The David Icke Newsletter, March 8th 2009
Copyright David Icke, 2009. All Rights Reserved.
.. TELL THAT TO THE WOMEN OF LIBERIA
Hello all ...
I saw a documentary this week called Pray the Devil Back To Hell. It told the story of the women of Liberia in West Africa and how they ended a bloody and horrific war by peaceful protest and non-cooperation.
But it was more than that. It was a symbol of what we can, and must, do locally and globally to stop the tail wagging the dog. i.e. The few controlling the rest. If these women could face and overcome what appeared to be their hopeless plight then we can deal with the global conspiracy. For goodness sake, there are more than six billion of us.
Liberia was founded in 1820 by black slaves freed from the United States with support from an anti-slavery organisation called the American Colonization Society. Eighty-six of them established a settlement they called Monrovia after the US president at the time, James Monroe, and this became the capital of the new Liberia.
Thousands of former slaves began to arrive from the United States and in 1847 the Republic of Liberia declared its independence under its first president. They called themselves Americo-Liberians to distinguish themselves from the indigenous population who made up the overwhelming majority in the country.
Liberia means 'Land of the Free' and the ironies of that are many. Firstly, the country that held the Americo-Liberians as slaves was also called the 'Land of the Free' and the events the women were later forced to address showed that yet again, as Martin Luther King put it, people should be judged not by the colour of their skin, but by the strength of their character.
This is why racism is so insane and stupid. Black people are not immune from killing and enslaving black people any more than a Jew is immune from acting like a Nazi. White people who so often take the moral high ground have a truly shocking and disgraceful record of violent and merciless imposition across the world.
Colour is irrelevant; it's the state of consciousness that matters. The slave traders in Africa could not have done what they did without hiring black tribesmen to capture their fellow blacks from tribes they didn't like. The re-colonisation of Africa (in truth it never ended) has been achieved by Western governments and corporations installing black leaders who have no empathy whatsoever with the needs of their fellow black people. Witness Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, but he's far from alone.
On every level, the situation with regard to race and colour is not black and white, literally or metaphorically, but that is the way it is normally portrayed. The slave can just as easily become the slave owner and that's what happened in Liberia with the Americo-Liberians who controlled most of the major positions of power for more than 130 years while comprising just five-per-cent of the population.
This man, Charles Taylor, was a classic African despot, crazed by power and, as usual, constantly quoting 'God' to justify his ungodliness. No surprise then that tyrant Taylor was reported to have had extensive business dealings with American television 'evangelist' Pat Robertson, who seems to have an addiction to African dictators.
The Liberian government became more and more tyrannical as the decades past after 'independence' and Taylor was one of a long line of corrupt demagogues to lead the people deeper and deeper into relentless poverty while amassing vast fortunes for themselves.
It was Taylor who acted as a middle man to overcome the United Nations ban on so-called 'blood diamonds' which were being sold by rebel groups in Sierra Leone and Angola to fund civil wars. Taylor sold them on their behalf as Liberian diamonds even though the country has no diamond mines. In 1999 alone, Liberia reported diamond exports to the United States worth $300 million and, of course, if diamonds were involved so would be De Beers (Rothschilds/Oppenhiemers)
Charles Taylor, a Baptist lay preacher educated in America, had been removed from the country by another agent of depravity called Samuel K. Doe, who took power in a bloody coup. But Taylor returned in 1989 and gathered support to launch a counter-coup. This triggered a terrible civil war between rival ethnic factions, and children as young as eight were forced to take up arms and fight. Doe was tortured to death and rape and murder engulfed the country.
The violence continued, with rare respites for 'peace talks', and then restarted again. By 1997, 200,000 people were dead, close to a million were forced from their homes and another 700,000 had fled across the borders to neighbouring countries. The population was in terror from the child soldiers who had been turned into monsters - but they were victims, too. A 13-year-old 'soldier' later said:
'They gave me pills that made me crazy. When the craziness got in my head, I beat people on their heads and hurt them until they bled. When the craziness got out of my head I felt guilty. If I remembered the person I went to them and apologized. If they did not accept my apology, I felt bad.'
Taylor supposedly 'won' an election in 1997, but within two years a new civil war erupted as rural 'warlords' from the north launched a violent challenge to Taylor under the name Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). As always, the name was a fallacy. The warlords wanted a cut of Taylor's action and, when he refused, the men and child soldiers of 'LURD', and another faction called 'MODEL', the Movement for Democracy in Liberia, were ordered to rape, kill and pillage wherever they went.
Daughters were raped in front of their parents; husbands had their heads cut off in front of their wives and children. By now, the killers were so desensitised that concepts like 'compassion', 'empathy', even 'limits', had no meaning for these crazies.
The face of Liberia year after year
But now enter Leymah Gbowee.
She was just 17 and fresh out of high school when the war came to Monrovia and she was changed 'from a child into an adult in a matter of hours'. On one occasion she and her mother were advised to flee their church where 2,000 displaced people were being sheltered and the following night more than 600 of them were slaughtered.
'We went just two blocks away, and we could hear people screaming, crying, begging for help - an all-night massacre', she recalls.
Later, with a son aged three and a daughter aged two, she had to run from their home to escape the fighting, passing checkpoints which the imbecile macho men sometimes decorated with 'a fresh young head'. As she recounts: 'The anger, the pain, the trauma, was not just for one year or one month. I needed to do something to make a difference'.
And she did.
Gbowee had a dream that she had to gather women together and pray for peace. She and another woman, Comfort Freeman, got together dozens of women in 2002 in a determined attempt to stop the war. They called their movement, 'Women in Peacebuilding Network', or WIPNET. They began to protest peacefully where the despot Charles Taylor and his motorcade had to pass and they organised non-violent sit-ins, marches, peace vigils and blockades. One of their statements said:
'In the past we were silent, but after being killed, raped, dehumanised, and infected with diseases, and watching our children and families destroyed, war has taught us that the future lies in saying NO to violence and YES to peace! We will not relent until peace prevails.'
They were protesting not only the atrocities of Taylor, but all the factions that made the war possible. Every day they were out there in public view, no matter what the weather or circumstances. 'No' was not an answer they were prepared to accept. Leymah Gbowee said at the time:
'By virtue of where we sit, the people of Liberia have hope ...Some say we are an embarrassment to the government, but sun and rain are better than the bullets of war. Our vision is for the unity of families and the elimination of hunger and disease.'
Taylor dismissed them at first, but this initial example by a relative few inspired others to join them. They gathered together 3,000 women and pressed Taylor and the rebel factions to end the violence. Taylor resisted, but in the end the pressure forced him to relent and he agreed to negotiate at peace talks in Ghana.
Leymah Gbowee eventually had the opportunity to address Charles Taylor from the podium at a public event. She said:
'We ask the honorable pro tem of the senate ... to kindly present this statement to his excellency Dr. Charles Taylor with this message: that the women of Liberia, including the IDPs [internally displaced persons] ...are tired of war. We are tired of running. We are tired of begging for bulgur wheat. We are tired of our children being raped. We are now taking this stand to secure the future of our children because we believe, as custodians of society, tomorrow our children will ask us, "Mama, what was your role during the crisis?" Kindly convey this to the president of Liberia. Thank you.'
All those who say nothing can be done about what is happening globally today need to look at what these women achieved. Here was a small, unarmed and apparently powerless group faced with the extraordinary challenge of stopping a war between rival factions who had become so dehumanised by year after year of rape and mass murder that they were daily engaging in the most unspeakable atrocities.
But here was first one or two women, then a few more who joined with them initially, inspiring a whole national movement of non-violent, non-cooperation which forced these moronic men to the peace table by the sheer power of their refusal to accept nothing less than that.
These are the three elements which together, as always, proved an unstoppable combination and made the apparent 'miracle' possible:
1.) They said 'enough' - and meant it.
2.) They were not going to take 'no' for an answer, no matter how long it took or what sacrifices that entailed.
3.) They crucially brought women together of different faiths and tribal loyalties behind the common goal of peace and freedom for all.
Leymah Gbowee was president of the women's organisation at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Monrovia, and Comfort Freeman was president of the National Lutheran Church Women in Liberia; but they didn't let their religious faith get in the way of unity. The movement was joined by Muslim women who were welcomed as much as the Christians were.
Thanks to this, they removed any chance the authorities had to divide and rule them along ethnic and religious fault-lines and it was this unity of purpose that brought the crazies to the table.
But that was only the start. Taylor and the leaders of the rebel factions wanted to carve up the country for themselves and get the most profitable jobs in any new government. The rebel leaders from Liberia's rural areas were also enjoying five-star luxury during the talks in Ghana and they wanted to stay there as long as possible while the violence and mutilation continued back in Liberia.
After seven weeks there was still no ceasefire and so the women said 'enough' again. Two hundred of them blocked the exits from the meeting room, locked arms, and told the 'powerful' men that they would be locked inside until an agreement had been made.
Military generals were also locked in and they called for 'security' forces to arrest Gbowee for 'obstructing justice', a term that beggars belief in the circumstances. That very morning, she had heard how a missile had exploded in the American embassy compound in Monrovia. One moment two boys went out to brush their teeth and the next all that was left was their slippers. 'That day we had to do something dramatic,' Gbowee said.
So when the 'security' came to arrest her she told them: 'Okay, I'm going to strip naked'. In West Africa it is believed to be a powerful curse to see a woman strip naked in public. As she said of the 'powerful' men inside: 'They would have given us the world rather than see us stripping naked.'
One warlord tried to push and kick the women out of the way, but the moderator of the peace talks, told him: 'Go back in there and sit down. If you were a real man, you wouldn't be killing your people. But because you are not a real man, that's why they will treat you like boys.'
Two weeks later the terms of the peace treaty were announced. The 'all-powerful' Charles Taylor was forced into exile and is now held in the United Nations Detention Unit while he stands trial for war crimes. His son, a US citizen, was jailed for 97 years by a federal court for murder and torture when he was head of Liberia's 'anti-terrorist' services. If only they treated American government terrorists the same way.
In 2006, the American-educated Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became Africa's first elected female head of state when she was inaugurated as President of Liberia and pledged a 'fundamental break' with the violence of the past. The current situation in Liberia is far from perfect to say the least and there is still widespread poverty and deprivation, but the women who stood up to the gun-toting lunatics on all 'sides' showed what can be done if you will not yield your aims and values to any scale of intimidation.
Pray The Devil Back To Hell appears to be a documentary about women, but what it highlights has global significance. Women did it in this case, but men have done it in other situations - witness the leadership of Martin Luther King and so many others.
Once again, it is not the sex of your body, any more than it is the colour of your skin. It is the strength of your character. It is to stand for love, justice, fairness and freedom and accept nothing less for ourselves and others no matter what the challenges we face.
I hear people saying all the time that there nothing they can do when they are merely providing themselves with an excuse to do nothing. But one day they will be called to account by their children and grandchildren if they continue with such outrageous self-deception.
As Leymah Gbowee rightly said, the children would ask: 'Mama, what was your role during the crisis?'
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