Let’s Build to Build!
Israel and Greece
Yvette was impelled to write in response to Tom Friedman’s Sept. 10 op ed in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.
If you are a woman and are concerned about our leaders getting us into one more war in the Middle East, this is the time for you to stand up and say No, we’ve had enough. That path has been walked over and over again to no one’s benefit. We send our boys and girls to war, they get killed, they kill, more blood is shed, and nothing is accomplished. Just more blood, and dead bodies, and families destroyed, becoming victims of their leaders’ decisions, pain filling their existence. Enough. In you we …trust?
Enough of that, enough of “threaten to threaten,” enough of fearing each other. It is time for us to wake up, grow up, and get our act together. There is another way, which is very possible to imagine on this Yom Kippur’s war eve 40 years later.
I can easily imagine a solution to the conflict in Syria without outside forces putting boots on the ground (contrary to Thomas Friedman). It is just a matter of perspective, of seeing, uttering, shaping, and building this solution in time, over years, step by step, long term; we can’t make paradigm shifts in a week. It is just a matter of peace strategy, a strategy that builds rather than destroys, a strategy that cooperates rather than dismantles, respecting each other for our common and shared humanness its guiding principle.
What if you are Syrian and I am Israeli? What if you are Moslem and I am Jewish? What if you are a man and I am a woman? We can still recognize and appreciate each other, and grant each other respect. Because we know that deep down nothing much divides us; we are both made of flesh and blood, for Goddess’s sake. And those who want to separate us, to point to our differences, to our immense otherness in values, act not for our common good.
But let me get back to Syria and sketch a strategy that builds rather than destroys. The strategy in one simple sentence is Empower women. Give women freedom, freedom of movement, an education, a profession, and let woman create a family and pick a mate to her liking, and a community for herself. Nurture the values of cooperation and mutual respect. Rather than invest in destroying the other, invest in giving the other a future by strengthening and supporting the forces that are healthy, the forces that build and the forces that are pro life and for life for all. Nurture the forces that want to nurture and provide for children; Care for nourishment, health, education and a clean environment. Is that so hard to imagine?
A war is one more act of domination, an act of power, and of eradication. You don’t build a society by eradicating part of its members but rather by helping its vibrant, vital, healthy members spread out their goodness, multiply, and create networks of life-sustaining communities. Violence is a way of the past. It is time for us to collectively turn our back to violence as a lose-lose solution, and turn our face and deeds to liberating the women of the world, for it is they who will create peaceful and harmonious societies in the long run. Build on women. Women will build back.
Yvette Nahmia-Messinas is the author of They All Sound Like Love Songs, Women Healing Israeli-Palestinian Relations.