The New Warriors

In a series of links that began in the comment here, I wind up here, reading the letter from Eve Ensler (Activist/Playwright/Founder, V-Day) to President Bush, which includes the following (and much more worth reading).
You cannot help people through force or violence. You help people by serving them, by asking questions, through humility, by being engaged in a process of discovery, admitting that you do not have answers and seeking answers together. You help people by providing safety and resources so they can do their best thinking. You help people by trusting they have the capacity to help themselves.
Mr. President, there is a new paradigm. I have seen it manifest itself everywhere, from Manhattan to Manila, Sarajevo to Johannesburg. Women and men who have suffered enormous violence are not buying AK-47s or machetes or weapons of mass destruction. They are not plotting retaliation or revenge. I have seen how in the Rift Valley of Africa the women who were mutilated are now opening safe houses to protect young girls from Female Genital Mutilation. In Houston, Denver, New York, Los Angeles, and Kauai, women are telling their stories of rape and domestic battery, risking
shame and embarrassment so other women will be free. In Juarez, Mexico, women activists are risking assassination as they speak out against the murder and disappearances of hundreds of poor women. In the refugee camps of Peshawar, Afghan women who lost every right under the Taliban are bringing up girls and boys to be equal. In the community centers of Mostar, women who were raped during the Bosnian war are working with soldiers to heal their trauma. In Islamabad, women are risking Fatwa to save other women from acid burnings and honor killings. In the streets of Paris, women are risking everything to hide women from their pimps and save their daughters from sex slavery. These are the new warriors

10 thoughts on “The New Warriors

  1. I just bounced over to the original site, thanks to your link. I emailed this to myself twice.
    Smart lady. I knew if I crossed my fingers and jumped up and down long enough, someone would be able to figure out how to conceptualize and articulate this eloquently, succinctly.
    Now all we need to do is teach George how to read.
    And translate it into cereal box verbiage.
    And then we got ‘im.

  2. “You help people by serving them, by asking questions, through humility, by being engaged in a process of discovery, admitting that you do not have answers and seeking answers together.”
    Ideally, there no argument here. Realisticly? Well, the word BULLSHIT comes to mind rather quickly. Sorry – and with all due respect.
    This suggests that we could have eliminated the hundreds of thousands, the millions killed by direct actions of Saddam and Co. simply by discussing and asking and working together with him. Well, over the course of 26 years, time and again, Saddam proved such a thing requires a two-way street of which he had no inclination to be a part of.
    Exactly how many more thousands of Iraqis would have died by Saddam’s hands while we continued this ‘process of discovery’? Exactly how many fewer have died because we took a more direct/agressive course of action? We’ll never know, but if the past history of Saddam and the UN are any indication, many more lives are now “helped by” our “use of force” than would have by continuing what was essentiall a one-way “process of discovery”.

  3. hmm. No where in Ensler’s letter did I notice that she suggested trying to have conversations with Saddam or his ilk. Rather what I understood was that there is a peaceful way to help cultures evolve to be more humane, and that’s not by governments fighting each other for control, but rather by “ordinary” people working with other “ordinary” people to show demonstrate how democracy is supposed to work in daily life. If we Americans had started doing this generations ago in the Middle East, the people themselves would have had built the capacity to change their own regime. But, of course, American corporations and their CEOs can’t make much money that way, can they. But they sure will as a result of this war.

  4. Unless it’s a government that commits genocide, builds jails for it’s children, amasses weapons, invades neighbors, hordes humanitarian aid for itself over it’s citizens, controls ALL media outlets…. and basically shuts out the entire outside world while refusing to make a single change. Elaine, exactly how does one institiute SUBSTANTIAL change through non-violent means? Get real. Pointing out how American corporations and CEOs benefit is not a direct clear example of this. It is an indirect one, distinctly displaying the one fault of many pacifists. It just ain’t realistic.

  5. Um, what you describe is sounding more and more like America: amasses weapons, controls mainstream media outlets, enables the rich to grow richer at the expense of the poor who really need “humanitarian aid”, builds more jails to compensate for the fact that its urban poor continue to be saddled with the worst educational opportunities (thus setting up a system that points them toward the kinds of opportunities that will lead them to those jails). We have our own subtle forms of genocide and ways to deflect what should be tax-supported internal “humanitarian aid.” No, we’re not nearly as bad as Saddam’s regime, but we sure are a lot more delusional about the high standards of our ethics.

  6. Wow. I never thought of that. Once again your ways with words has my jaw dropping in awe. Wait a minute…. gee, you just did it again. Somehow managed to NOT answer my original question about a non-violent way of dealing with Saddam, turn things around to slam America as though somehow it was morally wrong to take a forceful action to take out Saddam and make it sound like our faults – everyone has them – are somehow comparable to those of Saddam. Damn…. now I am in awe.

  7. That George Bush Sr, former head of the CIA and president, is by any measure of international law one of the modern era’s greatest prima facie war criminals, and his son’s illegitimate administration a product of this dynastic mafia, is unmentionable.
    Transcript from John Pilter lecture interview. see wwhttp://pilger.carlton.com/print/100275
    Fake debates can be carried on in the British Sunday newspapers about whether “we” should attack Iraq. The debaters, often proud liberals with an equally proud record of supporting Washington’s other invasions, guard the limits.
    These “debates” are framed in such a way that Iraq is neither a country nor a community of 22 million human beings, but one man, Saddam Hussein. A picture of the fiendish tyrant almost always dominates the page. (“Should we go to war against this man?” asked last Sunday’s Observer). To appreciate the power of this, replace the picture with a photograph of stricken Iraqi infants, and the headline with: “Should we go to war against these children?” Propaganda then becomes truth. Any attack on Iraq will be executed, we can rest assured, in the American way, with saturation cluster bombing and depleted uranium, and the victims will be the young, the old, the vulnerable, like the 5,000 civilians who are now reliably estimated to have been bombed to death in Afghanistan. As for the murderous Saddam Hussein, former friend of Bush Sr and Thatcher, his escape route is almost certainly assured.
    The column inches now devoted to Iraq, often featuring unnamed manipulators and liars of the intelligence services, almost always omit one truth. This is the truth of the American- and British-driven embargo on Iraq, now in its 13th year. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly children, have died as a consequence of this medieval siege. The worst, most tendentious journalism has sought to denigrate the scale of this crime, even calling the death of Iraqi infants a mere “statistical construct”. The facts are documented in international study after study, from the United Nations to Harvard University. (For a digest of the facts, see Dr Eric Herring’s Bristol University paper “Power, Propaganda and Indifference: an explanation of the continued imposition of economic sanctions on Iraq despite their human cost”, available from eric.herring@bristol.ac.uk)

  8. John Pilger points out that for every kurd killed by Saddam Hussein in the poisonous gass attacks after the Iranian war, a hundred iraqi men women and childred died as a result of economic sanctions against the regime. In his video he also directly shows how the Shiite uprising at the conclusion of the Gulf war was of US making. Further at the crucial moment US backing was waived leaving the sedtion vulnerable to Saddams violence. The excuse, we do not want a regime in Iraq that we cannot control.
    ,,The funcion of propaganda is not toe weigh the rights of different people, but to exclusively emphasies the one right which it has set out to argue for; to serve our won right always and unflinchingly. As soon as our propaganda admits so much as a glimmer of right on the other side, the masses are thenin no position to distinguish where foreign injustice ends and our own begins.. Adolf Hitler
    see http://www.progressiveaustin.org/iraqivic.htm.

  9. John Pilger points out that for every kurd killed by Saddam Hussein in the poisonous gass attacks after the Iranian war, a hundred iraqi men women and childred died as a result of economic sanctions against the regime. In his video he also directly shows how the Shiite uprising at the conclusion of the Gulf war was of US making. Further at the crucial moment US backing was waived leaving the sedtion vulnerable to Saddams violence. The excuse, we do not want a regime in Iraq that we cannot control.
    ,,The function of propaganda is not toe weigh the rights of different people, but to exclusively emphasies the one right which it has set out to argue for; to serve our own right always and unflinchingly. As soon as our propaganda admits so much as a glimmer of right on the other side, the masses are thenin no position to distinguish where foreign injustice ends and our own begins.. Adolf Hitler
    see http://www.progressiveaustin.org/iraqivic.htm.

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