heal.
You cannot go to another country and make a plan for it. The cultural context is so different from what you know that you will not understand much of what you see. I would never come to the US and claim to understand what's going on, even in the African American culture. People who have lived through a terrible conflict may be hungry and desperate, but they are not stupid. They often have very good ideas about how peace can evolve, and they need to be asked.
That includes women. Most especially women ...
To outsiders like the UN, these soldiers were a problem to be managed. But they were our children.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“Don't stop, echoes the older Liberian lady's voice. Don't ever stop.

My answer to her: I never will.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“When you're depressed, you get trapped inside yourself and lose the energy to take the actions that might make you feel better. You hate yourself for that. You see the suffering of others but feel incapable of helping them, and that makes you hate yourself, too. The hate makes you sadder, the sadness makes you more helpless, the helplessness fills you with more self-hate... Working . . . broke that cycle for me. I wasn't sitting home thinking endlessly about what a failure I was; I was doing something, something that actually helped people. The more I did, the more I could do, the more I wanted to do, the more I saw needed to be done.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“When you move so quickly from innocence to a world of fear, pain and loss, it's as if the flesh of your heart and mind gets cut away, piece by piece, like slices taken off a ham. Finally, there is nothing left but bone.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“...because of women like us, I believe that in the end, tyranny will never succeed, and goodness will always vanquish evil. Although I may not see it in my lifetime, peace will overcome. I believe, I know, that if you have unshakable faith in yourself, in your sisters and in the possibility of change, you can do almost anything.
The work is hard. The immensity of what needs to be done is discouraging. But you look at communities that are struggling on a daily basis. They keep on---and in the eyes of the people there, you are a symbol of hope. And so you, too, must keep on. You are not at liberty to give up.
Don't stop, echoes the older Liberian lady's voice. Don't ever stop.
My answer to her: I never will.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“You can't cure trauma when violence is ongoing, so the primary effort must be working for peace. You can't negotiate a lasting peace without bringing women into the effort, but women can't become peacemakers without releasing the pain that keeps them from feeling their own strength.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“Most of the institutions that come in to offer help after disaster don't have the resources to provide concrete help. . . . Donor communities invest billions funding peace talks and disarmament. Then they stop. The most important part of postwar help is missing: providing basic social services to people. Not having those resources might have been a reason men went to war in the first place; they crossed a border and joined an armed group because they didn't have jobs. In Liberia right now, there are hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people, and they're ready-made mercenaries for wars in West Africa. You'd think the international community would be sensible enough to know they should work to change this. But they aren't.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“Gather the women to pray for peace!”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War
“You can tell the people of the need to struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire.”
Leymah Gbowee, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War


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