The head of Women’s Rights in ActionAid International and former Country Director of ActionAid Liberia, Korto Reeves Williams, has officially launched her first book, the “Inappropriate Medley,” graced and celebrated by women’s rights activists.
The launch at ActionAid Liberia office in Congo Town brought together top women rights activists who lauded Madam Williams for narrating some of the dreadful moments during Liberia’s 14-year of unrest that women and girls’ encountered.
Top activists who graced the book launch included ActionAid Liberia Country Director Lakshmi Moore, Paramount Young Women Initiative Executive Coordinator Facia B. Harris, Country Director of Medica Liberia Caroline Bowah Brown, and chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia Loretta Pope-Kai and president of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia Siatta Scott-Johnson.
Madam Williams said writing the book was as a result of saving a folder for 15 years filled with poems; some of which highlighted the different terrible situations in Liberia during the civil unrest.
Madam Williams said the book also focuses on people realizing their rights and lifting the conversations that many considered to be taboo, stating “Everyone who talks about women’s rights and feminism are challenging the status quo and bringing trouble to the society.”
Accordingly, Madam Williams who is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya, said writing the book was not difficult for her, attributing her success in writing the book to “Divine intervention.”
Providing other reasons for writing the book, Madam Williams said, “During Liberia’s civil war, I was a young woman, but my experience going through the various checkpoints was traumatic. However, because I had many people around, I did not understand the effect of the trauma on my action, what has changed about me, and the fact that I did not have the requisite social skills to be able to deal with people, although I was angry. I felt disappointed due to the war which pushed me back 10 years before completing college.”
She said the book was written during the heat of the coronavirus pandemic at which time people were home and reading the Bible and other materials. “And we wouldn’t know when the world will come to end and I thought to give hope and utilize the opportunity given me.”
“I am saying let’s talk about it because if we don’t, we will not be able to go to the place of redemption, freedom and to the place where everyone can be able to reach their full potential, which is through poetry,” Madam Williams said.
Madam Williams believes that it is creative that will save the country because not everyone will want to be head of a political party, but there are people who will write, sing and dance to change Liberia, noting, “We have to start to think about the alternative for the development of Liberia.”
“Looking at where I came from to write this book, I decided to honor women ancestors, because I believe that it’s the origin of not just my person or body physically, but it’s the origin of my soul and my spirit,” Madam Williams said.
She said one of the things that were important to her was the conversation about women’s bodies. “We cannot restrict our contributions to society to the reproductive role because there are other things that women can do.”
“I talked about the state of our body, which is a system of patriarchy in Liberia, and how it affects people, especially women, men, and another group of people in our society. It really about the laws and policies around marriage and child’s rights and it is important to have discussion about it as recommended in the book,” said the author.
The Country Director of ActionAid Liberia, Lakshmi Moore, said they earlier urged Madam Williams to write a book and not just as a woman but one who is prepared as a women activist.