by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator Ireland 23.04.2023
“Courage in women in often mistaken for insanity”. Infamous Quaker suffragette Alice Paul is quoted as saying. In so many ways, human history “white washes” stories to cover over what women experienced to fight for freedom. This same thing still happens today, but perhaps in a worse way. In many of the poorest parts of the world it is just completely ignored. The political leaders and the media just refuse to see the ways in which women deserved and need better conditions. Without exception, the plight of women is almost always connected to the demise of babies and children connected to them.
We see that sex trafficking numbers are higher than ever.
Infant mortality and Maternity death rates are high in poor areas of the world.
Women and girls continue to be abducted in high numbers and never found.
Raping women and girls is still common as a spoil of war.
Women still make less than men for the same work.
In parts of the world girls are not allowed go to school.
I could keep going with this list at the risk of losing you as a reader or letting the anger rise within myself.
So how do we bring about change without appearing insane? Not an easy trick to manoeuvre.
Recently, I was speaking with a woman in Africa when she was understandably upset and angry about conditions in her home country. She was hurt. She was thinking of going to protest which really was not safe for her. I listened as much as I could. I struggled to advise her thinking “who am I to tell her NOT to go?” Am I so jaded in my activism that I don’t think protesting really works anymore? Or am I not trusting of male authorities who will beat, and possibly even kill protestors.
There is so much in the world to anger us without having to look closely at all. So how do we agitate for change?
I am by nature an optimistic realist. I hope for the best and plan for the worst. This approach has served me well. But, have I been too passive in accepting what I cannot accept? Is it because I am a mother of two sons that I have to stay safe so I can protect them? I am not sure anymore how it all blends and swirls.
I try to use my creative side as a writer, artist and advocate to make a change. The attempts are something subtle at times and overt at others. The big thing is that I never give up. I keep finding new ways to push the agenda for harmony and equity for people globally.
Will humans ever accept that reciprocated violence does not work? It does not work in politics and it does not work in the home. It is harmful and creates a spiral of demise for everyone involved. It’s a lose-lose proposition every time.
My attention falls on the Serenity Prayer that was written in the 1930s. Ironically, there is controversy about who actually wrote this prayer but it certainly came in an hour of global darkness emerging. It states:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Perhaps we need to add another line. “And may my courage not be used against me as insanity.”
The path to powerful change is fraught with peril, so it really matters that we have safety in numbers. It is important that we do our part and support one another with compassion and nurturing. We cannot extinguish darkness fully, but we can light a small candle in our corner of the world.