Liberian Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee: ‘It’s time for you to stop being politely angry’


Madam Laymah Gbowee

Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee says the armchair activism of people who sit at computers, hiding behind avatars and fake names, will never start a revolution.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee kicked off the 2018 Women in the World Summit in New York on Thursday evening with an all-encompassing worldview on how to effect social change, bringing the wisdom she gained from helping to topple a dictator and end a civil war in Liberia to the social movements sweeping the United States today.

“It’s time for you to stop being politely angry,” Gbowee told CBS news anchor Norah O’Donnell in a sweeping conversation that moved from her native Liberia to the women’s marches in the United States last year to the young activists who have emerged in the aftermath of the shooting in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Gbowee is best known for starting a movement in Liberia a decade ago that united Muslim and Christian women across the country to stand up to Charles Taylor, the notorious warlord who was then the president. She organized massive marches of women dressed all in white, as a symbolic contrast to their militarized society. Later, the women organized a sex strike, essentially refusing sex until the war came to an end. In part as a result of their activism, Taylor resigned and was later convicted of war crimes; he is now serving a 50-year prison sentence.

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