Recently we were pleased to find out that Women Wage Peace goes beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The idea that women take responsibility and act with determination, while bringing people closer together and looking towards the future, affects women (and men) all over the world. Many women have gotten to know us through Yael Deckelbaum’s “Prayer of the Mothers”; others hear about us through our representatives around the world.
Over the past few months our representatives have spoken in Italy, Switzerland, USA, Spain and India; we were invited to conferences in Italy, Paris and Brazil. In addition, members of the movement who travel abroad on vacation dedicate a few days to spread the word about Women Wage Peace in parlor meetings. Meetings were held in Germany and Canada, and in each place, whether at a conference, a march or a small meeting, the participants were inspired and appreciated the new female voice , which is refreshing and arouses the hope that we bring to the dialogue about local conflicts and conflicts in general.
The success of the March of Hope has inspired many people to invite Yael Deckelbaum to marches and interviews. Two weeks ago she participated in The Women’s March in Cordoba, Spain (see the clip), Zurich and Berlin (photos and a clip) and last weekend she led a march in Munich where women joined her in singing the Prayer of the Mothers (see the clip).When I asked one of the organizers in Cordoba about the aims of their march, since there is no war in Spain, she said that our activities aroused the hope for peace and the need to get up and do something. Organizing the march was her way, along with her friends, to voice their support for our efforts towards peace. Recently women from Seville, Spain also said that they want to march as an expression of solidarity with us. We put them in contact with the organizers in Cordoba and we’ll wait to see what develops.
There are also some modest stories, for example the story of Ursula from the city of Prato, Italy. Ursula wrote, with great emotion, that she had screened the video clip of the Prayer of the Mothers for a group of elderly women in honor of Women’s Day and told them about Women Wage Peace and about the Peace Quilt. The women were so moved that they asked to make their own pieces for the quilt. The result was so successful that they decided to exhibit it in the town plazas . At the opening ceremony, with the Prayer of the Mothers in the background, they read a declaration of support for Women Wage Peace and gave the mayor 70 squares to send to Israel. They also asked the mayor to speak on their behalf and ask the Italian Parliament to invest more in social causes and less for the military.
Another moving letter came from Menita, an 18 year old Indian woman, who was inspired by the March of Hope and by the movement. Menita asked for our advice about establishing a similar movement that would unite Indian and Pakistani women.
E-mails keep coming in. Women write that the movement has inspired them and that they want to help from their home countries; some want to come to Israel to volunteer. More and more women write: “We are with you and will join you on the next march”. Many of us are so busy that we are not aware of the influence that the movement has abroad. E-mails, video clips about the Prayer of the Mothers and the immediate connection that women and men all over the world feel about our message shows us that we are on the right path!
Translated from Hebrew by Sue Levinstein