Women's Roles in Community Peacebuilding in Liberia Essay

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A single cotton tree stands in the dusty schoolyard, its branches reaching towards the sky. Underneath these branches, a small group huddles, their voices merging in the wind.i They are a mothers' group, and these Sierra Leonean women have gathered to discuss their lives in the face of the shambles of post-conflict reform.ii “They call our children rebel children,” the women say. “[They tell me] You and your child are eating all our food . . . but sometimes I go to bed for two days without food.”iii Their lives are hard, but their sense of community is strong thanks to women's groups like this one, a common scene in Sierra Leone. In neighboring Liberia, women have also learned to foster a sense of community and cohesion through the …show more content…
There is violence in the home, but too often women are silent, that is not peace.” These differing definitions are complimentary rather than opposing, for they focus on different aspects of society at once. This yields diversity and strength to the peacebuilding process. Women's primary focus on community-based peace is seen vividly in the events of the Liberian civil war. After being autocratically governed by a military regime under U.S. Special Forces-trained leader Samuel Kaynon Doe from 1989-1996, Liberia was ravaged with inter-tribal warfare. The Krahn, Doe's tribe, ran the government while targeting Gio and Mano tribes, where many coups against his authority had originated. The gross mistreatment of these ethnic tribes prompted violence and unrest throughout Liberia, as tribes allied together to fight the crackdowns. This situation exploded in bloodshed when Liberian fugitive and guerrilla fighter Charles Taylor assembled the National Patriotic Front in Liberia (NPFL), a rebel army comprising the refugees from the displaced Gio, Mano, and other Liberian tribes. As the NPFL invaded Nimba County in Liberia, the rebel group swelled as thousands of local Liberians joined in the conflict. Civil war erupted as Taylor's NPFL eradicated all attempts by the Krahn-dominated

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