Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope we'll remember the spirit of the original Mother's Day Proclamation, written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870. It's both wonderful and horrible that her words are still so relevant today:

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

2 comments:

Kit Stolz said...

It is still appallingly relevant, but as one of those annoying history major types, I have to point out that this quote dates from an era before women won the right to vote. At that time it was commonly thought that once women started voting, everything would change.

Specifically, it was widely believed by progressive types that women would not vote for candidates who supported war, implicitly or explicitly.

Sadly, this has just not proven to be the case.

Nonetheless, huge gaps remain in our understanding of women's issues versus men's issues. Those interested in this subject likely will want to see Kelpie Wilson's piece this weekend at Truthout under the title "A Layer Cake for Mother's Day":

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051206A.shtml

gayle said...

Hi Kit!

Thank you for your thoughts, and the link to Kelpie Wilson's article. I just took a look, and love the layer cake concept--it is a much more holisitic and humane view of our economy (not to mention our ecology and community) than the top-layer model our administration swears by.

If this sinus infection wasn't making my head so fuzzy, I'd have more coherent thoughts about it--please know I really appreciate the link!

xo
gayle