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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Now is the Time for All Good Women to Come to the Aid of the Planet!

May 14, 2009

And all good men to stand up with them!
Robert Thurman
The Huffington Post Blog
May 11, 2009

I am excited to begin my HuffPost blogging in the
wake of Mother's Day, and a few days after
hosting H. H. the Dalai Lama in New York. His
Holiness, in radiant health and spirits,
powerfully manifested his unwavering message of
"world peace through inner peace." To all of us
enrapt as ever, he taught us the quintessence of
compassion. The next day he attended a packed
benefit luncheon for Tibet House, US at the
famous "power lunch" restaurant, The Four
Seasons. (Alex von Bidder welcomed the guests to
what he called "the ultimate power lunch," which
I annotated by reminding everyone that the
ultimate "power" is that of compassion.) His
Holiness spoke from the heart and eloquently
appealed to the hearts of all present to save the
extremely precious and highly endangered Buddhist
culture of beloved Tibet. We all left fully
aglow, and inspired to do something for Tibet and for the world.

In these times, the doubt often arises as to
whether the world is going to make it - at least
the stressed out human beings. While there are so
many wise and kind and beautiful people
everywhere, it seems as if most of the leaders in
actual power are charging ahead in flamboyantly
self-destructive paths. Exceptional, of course,
is the wonderful Barack Obama and perhaps the
glorious Angela Merkel. And interestingly, both
seem to like the Dalai Lama! Hmmmm. There must be
some others at the top of the various heaps of
humanity we call nations, but definitely not
enough to really turn the Spaceship Earth onto
the radically new course it needs to pass the unthinkable crisis we are facing.

Spaceship Earth is overheating, its seas are
rising. It is overpopulated; its resources are
dwindling. Its earth and water and air is
poisoned. Its wild animals are perishing at an
alarming rate, and its domesticated animals are
being tormented and turned into toxic foodstuffs.
And the humans, who are causing all this, are
mainly in denial about their own responsibility,
blaming various enemies instead, and so the
majority of their machinery, money, and ingenuity
is wasted in warfare and preparation for more,
and for local, domestic, and internal violence.

So naturally we fear the end is nigh. People ask
me all the time, "Can we make it? Do you think
it's possible?" I feel the same way emotionally,
but intellectually I am certain we will make it
and the human drama on this planet will continue
for many millennia, getting better and better.

Why? Because of Mother's Day, because the real
Day of the Mothers is coming. Listen to Julia
Ward Howe, a Mother who was a staunch activist
against slavery and a pioneer of feminism. She
came up with the vision of the international
Mother's Day, and wrote the original Mother's Day
Proclamation in 1870. Just listen!

"Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will 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, the 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 voice of a 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 our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough 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 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 someplace deemed most convenient
And 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."

(Thanks to Jonathan Klate for sending this text of the proclamation.)

Now where is this great "general congress of
women?" It is to be "without limit of
nationality," that is to say: global. Such a
congress of women must arise and demand an end to
war, an end to men's stubborn "staying the
course" in inane campaigns of violence. Julia
Ward Howe already outlined their mission, 139
years ago. How bad does it have to get for them to stand up and accomplish it?

Twelve years ago, the Dalai Lama was at a Tibet
House US "Peacemaking" conference in San
Francisco, and was encouraging the 1500 or so
"youth at risk" present that we needed them to
turn the world around, their energy was crucial.
The youth were inspired and the thousands in the
audience felt a wave of hope ripple through. At
that moment, the notable author and
psychotherapist, Jean Shinoda Bolen piped up from
the panel on stage, "Your Holiness, there is
another crucial source of energy we may also find
of great assistance." "What might that be?" was
the response. The smiling answer, "Menopausal
zest!" brought the house thunderously down, and
His Holiness was enormously impressed. Well,
then, Mothers of the World, it is high time!

When the students and workers at Tiananmen Square
held off the communist party bosses for months in
1989, it was because the troops sent in refused
to run over the grandmothers out in the square
protecting their grandchildren. When Yeltsin had
to withdraw in the first Chechen war, it was
because the grandmothers en masse went down to
the front and took their grandsons out of the
line. The grandmother house of the Six Nations
Iroquois Confederacy held veto power over the
decisions of the chiefs of the tribes. When the
Mother's really recognize that they better leave
what's "left of home," their power is undeniable.
It is daunting. It is dangerous. But there must
come a point where it is more dangerous not to
arise and demand peace, demanding it peacefully.
May the day soon be upon us! May all men stand
together with the Mothers! Now is the time for
all women to come to the aid of the planet!

Robert Thurman is the author of Inner Revolution,
Infinite Life, Jewel Tree of Tibet, and Why the Dalai Lama Matters.
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