Here is a timely reminder of what can happen when women join together in an effort to create peace. Bat Shalom is an organization of Palestinian and Israeli women created in spite of the tremendous opposition to any camaraderie between the two sides.
On May 7, 2002, their director, Terry Greenblatt, gave a speech at the UN. This inspiring excerpt speaks clearly of why women must be involved in the peace process and what we have to contribute.
Read it and pass it along to a friend:
You need us, because if the goal is not simply the absence of war, but the creation of a sustainable peace by fostering fundamental societal changes, we are crucial to everyone’s security concerns.
You need us, because wars are no longer fought on battlefields. You have brought the war home to us. Many more civilians than soldiers are being killed in ours and other conflicts around the world. The wars are being waged now on our doorsteps and in our living rooms and in our sacred houses and ceremonies of religious worship, and women have a vested interest in keeping families and communities safe.
You need us because we continue to hold human rights and the sanctity of life as paramount values, and unfortunately today, they are too easily being bartered away as either obstacles to security policies or as incongruent with national liberation aspirations.
You need us because we have developed a process and socio-political fluency that keeps authentic and productive dialogue moving forward, even as the violence escalates and both sides continue to terrorize one another. Women’s characteristic life experience gives us the potential for two things: a very special kind of intelligence, social intelligence, and a very special kind of courage, social courage. We have developed the courage to cross the lines of difference drawn between us, which are also the lines drawn inside our heads. And the intelligence to do it safely, without a gun or a bomb, and to do it productively. And most importantly, we are learning to shift our positions, finding ourselves moving towards each other, without tearing up our roots in the process. Even when we are women whose very existence and narrative contradicts each other, we will talk–we will not shoot.
You need us because we women are willing to sit together on the same side of the table and together look at our complex joint history, with the commitment and intention of not getting up until–in respect and reciprocity–we can get up together and begin our new history and fulfill our joint destiny.
Senensky goes on to write:
We need to join together in community grounded in simple truths. Pain is our teacher, not our enemy. Love and compassion for all is our goal. To create a world where people have the opportunity to become wholly who they are is what we are striving for. Women need to reach out to and receive each other, simultaneously keening our grief and dancing our joy. We need to raise our voices. We need to know what we must say Yes to and what we must say No to, and do it. Singly, collectively, it makes no difference. It is time for each of us to journey to our center to answer the question of who we serve. Time is short. Our planet is failing. Our only choice is to find our voices and live from a place of integrity, love, and fierce compassion.