International Women’s Day began in the early 1900’s as a Socialist political event, primarily in Europe and especially in the Soviet Bloc.
By Eileen Fleming
International Women’s Day has lost much of its political flavor however, the political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations still runs strong.
Among the women who raised awareness of the political and social struggles in the Arab World over the past year, is Tawakkul Karman, from Yemeni who became the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and leads the group “Women Journalists Without Chains”
Alfred Bernhard Nobel invented dynamite and when he wrote his last will, in 1895, he left most of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize to be used to reward human ingenuity and those with moral backbones.
Nobel desired to award people whose work benefited humanity in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for those who work for peace.
Nobel clearly supported the anti-militaristic peace movement, such as the one headed by Bertha von Suttner, who in 1876, worked as Nobel’s secretary-housekeeper for one week.
Suttner became a novelist, radical pacifist, and was the first woman to be a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Although her personal contact with Alfred Nobel was brief, she corresponded with him until his death in 1896, and was a major influence in his decision to include a peace prize, which she won in 1905.
The Palestine Center for Human Rights Statement on International Women’s Day, notes how Palestinian women experience “cruel and inhumane conditions due to the Israeli violations” and “Palestinian women suffer due to the consequences of domestic violence practiced against them in the Palestinian community.”
PCHR has called out to the International Community for the protection of all civilians to compel the Israeli authorities to respect human rights and comply with the principles of the international humanitarian and human rights laws and end the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip.
PCHR has called upon the Palestinian National Authority and unity government to take the necessary measures to put an end to domestic violence and prosecute those who commit crimes against women; and calls upon the Palestinian Government to fulfill its international obligations arising from the State of Palestine’s accession to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Preceding the establishment of the Nobel Peace Prize was the establishment of Mother’s Day in the U.S.A.
The genesis of Mother’s Day in the in the U.S.A., began when Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community.
Fifteen years later, Julia Ward Howe, a Boston poet, pacifist, suffragist, and author of the lyrics to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace.
As mothers bear the loss of human life more acutely than anyone else, in 1870, Julia Ward Howe wrote the first Mother’s Day Proclamation, from which I excerpt:
Arise then women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: “Disarm! Disarm!”
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe our dishonor; nor violence indicate possession.
At the summons of war let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace;
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar;
But of God. – Excerpted from Wabi Sabi Body ETERNAL SPIRIT
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