I recently read the book Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women Save the World
and while I had issues with parts of it, I found it very moving and inspiring. The concept of women gathering to work peacefully and collectively for change is contrary to the typical power plays of this world. Through books like this that remind us of the collective effect of women to make change and of things like the original purpose for something like Mother's Day (read it here
) we can dream about steps we can take. So I was interested when as I was reading that book, to hear about the Standing Women
movement. Has anyone heard of this or participating in it?
Here are some of the details and background from the website -
The women of Ohio call upon the women of the world, from the day-old babies to our most senior elders, to stand with us to save the world.
Sharon Mehdi wrote a wonderful short story for her five-year old granddaughter, The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering that has inspired us. A quick summary of the story is:
A busboy who worked in a café whose window faced the public park noticed that two grandmotherly looking women had been standing in the park all day without moving at all and without talking. They were dressed up in their Sunday best and were just staring at the town hall. He asked the other patrons in the café what they thought the women were up to. They speculated on a variety of things. Then, a five-year old year who was in the café spoke up and said "One of them is my grandmother and I know what they are doing. They are standing there to save the world." All of the men in the café hooted and howled and laughed. On his way home the busboy decided to ask the women what they were doing and sure enough their answer was "We are saving the world."
Over dinner that evening the busboy told his parents and he and his father hooted and howled, but his mother was totally silent. After dinner, the mother called her best friends to tell them.
The next morning the busboy looked out the café window and the two women were back, along with his mother, her friends, and the women who had been in the café the day before. All were standing in silence staring at the town hall. Again, the men hooted and howled and said things like "You can't save the world by standing in the park. That is what we have armies for," and "everyone knows you have to have banners and slogans to save the world--you can't do it by just standing in the park."
The next day the women were joined by the women who were in the café the day before and a number of their friends. This brought the local newspaper reporter to the scene. He wrote a derisive article about the women. The day after it appeared, hundreds of women showed up to stand in the park in silence. The mayor then told the police chief to make the women leave because they were making the town appear to be foolish. When the police chief told them they would have to disperse because they didn't have a permit, one of them responded that "we are just individuals standing in our public park and we are not giving speeches or having a demonstration so why would we need a permit." The police chief thought about this and agreed with them and left the park.
At this point 2,223 women including the mayor's wife, the police chief's wife, and one five-year old girl were standing in the park to save the world. The news quickly spread and soon women were standing all over the country. The story ended with women standing in every country throughout the globe, standing to save the world. See www.grandmotherbook.com
Please stand with us for five minutes of silence at 1 p.m. your local time on May 13, 2007, in your local park, school yard, gathering place, or any place you deem appropriate, to signify your agreement with the statement below. We ask you to invite the men who you care about to join you. We ask that you bring bells to ring at 1 p.m. to signify the beginning of the five minutes of silence and to ring again to signify the end of the period of silence. During the silence, please think about what you individually and we collectively can do to attain this world. If you need to sit rather than stand, please feel free to do so. Afterwards, hopefully you and your loved ones can talk together about how we can bring about this world.
Labels: Gender Issues, Social Justice