When Women Gather
Over the past two months, I've shared with many of you an idea to have a Sister to Sister blog for women from around the world. I'm glad to say that while my hope was to have 100 women for the next 12 months, it was not merely a suggestion, but a goal. Many of you have asked and/or agreed to participate in the blog, but offered that it probably would not be on a regular basis. Others considered that there were periods in 2010 that may necessitate more responses than others, and still others have agreed to commitments of once a month or every three months. As most of us are very busy, my hope is that whatever contribution you make, it will enough and it will be important. Plus, I believe that we will have 100 women participating in any given month. A hope nestled in my faith in you.
One woman offered that this blog would be "a catalyst of significant conversations by and among women who are shaping their realm and our shared world." Then she added some insightful questions and comments to go with her statement, asking:
- "What is the message, the role, the function that women should be filling at this junction of history as we shape the coming decades and the generations that will be living them?"
- "Who do you know who is doing that in your world? What is their story?"
- "If you could look back to the year 2010 from the year 2030, what would you hope to see has happened in the intervening years? What did women do to make those changes possible?"
- "What are the three most influential books or movies you've experienced recently? What did you find impactfull about them?
Barbara Malloy-Morin, HALO-Houston Apartment Life Outreach, wrote:
I was impressed by the speech delivered by President Obama today accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. I believe he eloquently expressed the dilemma that many of us live daily as we hope to develop lives that embody peace, love, hope and faith. I also believed that he accurately explained the dichotomy between the politics of peace and the reality of peace in a world that is often filled with violence and war. It reminded me in some ways of the time that Jesus told the Pharisees to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what is God's". It also reminded me that in the continuum of eternity we must keep the focus on the goal of peace and not be sidetracked by the minutiae of politics and war.
While I heartily endorse the stated objectives of sending US troops into Afghanistan, and even to Iraq, that of eradicating terrorism both within those countries and throughout the world, I have strong reservations about the appropriateness of doing so with military force. In the long run, I'm convinced that force only strengthens the resolve of resistance, thereby defeating the very purpose intended. When looked at in another way, I consider the cost of any military action to be exorbitant - not only as counted in the billions of dollars being spent on these wars directly, and of the lives lost in waging them, but also the more insidious costs to our country and our people. Costs in the thousands of promising lives turned inside out by the loss of limbs and minds due to the damage done by war. Costs in the emotional price paid by our soldiers - men and women who must try to fit back into our society when they return home someday after having withstood the constant erosion of their bodies, minds and souls while in harms way - and having become that "harms way" themselves to others they encountered, both military and civilian. And when we expand our vision with recognition that All Are One, we cannot help but see the costs of war are too high for all people - men, women and children in the occupied countries, as well as those left at home by soldiers on all fronts - "theirs" as well as "ours" - and those who must find refuge from the very real threats that surround them every day in a land at war. The cost of war is too high, for it is the price of our humanity itself. We must find a better way.
These two posts sent to me about President Obama's speech were not the only ones. Others expressed outrage and others still wrestled with what was termed "the complexities of war" and what his words meant to them. As I read each of these posts, I became aware that part of the issues we will have to address are those of our dissent. Every blog submitted might be commented on. While comments are viewed prior to posting, I will endeavor along with my team of women who have agreed to help me, not to censure any comment written with the principles of the Decade in mind. Most especially, every comment must endeavor to evoke dialogue as in the principle of "listening to understand." I will also endeavor to have any issues from women bloggers addressed promptly as well.
The Rules of Engagement
- Every bloggers can upload her own blog. When a blogger submits a request to blog, she will be given a passcode to post. The length of the blog can be as short as a paragraph and limited to 1,000 words. Each blog must have a subject and can have pictures. Links to other websites within the blog is acceptable.
- Blogs in Other Languages. We are currently working on the best way to do this. I understand that google has a language translation program and am looking into it. However, if possible, if the blog is in another language, please provide English translation.
- Subject Matters. This blog is an initiative of Decade of Nonviolence. As this Decade ends in 2010, my hope is that subject matters will address "Beyond the Decade" and the measures and indicators of how women are participating.
- Start Date. I want the first series of blogs to include women from around the world on January 1st! Those of you who agree to post, please email your request to blog and your subject matter to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will return your proper instructions on how you can post for that day.
- Additional Blogs. For all other submissions, please provide the date you wish to post and the subject matter. Again, see instructions in item 4.
- Links to Other Organizations. We want this blog to be a network of people, places and organizations. The links will be important to support the work that is important to our role as women, but also to the mission of building cultures of peace.
- Who You Are. We want to make sure that we have a short bio of who you are and the work that you are doing.
- Outcomes. A goal of this blog for a year is to understand how we meet and how we work together. I would love to hear stories about women who meet through this blog, whose relationships are strengthened through this blog and all that can transpire when women gather.
Shall We Gather at the River?
Again, I welcome your further input. As we start this adventure--together--may we consummate our roles as peacebuilders. We do this for each other, but mostly for our children.
[P.K. McCary is a storyweaver and writer, who role in life is to continue to gather and tell the stories of peace in action.]