Posts Tagged ‘Equality for Women’

in order to bring the wealth of communal knowledge to people in need.

Meet Bunker Roy whose lifelong committment to human dignity and self-sufficiency has proven that a single individual can make all the difference. 

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On September 25th the world lost a true hero in the untimely death of Wangari Maathai.  Her story is one of unmatched courage in the face of oppression and of boundless optimism for the future.  A story where one single women stood up to political and social oppression and to environmental exploitation.  She fought for the reforestation of her homeland which she knew was closely linked with bringing economic justice to the women of her homeland.

Honoring Wangari Maathai.

Upon hearing of Wangari Maathai’s passing I felt a deep sense of loss, as if she had been personally dear to me.  But in truth I know that the loss I feel is not personal but rather that it stems from the realization that an incredible force for the common good has left us forever.

I will mourn her deeply.

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All is well at Sontheim.  The gardens have turned into a jungle, the fruit trees are heavy and the air is alive with the sound of summer.

Hummingbirds are playing at the feeders and sugar-water production is in high gear.  Some of our beloved Hummers are getting fat and soon they will be ready for their epic migration South.

The dogs are having fun in the fields nearby and it is awesome to watch their curiosity when they encounter the myriad of wildlife coming from the woods.

The only thing that is short in supply among all this abundance is TIME.  The time to sit and tend to my blog seems to have disappeared.  So, instead of sharing my own ‘pearls of wisdom’ I give you more food for thought.

Meet Eve Ensler in her newest presentation on TED:


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Meet Nadia Al-Sakkaf who truly represents the Arab Spring through her courage and committment to human dignity and freedom.

Since her father’s assassination Nadia is the publisher of the http://www.YemenTimes.com, a publication that continues to speak truth to power in Yemen.

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My own journey toward feminism began at a very young age when I watched my father lay hands on my mother many times.  It was at a time in Europe when husbands still had the right to beat their wives and fathers were lauded for punishing their children for any perceived infringement of the rules.  In our home the punishment came in the form of physical and mental beatings.  

I vividly remember coming home from school one day to my father’s silent figure greeting me in the hallway with his hand swinging out and hitting me on the side of my head.  The force of the assault drove my face into the doorpost where I collapsed.  For months thereafter I could feel the indentation in my skull where my forehead had met the unyielding corner of the door frame. 

I watched my mother struggle to raise her children in a marriage filled with indignity and fear and it did not take long for me to understand that the only way for a woman to be free was to determine her own destiny.   Hence, a feminist was born.

Upon arriving in the US in the early 1970’s I found that women of all backgrounds were fighting for equal rights and the Equal Rights Amendment was well on its way toward ratification.  Of course I joined the effort and made my own contributions to the cause, especially after my daughter was born.  I remember that all forms refered to any child as he and as silly as it may seem, I also remember exhausting many red pens by adding an s in front of the he to correctly refer to my child as she

Since then we have come a long way and history shows that many changes toward equality took hold even though the ERA was narrowly defeated by the likes of Phyllis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum.  The changes are manifold and show themself in many different ways, some of which are filled with humor.    

Take for example the story told by Veronika Oleksyn ( Associated Press) of 15-year-old Regina Mayer who lives on her parent’s farm in Laufen Germany. 

It seems that this inventive girl did not take no for an answer when her parents denied her the horse she craved to pursue her love of riding.  She rebelled in her own special way by training her pet cow Luna to accept a saddle and finally also herself as rider, thus giving the word cow-girl a much improved meaning.  

Bravo Regina and a toast to your parents who did not prevent you from accomplishing your goal.  And many thanks to my own daughter who sent me the link to this heartwarming tale:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110405/ap_on_re_eu/eu_germany_jumping_cow 

But on a more serious note, I’d like to share with you exciting information that shows feminism is alive and well among our own youth.  Meet Courtney Martin, a blogger and internet entrepreneur whose website  is a goldmine for people interested in the cause.

It is clear that the issues to be dealt with have expanded in number and become more complex since the women of my generation took to the streets.  Now our daughters and son have to deal with problems more diverse and threatening than we had to content with at the beginning of the fight.  You can find Courtney’s blog at http://www.feministing.com.  It will take you to the center of issues that are percolating today.

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So you think we live in a democracy?  Well, let me start with the definition of plutocracy:

1. Government by the wealthy

2. A society governed by the wealthy

3. An elite or ruling class whose power derives from their wealth 


It should be apparent to anyone who troubles to look at the control corporations have over every aspect of our lives — from the food we eat, to the news we see, to the non stop bombardment of the public by unrelenting commercialism — that our democracy is being replaced by a plutocracy of wealthy individuals and their corporations. 

I find it ironic and very sad to see how people of the Tea-party persuasion are being tricked into acting against their own self-interest by the likes of Koch Industries and Rupert Murdoch, who are masters of using their staggering wealth to spread misinformation and to manipulate our political system to their own advantage.

You may have watched the recent assault on democracy in Wisconsin, were big money is locked in a death struggle with the people’s right to bargain collectively.   Governor Walker’s goal is to weaken Wisconsin unions to the point were they are no longer able to participate in elections, which in effect will leave the entire field to the interests of big corporations.  Wisconsin’s spring elections brought a staggering amount of money used by outside interests to move the electorate further to the right.  However, todays election results show that  there is still hope for democracy in America.  The bellwether race was for supreme court justice, were the incumbent Justice Prosser was narrowly defeated by Joann Kloppenburg who had accepted public funding for her campaign.  It is heartening to see how in the end BIG money spent on Justice Prosser’s behalf did not buy him a reelection.

For details on the supreme court race I’d like to  share an interesting article by John Nichols which details the intricacies involved.

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For a long time now my dissatisfaction with the limited and often biased news coverage in the US has prompted me to seek out other sources of information.  As a reader of this blog, you are aware that Al-Jazeera is one of the news providers that I turn to on a regular basis.  And as a member of our society you are probably also aware that Al-Jazeera has always been decried as an anti-American propaganda machine. 

But last week, to my utter astonishment and surprise, I saw our Secretary of  State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly praise Al-Jazeera’s coverage of events in the Middle-East.  She did not mince her words when she testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and pointed out that “Al-Jazeera has been a leader in changing people’s minds and attitudes” about the Middle-East. 

“Like it or hate it, it is really effective,” our Secretary of State said.  “In fact, the viewership of Al-Jazeera is going up in the United States because it is real news.”  She continued: “You may not agree with it, but you feel like you are getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads…”

Well said Madam Secretary and thank you for boldly stating what has become so obvious to many of us.  It makes me hopeful that change may be possible after all.

And very timely, TED talks just posted a video in which the director general of Al-Jazeera explains how his organization foresaw the coming of the Arab revolutions.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

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