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May 09, 2004

Happy Mother's Day

The original purpose of Mother's Day, as founded by Julia Ward Howe, is especially important to consider today because we are at war with Iraq. Our troops are stationed in several other countries as well. Please take this time to put aside the breakfasts, carnations, and chocolates to remember the real meaning of Mother's Day - a call to put an end to seeing the people we love; our husbands and wives; our lovers; our parents; our brothers and sisters; and our children, become hurt or killed in unnecessary and meaningless war. In the same respect, in light of the tortures committed at Abu Ghraib, we call for an end to the harm we have caused to others in the name of freedom, due to war.


By Geov Parrish, WorkingForChange.com
May 6, 2004

Last year in this space, I took the occasion of an upcoming Mother's Day
weekend to reprint the 1870 call by American poet and women's leader Julia
Ward Howe for the establishment of the holiday. The response was
astonishing; the awareness was nearly nil - even by peace activists - that
what is now widely viewed as a sentimental tribute to family was
originally a call for women to wage a general strike to end war.

This year - as more and more mothers, in America as well as Iraq, mourn
their fallen sons and daughters, lost to the insanity of organized
violence - Julia Ward Howe's call for women to not allow their men to
constantly play at war is suddenly back in fashion. Around the country,
her original Mother's Day Proclamation will be the basis this year for
parades, remembrances, and other events that try to reclaim the holiday's
original spirit in a year when the United States' (male-dominated)
government talks seriously not of avoiding war, but staying the course on
the multiple ones we're already fighting.

The radical origins of Mother's Day - as a powerful feminist call against
war, penned in the wake of the U.S. Civil War in 1870 - are fully
compatible with the universal notion of honoring mothers. Women, even more
so now, are the primary sufferers of warfare. In the 20th Century,
civilian populations bore 90 percent of war's casualties around the world;
mass and indiscriminate attacks, popularized in WWII by the Holocaust,
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Allied firebombings in Japan and Germany, and
the rape of Nanjing, are only the most spectacular examples of a
phenomenon in which women become the rape and famine victims, the
refugees, the forgotten statistics in what are invariably the wars of men.

I admit it; I'll send my elderly mother flowers this year. She appreciates
them. But a greater gift for the world's mothers still awaits: a day in
which the voices of women - now, as then, less inclined to rush to war or
bask in its false glory - are an equal part in the foreign policy of
countries like the United States. As with so many other aspects of
American history - May Day is another - a legacy that is now celebrated
around the world is farthest from its original intent in the land of its
birth. The generals have written our historical memory, in the Civil War,
in most popular narratives of the bloody trail of modernizing "Western
Civilization."

It's worth remembering that the Civil War, a political division that
lasted longer and was considered more intractable than today's
Palestine/Israel conflict or indefinite "War on Terror," and that killed
well over a hundred times more people on American soil than the attacks of
September 11, was not unanimously lauded at the time. And that women
thought they could do something to prevent such bloodshed in the future.

Here is the original, pre-Hallmark, Mother's Day Proclamation, penned in
Boston by Julia Ward Howe in 1870:


Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of 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 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 bosom of the 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 out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow 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 then 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 some place deemed most convenient
And at 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.

Maybe next year.

Geov Parrish writes for Workingforchange.com.

Posted on May 9, 2004 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

Comments

The feminist movement is dead. They are reduced to whining about female participation in golf tournaments, trying to change the "sexist" name "freshman" into "first year student," and other pointless drivel. These issues paint them as anachronistic and out of touch, much like the Flat Earth Society.

This DV point of view is totally dated and completely out of touch with reality. To get right to the point, it's always been bogus and a tool of feminism to justify a broad agenda of an "anti-male" policy. The public is fooled no longer. This is further evidenced by the dramatic shrinking of feminism in general and the bailing out of it's top leaders within the past five years. Liberalism, and by extension, feminism, is on the run in this "post Clintonian" age. The lies and spin fool no one in 2004 as it once did in the golden age in the 80's and early 90's.

Let me quote from a best selling book published in 1992: "Certain liberals have become painfully aware that they do represent the minority position in society. That they are losing, so to speak. They have read the writing on the wall and have made subtle adjustments in order to reposition themselves for another run at reestablishing control. These subtle adjustments have taken the disguised form of popular, sentimental political causes which are difficult for people to oppose, such as environmentalism, animal rights, activism, and feminism. Although each of these groups superficially advocates the specific programs within their particular causes, a common broadsweeping theme underlies all of these "movements." Unmistakably, that theme is anticapitalism, secular humanism, and socialism." Rush Limbaugh, "The Way Things Ought To Be."

Feminism is finished. Instead of riding on it's positives, and retiring at the top, it continues on like an aging rock star playing club dates in Podunk, USA. What a sad and sorry finish.

Posted by: SectsAndViolins at May 10, 2004 5:25:08 AM

[Trish's note: I have removed multiple copies of boring, repetitous bilge written by the troll SectsandViolins, a guy so abusive that even AOL cancelled his account.]

Posted by: Trish Wilson (in place of S & V) at May 10, 2004 5:25:29 AM

and you think that by posting this a billion times it will make it true?

Posted by: jhezika at May 10, 2004 11:18:04 AM

Not to mention that quoting from Rush Limbaugh kills any sort of credibility he might have had. Not worth debating.

Posted by: Lauren at May 10, 2004 12:11:13 PM

the only thing that rant proves is that S & V's credibility is dead.

riddle me this, S & V:

-how do you know feminists' broad agenda is anti-male? (rush telling you doesn't cut it)

-don't you think its ironic that you write that "liberalism is on the run in this 'post clinton age'" and yet as evidence quote a book written in 1992, just before clinton was elected to office?

-if feminism is so finished, why not give some examples. are women leaving the workforce and returning to home in droves? are laws against sex discrimination being repealed? you declaring it "finished" frankly doesn't mean much.

Posted by: upyernoz at May 10, 2004 1:04:02 PM

darn. and here when I saw there were a lot of posts on this thread that it meant something nice about mothers and mother's day. I guess S&V doesn't like mothers too much. ah well ...

anyways, Trish, I was glad to see this post on your blog. I always like to remember the real meaning behind mother's day. A couple of years ago, 2002, I did a public poetry reading about the real meaning of mother's day, including a piece of personal praise to the Goddess that my son was gifted with bad eyes by Her. In early 2002 my son was urged by his roommate to apply for entry into the army, so he did. I was quite upset about it, but he ended up getting refused admission because his eyesight is 20/30 & 20/35 *with* glasses. When he was a child, I often wondered why he would have such a problem when he was such an interested reader. And, it took us until he was 3 or 4 years old before we realized he was not seeing correctly. But, now I understand and am grateful that he has bad eyesight. He is not in the army, and for that I thank the Mother Goddess.

Posted by: Lee at May 10, 2004 10:23:31 PM

Gee, I go away for a couple of days and an old AOL troll who hated me trolls my blog. S & V had his AOL account cancelled because of his abusive, harassing behavior. His address should read [email protected]

I'll remove his extra posts in a minute.

Lee, I was given an interesting e-mail about Mother's Day this morning that I will post shortly. I'm going to be working on a few short stories over the next week, so posting might be a bit scarce.

Note that I wrote "might."

Posted by: Trish Wilson at May 11, 2004 5:21:53 AM

Oh yeah! I remember him. He was a "diehard" supporter of Lowell Jaks. He used to quote him and post his articles all the time. Used to tell posters how to "work under the table" to reduce their child support. He hated all therapists and social workers. No surprise he didn't come here and "defend" Lowell either although you can bet he read every word that was written. LOL

He won't be back but he'll continue to read. He can't resist... lol

Noz: don't look for a response... he never has one unless he's changed.... which I seriously doubt.

He got "bested" by a few female posters and a few AOL LDRS on an AOL message board.... and subsequently lost his account. He came back.. he's still around.... just under a different name.

Ahhhh those were the days.... lol

Posted by: Chief at May 11, 2004 12:12:38 PM

You should'nt worry so much about your own cause as you should about the men and WOMEN fighting for your country. I know you have great ideals about world peace and things like that but thats not how it works in real life. I'm sorry that the world is not how you want it, but it's a different time and a different world and no one should be held to blame except the terrorist who want us dead. God bless you people and i hope that your hatred and bitterness can somedayhelp you to realize that prayer and hopefullness is the only solution, and placing blame and pointing fingers does nobody justice. Please lets think about our children and stop the hatred and blaming before it all comes to an end. Sincerly, Tony

Posted by: Tony at Apr 25, 2005 2:11:33 AM