The following is an excerpt from Adventist Development and Relief Agency—Norway board member, Geir Olav Lisle:
Last Friday myself, along with the widow and daughter of Kåre Lund (slain ADRA worker) and country director of ADRA Liberia, had the pleasure of meeting the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winners from Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee. Our request to meet the Nobel Peace Prize winners was not only to congratulate them but to offer them an opportunity to meet Christel Lund, Kåre’s widow, and insure ADRA’s support and continued commitment to Liberia despite the events of 2003.
As a board leader, I was prepared to present the ADRA work in Liberia and hear Nobel Peace Prize winners present their achievements, political victories and visions for Liberia's future. But I was emphatically put in place by these women. The meeting turned out to be rather a close and personal encounter between women that in different ways had struggled for peace in Liberia. It turned out that both President Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee were well acquainted with the events that had shaken ADRA and the families of our men back in 2003.
In the meeting President Johnson Sirleaf explained that the killing of ADRA staff and other similar events was carried out by coked up-soldiers with neither money nor discipline. She told of a very difficult year for Liberia, affecting also all people who visited and worked within the country. Liberians killed their own people, raped their women and children, and attacked those who tried to help.
But it was Leymah Gbowee who gave us new perspectives on the loss of our employees. Her amazing story was that she and her staff had met the three ADRA workers in the field the same day they were killed. They had met at the same checkpoint and had been addressed by the same soldiers. That evening, when she arrived in Monrovia, she heard the news reports that the ADRA workers were missing.
Gbowee then expressed that the horrible killing of ADRA workers was a direct inspiration that culminated her work as a social worker and caused her to sincerely devoted all her strength to work for peace and women's rights. The killing of aid workers from ADRA gave peace efforts a new momentum and this inspired peace movement was recognized through the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo City Hall this weekend.
Photo: Tor Tjeransen. Also, thanks to Gry Haugen.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3658