============================================================================ Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 10:46:09 -0400 To: [list suppressed] From: Bruna Nota <•••@••.•••> Subject: let the women talk. Bcc: •••@••.••• Dear friends, Following up on the World March of Women this is a very appropriate article from a WILPF friend. Let us all work to achieve this! Peace to all! Bruna Thanks to Odile and others for impassioned, informative and inspiring e-mails. Feel free to make use of this column-it belongs to me, not the paper. LET THE WOMEN TALK by Mary Zepernick Cape Cod Times, 10-20-00 In the playwright Aristophanes' satire on his fellow Athenians' weaknesses, Lysistrata led the women of Athens in withholding sex until their men agreed to give up their incessant war making. United States history, both textbook and Hollywood versions, is rife with war stories. Who doesn't know about the "Indian wars" between the European settlers and the peoples already here when they arrived? However, who DOES know that four centuries ago, women of the Iroquois nation met to demand an end to intertribal warfare? Nor does what passes for history report that in 1915 some 1400 women suffragists from warring and neutral nations crossed enemy lines and torpedoed waters to gather at The Hague. They were welcomed by Dr. Aletta Jacobs of the host country, the Netherlands, to this "international congress of women to protest against war, and to discuss ways and means whereby war shall become an impossibility in the future." The participants unanimously passed 20 resolutions, including one calling for a continuous mediating conference of neutral nations. Two teams of women traveled to 13 European capitals and to Washington, DC, urging officials to implement their proposal. Jane Addams, the esteemed U.S. social worker who was later vilified for her peace activities, described a meeting she and Dr. Jacobs had with a "large, grizzled formidable man. When we had finished our presentation and he said nothing, I remarked, 'It perhaps seems very foolish that women should go about in this way.'....He banged his fist on the table. 'Foolish?' he said. 'Not at all. These are the first sensible words that have been uttered in this room for ten months.'" Throughout history "enemy" women have crossed geographical, cultural and ideological borders in search of peace. The latest examples persist in the face of the violence unleashed three weeks ago by Ariel Sharon's visit to Muslim holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, which resulted from the Hague Congress, has an Israeli section composed of both Arab and Jewish women. They are supporting the Palestinian section in hosting WILPF's International Congress in East Jerusalem next year. Another organization is the Jerusalem Link, formed in 1993 to coordinate two independent women's centers: Bat Shalom - The Jerusalem Women's Action Center, located in West Jerusalem, and Marcaz al-Quds la l-Nissah - the Jerusalem Center for Women, located in East Jerusalem. "As Israeli and Palestinian women of The Jerusalem Link, we work together toward a real peace - not merely a treaty of mutual deterrence, but a culture of peace and cooperation between our peoples." An Israeli group called "New Profile" sent out this message a week ago: "Let the women talk! We know that two peoples CAN live in this land....It was women who led the way to end the terrible and pointless war in Lebanon. We the women can find an end to this terrible cycle of violence too. Let the women talk....We want each and every person to have rights, to have the right to be heard, to choose how to live in peace and dignity. We want to share the resources of this land, its water, its vines, its holy places. Jerusalem can be shared, this whole area can be shared between two independent, proud, equal peoples....Let the international community form a group of women from all around the world to become the women's peace corp-an international mediating body of women friends who will listen, facilitate, help us save ourselves. Let the women talk. Move the men aside. They did a bad job here. They talk of power, force and security. We know that our security is to be good neighbors....We do not want to raise our children to war.... Before it is too late-let the women talk." Foolish that women should go about in this way? Not at all! These are as sensible as any words that have been uttered since men first locked cudgels and scratched their mighty conquests on cave walls. Unfortunately, you won't find them on the nightly news, in your morning paper, or at the summit in Egypt. However, one can only hope they will be included in future histories of a new human dawn, whose symbol will be Jerusalem. 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