Monday, March 30, 2015

Women as Peace Advocates

March is Women’s History Month in the United States.  It is set aside to focus on the contributions of women to the development of the country.  March 8 is also celebrated as International Women’s Day.
In his proclamation, U.S. President Barack Obama said, “Throughout history, extraordinary women have fought tirelessly to broaden our democracy’s reach and help perfect our Union.  Through protest and activism, generations of women have appealed to the values at the heart of our Nation and fought to give meaning to the idea that we are all created equal.”

The President added, “Courageous women have called not only for the absence of oppression, but for the presence of opportunity.  They have demonstrated for justice, but also for jobs—ones that promise equal pay for equal work.  And they have marched for the right to vote not just so their voices would be heard, but so they could have a seat at the head of the table.”

In Nigeria, the U.S. Embassy, in collaboration with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, hosted an that focused on promoting peaceful elections, following concerns over possible violence in Nigeria’s coming elections.  The program featured the screening of a documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which highlighted the decisive action taken by Liberian women to end a brutal civil war and bring back peace to their country.

The thought-provoking documentary generated a lot of comments from the audience, including some witnesses to the Nigerian civil war who shared their experience and urged Nigerian women not to allow a repeat. “If you go into a market and throw a stone, it may hit your mother,” one member of the audience warned.

Other contributors to the discussion noted that Liberian women were able to bring a terrible war to an end in their country because they did not allow religion or ethnicity to obstruct their vision.  Nigerian women were therefore advised to adopt this approach.  Lessons drawn from the documentary were: “Bullets don’t pick and choose,” “Although the Liberian women had lost a lot, including their loved ones, they still had hope,” and “We all are one humanity under God.”

The event ended with a resolve by participants to be agents of peace in their homes and communities to ensure that the 2015 elections are conducted peacefully.

No comments:

Post a Comment