Monday, July 21, 2014



The bombs have stopped.  Politicians have negotiated a cease fire but have done nothing for a lasting peace.  The nightly sky is quiet the moon shines bright and the northern star can be seen by the nightly travelers.  Silence reigns no more sirens, no more rockets no more bombs to disturb my sleep.  I cannot sleep my body cannot rest as it expects the sirens to go off, or the rocket or bombs to drop and explode.  Finally, sleep comes one eye open, one ear listening to hear those sirens or bombs. A month goes by and finally I can sleep. Something falls, I jump out of bed fearing the worst, as I go to investigate, I realize it is not a bomb but something fell on the floor.  Shaking I go back to bed but I cannot sleep.  My mind is not at peace. Life goes on tomorrow today we will rebuild our homes, our cities our infrastructure.  Men go and rebuild, earn money rebuild our lives. Women help and support the men and care for children. No time to think about events the bombs have stopped but peace has not come.     

Months turn into years and still peace has not come.  Events have been shoved under the carpet, feelings have been ignored, and at times anger sets in. Why am I so jittery?  Why this anger? I did not always feel that way, what happened to me.  I scream instead of speaking gently. I curse my neighbor because he is not like me.  Many years ago our families were friends, our children would play with each other.  We worked and celebrate our holidays.  We were family! Why is it no longer so?   I want my children to know the joy that once reigned in our village.  What to do?  Knock on my neighbor’s door, a request “can we talk?”  “Yes!” We sit, talk about the past, talk about the war and the bombs, the war neither of us wanted.  Emotions run high, pain surfaces, as we remember our dead.  As we talk about those who died, we wonder together did he kill my brother, sister, mother, father, child, family or friend?  Neither of us can answer that question, we will never know. The reality is that they died because of a bomb, a missile, and or a bullet. We sit looking at each other and realize we have choices to make.  Can we rebuild our former friendship or do we remain enemies.  

Men and women sit and talk, about the war and justice!  No one can pinpoint what started the bombing. Justice was used we want justice, yet it became just ice as hearts froze and blindness set in. The blindness that prevents us from seeing the whole picture. We were blinded by our anger, our pain that became hate.  No one remembers the spark that grew into the fires of hell, the war.  All we know is the after effects, the death toll, and the casualties of war.  It does not matter who lost more people, what matters is that lives were lost.  People were maimed, lost an eye, a leg an arm or a hand.  We could no longer look in each other’s eye fearing to see pain and/or guilt. We could no longer walk to our friend’s house yet we could limp. No longer were we able to extend our hand in friendship as a piece of shrapnel blew it away. We talked about the devastating consequences of war the loss of life, of limbs, but more importantly the loss of trust and broken friendships.  

We open our hearts and our minds, promise one another to work on our friendship. Talk openly about the hell that war is to our children and grandchildren.  We will take responsibility for our actions and make our politicians honest and responsible.  Instead of justice we talk about fairness and equality to be negotiated with words and concrete actions.  We talked, we yelled, we screamed our pain and anger, we sat we talked, we listened and we heard each’s others pain.  We empathized and refused to sympathize as neither of us was a victim per say but we were survivors of a war.  We sit, drink and eat together a little bit wiser because we fed our spirit, our mind and our body with words and finally we can feel peace in our heart.  We are at peace with ourself and the other. The bombs have stopped and we found our way to peaceful coexistence one person at a time, one family at a time one village at a time. 

Friday, July 18, 2014



Stop the bombing Stop the  rockets listen to the women  by Celine Leduc
Bombs fly in the night sky. Bombs fly at dusk and dawn.  It is raining It, is raining bombs and blood.  The earth is soaked in the blood of the innocent and not so innocent.  Men justify the war to bring peace, however the region is in pieces.  Torn by the violence. Stop bombing! Stop the rockets!  Lives are shattered, families torn apart, women and children suffer the loss they cry, their tears are real as they mourn the loss of life.  For years women have asked, have demanded STOP the bombings! STOP the rockets! STOP the killing!  Stop the violence! We, women, WANT PEACE for our children.  No man listens, men say we are here to protect our women and children.   Yet, they attack, send missiles to destroy a country, they refuse to recognize.   No man sits to negotiate for peace. The men are too busy rocketing the other side forcing the hand of defense.   Yes on the nightly sky rockets fly, birds no longer fly fearing death, children become orphans, women widows because men want to protect them.   Women voices are heard around the world and no one seems to listen to them, why?  Women all women want peace! 
Women from the area have a very long tradition of saving the area, it is recorded in the Bible, Qur’an and Hadith and in oral history and legends.  The knowledge is passed down from mother to daughter, in the saying: “behind every great man there is a woman”.   A new version or tradition should be started:  A man’s greatness is:  his willingness to listen to women”.   Let us not forget or remember that behind every name there is a story of glory, the name whispered in your ear has a history and tradition.  
Women in the Hebrew Bible are fewer than men however their contribution matters, in Egypt, Sudan, Persia, Yemen or North Africa. 
Egypt:   From Mesopotamia they came Abraham and Sara to Egypt to buy land from Pharaoh.  Pharaoh wanted Sarah as his wife thinking she was the sister of Abraham, however she was his wife.  Pharaoh almost sinned and as a penance he gave Sara and Abraham Hagar.   Hagar was a reminder of what happened in Egypt.  Hagar was Sarah’s handmaiden and became Abraham concubine at the request of Sarah.  Sarah was barren and Hagar gave him a son Ishmael. There was rivalry and enmity between the women, Sarah was unkind.  Sarah told Abraham send her and her son away after giving birth to Isaac.  Abraham did not listen and was told by the Lord, listen to Sarah, your wife.  Sarah freed Hagar and Ishmael.  The two sons of Abraham grew up they loved their mothers and gave them grandchildren,   because they listened to their mothers they prospered and had a long lineage, they fought as brothers to be the first. We know Ishmael was Abraham’s first born however for Hagar and Sarah both were first born.  Abraham foresaw the enslavement of his people and the birth of a liberator. They became slaves as predicted and   bad Pharaoh was cruel to the Hebrew.  He said first born Hebrew male were to be killed.   His daughter (Bethia Judaism) wife (Assyah Islam) did not agree they rebelled and disobeyed Pharaoh.  Miriam was told by her mom, make a basket and put my son in it, and watch what happens.  Bethia or Assyah saw the basket with the child, he was adopted and raised in Pharaoh’s House, and his name was Moses/Musa.  Civil disobedience by women saved lives. Moses said: Let my people go and they were let go. Bad Pharaoh decided to follow them and kill them, the Nile parted engulfed Pharaoh and his army, and they were saved. Out of Egypt (K’Met, Kush or Nubia modern day Sudan) we have Nefertiti who believed in monotheism, the one god ruled over her land.  Her reign was prosperous, here people worked, ate lived at peace because they were no wars.  She has a tomb in the desert and women from all religious background go and seek advice and inspiration, she inspired Dr. Ada Aharoni who founded IFLAC (International Forum of Literature and Peace). Leah Rabin and Jehan e-Sadat talked to their husbands and told them women want peace, peace was brokered, and the women went on to speak peace even after their husbands were killed.   Romans came to conquer the land of Nubia/Kush Augustus Caesar a misogynist who thought women were not to rule,  gave his word to the Queen I will not invade.   Amanishakheto of Nubia/Kush signed and honored the peace treaty which was sealed with a bust of none other than Augustus. He plotted against her, lusted after her land, after defeating and killing Cleopatra VII and stealing her land and her treasure.  Augustus did not respect the peace treaty, sent in an army only to be defeated.  As his army fell so did his bust its pedestal. Amanishakheto left it at the entrance of her palace so everyone would walk in would walk on the Augustus head. She did not go to war, she did not invade other lands.  She defended herself protected her people and put an end to aggression and invasion.
Persia: Jews lived in exile in Persia, the story of Esther is a lesson for a good marriage based n trust and respect between a man and a woman.   King Ahasuerus had been married to Vashti who did not listen to her husband, when he asked her to come to him, she refused hence he divorced her.  Esther is an example of courage and wisdom and listened to her uncle Mordecai when he overheard a plot. Haman and his wife were dishonest and plotted a war against Jews.  Haman was appointed to be the greatness rank by Ahasuerus. Esther was told warn King Ahasuerus of this plot, she shivered as she had to convey her husband to her chambers.  She knew what happened to Vashti.  He was a good husband and came heard and listened to her concern as she told him of the plot of Haman. The Persian King Ahasuerus, had a decision to make, listen to Haman and go to war with the Jews (Hebrew) or seek peace and listen to his wife.  He listened to Esther and war was averted. Haman the evil and his wife were defeated and disgraced. 
War in the time of Judges. Deborah (bee) was a judge, a prophetess and a leader of men and women.  Deborah a prophetess saw Barak defeat Sisera the general bent of killing Jews after a treaty had been signed by Jabin the Canaanite.  She foresaw he would not stop. She predicted a woman would kill him and restore peace in a war torn area. Deborah thought it was her duty, however it was not to be.  A woman from the other side Jael was the chosen one.  She fed him, and then killed Sisera to restore peace in the area.  At times a woman needs to kill the one whose heart is hard and so full of hate. 
Later on Rome still wanted more land and they met again defeat at the hands of women, two sister lived in castles on each side of a river.  Yes, Zainab and Zubeida went on defending their home, their land, their people, after their husbands fell at the hands of Romans. Fearless they took up the fight to save their kingdom, they won. 
Saudi Arabia:  Khadijah of Mecca was a widow and a prosperous business woman.  She hired a young man named Mohammed and asked for his hand.  This young man was known for his honesty and skills as a negotiator.   He had a vision on mount Arafat that troubled him.  An angel came to him and told him to read.  She counselled him and encouraged him.  She knew before him that he was a prophet.  He listened to her, his fears melted away accepted his fate and he became the Seal of the prophet and Islam was born.  He won the heart of millions as he was a fair and honest man who did much for the women of his time.  He stopped infanticide, gave women the right to divorce, gave strict instruction to his Companions do not kill women and children at war. When his wife Khadija died he went to Medina, he married more than one woman many were war widows.  He consulted women his wives.  
North Africa: Tin Hinan the legend of the Berber a Queen, a mother of her people is the founder of the Berber, her legacy released by the desert her mummified body showed she wore: 7 gold, 7 silver bracelets adorn her arm two ring one silver one gold.  Leader of men during the day and mother at night. Just like Kenza a legend loved by all, for some she is Jewish others Muslim some think she is Christian.   She fought to keep her people free never attacked and yet her death is at times violent or peaceful, she is loved by all and a strong roe mode for women who are leaders.  One story tells us she was Jewish fought against Muslims and yet is respected by Muslims today because she was honest and fought to have her people free.  A statue stands tall in Algeria, she was a great Berber Queen.  
Yemen:  Remember Queen Sheba who wanted to meet Solomon because he was wise.  She rules over Yemen traded all over the Arab world including Israel and Ethiopia. Arwa al-Sulayhi of Yemen was a malika (queen) who ruled over Yemen under Muslim rule.  Women ruled in fairness and many were brilliant business women leaders of the armies and very much women who thought not only of saving the lives of their children but for all children to be safe. These women ruled with their husbands were respected by them and listen to. Some were widows and other may be single we do not know legends do not tell us, they only speak of their legacy of peace.  They did not attack but defended themselves. The women lived in the dessert, in cities and were guided by the Northern star protected by the moon, shown the way when the sun rose in the east they prayed to the one God and Hawk spoke to them gave advice.   A few years ago a young woman from Yemen sang old traditional songs Ofra Haza she was loved by Israeli and by Yemenite, she used her music to bring people together.  She died a sad death yet she is a star every claims as their own, Yemen and Israel.  
As I gaze at the nightly sky one bird flies, a lone hawk. He is not a hunter or the hunter’s guide.  He is not the warrior he is a fearless bird.  Hawk does not fear bombs, he is the night watchman who informs women by telling them what men are doing at war.  Hawk has an all seeing eye.  Hawk and women know men act badly when women are not around.   Listen to hawk not the manmade symbol of hawk that symbolizes war and destruction but the hawk that flies fearless and free telling women and all children to be safe and hide.   Hawk advises women to take a stand and be firm, men need to be reminded that to be strong a man MUST listen to the women, a strong man is a man who listens to his mother, his wife, his daughters and all women.  STOP the rockets and bombs.  Silence the sirens so we can hear the message from Hawk, the voices of women who want peace for their children and grandchildren.  Are they not daughters of Hagar and SarahNefertiti, Kenza Tin Hinan as all come out of Adama (the earth)?  Adama feeds all her children, however she cries tears of blood because of the blood shed?