NOT ON OUR WATCH!
There is nothing I cherish more than being mother to my daughter. I feel waves of gratitude cascading through me that she is safe with me while painfully aware that on the other side of the world there is craziness and violence unfolding. Attacks in the village that military troops used as a base to search for the 234 girls who were abducted 2 weeks ago. My prayers go out to the parents of these young girls between the ages of 16-18 who were snatched from their beds at school, to the classmates and teachers who witnessed this drama unfold before their eyes. A universal desire of parents is to know and trust that their children are safe.
The outrage and sadness I feel at the abduction of these young girls in Nigeria cannot be described. I am happy that that the world is responding yet I think why must tragedy move people to open their hearts. We are living in an age of great enlightenment. Let the Global family be a healthy one who practices compassionate communication and moves through conflict resolution in life-affirming ways. “Rise up,” I say, “rise up to be the peace, love, compassion, generous being that you are.” The Million Mamas Movement invites you to add to this to your tweet, NOT ON OUR WATCH #bringbackourgirls
Let us be the bringers, the holders, of compassion in action, peace in practice, peace in our daily living for everyone, everywhere. Let us infuse the collective unconscious with the fierce, unyielding power and energy of the Mother, whether you are female or male. It is the Great Mother energy that marches for peace, who demands that things change NOW, who will not be moved until things do change. The Mamas and Papas for peace. How ironic is it that Africa is the called, “the cradle of all creation; the Mother Land.” Mother, your children need you.
When I watched a video that was posted on CNN, I saw a random soldier from the radical group, Boko Haram look into the camera, smiling as he stated, “we took the girls.” Abubakar Shekau, the leader of this group said in the same video on Monday, “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” he said. “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.” This is systemic misogyny dressed up as religious fanaticism.
My mind reels with thoughts of disbelief and horror as I strive to ground myself with spiritual truth. In my moments of meditation, I ask myself, “What kind of madness is this? What is within the collective unconscious that would allow this to occur anywhere in the world? What is seeking to express through this situation? Will this incident bring light to this horrible practice that occurs?” Human trafficking occurs in the States as well as overseas. It is deplorable and it must cease to exist. It is Universal principle that we are all connected. I know that what happens in one place affects us all as is evidenced by the outpouring of support for these girls from around the world.
I am in an inquiry as to the misuse of this creative intelligence that we all have within us. My training as a teacher of nonviolence has me inquire, “What are the unmet needs within these men that fosters this kind of violence and then has them justify their acts? It is clearly fueled by a fanaticism that distorts truth and removes any sensitivity for another’s welfare from their awareness. I wonder if these men experienced violence in their childhood. Were they taken from their mothers too soon? Did their fathers teach them to respect women? How can someone misconstrue a God who would tell men to kidnap anyone, let alone a female child and sell her? How can Western education be anything but threatening to people who follow lockstep a belief that is self-denying and hurtful to another? It makes sense to me that anyone who has this narrow a perspective on life would resent any form of education that allows people to be free thinkers. Free thinkers question the status quo and democracy is built upon questions being asked. We Americans may be going through deep political changes but when an injustice like this occurs, we stand up like nobody’s business. Nations unite in service to justice. I tweet #bringbackourgirls and walk around saying, “NOT ON OUR WATCH!”
The situation in Nigeria has me think about ignorance, prejudice and racism – our American nation appears to be a diverse melting pot yet underneath the veneer of people pronouncing how far we have come, I have seen and heard the simmering hatred for another’s seeming differences. We saw what occurred with the hatred toward Muslims in the United States after 9/11, what emerged during the election and re-election of President Obama and the death of Trayvon Martin. I have a dear, sweet Muslim friend who cherishes her Islamic faith. She has shared with me the beauty of her faith and it has nothing to do with violence or hurting another person. I appreciate her deep devotion to her faith. I want people to know that this militant group in Nigeria doesn’t represent the Islamic faith my friend has shared with me. The soldiers in this group are scary, scared and scarred. They are not connected to their hearts, they do not stand for transformation or liberation; they are disenfranchised and disconnected. Hurt people hurt people. It is this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that encourages me to hold the highwatch for this and other injustices.
Who of us who is a parent or has a child in our lives that we love deeply can turn a blind eye towards this situation when we know that these abducted girls who are between the ages of 16-18 are planning on being sold like animals? This is a time for all of us to come together, band together, stand together, pray together. Nowhere in our world should a child or adult be kidnapped and sold! One of my she-roes, Malala Yousafzai has said that these girls are her “sisters.” These girls are our daughters – we take care of the children.
The US holiday, Mother’s Day, is upon us in a few days. As it draws close, I am reminded of the purpose behind the original Mother’s Day Proclamation that Julia Ward Howe crafted. It wasn’t a Hallmark holiday of candies, flowers and presents. It was a call to action for all women, particularly mothers, to come together, protest the casualties of war, and demand that human rights precede politics. Human rights are political. Everything we do is political for the choices we make, the actions we take and where we choose to spend our money represents what we value. It is as Marianne Williamson has said in her current political campaign, ” a time to bring consciousness to politics.” Right now, take a moment and read the Mother’s Day Proclamation slowly, line by line:
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall 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 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
Blood does not wipe our 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 their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of 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
Julia Ward Howe
Now, that you’ve read this proclamation, take another moment and dive deep into your heart. Where can you activate your fierce mothering power in support of these girls and other children who need help? Activate your WOMB wisdom, translate your power in to effective action.
Never doubt that one action taken by many creates transformation. Everything you do matters.
Here are some specific steps you can take …
1. Pray – go into the inner sanctuary within you and fortify yourself
2. Tweet NOT ON OUR WATCH #bringbackourgirlsalive
Use Social media to spread the word and keep the pressure on officials. Keep posting NOT ON OUR WATCH #bringbackourgirls. Post this illustration by Emily McDowell.
3. CALL the Nigerian Embassy 202.986.8400. Tell Ambassador Prof. Ade Adefuye this: NOT ON OUR WATCH #bringbackourgirls
4. SIGN THE PETITION
5. Don’t give up. Keep moving forward taking actions that you can take. It makes a difference.
YOU make a difference!
Wendy Silvers is a Spiritual Midwife and Women’s Empowerment Coach, Agape Licensed Spiritual Therapist, A MamaActivist, Bestselling co-author of Balance for Busy Moms, Compassionate Parenting Educator and founder of the Million Mamas Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @Wendy Silvers and @millionmamas.