Pray the Devil Back to Hell

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Pray the Devil Back to Hell
Pray the Devil Back to Hell Poster.jpg
Theatrical Poster
Directed byGini Reticker
Produced byAbigail Disney
CinematographyKirsten Johnson
Edited byKate Taverna
Meg Reticker
Music byBlake Leyh
Distributed byBalcony Releasing (US) ro*co films (International)
Release dates
Tribeca Film Festival:
April 24, 2008
Theatrical Release:
November 7, 2008 — NYC
Running time
72 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish subtitles

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a 2008 American documentary film directed by Gini Reticker and produced by Abigail Disney. The film premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Documentary.[1] The film had its theatrical release in New York City on November 7, 2008. It had cumulative gross worldwide of $90,066.[2]

The film documents a peace movement called Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. Organized by social worker Leymah Gbowee, the movement started with praying and singing in a fish market.[3] Leymah Gbowee organized the Christian and Muslim women of Monrovia, Liberia to pray for peace and to organize nonviolent protests. Dressed in white to symbolize peace, and numbering in the thousands, the women became a political force against violence and against their government.[4]

Their movement led to the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia, the first African nation with a female president. The film has been used as an advocacy tool in post-conflict zones like Sudan, mobilizing African women to petition for peace and security.[5]


A group of ordinary women in Liberia, led by Leymah Gbowee, came together to pray for peace. Armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, they demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war.[6]

Under Leymah Gbowee's leadership, the women managed to force a meeting with President Charles Taylor and extract a promise from him to attend peace talks in Ghana. Gbowee then led a delegation of Liberian women to Ghana to continue to apply pressure on the warring factions during the peace process.[7] They staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace, Accra, bringing about an agreement during the stalled peace talks.

Asatu Bah Kenneth is featured in the film. She is currently Assistant Minister for Administration and Public Safety of the Liberian Ministry of Justice.[8] At the time, she was the president of the Liberia Female Law Enforcement Association. Inspired by the work of the Christian women's peace initiative, she formed the Liberian Muslim Women's Organization to work for peace.[9]

Working together, over 3,000 Christian and Muslim women mobilized their efforts, and as a result, the women were able to achieve peace in Liberia after a 14-year civil war and helped bring to power the country's first female head of state.


The title of the film is drawn from Gbowee’s statement about Taylor and the rebels. Both sides were supposedly religious. The rebels frequented mosques, while Taylor claimed to be a devout Christian who, according to Gbowee, could “pray the devil out of Hell.” It was therefore the responsibility of the women in this inter-faith coalition to pray the devil (of war) right back to Hell.[10]


In alphabetical order

  • Janet Johnson Bryant, as Herself
  • Etweda Cooper, as Herself
  • Vaiba Flomo, as Herself
  • Leymah Gbowee, as Herself
  • Asatu Bah Kenneth, as Herself
  • Etty Weah, as Herself


Women of Liberia[edit]

As a result of the First Liberian Civil War from 1989 until 1996 and Second Liberian Civil War from 1999 until 2003, and during post-conflict periods, Liberian women were displaced and faced the death of family members, sexual violence, and challenging economic and social environments.[11] The recovery effort has been led by Liberian women against sexual violence with an all-female United Nations peacekeeping force,[12][13] trained in sophisticated combat tactics and weaponry, crowd and mob control, and counter-insurgency.[14] In 2009, women made up 15 percent of Liberia’s national police force.[15]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Tribeca Film - Home - Award Winners 2008". Archived from the original on 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  2. ^ IMDB
  3. ^ 2009 Archived 2009-12-27 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Blogs". Guideposts. Archived from the original on 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  5. ^ November 2009 MEDIAGLOBAL Archived 2010-07-10 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ African Women Development Fund Archived 2009-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Center for American Progress
  8. ^ "UNMIL – Misión de las Naciones Unidas en Liberia". (in European Spanish). Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  9. ^ United Nations Radio
  10. ^ Praying the Liberian war back to hell Archived 2010-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Amnesty International
  12. ^ "Liberian women occupy front lines of war on sexual violence | WORLDFOCUS". WORLDFOCUS. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  13. ^ Gaestel, Allyn (2010-03-19). "Liberia: Female Peacekeepers Empower Women to Participate in National Security". MediaGlobal (New York). Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  14. ^ Basu, Moni. "Indian women peacekeepers hailed in Liberia". CNN. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  15. ^ following Media Global Archived 2013-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS". Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  17. ^ "Leymah Gbowee - Hunt Alternatives Fund". Archived from the original on 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  18. ^ Jim Bishop. "Peacebuilder alumna tells her story at EMU." Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  19. ^ "Aid for Girls Going Beyond Schoolhouse". Women's eNews. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  20. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prize 2011 – Press Release". 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2011-10-07.

External links[edit]