rn> Mary Zepernick (via Bruna Nota): “LET THE WOMEN TALK”


Richard Moore

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!


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.

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

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