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Nation Building

Before and since Abraham we have been driven by an instinctual sense that force is the appropriate response to threat. We have seen that instinct become circular and self fulfilling; we have seen it become preemptive; and we have seen it formalized into national policy (the Bush doctrine). Now and then a prophet will assert a different view: (turn the other cheek or ....), but preparedness for or show of force remains the dominant strategy for group survival for our species. We have seen horrid consequences, even since the Holocaust. 900,000 people were murdered in Rwanda in 90 days in 1994. Five million have been killed in the past ten years in the Congolese Civil War. The number of people killed in the Bosnian War is estimated at 200,000 with an additional 1.8 million displaced.

How does a nation rebuild after such destruction ? In Rwanda there is evidence that it may be in woman that the greatest strength for rebuilding resides.

If we made a short list of major phenomena hampering progress on our planet our treatment of women would be on the list (along with our propensity to go to war). These phenomena illustrate this:

  1. physical & emotional abuse of women.
  2. ritual murder as in India.
  3. "honor" killing
  4. denial of opportunity for participating in the labor force (some backward countries lose substantial (half?) of their productive potential by not allowing women to work).
  5. insufficient voice in the clergy (why do some denominations prohibit female clergy; what was Simon Peter (the first pope) up to when he set in motion a lesser role for women in the church -- most of my spiritual teachers have been women.
  6. insufficient voice in politics -- we'd have less war if women had a greater role in politics.
  7. female circumcision (or genital mutilation).
  8. sex trafficking.
  9. women and children are property of the husband or father in some societies (prevents legal process to end abuse).
Useful reading:
  1. Like Eating Stone, Surviving the Past (Bosnia)
  2. Rape Victims’ Words Help Jolt Congo Into Change (Congo)
  3. World Bank Suspends Loans to Chad Over Use of Oil Money (Chad)
  4. On the Run as War Crosses Another Line in Africa (Central African Republic)
  5. You, Too, Can Be a Banker to the Poor (Afghanistan)

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