Women Rising in the Middle East
Women Rising for the Middle East, in solidarity with Zahira and the women of ME
Dearest Zahira, dearest Wise Women of our Circle,
First, Zahira, thank you for connecting with all of us as the unbearable situation unfolds in Palestine and Israel. Your message of last Saturday is exactly the ‘ALARM BELL’, the ‘wake up call’ that Scilla so powerfully evoked in Charney Manor, and that we all deeply felt.
This is our raison d’etre as a women’s initiative: When we hear the wake up call of such terrible suffering, we know that a deeper, wiser, more compassionate and far-sighted response that serves the highest interest of everyone is needed and is possible; and we know and that we as women are best placed to tap into it, to voice it, and to implement it together.
In this holy month of Ramadan, Palestine, and the entire Middle East is burning – again. We women know these flames could envelop the world if we don’t ‘inner act’ - from our souls – NOW. As the Israel-Palestine crisis broke and ISIS captured Mosul, I was on a peace mission in Turkey to meet exiled Syrian peace activists and refugees from Syria, Iraq and Palestine. My heart broke open over and over with their stories of suffering and courage.
It feels to me as if the events in the Middle East are happening in my own womb. This, I believe, is not just my feeling: many of us, especially women, feel this. Because the Middle East is our womb: our centro sagrado. It is not just the birthplace of the recent world religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but also the cradle of humanity. It is the holy ground of the great Goddesses – Inanna, Ishtar, and Isis; it is where prophetesses protected their people from calamity with their compassionate wisdom. That is why we women feel this crisis so acutely. We can sense that it is again our task today as women to womb and birth the future.
Devastation and hope co-exist today. Since my return I have had inspiring conversations with Jean regarding my deep concern about the Middle East crisis as a turning point for humanity. These talks combined with Zahira’s email have triggered three initial thoughts on how we might start to bring our individual and collective consciousness to bear on this region to visualize alternative scenarios:
*First, as an immediate response to Zahira’s call for support, could we all connect this weekend to Zahira, and through her to all the women of Palestine and the wider ME region who have already suffered so long? We could all spend a moment, at any time that suits each of us, in meditation or prayer for the transformation of this violence and the emergence of a scenario that is in the highest interest of everyone. We could share any visions, insights or reflections that come to us with Zahira and the group. We could continue this connection each weekend through this crisis, sending our prayers, visions, intentions and energy to Zahira and through her to the region. This would be a simple, powerful way to conjoin our energies, without meeting face to face.
* Second, could this be the right time to form a small Circle (committee) of women who feel called to ‘inner act’ in response to this Middle East crisis? to visualize what the region needs from a higher feminine perspective and what we could offer. Elza is already planning an initiative in the region next year. Perhaps this Circle/Committee could comprise Zahira and Elza, Scilla, myself, and any one else who feels so drawn, such as Olivia and Peggy, who feel deeply connected to the region too. We could discuss this on 23 July and share with others.
*Finally, in response to my own deep concern for and commitment to the region, I am dedicating a performance to transformation and peace in the Middle East on Sunday 13th July. Entitled: ‘Healing Wounds of War and Creating Cultures of Peace’, it will be at the Human Security Forum in Caux, Switzlerand, a site of reconciliation between warring parties since WWII that Scilla knows well. I will perform testimonies of women I met with Zahira in Palestine in Dec 2013, & of Syrian peace activists and Iraqi refugees I met in Turkey 2 weeks ago. I share few of their testimonies with you in confidence, so that they can inhabit your souls and receive your energy. Yolande, an Anglo-Cameroonian musician will accompany me on 13thwith her divine feminine voice to create together an alchemical vessel for healing. Please send your blessings to us and to the Middle East on Sunday (see attached).
For my part, I am tuning in to receive guidance on how best I can be of service to the people of this region through this crisis, as i believe it holds the key to our future as humanity. Do call on me if I can lend my presence, voice or expertise to your own initiatives for peace.
Zahira, we are all connected to you and the Middle East, wherever we are around the world. With our conjoined voices, visions, and intentions, a new awakening is nigh!
With all my love, Rama
below: TWO TESTIMONIES of Women I met in Palestine and Syria to show us that there are women still caught in the web of suffering and others who are relentless beacons of courage; may they and all women in the Middle East receive our prayers and energy to heal and sow peace.
Testimony: Salaam from Palestine
I am Salaam, from Nablus.
I was born in 1967.
I hate the year of my birth
For it is when the Occupation began,
And I hate my name, ‘Salaam’
Because my parents dreamt of peace when I was born,
But now I know their dream may never come true before I die.
Each year of my life was filled with pain and suffering
As children, as adolescents, as adults,
Not one day did we feel secure.
Even our most beautiful occasions were marred.
The Occupation always intruded and broke our happiness.
The day I got married and wore my beautiful bride’s dress
There was an attack, and all the guests fled.
Teargas was everywhere.
I wept all day,
My wedding dress was ruined.
What I suffer is not unique.
It is what all of us have suffered.
Every story is filled with tears like mine.
The worst came in 2000.
When they invaded us again with tanks
And patrols surrounded our homes night and day
In the old city of Nablus.
For 12 days I hid with my five children
Underground, with no lights, no food, nor drink.
All hours of day and through the long nights we heard the tanks and shooting.
It went on and on and on; I was sure no single person was left alive.
When the tanks withdrew and curfew ended, I came out.
I couldn’t believe it when I saw a few people who’d survived the shelling as we had.
I raced with hope and fear to my cousins’ house just nearby,
But I found nothing where their house had stood for centuries.
Only some rubble scattered on the ground.
I screamed! I called for help. We searched
For 9 hours, through every stone and brick, and under shattered glass.
We found them, piece by piece, all 9 of them: my cousins, aunt and uncle,
And my three little nieces who played each day with my own children.
All 9. Dead.
All day, each day, the same worry haunts all of us mothers:
How to keep our children safe and alive?
We do not breathe, we cannot. We do not speak, we cannot.
The pain is too much.
I feel I am in an oven: everything burns inside.
Noura, the Divine Light, Syria
I am the vice president
Of the Syrian coalition for peace.
Yes, I am just 27, but I have fought for freedom all my life.
I started raising my voice against the tyranny of Assad’s regime
When I was still in school.
My parents taught us all, brothers and sisters alike,
That the most important thing in life is our values.
They taught us to love dignity and freedom.
That’s how I learned never to accept injustice, whatever the consequences.
My parents shaped and prepared me for what I’m doing now.
In high school, I refused to join the Ba’th Party & paid the price.
In University we organized ourselves in secret, but they crushed us brutally.
10 times they have detained and interrogated me
For hours on end.
After my first detention my courage grew.
I was not afraid of anything anymore.
Twice they threw me in prison
But I made them regret it!
We organized a revolution even inside the Homs jail!
They couldn’t control us.
They surrounded the jail with tanks and snipers.
We thought we would all surely be killed,
But our message to the regime was clear:
“Even inside prison we are free.
We would rather die free in our souls than live as your slaves.”
They attacked my family, arrested my sister and brother,
Burnt our family home, and destroyed everything we had.
They broke my sister with their torture
In just 70 merciless days.
Months have passed, but she is still in and out of hospital
We fear she will never
Be the same.
I may be small and slim,
But I am stronger than a lioness.
Whatever they do to me,
They can never break my spirit
Because I am not afraid
To die for freedom
(– rendered by Rama Mani; confidential)
Senior Research Associate, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford
Councillor, World Future Council
A Voice of Witness and Awakening
On Sat, Jul 5, 2014 at 10:54 AM, Zahira Kamal <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Greetings to all of you, hoping that you are well.
We in Palestine are living in a very bad situation after the kidnapping and killing of the three settlers of which we still doesn’t know who did it! that was followed by a brutal treetment of the Palestinian people not only in Hebron but also in all west Bank and Gaza, which include killing of 12 young Palestinian persons, imprisoning 400 persons, demolition of houses and a siege was imposed on all cities, this was followed by kidnapping three Palestinian children, Mohamad Khdeer was killed and the body was burnt, accordingly demonstrations are all around. We are in need of your support in pushing the International community to fulfil its commitment and end occupation, on the mean time we are in need for international protection.
this a brief about the situation I am living in hoping that peace will come soon.