My spirit pricks its ears to the sound. People all over the world have raised their voice. They speak in city squares. Their protests topple governments, expel dictators, call for fairness and cry for equality.
In Tunisia, it started with one man, Mohamed Bouazizi. He set himself on fire in protest. That one sacrificial act led to what is now being called the Arab Spring. The offspring “occupy” movement has spread to Europe and the US. as the discontentment of young, middle class, educated citizens inspires them to gather and to be heard.
I applaud them and I worry that the outcomes may not be as noble as their intentions. Their pleas are for justice. Justice leads to equality and freedom. Perhaps peace will follow. Peace is not an easy road. But it is peace that will free men, women and children to live their lives without fear.
Women in Liberia found their voice after thirteen years of violent brutal war. One of their leaders, Leymah Gbowee recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in her native country. She rallied women to stand silently in a field, wearing white, day after day to make the world notice. They were tired of being victims of war. Their silent peaceful acts forced leaders to bring an end to war in Liberia. You can read her story in Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War.
A small book (41 pages) I read over and over again is The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering by Sharon Mehdi. A story for anyone who thinks she can't save the world. My favorite line is on page 2, “And there they stood.”
There is incredible power in women's wisdom. It begins right where we stand. The outcome is Peace.
Ms Gbowee said on December 30, 2011 “For one night at midnight, a cacophony of New Year’s resolutions deafen the earth. This year, I will be silent and let my actions will into existence what my lips cannot.”