Women, War & Peace
On Saturday October 8, Abigail Disney, producer of the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, visited the Women’s Division board of directors to talk about her new project, Women, War & Peace, a five-part television series addressing war from women’s points of view. It airs on Tuesdays on PBS October 11 through November 8.
Ms. Disney’s visit came a day after three women were honored with the Nobel Peace Prize: Liberian president and United Methodist Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni democracy activist Tawakkul Karman. Ms. Gbowee is featured prominently in Ms. Disney’s Pray the Devil Back to Hell and was key in influencing the election of Ms. Johnson Sirleaf, also featured in the documentary. The first episode of Women, War & Peace airs tonight, four days after the Nobel prize was awarded. “No, I didn’t have my publicity people time the Nobel announcement,” Ms. Disney stated Saturday night. Pray the Devil Back to Hell will air on PBS Tuesday October 18. Watch a trailer for the series here:
Before 2011, only 11 women had won the Nobel Peace Prize. This year’s awarding of the prize to three women is a human rights triumph and an indication that the Nobel committee acknowledges the importance of including women in all levels of civil decision making. United Methodist Women works for the betterment of women’s lives around the world and it applauds the work of the Nobel winners and the Nobel committee for awarding the prizes to these women.
Women, War & Peace offers space for women’s voices where they haven’t been heard before. In historical accounts of conflict, Ms. Disney explained, even back to The Iliad, women are invisible. In Women, War & Peace “Women stop being objects and start being subjects,” Ms. Disney said. “It’s amazing how quickly the John Wayne imagery melts as way as soon as you give the camera to a woman.”
The series features women from Bosnia, Liberia, Afghanistan and Colombia. Though their circumstances vary, “When you talk to women about war they describe it with strikingly similar vocabulary,” Ms. Disney explained. Women’s experiences of war is universal, as is the message of Women, War, & Peace. Ms. Disney explained how Pray the Devil Back to Hell reached out to women of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and political and religious beliefs. This new series aims to do the same.
United Methodist Women members are encouraged to watch this series individually and as groups. The Women, War & Peace website offers a “Viewing Party Guide” (PDF) to help you host a screening. It includes information on the series as well as resources to consult. It also provides study guides for each episode. You can also attend screenings hosted by others.
Join United Methodist Women members around the country in watching this important series that highlights the importance of women’s voices in conflict and the necessity of ending war if we are to ever live in the world of peace God intended for us.
Tara Barnes is staff editor for United Methodist Women.