Sometimes there is an opportunity to document that the power of God is real. The sentencing of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor Wednesday for war crimes in Sierra Leone is one such case. “God willing, I will be back,” Mr. Taylor said in a dramatic moment as he left peace negotiations in 2003. It was his response as BBC News announced that he was to be arrested for crimes against humanity.
God willing, Mr. Taylor is back. Prosecutors in The Hague have called for a sentence of 80 years in prison following his conviction last month for murder, rape, enslavement, recruiting child soldiers, pillage, acts of terrorism and other atrocities committed in Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2002. His conviction may change African leadership forever, and Wednesday’s sentencing is a watershed moment.
Behind it all is an almost forgotten women’s movement of prayer that refused to let Mr. Taylor ignore the suffering he was inflicting. Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a 2008 film by Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker that documents this Liberian prayer activism. It shows how broken, war-weary women received divine strength as they gathered in Monrovia’s fish market in 2002 to pray for peace. They dressed in emulation of the Hebrew Bible’s Queen Esther, who mourned as she prayed God would save her people’s lives….