Last week Saturday, March 8, 2014, we joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day and noted on our Facebook page that women all over the globe have served and are serving as inspiration for change. According to U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, “International Women’s Day is more than a moment marked on a calendar, but to recognize that a world where opportunities for women grow is a world where the possibilities for peace, prosperity, and stability grow even more.”
Last week we wrote that: “Younger Liberians especially those who came of age during the war, often have views and attitudes significantly different from those of their elders. One obvious difference is that young Liberians today are generally less respectful of their elders than would have been thought proper in the past. They also tend to be far more individualistic generally, a trait which many Liberians regard with some alarm”. (Stephen Ellis-The Mask of Anarchy P.285).
We take cognizance of the adage that the apple does not fall far from the tree. If we fail as young people to imbibe the culture of peace in our attitudes and behaviors; it goes to record that the generations before us have also failed to inculcate those essential values.
Women in the homes, schools, communities, national and international levels have been known to take up the mantle of leadership in the upbringing of the child and others.
To promote the culture of peace among young people is not only our biological responsibility but it is our social responsibility.
My mother (Juah) gave me the wherewithal to do what I do today. Her discipline, tough love and encouragement as well as her daily insistence to excel provided the momentum that set the course of my passion for peace. As children, we (my sister Roseline and I) were expected to do well. More important, failure was not an option – that was my parents’ mantra. The clear mandate from my mother was excellence; to be thorough and demanding and rigorous in one’s pursuit of whatever we eventually chose to do.
In high school at the St. Teresa Convent, my female teachers were stern and loving. They might have been critical but they were complimentary and helped us to develop confidence in ourselves.
In college at Mother Patern College of Health Sciences (MPCHS), Stella Maris Polytechnic, Sister Barbara Brilliant had a keen and almost clairvoyant sense of her students. I’ll never forget the day I had to collect my transcripts for graduate studies in the United States. Sister Barbara told me that Mother Patern College has standards and procedures that must be followed accordingly.
Her discipline and support have seen me, as well as many others, through trying moments in growth.
From the ground up, women’s role in peacebuilding in Liberia cannot be underestimated. A most prime example is the role women played in bringing an end to Liberia’s 14 year civil war. Need we say more?
In one of my favorite lines in The Heidi Chronicles, the central character asks, “What do women teach their sons that they never bother to tell their daughters?” This question should always be on the minds of all progressive women. “Daughters deserve confidence too” and we need to put our young women on stage and give them a voice.
Given that Liberia is the first African country with a female President and the only country in the world with two female noble laureates for peace (Madam Leymah Gbowee and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf) – recognized for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work, they should be a collective wellspring of inspiration for a movement of young women that would shape the bright future of Liberia.
These women of peace are our heroines as they have set the trajectory for us to follow. We take this opportunity to salute those before us – the trailblazers and want to assure them that Messengers of Peace Liberia will continue on the path for sustainable peace and development for young women in Liberia. We are the world we live. We belong to the Millennial Generation, re-aligning our system of values with the culture of Peace that lives within us.
Quite often, young women are the last to know that we possess a reservoir of strength, an ability to persevere. Women of Peace have all exhibited pride, self respect and they have shown us the need to fight for a dignified life. In the words of Secretary Kerry, “Women are vital to our shared goals of prosperity, stability and peace.”
An important message that MOP-Liberia has come to learn from every woman of Peace is that “We must provide information that inspires”. The work ahead of women of peace is long and tedious, but we will not weaver. Please join Messengers of Peace-Liberia to ensure a bright future for our young women and girls.
Until next week! Peace First. Peace, above all. Let Peace Prevail.