Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Liberian Women Divided Over Nobel Prize

Leaders of three of Liberia’s foremost women’s peace advocacy groups – the Liberia Women’s Initiative (LWI), the Mano River Women Peace Network (MARWOPNET) and the Women In Peace-building Network (WIPNET) – are at loggerheads apparently over who might have been more deserving of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, won in part by two daughters of Liberia.

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, according to the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjørn Jagland, was awarded to two Liberian women, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, and a Yemeni co-winner, for “their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

The two Liberian peace and human rights campaigners shared the Prize with Yemeni activist Tawwakol Karman.

But eminent personalities of the women’s movement in Liberia, including Mother Mary Brownell and Madam Theresa Leigh-Sherman, have described the awarding of the Prize to Leymah Gbowee as a misplaced decision by the Nobel Committee because, according to them, Gbowee “should have been there when the bullets were flying.”

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