Nobel Women‘s Initiative Conference: 14-16 May 2017 – Monchengladbech, Germany
NOBEL LAUREATES, 15 May 2017
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate – TRANSCEND Media Service
A global feminist resistance – its evolution and revolution – adapting to thrive!
Guten Morgan, dear friends,
It is great that we are gathered here and have an opportunity to renew old friendships and make new ones. I would like to extend my thanks to the Major of the City of Monchengladbech, for hosting this NWI’s conference in his beautiful city, and to all those who have worked to help make this Conference possible.
We are meeting here, in the heart of Europe, at a time of crisis and opportunity for the human family. We represent many people in many countries. We are deeply conscious of our responsibility as world citizens, of a world of suffering and inequality, particularly for women, youth, children and the poor. We hold our world in our hands and accept responsibility as Feminists and women, to keep it safe from destruction to protect the environment and worlds’ children, who have a right to live in a world of peace and joy.
As feminists and women, we acknowledge the deep suffering of millions of our Sisters and Brothers around the world, through the violence of Rape, Poverty, Sexual abuse, trafficking, slavery, occupation, wars, all injustices and abuse of human rights and civil liberties so rampant in many countries. We as activists, feel deeply the need to both deepen and increase our resistance to such injustices and to protect our right and space to do so, together and in solidarity with our sisters and brothers wherever they suffer domination and repression and abuse of their dignity and rights. Putting our energies and lives into programmes tackling such injustices is the Agenda of the Feminist Movement in partnership with all those working to empower women and men to get a better future.
However, alongside this enormous task of peacebuilding in dealing with the symptoms and broken systems, I believe it is important that we in the Feminist and Womens’ Movement must go to the root of such violence and focus energy on changing our very thinking and mindsets. Peace, a Human Right and the greatest of gifts, is a neurological process and it has to be taught,learned and practised daily. We can all help to ensure that Peace and Nonviolence be taught at every level of society, and that Civil Society, Spiritual/Religious leaders, Scientists, Governments, teach Peace as a Global Peace Science, and Nonviolence as a serious Political Science.
Living as we do in a time of Perpetual Wars and increasing militarism and paramilitarism, many people argue that Peace is not possible. But, is it not more honest to admit that we have not seriously tried Peace and Nonviolence as an alternative to Militarism and War? Especially as we know that Peace is Moral, War is not. Illegal and immoral wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria,Yemen, and with USA/UK, (Nato) threatening more wars to come, reminds us we live in a dangerous world with nuclear weapons on the alert, and cold war rhetoric raising fearology and insecurity. These illegal wars have cost the lives of millions of people and destroyed their lands causing millions to flee to other countries for safety, and we have a moral duty to respond to their plight and are grateful for Chancellor Merkel’s humanitarian reaction to the refugee crisis. Unfortunately, Europe continues to re-arm and follow cold war policies through NATO and the voices of Peace and Reconciliation are often silenced by fake news and war propaganda. I believe we as Feminists, Women, and men, must raise our voices to proclaim ’We have a right not to be killed and a responsibility not to kill each other. We reject the bomb and the bullet and all the techniques of violence. We work to abolish war and replace it with a demilitarized stable world based on a Global Peace System.’ Scientist tell us that war is not in our genes, it is a product of culture, and it can be abolished, and the money saved put into the programmes of enhancing human life and protecting the environment. Such a clear message will give Leadership and hope in a world, currently lost in the mist of fearful ambiguity, especially on matters of life and death, the very core of Feminist and womens’ concern and interest. Surely this is a worthy vision of a civilized humanity for the 2lst century! Peace and Love to you all.
DANKE – thank you!
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 15 May 2017.
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