[Comments are welcome at our Dialogue Corner]
A few weeks ago, I have returned from a Congress of 200 women peacemakers representing six continents. It was not just a congress; it was a celebration. We sang and danced together. We laughed and cried and shared our dreams together. We looked into each other's eyes and touched each other's hearts. We were African, American, Australian, European, Native American, Israeli, Palestinian, Latin American, Canadian, and Asian. We were young, old, and middle-aged. We were doctors, poets, social workers, publishers, musicians, homemakers, artists, attorneys and even a politician or two. We were a gathering of women.
What I see when I close my eyes and think about the Congress is two Palestinian and one Israeli woman sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, heads together, interpreting for one another. I see 200 women, arms raised to the sky singing the words of We Rise. I see a beautiful Kenyan woman joyfully announcing to the congregation, that another Kenyan woman had just won the Nobel Peace Prize. I see a young woman of 19 boldly assuring all of us that she will "gather the girls" to join in this peace movement.
I feel confident that my greeting represents women all over the world because what I learned there, what was written on my heart forever, is that we are all One. Though we come in all colors, shapes and sizes (and we most certainly did) there is no doubt that underneath it all we are all One.
Sometimes we like to pretend that we are not One, that they are the other, that they don't think or feel like we do. It makes it easier to send our men and boys off to kill their men and boys (and women and children). It makes it easier to close our eyes to their hunger, to deny them access to decent jobs and a decent place to live. But we are only kidding ourselves.
Have you ever had a child or grandchild who was critically sick or in great pain? What would you have given to relieve that child's suffering? Your African sister would do the same. Have you ever watched your husband or father cry because he couldn't find work to feed his family? Did it break your heart? Your Brazilian sister knows that pain. Have you had a loved-one in a war-torn country on the other side of the world and ached to bring them home to the safety of your love. Your Australian sister has felt the same. We are all in this together. There is no "Them"; there is only "Us."
The purpose of our final gathering at the Congress was to begin the planning for Six Congresses on Six Continents in 2006. We want to make it possible for women of every nation and every socio-economic bracket to come together with their sisters. And we want you to be there, in body if possible, in spirit for certain.
The purpose of these Congresses will be to co-create a more peaceful and equitable world for our children and grandchildren. It's up to the women of the world to make this happen, not because we are better than the men, but because the evolutionary events that have brought mankind to where it is today have allowed us to maintain our gentle, loving, nurturing, peacemaking qualities, while the men have been encouraged to squelch their emotions and harden their hearts. We have to do whatever we can to keep those qualities that make us Women alive and well. Acknowledging that they exist in all of us is the first step.
We can't wait for any single event to take place. We have to begin, or upgrade, our peacemaking efforts right now. We must not waste a single opportunity to change the course that this world of ours is on. We can start by being more loving to ourselves and then take it to our families and friends, our villages or communities, our nations and the rest of the world.
So I bring you this greeting of peace and love from me and my 200 sisters who attended the Gather the Women Congress and ask that you share it with all of your sisters, with every woman on all of your "lists."
Peace be with you.
Rose Lord, 9/December/2004