Peace is a Woman

When I interviewed Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson several years ago she had presented a peace resolution that was pending in Congress. The thinking behind it was that we need to plan for peace like we plan for war. She told me that some of her male colleagues in Congress said they were afraid to talk about  peace for fear of being seen as wimps. Most of these men have not served in the military; few of them have children in the military. From my point of view, as a mother of a captain in the Army who has been to Iraq three times, I can’t afford to get hung up with how I appear when I talk about peace. I get hung up on the safety of my son, and the safety of other mothers’ sons and daughters, too.

 Isn’t reluctance to embrace peace an example of femiphobia, a fear of the feminine? After all, peace is associated with the feminine side of the psyche. We have Eyasha, the Santherian Goddess of peace, Pax, the Roman Goddess of peace, Eirene, the Greek Goddess of peace. There is no God of peace. That’s why peace is a woman. Life is born from a woman’s body, nurtured at her breast, protected under her wing, so that life can flourish. Women will think first about the children, the family, the community, and will think long and hard before sending their children to kill other mothers’ children, or be killed themselves. A domination-based culture shackles men in having to prove their manhood, putting them under enormous pressure to emulate strength in a way that women aren’t. As violence grows in the world, women must stand for peace in order to break the global cycle of hatred and war. Currently there are about 50 armed conflicts occurring in the world.

Having said that, there are also strong men who are not preoccupied with their macho appearance and are not afraid to stand for peace. There are the Iraqi Veteran’s Against War, and Veteran’s for Peace, all working for peace and justice through non-violence.  The irony is that President Eisenhower, one of our less militaristic presidents, was a General, showing that a true soldier is the last one to want to go to war. In 1953 he pointed out the great price of war when he said, “Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

 We will not have safety and harmony in our communities unless we have it in the entire world. As long as there is hunger and desperation, there is no safety. As long as we funnel our resources into amassing weapons instead of addressing world poverty, there is no security. If a domination model of society doesn’t change, the likelihood of perishing from war or from what we are doing to the environment only increases. We need to change direction–now.

 Peace is not a just an absence of war, it is all those things that Iron Butterflies stand for–health, education, freedom of speech, open communication, economic parity, participatory democracy. These are the conditions that create peace. Susan Collin Marks, international mentor of conflict resolution, described it this way: “Peace is a circle, a circle of wholeness. When that circle gets fractured, when it gets broken, then we have ‘not-peace.’ We, as peacemakers, are trying to mend, to heal, to bring those fractured pieces back together to make the whole and have the healing. At the heart of it is connectedness, inclusivity, a spirit of engaging the whole. What leads to violent conflict is that each group wants to defend its particular piece of the whole.”

 Peace is a state of mind, a force for life in all its interconnectedness. Peace creates a crucible for self-healing, for restorative rather than retributive justice. Peace is standing for what we are for, rather than reacting to what we are against. Peace is a verb, an action that strips away the illusion of finding security and safety by dominating others.  Peace is like the moon–it sheds a soft light on our inner intuition and instinct that urges us to be human and humane, to cast away the glaring light of war and seek the soft glow of peace. As peace activist Maguerita Brakitse from Burundi says, “We are candles. It is better to light a candle than sit in the shadows.”


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11 Responses to “Peace is a Woman”

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  2. Champ says:

    “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • Thank you for that, Champ. It’s not getting there, but how we get there. I think Obama is trying to do that, change how we get to goals, with little cooperation

  3. Colin Allcars says:

    You inspire Birute, peace is possible!

  4. Wesley Bruce says:

    The evidence is overwhelming. Eddie Bernice Johnson cannot be trusted with political power.

  5. Jose McGuire says:

    How in the hell do Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, and Eddie Bernice Johnson win in landslides?
    They’re all three over the age of 70, have been in Congress for decades, and oh yeah, are crooked as hell! They are all facing damning ethics charges, yet win running away.

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