Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Century of Women Working for Peace

Amy Goodman Truthdig April 29, 2015
One hundred years ago, more than 1,000 women gathered here in The Hague during World War I, demanding peace. Britain denied passports to more than 120 women, forbidding them from making the trip to suppress their peaceful dissent. Now, a century later, in these very violent times, nearly 1,000 women have gathered here again, this time from Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as Europe and North America, saying ‘No’ to wars from Iraq to Afghanistan to Yemen to Syria, not to mention the wars in our streets at home. They were marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of WILPF, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Dr. Aletta Jacobs, a Dutch suffragist who co-founded the group a century ago, said the purpose of the original gathering in 1915 was to empower women ‘to protest against war and to suggest steps which may lead to warfare being an impossibility.’
Among the women here were four Nobel Peace Prize winners. Shirin Ebadi was awarded the prize in 2003 for advocating for human rights for Iranian women, children and political prisoners. She was the first Muslim woman, and the first Iranian, to receive a Nobel………
…..She was joined by her sister laureates Leymah Gbowee, who helped achieve a negotiated peace during the civil wars in Liberia; Mairead Maguire, who won the peace prize in 1976 at the age of 32 for advancing an end to the conflict in her native Northern Ireland; and Jody Williams, a Vermonter who led the global campaign to ban land mines, and who now is organizing to ban ‘killer robots,’ weapons that kill automatically, without the active participation of a human controller……….
Kozue Akibayashi is WILPF’s new president. After World War II, the U.S. required that Japan’s Constitution explicitly forbid it from pursuing war to settle disputes with foreign states. ‘The majority of people in Japan support the peace constitution,’ Akibayashi explained. President Barack Obama, however, like George W. Bush before him, is pressuring Japan to eliminate the pacifistic Article Nine from the Japanese Constitution…………
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