Letter to Palestinian Women
NOBEL LAUREATES, 23 Mar 2015
‘Spirit of Resilience’ Empowering Palestinian Women, Ramallah March 19th, 2015
I write to send you my love and greetings.
I am sorry I cannot be with you all to attend your very important Women’s’ Conference, as I am banned, by the Israeli Government from entering Israel/Palestine, due to my peaceful ‘Free Gaza’ activities.
However, I am with you in a spirit of love, friendship, admiration, and an abiding hope and belief in each one of you and all you do for women’s freedom, and Human Rights including the civil rights of Health Care, Development, etc.,
As Women living in the midst of an Israeli occupation, built on an Apartheid System, you know the high cost emotionally/psychologically/physically and financially of the Israeli military occupation. Your solutions, including working for an end to the repression and occupation, the right to self-determination and a Palestine built on human rights and international law, has the support of millions of people around the world who recognize the injustice of the Israeli Military occupation of Palestine.
In meeting your responsibility to resist such injustice being perpetrated upon your entire civilian population, we applaud and totally support your ‘spirit of resistance’ and nonviolent, peaceful civil resistance. You rightly, start your work for peace and justice within your own lives, in your communities, and in Palestine, and you courageously recognize the need to make peace with your Israeli brothers and sisters. Other women around the world are following and listening to the voices and actions of Palestinian women. We global women know you have many lessons to teach us, precisely because you know the cost of occupation, war, armed resistance, death and destruction. You know the depth of the pain, and the salt of the tears, when it all seems in vain; when it seems too that no one is listening, and there appears no light on the horizon, no hope. Only the anguished, despairing act of yet more retaliatory violence and yet another life or lives needlessly vanquished. But violence, by state or non-state actors is always wrong. We applaud you, the Palestinian women who so courageously challenge all violence and injustice, and call for genuine dialogue and a sincere peace process which includes the voices of women, civil society, prisoners, and one which rejects war and will take concrete steps to peace for everyone.
Another form of violence faced by Palestinian women is the injustice of patriarchy, within which women’s voices are often silenced. However, Palestinian women know that whilst working for freedom for Palestine; they must also work for individual human rights and freedom for themselves and their children. The women of Palestinian, as have all women everywhere, have a right to freedom of conscience, personal choice, and the right for their choice to be respected both by religious, civic and political authorities. Particularly in the area of health care, it is important to affirm women’s moral autonomy in making healthcare decisions and ensure they will have the means to follow that decision in their lives.
In spite of so many problems, there is hope, and you yourselves are the very bearers and channels of the hope and change that is already happening in Palestine. We women, in the global family, hear your cry. We know you suffering, and we take inspiration from you courageous spirit of nonkilling, and nonviolent resistance. You are each great peacemakers, simply because you give you lives each day, in service of your family and your community; this is the soul of peacemaking. Your lives are a true testimony to the dignity of the human spirit.
As women you are not only the bearers of life, you are the custodians, carriers and transmitters of the moral and ethical values and standards of what it means to be truly human. You have the role and responsibility of passing from generation to generation what it means to be truly human. How difficult, some would say almost impossible, to teach the values of love, forgiveness, kindness, nonkilling, whilst living in the midst of much cruelty and inhumanity. And yet, in my many visits to Palestine, I have witnessed in abundance all these values lived fully by the women of Palestine, and I have been touched and inspired by their lives.
In our world today many people and governments have put aside principles and ethical standards. We have dulled our consciences and lost our moral compass. Humanity, for all its new found knowledge, was never more lost for a united purpose and vision than perhaps any generation before us. We are constantly gaining instant knowledge, yet without wisdom, moral values and principles, such knowledge could lead to our very destruction.
You, the women of Palestine, can help us global women. We need to hear your voices to know the lessons you have learned out of the depth of your suffering and pain, and how you retained your joy, dignity and beauty, in the midst of great violence from all sides. In this sharing we will inspire each other, and we will not be victims but people of light radiating love and a shared vision of a world built on male and female equality, and a demilitarized world built on unity, law, and love. Women can voice this shared vision of the world because women are the bearers of life, the teachers of love, the protectors of their children, and the guardians of the human family and the world.
Recognizing the great dangers of violence and war to our very survival we can unite together and claim Peace as our Human Right.
Thank you dear Palestinian sisters for your work in building a nonkilling, free Palestine and peaceful Middle East.
In loving Sisterhood,
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, co-founder of Peace People, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from www.wipfandstock.com. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: www.peacepeople.com.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 23 Mar 2015.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Letter to Palestinian Women, is included. Thank you.
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