Friday, May 17, 2013

Peace is a woman and woman is peace

I am reposting a reflection I recently wrote for CPT Net and that we posted on our Iraqi Kurdistan team blog.

But I will also post it here for those who have not seen it in the other places. Like I said in my last post  it was an incredible day.

May 14, 2013

Peace is a woman and woman is peace.

"The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring". Isaiah 58:11

The high mountain ridges, still covered in a blanket of snow showed the borderline of Iraq and Iran.  A tiny newborn goat with the umbilical cord still drying on its belly wandered around by our legs. The unceasing sound of the artesian spring gave background noise to our conversation.

There we were, sitting around a table under bright green grape leaves and infant grape clusters that protected us from the hot sun.  Unusually, the women outnumbered the men. However, even more unusual was that the first question came from a woman to me. “I am asking you because you are a woman’, she said. “Violence against women happens all over the world. How do you think that we can change that?” I admitted that considering making changes to such a huge issue was beyond me.  I thought that we must work at a level of helping one man to see things differently, or to empower one woman at a time. She agreed.

I marvelled that I was able to be here on this awesome spring day, having a conversation with a Kurdish woman who had lived and fought in these mountains for 21 years.  I knew that our ideology and methods were quite different, but I felt a kinship with her. Her organisation strives to provide equal opportunity for all, no matter which gender. She had been trained extensively right alongside the men.   She was secure in her beliefs that the way to start making a difference in the world was working on attitudes toward and treatment of women. “We should all should work together, young and old women. We need to include more women in these reforms because the peace is a woman and woman is peace.”

We spoke of the hope for the end of the conflict, when the peace agreement with Turkey really materializes. Her dream was to someday go beyond the borders of Iraq, to speak to people of other nations, to train women and to share her knowledge and experience. When we asked her how she saw peace, she gestured and looked around at the plot of land, the grape vines, the spring and the goat. She said, “When everyone in the world has this.”
The conversation was far too short, but the sun was sinking lower in the sky and we had a long drive over a rocky road ahead of us. As we hugged and kissed goodbye she commented,” You should be a leader in a women’s organisation”.  I received her affirmation and treasured it.

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