A crowd gathered at the St. James Anglican church to watch Pray the Devil Back to Hell, the story of a group of Liberian women who came together in the late 1990’s, to oust dictator Charles Taylor in the midst of a bloody civil war, in honour of International Women’s Day on March 8.
Pauline Mahoney, who organized the event, found out about the film after reading Sally Armstrong’s The Ascent of Women, which touches on the subject.
“I thought these women were so courageous and they needed to be celebrated,” Mahoney said.
“I was so moved that I immediately ran to the computer to look up the film and see how I could get a copy so I could share it with people,” Mahoney told the audience.
Since then she has shown it a half-dozen times in Smithers, at places like the library and Smithers Secondary School.
The film details the experience of a group of Muslim and Christian women who used non-violence to advocate for change.
For Mahoney, their courage inspired her to do more for her community.
“I asked myself, what is it that I can contribute?”
She hopes others will do the same.
“Everyone responds differently to something like that and I hope it will get people thinking about how comfortable our lives are over here and what they could do to reach out to their neighbour.”
The film illustrated the power women have, despite the oppression they face around the world, and International Women’s Day provided the perfect backdrop to discuss the issue.
“It’s a day to think about how women are doing.
“It’s a day to celebrate who we are and ask how we can become more equal players in our society.”
After the event, attendees participated in a discussion about some of the issues in the film and ways they can help foster change.