INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE Sri Lanka | Ukraine | USA | Brazil | Zimbabwe
inspiring new possibilitie s Women & Children Transforming Our World
Global Healing “These secrets will soon become a precious compass for humanity.” BERNADETTE REBIENOT, African Indigenous Grandmother
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Raising Africa’s Orphans Caroline Myss on America’s Spiritual Template Council of Indigenous Grandmothers Midwives Birthing the Future Sri Lanka: Waves of Death and Peace
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2 | EDITOR’S PULSE
hen I was a young girl, I would lie on my stomach on sun-warmed grass covering the hills of Southern Wisconsin and absorb stories. I was shy and preferred to run away from the ordinary chaos of our family’s old farmhouse into the ancient rolling fields. The books I tucked under my arm opened worlds that were not always fairy tales or the forests of Narnia. I was also drawn to read stories telling of Native American genocide and the long Trail of Tears, Anne Frank’s diaries in besieged Amsterdam, and Bridge to Terabithia, about a young boy whose best friend dies. As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to “see” the truths of the human experience, even if it meant terrible pain. But the burning questions that would carry me to the last page were “What now?” “What is the way forward?” I would hold these questions as I wept into the folds of the earth. I wandered the land surrounding our weathered barn, and I was comforted and held by the language of the swaying prairie grasses, the leaf whispers, and the gurgle of the creek. As I have grown older, my knowledge of the world’s suffering has grown bigger than my child’s imagination could ever hold. I now know, for example, that millions of people, especially girls, are born and die, beaten down in spirit and body, never knowing that they could dream. I wonder more urgently: “How can we ever heal?” In the process of creating this issue, some of the secrets have been revealed to us.
We must talk to and heed the calls of those who have lived through the eye of the storm of pain and are reaching out to the other side. Those who have lived through genocide and mass rape are the ones working the hardest to prevent it from happening in their country again. It is the people surrounded with AIDS orphans every day—children crying, laughing, and demanding dignity—who are fighting with their lives to raise them. Those whose best friends sold their bodies to buy textbooks are now on the front lines campaigning fiercely for a girl’s right to education. The indigenous grandmothers whose sacred plant life is dying and their people all but disappeared…they believe the Earth can heal, and that She is telling us how. We might fear that paying attention to the grief will bow us down and break us. But too many survivors prove to us that our spirits are strong, and the grieving is necessary for the great healing to arrive. As world-renowned medical intuitive Caroline Myss says, if we are truly conscious people, then we must go out into the world and make a difference in “the dark corners.” And African spritualist Sobonfu Somé counsels us to let the grief cleanse us “like the ocean waves.” The tsunami was like a lighting rod to our hearts primarily because we were able to see the pain. Many of us ached before our television sets. The result was an unprecedented outpouring of support and compassion. We saw that even by giving a little, we had power to help the healing. Although there are more urgent tidal waves crashing around us now—AIDS, genocide, toxins— unlike earthquakes, they are preventable. We know that if we turn our gaze there…yes, we will feel pain. At times interviews and research have left our editorial team sobbing in front of our computer screens. But we are always lifting our heads, so proud to tell these stories of inspiration so the world can see.
© IN SOMNO/marcela designs
Once we start to see the healing occurring all around us, we naturally rise. The grief and courage we witness becomes a spiritual tonic, the winds of possibility, contagious.
the world is our mirror.
© Aveda Corp.
We all know that global warming is the single greatest environmental threat to the planet. We know what’s causing it: coal fired power plants, automobiles, airplanes. And we have the solutions: solar and wind power, non-petroleum based fuels. What we lack is strong, clear leadership to drive public policy. But together we can initiate wide scale change. Call, write, e-mail and talk with local and national businesses, organizations and policy-makers, encouraging them to invest in the solutions we already have and support research to develop new ones. Start the conversation. Have the discussion. Raise the issue—lead the way. Help stop global warming— and find Aveda at 800.328.0849 or aveda.com.
4 | CONTENTS
“ I believe that our global healing is possible. But like anything else, it’s going to take a whole bunch of believers to do it.” FLORDEMAYO, Grandmother from the highlands of Central America
World Pulse News
Young Guru Brazil: Ballet Throws You to the World | By Marlinelza B. de Oliveira and Marcia Freire
Inner World Embracing Grief: Surrendering to your sorrow has the power to heal the deepest wounds By Sobonfu Somé
Global Midwives: Birthing the Future | “Pregnancy is a platform for global healing.” By Robbie Davis-Floyd
66 Mind Voyage Foreign Relationship Therapy
New global books
Ear Voyage New global music
Eye Voyage New global films
Join a tidal wave of actions for a child-honoring world
Synergy Organizations sparking networks of insight and action
Ukraine: My Revolution “So I went to Maidan. Everyone was going to Kiev, then to Maidan.” By Tatyana Goryachova
57 ©Veronica Khoklova www.vkhokhl.blogspot.com
The Backbone of America “We carry the energies of our countries within us.” By Caroline Myss
26 ©Nancy Durrell McKenna; 30 ©Tom De Bruyne;
Sri Lanka: Waves of Death and Peace “All kinds of spaces have opened up that did not exist before.” By Sunila Abeysekera
Education: The Greatest Force
14 Raising Africa’s Orphans
Grandmothers, Tell Us Your Wisdom
“We know that grassroots community initiatives can work.” By Noerine Kaleeba, UNAIDS
For the first time in history,
34 ©Marisol Villanueva Mendez; 12 ©Maciek Dakowicz
14 ©Mark Read and CAMFED International;
34 52 ©Maciek Dakowicz; 42 ©Stuart Freedman;
“Education has sown a seed in me, the seed of lifting the value of girls and women in communities around me.” Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED)
13 indigenous grandmothers gather in a common vision of global healing. | Agnes Pilgrim, Bernadette Rebienot, FlordeMayo
Proving the Possible Three Healing Visionaries Open New Realms | Loune Viaud, Victoria Hale, Kim Wright
inspiring new possibilities
FOUNDING EDITOR | Jensine Larsen GLOBAL EDITOR | Ramya Ramanathan MANAGING EDITOR | J.C. Dalin BOOKS, MUSIC, FILM EDITOR | Maria Jett
Letters I cannot remember the last time a magazine moved me so deeply. It reaffirms my belief that we can collectively change the future of the world. NITA HOWARD
ASSISTANT EDITOR | Susal Stebbins COPY EDITOR | Jill Kelly TRANSLATORS | Marcela Peña, Maria Jett, and Rana Charafeddine DESIGN DIRECTOR & DESIGNER | Laura Cary, LCD DESIGN CONSULTANT | Janice Wong PRODUCTION ASSISTANT | Alicia Mickes
After reading the entire magazine, I was so humbled to be included with the brave and passionate women and children on the pages that I cried. MARY BARR , Author of Peace Plan for the Drug War (Winter ‘04)
DEVELOPMENT DIVA | Jessica Tomforde
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER | Myrna Yoo
I gave a subscription to my niece, who is 25. She is in the Army reserves, votes conservative Republican—and she LOVED the magazine. I am so grateful as I was hoping that it would touch a chord in her and inspire her to think of the world outside our country. I am so grateful that you can speak to all people, in all walks of life, and with very different views of the world.
PUBLISHING CONSULTANTS | Alison Amoroso, Kathleen Davis
WEB MAGICIAN | Ankur Naik WEB CONSULTANTS | Gene Dieken, Bev Corwin RESEARCH ASSOCIATES | Tisha Marajh, Sheenah Hamid, Antionette Barbour, Kimberly Christensen, Cary Spaeth, Rae Strobel, Julie McWhorter, Tereza Topferova, Lisa Marie Bunker, Erin Markel, Carla Murphy, Meghan Neumann, Cindy Lynn Swatland, Jenn Frederick, Marcela Peña, Alicia Fall, Felicia Morrelli
NONPROFIT CONSULTANT | Laura Mansﬁeld CIRCULATION | Satya Peterson, Kimberly Christensen, Deseree Anderson CPA | Kathy Murphy ATTORNEYS | Joshua A. Creem, Turid Owren, Andrew J. Schragger, Sherrill Corbett BOARD OF DIRECTORS | Shaﬁa Monroe, Sharon Marer, Nanci Luna Jiménez, Jeanette Fruen, Beth Seigel, Kathy Long Holland, Wendy Judith Cutler EDITORIAL GUIDE COUNCIL | Mariane Pearl, Lisa Ling, Hafsat Abiola, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mahnaz Afkhami, Winona La Duke, Riane
I cannot tell you how much this magazine means to me. Every time I look at my daughter, I feel the need to make this world a more humane place. Reading the articles proves to me that there are incredible souls out there who have such courage despite all the obstacles. I think it is fantastic that you have so many e-mail addresses available. This makes it so much easier to join a movement. RIANTI AND SASHA WOODWARD (Sasha is my beautiful daughter who will join me in changing the world.)
Eisler, Rita Manchanda, Zainab Salbi Tremendous appreciation to our additional scores of generous volunteers and supporters listed at www.worldpulsemagazine.com
World Pulse | Unleashing the global power and leadership of women and youth through media.
World Pulse (ISSN # 15496678) is published by World Birth Forum, a U.S.-based nonproﬁt.
World Pulse’s Big Horizon Exciting developments are brewing at World Pulse’s international headquarters. During the summer months, stay connected through our website with freshly posted stories, updates on the release date of our next issue, “Oracle,” and information on the build-up to our big global launch. www.worldpulsemagazine.com
While we look to include articles consistent with our mission, the opinions expressed in the articles published in World Pulse Magazine are those of the writers and do not necessarily reﬂect the opinions of the World Pulse Magazine and World Birth Forum management and staff. World Pulse Magazine welcomes comments and suggestions as well as information about errors that call for correction. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or in part, in English or other languages, is prohibited without permission. All rights reserved throughout the world. Send editorial comments and queries to: email@example.com or P.O. Box 55127, Portland, OR 97238. Submission guidelines at www.worldpulsemagazine.com
Cover Image: “Flowers in the Dump” Phnom Penh, Cambodia ©Maciek Dakowicz firstname.lastname@example.org Photographer’s Story: “A girl in a garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Just a second…she has just found this ﬂower and spontaneously posed with it. I was lucky that my camera was ready. Kids are like ﬂowers in this place.” Graphic Design: LCD | email@example.com
LETTERS | 7
Your magazine was given to me by a friend who wanted to share the beauty and power of its message. Initially I was deeply moved. As I browsed, however, something struck me: This magazine was not for me, I have the body of a man. While it may be true that the vast majority of atrocities in the world have been perpetrated by men, no one, including women and children, have been totally free of complicity, guilt, and stupidity. Even if the magazine focused mostly on women and children, or particularly highlighted their efforts, that would be fantastic. But as it stands, while the information is vital, the dedication more than praiseworthy, and the courage of many of the people involved astounding, I still feel it tends to exclude and subtly blame men. While some readers may feel glad by that—considering it due retribution for ages of mistreatment, corruption, and torture by men—the continuation of old boundaries and tensions based on sex will not help to bring world peace and certainly not justice.
I could not put the magazine down. The articles are engaging, poignant, and relative to our immediate future as a global community. It is time that our minds become more creative towards change. It is time that our voices become louder, because we are in desperate need of a new paradigm.
I ADORE the new issue. The entire strategic focus, substance, and design of the issue are all at such a level of excellence that I think they cannot help but cause a breakthrough in these issues that are so critical to humanity. Thank you for your leadership. I treasure our partnership and wish you and yours all the best. With love and admiration, JOHN CONROOD, The Hunger Project
If we truly want to transcend all borders, we must incorporate a much wider world view, a “World Pulse” that includes the beat of every heart. With love, AJA
Editor’s note: We invite our readers to weigh in on the topic of men and World Pulse. From the beginning, countless men have walked, and continue to walk, in partnership with the World Pulse vision. Men are some of our most beloved volunteers, donors, subscribers, contributors, consultants, and more. We have lots of ideas for celebrating men’s global contributions to creating a child-honoring world in forthcoming issues. We’d love to hear yours!
©Joni Kabana | www.jonikabana.com
This magazine has allowed a young naïve and globally ignorant female like myself to begin to understand that the fight for freedom and equality spans well beyond the confines of my home, city, and country. It is absolutely breathtaking to see such strength within those who have so little to derive it from.
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Reading World Pulse made me feel connected to the community of women in this world. I believe that the feeling of community is one of the most powerful weapons we have against all systems of oppression. KATRINA BENNETT
Correction: Our Winter ’04 Global Gatherings report of the Global Midwives Conference incorrectly identified 7-yearold Denná Good-Mojab’s full name, and she did not write the breastfeeding song that she sang but had memorized it. World Pulse regrets the error.
OMEGA I RHINEBECK, N S T I TNEWUYORK TE
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WORLD PULSE NEWS | 9
World Pulse News Women are forging a democratic Middle East Democratic processes are on the rise across the Middle East, and Muslim women are playing critical roles driving democracy forward. There is evidence of women winning basic political rights in almost every Arab nation. In Yemen and Egypt, there are demands to include women in the political process through a form of afﬁrmative action or quotas. In Morocco, women have attained basic rights in family law. In the Palestinian territories, half of the 66% of the registered electorate who voted in the presidential elections in Gaza and the West Bank were women. In Kuwait and Saudi Arabia women are ﬁghting for the right to vote and many have declared themselves ready to stand as political candidates in municipal elections. Across the region, there are increasing conferences and campaigns against “honor killings,” female genital mutilation, and calls to boost the capacity for women to shape the expansion of democracy. (Financial Times [London] Emma Bonino)
International women’s march kicks off in Brazil
The Women’s Global Charter for Humanity was adopted by women’s rights groups in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, in December. The charter proposes “to build another world where exploitation, oppression, intolerance and exclusion no longer exist, and where integrity, diversity and the rights and freedoms of all are respected.”
But, they add, the feminization of medicine is helping to lower physician salaries, encourage part-time doctoring, and exacerbate a looming shortage of physicians.
World Bank puts money into women’s work The International Finance Corporation, the ﬁnancial arm of the World Bank and the largest source of loan and equity ﬁnancing in the world, is best known for funding massive economic development projects involving large corporations. Now it is beginning to focus more on women’s empowerment and extend credits to small initiatives that beneﬁt women in the developing world. There is increasing recognition that improving the employment outlook for women—and removing gender-based obstacles facing women entrepreneurs in many poor countries—is essential to poverty alleviation. One of the ﬁrst recipients, a company that creates Playpumps, a water pump built into a merry-go-round, propelled by kids at play, is already yielding enormous social beneﬁts in South Africa. The 500 villages with the merry-goround have seen marked improvements in family health, school attendance, and women’s ability to tend to other important tasks. Girls who had been absent frequently from school to collect water now can study.
A world tour promoting a charter for equal rights will go to 53 countries and end in Africa in October. In São Paulo, 40,000 of women of all ages and races, some dressed in regional costume, others walking with the aid of crutches, joined in a massive march that kicked off the tour earlier this year.
malpractice suits may become less common, experts say.
Increase in women doctors changing the face of medicine in the U.S. With women becoming doctors in ever-increasing numbers, medicine is generally becoming more patientfriendly, treatment is improving, and
Since 1975, the percentage of female doctors has nearly tripled, from 9% to 25%. And the wave is far from cresting: 38% of doctors under age 44 are women, and half the students in U.S. medical schools are women, a change that is expected to intensify. Female physicians are also more likely to work in teams, provide care for the poor, take institutional jobs with shorter hours, and take lower-paying positions, all of which lower salaries over all, according to experts. They also are pioneering a trend toward part-time work and rebelling against the extremely long hours often associated with the profession. (Tribune Science/ Ronald Kotulak)
“She” TV expanding in the Arab world In its second year, the Middle East’s “She” TV’s audience is growing steadily and now reaches an estimated daily audience of 15 million women, from illiterate denizens of remote villages in Egypt to Prada-clothed fashionistas in Beirut. With groundbreaking openness in the region, the station’s “Morning Show” addresses issues such as prostitution, divorce, HIV/AIDS, and “honor crimes.” “From Day to Day” examines news related to women from around the globe. The news is a springboard for discussion between the anchor and a commentator, both women.
10 | WORLD PULSE NEWS
“Our goal is to empower women,” says Nicolas Abu Samah, who launched the station. “We want to question taboos and provoke controversy.” The station boasts a staff of about 60, with correspondents in Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, and North Africa. Studios are in Beirut and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. About 70% of staff members—and all of the top managers—are women. (Will Rasmussen/Christian Science Monitor)
U.S.: Tax Break 101 On the heels of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau showing a rise in poverty among children in the U.S., the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., released a new study showing that a huge payoff to taxpayers would come from investment in early education for the nation’s poor children.
According to the study, annual invest-
consensus that early public intervention
ments in comprehensive, high-quality early childhood development (ECD) programs for all poor 3- and 4-year-olds in the country would more than pay for themselves between now and 2050. A publicly ﬁnanced, comprehensive ECD program would cost approximately $19 billion dollars annually but is likely to triple its value in budget savings over time, according to the study.
represents one of the most productive uses for public funds.
The report, “Exceptional Returns: Economic, Fiscal, and Social Beneﬁts of Investment in Early Childhood Development” by economist Robert G. Lynch, PhD, ﬁnds that such a nationwide program would ultimately reduce government costs for remedial and special education, for criminal justice, for welfare beneﬁts and would increase income earned and taxes paid back to society. The report reﬂects growing
(Economic Policy Institute)
Saving millions of newborn lives within reach According to new landmark research on newborn survival in the British medical journal The Lancet, 3 million of the 4 million young lives lost annually could be saved with existing low-tech, low-cost measures. Examples of these measures include tetanus immunizations for pregnant women, clean delivery, exclusive breastfeeding, and antibiotics for infections. It only costs an estimated $1 per capita per year to provide these health measures at 90% coverage of women and babies in poor countries. (Save the Children)
VITALS | 11
Vitals Military gobbles funds earmarked for social development worldwide. The rise in global defense spending and the ongoing war on terrorism are diverting scarce economic resources from social development to the military, says a new UN report. The study, a review of a plan of action adopted at the 1995 World Summit on Social Development (WSSD), concludes that the international community has achieved little or no progress on most of the Summit’s 10 commitments.
©Graph Factiva, Reuters Reading List, Mothers Acting Up | www.mothersactingup.org
Beginning in 1993, world military expenditures declined for ﬁve straight years. However, by 2002, global military spending rose to 784 billion dollars, surpassing the 1993 level for the ﬁrst time, and increasing to a record 900 billion dollars in 2003 and an estimated 950 billion dollars in 2004. If current trends continue, the estimated ﬁgure for 2005 is expected to reach over one trillion dollars.
These ﬁgures, however, offer a sharp contrast with estimates suggesting that all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) could be met by 2015 if ofﬁcial development assistance was increased by only 50 billion dollars per year and sustained at that level, which represents only a fraction—about 5%—of what the world is now spending on arms and other means of destruction. The MDGs include a 50% reduction in poverty and hunger; universal primary education; reduction of child mortality by twothirds; cutbacks in maternal mortality by three-quarters; the promotion of gender equality; and the reversal of the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
fuel the push factor of desperation and despair that, in turn, breeds alienation, discontent, rebellion, and terrorism.” (Inter Press Service/Thalif Deen)
U.S. Military Spending vs. Child Survival The U.S. Military budget is greater than the defense budgets of almost all other countries combined. (Source: Insititute for Policy Studies)
Werner Fornos, president of the Washington-based Population Institute, said “It is a global scandal that the funding estimated to be spent on the military and the war on terrorism is nearly 20 times higher than the amount currently allocated for economic and social development worldwide. The proliferation of poverty and hunger and the lack of health care, education, and employment
Tsunami media coverage dwarfs “forgotten” crises research. The Indian Ocean tsunami got more media attention in the ﬁrst six weeks after it struck than all of the world’s top 10 “forgotten” emergencies combined have received in the past year.
The research, commissioned by AlertNet, also suggests the tsunami squeezed out coverage of other crises. The research is based on an analysis of stories in more than 200 Englishlanguage newspapers from around the world held in the database of Factiva, a Dow Jones and Reuters Company. The crises were selected in the “AlertNet top 10 ‘forgotten’ emergencies,” a poll of more than 100 relief professionals who were asked to pick the humanitarian emergencies most worthy of media attention this year. Democratic Republic of Congo ranked highest, is followed by Uganda, Sudan, HIV/AIDS, West Africa, Colombia, Chechnya, Nepal, Haiti, and infectious diseases including malaria and tuberculosis. (AlertNet)
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Visit us at www.ncrw.org
Update Democratic Republic of Congo As the transitional Congolese government prepares for elections this summer, armed militia groups continue to commit massive atrocities in Eastern Provinces, and thousands more refugees have ﬂed the region. However, UN forces have recently taken a more forceful role protecting local populations, disarming militiamen, and destroying militia camps. Analysts from the International Crisis Group and the Forum on Early Warning and Early Response caution that upcoming elections this summer will be challenged by the weak nature of the current coalition government, which is partially comprised of heads of various rebel groups. Factions that stand to lose power may be motivated to prolong the conﬂict. On the positive side, Oprah’s coverage of the crisis in the Congo with Lisa Ling and Zainab Salbi (both sitting on the World Pulse Guide Council) in late 2004 raised over $2.5 million dollars for Women for Women International, a nongovernmental organization working to help women rebuild their lives in the DRC. As a result, Women for Women International has been able to quadruple its staff and outreach in the region.
Return to the Democratic Republic of Congo Zainab Salbi, head of Women for Women International, returns to the Congo and visits with Nabito, a Congolese woman survivor featured in World Pulse Summer 2004. Everyone in our ofﬁce knew how Nabito had affected me, so when I arrived in Bukavu, I was happily surprised by the news that my ofﬁce had arranged a meeting between us. When we saw each other, we embraced and kissed like a mother and a daughter uniting after a long separation. “Thank you, God, for bringing you into my life…thank you, God,” Nabito kept on repeating. I didn’t understand. I had done nothing but interview her and give her a small amount of ﬁnancial support. I soon discovered that since we last met, she had used the money I gave her to start a small business where she was selling rice. With this business, she was able to rent a small room for herself and her daughter.
I visited Nabito in her new home and she told me, “You know, Zainab, I never told my story to anyone but you and the psychologist who has helped me. I don’t know what is it about you, but I knew that I needed to tell you my story.” I was suddenly embarrassed for telling Nabito’s story in our newsletter and media. I never thought that I might be violating her trust. I intended to raise public awareness about what was happening to women in the DRC, and Nabito had affected me so deeply I publicized our interview. I bent down, sat on the ﬂoor, and asked her: “Nabito, do you think it is important to tell one’s story about rape and violation so that people can be aware of the crimes that are happening and stop them?” “Not in my community,” she replied. “I would not say anything to this neighborhood and the people I know. You are the only one who knows my secret.” “Oh, God,” I thought to myself. “I have violated Nabito’s secret.” I could not stop myself from crying in front of the woman I was here to help. I have interviewed hundreds of women who have been through all kinds of violence, but rarely have I broken down and sobbed in front of them. I wanted to show them respect, not pity. I usually hold my tears until I am alone, often in my hotel room. I looked at Nabito and said, “Nabito, you have been an example of courage for me. You may think that I helped you, but the fact is that you helped me. You are my teacher. Through your story and your willingness to tell it to me, I learned about the meaning of courage. But tell me, should I tell your story and the stories of what women have been through in the DRC so the world knows what is happening, or should I stay silent?” Nabito looked at me with a big smile and answered: “They asked my son to rape me and when he refused, they shot him. If I can, I will tell the whole world about it day and night so they know how women are suffering here—so they know what is happening to us—so maybe they can stop it. I just won’t tell my own neighbors, so I can live in peace.” She looked at me and said: “I can’t do that [talk to the whole world] but you can. You go and tell the world…I am okay now, Zainab. You are in my life and I am okay now.” I rest my head on Nabito’s thighs and cry in silence, hugging her like a little child. Partner with a woman in the Congo:
Education THE GREATEST FORCE “Come is the day when our voices can be heard from the top, producing an echo that awakens
©Mark Read and CAMFED International 2004
all those who are asleep.”
Judith Kumire is the Director of The Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) Zimbabwe, which supports tens of thousands of girls to go to school in Zimbabwe.
These are the stories of some of her former students.
“ When I look back and celebrate what I did, I still come face to face with many girls who are calling for help. Their voices echo from all over Africa, yearning for the opportunity to access education and obtain freedom.”
©Mark Read and CAMFED International 2004
efore I received my secondary education, I feared that life would bind me and make me a slave. My
hope was rekindled by my education; it transformed me into viewing life from a different perspective. It taught me to be myself and to have power over my life.
YVONNE KAPENZI runs a successful business and is the first young woman in her community ever to secure a loan from a commercial bank.
o me, education is a weapon against poverty. I grew up in a society where it is said that the only course a
woman could pass is marriage. I come from a family where there is no one qualified for a professional job, where there is no lawyer. I am actually their pioneer. And in a community where there is no lawyer, I have introduced diversity. There are still areas in which I feel the law is repressive to women. I want to work for a situation in which everyone is
FIONA MUCHEMBERE, now a degreed lawyer in Zimbabwe.
“ To me, education is a weapon against poverty.”
©Mark Read and CAMFED International 2004
able to claim their right through the law.
PHOTOSCAPES | 17
am growing up in mind and in business. Now I have touched the stars and I am not going to give up till I reach the moon.
SIPHELANI CHOMUZINDA started her own poultry business. She advises and supports other young women in her community who are starting their own businesses.
“ I am not going to give up till I reach the moon.”
was going to school wearing the barmu-barmu skirt, which my mother exchanged for groundnuts, and I was also going
to school barefoot. One of my classmates who came from a rich family gave me her sandals, and the first day I started wearing them, the whole class clapped their hands for me. I was very intelligent in class, but because of a lack of decent clothes, I was too shy to stand up and speak. When my father passed away during the drought, there was nothing to eat at home or take to school. I thought of going home, and this was when CAMFED provided me with a uniform and porridge at school. I will never forget it. After school I received training on cutting and designing, and I came back to my community to train other girls and young women. At first, the young women were not coming for the training, because their parents thought the girls would become prostitutes. But I continued to motivate the parents of the girls. Now we have big meetings in the community and all the people come. The attitudes of the people in the community have really
©Mark Read and CAMFED International 2004
changed, and they now want to be involved in all the activities. I
have motivated the community to believe in girls’ education and oday, when looking to the past, it seems like a dream,
pay school fees for their children.
but that was the reality—and because of it, right now I
can stand in front of people and encourage them so that they
RUDO GORE leads a large and growing team of young women in
too can transform their lives.
Nyaminyami who are working to tackle poverty and develop their communities.
PATRICIA MANGOMA, pictured on the right, now coordinates a microfinance scheme to enable school drop-outs around Zimbabwe to start their own businesses.
used to go to school barefoot, with my face full of hunger. If only I get the chance, I will
do something great. RUNYARARO MASHINGAIDZE wrote this in a letter to CAMFED in 1993. Now she is a doctor working at Harare General Hospital.
“ If only I get the chance, I will do something great.”
number of my friends slept with “sugar daddies” in exchange for cash to remain in school. Many of them were orphaned
and living with aged and poor grandparents after their parents
I do not blame them for getting desperate, for none of us wants to
have become so desperate. My friends would have turned down the
be excluded. They took the shortest possible route to be included
sugar daddies as I did. It would be so much easier for girls to protect
in the system, dangerous as it was. They wanted an education and to
themselves if they just had the opportunity to go to school.
be recognized because of it—to be looked up to by their communities. They wanted their families to be proud of them when they got a degree
ANGELINE MUGWENDERE, director of CAMA (The CAMFED
or when they came back to work in local clinics as nurses.
Association), which is uniting young women across Africa and calling for all girls to be given their right to education. These girls are leading
If only they had been as lucky as I was, they would be alive today.
the efforts to reach other girls and have multiplied from 32 girls
If only they had got into school and remained, they would not
to 150,000 across Zambia, Ghana, and Zimbabwe.
©Mark Read and CAMFED International 2004
died of AIDS.
PHOTOSCAPES | 19
“Girls without education are like refugees in their own Motherland.”
here had been 15 years in my chiefdom with no
chief until I was appointed. There was a lot of excitement and expectation from the people. I visited each family and collected information. My findings were shocking. Parents were dying, and there were many child-headed households. There was evidence of great poverty. I realized that people were living in these intolerable situations without knowing where to go for advice. They felt chiefs were
was the ﬁrst child in a family of six. We sometimes slept without eating anything and had sacks as blankets. Our
house was a shanty house, concrete ﬂoor, no doors, no furniture. One day, the pupils in my class were taught about shantytowns, and later on I was surprised to ﬁnd our yard ﬂooded with my schoolmates, laughing. They had come to look at our house as a good example of a shanty house. I was regarded as an outcast. Only later, when I was doing my ﬁeld work as a district coordinator, did I realize that my experiences were a training for me. I have become so committed to helping other people in situations like mine. I am currently involved in counseling abused children, since I was once a victim myself. My ﬁrst aim is to have perpetrators behind bars. And with the support from the police, ten cases of abuse have recently been reported, investigations made, and people arrested and remanded to custody. It is on everyone’s lips now in Chikomba that children need a high level of protection from abusers. This is a fact that is constantly reinforced by Assistant Inspector Chikwababa. He assists us a lot
©Mark Read and CAMFED International 2004
and even goes beyond his job description. He is committed to helping children not only in the district but across the country. I do promise that I will do my best to make Chikomba a better place for children to grow up than it was for me. CHARITY MASANGO, pictured above with Assistant Inspector Chikwababa, works with police and other local authorities to help children in Chikomba.
too big to talk to. All wrong. In my community we can shake hands with one another. I have regular meetings with my community where we discuss issues of concern. Girls should not be afraid in their community. I do not tolerate any form of abuse and have caused seven men to go to jail for abusing girls. I also appointed a woman assessor to the chief’s court. Now, girls can share with other women and many cases are surfacing. I have seen how the poor and disadvantaged are always trampled upon and exploited. An education gives people confidence and a belief in self. Girls without education are like refugees in their own Motherland. They marry in darkness expecting their husbands to look after them, but when a husband loses his job, he has nothing to offer and he chases his wife away. Education is our prosperity. The battle against poverty can never be won until all our girls are in school. CHIEF MUTEKEDZA is a senior traditional leader in Zimbabwe.
20 | PHOTOSCAPES
have a strong zeal to help other girls go to school. I understand the joy that was brought to my family and this I want to do for other girls and
their families. I know that the energy that my colleagues, and I give out is so life-giving. I will work flat out to see our intentions through.” WINNIE FARAO has just graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a first class degree in Psychology.
CAMFED INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR FEMALE EDUCATION CAMFED’s vision is that every child is educated, protected, respected, and valued, and grows up to turn the tide of poverty.
Over children will never complete their primary education, 60% are girls.
UN’s estimated annual cost for achieving universal primary education for boys and girls.
GRAÇA MACHEL, Former Minister of Education of Mozambique and Wife of Nelson Mandela
3 days of global miliary spending.
In a world in which girls have least access to education, CAMFED’s mission is to empower communities in Africa to fulfill their aspirations to: • Enroll and keep every girl in school.
• Enable young women to lead change.
• Place the protection of children at the center of community life.
• Support rural communities to demand their rights and services.
• Tackle the threat and impact of HIV/AIDS.
• Share lessons widely to multiply the benefits.
Change a Life. Buy this book and a girl in Africa will go to school for one year.
MORE INFO: www.camfed.org
©Mark Read and CAMFED International 2004
The common thread though all these lives is the power of education. If these stories teach us anything, it is that the struggle for education for all must be won, and that when it is, other struggles—against poverty, war, ignorance and disease—will become easier to win.
HEALING VISIONARIES | 21
Proving the Possible Three healing visionaries open new realms By Jennifer Margulis
The Quiet Giant
Viaud’s community-based approach to
Loune Viaud, Haiti | From a nation plagued with poverty, a woman with a tonic for transforming global public health.
O ©Maciek Dakowicz | email@example.com
n an eight-hour drive from Cange, a remote village in Haiti’s Central Plateau, to the Dominican Republic, two women talk quietly. They talk about the history of the two nations, the passing countryside, and the treatment for advanced cervical cancer that 43 year-old Marjorie is undergoing. The treatment for her stage of cancer is not yet available in Haiti, so Loune Viaud, Director of Strategic Planning and Operations and the Drug Procurement Officer at Cange’s Hôpital Bon Sauveur, is accompanying Marjorie on her journey. For Viaud, these intimate moments are as essential to her work as the agenda she is planning for a global conference on cervical cancer later this week—testament to the increasing recognition of Viaud’s innovation and impact.
As a woman on the forefront of the fight for access to health care for all Haitians, Viaud already faces an uphill battle, but as instability and violence worsen in Haiti, her job keeps getting harder. But if anyone is up for the challenge of bringing health to Haiti, it’s Viaud. There is a reason her colleagues call her “the quiet giant.” At 5’1” tall, 40-year-old Viaud is soft-spoken and unassuming. Yet she has created access to health care for thousands of Haiti’s poorest of the poor while at the same time empowering them to overcome poverty. Her convictions— that health is a fundamental human right for all people, and that poverty is best combated when people are aware of this right—have remained the same since she first started working on behalf of Haiti’s poor when she was a teenager.
epidemic disease and to the lack of basic services has been replicated in urban Peru, inner-city Boston, and even Siberia.
“It is a ground-breaking approach that Loune is using in Cange,” says Monika Kalra, Legal and Program Officer at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights. “Patients are respected and treated as rights-holders. You can see this in the way Loune works with them and the respect and love they have for her.” Until 15 years ago, you could not find Cange on any maps in Haiti. The village was nothing more than a squatter settlement. But where there seemed to be no room for hope, a miracle—brought about by hard work, grassroots organizing, and tremendous energy—happened. In 1987, a group of peasants assembled and fought for their right to health care, a right assured by Haiti’s constitution.
22 | HEALING VISIONARIES
“Everybody thought we were crazy,” remembers Loune’s colleague, Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer, then a graduate student working towards degrees in medicine and anthropology at Harvard. According to Farmer, the experts at Harvard Medical School believed that people this poor should start on a small scale and work their way up by road building, clean water treatment, and small dispensaries, and they told him that the project was doomed to failure.
Viaud and her co-workers have brought electricity, clean water, schools, and a disease-free life to thousands of Haitian women and children who come from miles away for treatment.
In Haiti, Viaud is now directing the largest AIDS treatment program in the world.
Viaud continued her work with Paul Farmer in Boston, where she and her family settled. Their subsequent 15-year collaboration, along with the work of dozens of Haitians and several generous donors, has revitalized Haiti.
health center, schools, and a water protection program. Between 200 and 300 Haitians a day benefit from the free treatment offered to all by Hôpital Bon Sauveur.
Cange is now a thriving center of health. “You can literally see the difference in people’s faces,” says Dr. Glenn W. Geelhoed, Professor of Surgery, Microbiology, and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University. “It’s not only that they’re healthier, there’s something in their eyes. They know they have a right to health.” Partners in Health, working with Harvard’s Medical School, has also started a tuberculosis treatment facility, a women’s
Two years ago, Viaud expanded her efforts. In five large towns in central Haiti, many of them accessible only by jeep or on foot, Viaud has taken dilapidated and empty public clinics and reopened their doors. Viaud’s community-based approach to epidemic disease and the lack of basic services has been replicated in urban Peru, inner-city Boston, and even Siberia. Plans to work in Rwanda are also underway.
A New Pharmaceutical Paradigm
“She has just dedicated her entire life to Haiti and seeing the betterment of the people. That’s her calling. She wouldn’t be herself if she wasn’t able to do that kind of work, to fulfill the people’s needs,” says Eugenia Charles, co-director of Haiti Reborn, a project of the Quixote Center. Viaud herself is not all that interested in praise and exhortatory press releases. Instead, she quietly gets in her jeep and gets the job done. “Our clinics are open,” she says, holding onto optimism in spite of all the difficulties. “We have more patients than ever. They come from everywhere.”
MORE INFO: Partners in Health www.pih.org Haiti Reborn www.haitireborn.org
By Malaika Basé
Victoria Hale | Replacing profit with passion for the world’s poor
ment resources are devoted to disease conditions that affect 90% of the developing world.” After years working in the biopharmaceutical industry, a question kept tugging at Victoria Hale: What would a pharmaceutical company look like if its primary focus wasn’t profit but people and health? Her answer: Founding the Institute of OneWorld Health in 2000, the first nonprofit pharmaceutical company in the United States. Because the company is not profit-driven, it spearheads a revolutionary focus on the neglected infectious diseases that disproportionately affect the poorest
people in the developing world, and it develops new, affordable medicines. Hale’s vision is grounded in a belief that entrepreneurial, humanitarian, scientific, and pharmaceutical groups working together through a new paradigm can create effective, affordable and practical solutions to resolve unmet global health needs. Five years later Hale’s vision is thriving, clinically and organizationally. Working in partnership with the World Health Organization, Hale is bringing together potential new drug leads, experienced scientists, millions of dollars, and most importantly the leadership of passionate pharmaceutical scientists.
Today, OneWorld Health is on the threshold of having a cure for visceral leishmaniasis, a deadly disease found in North Africa and the Middle East. The drug is called paromomycin, and it is expected to enter the market in 2005. A single injection of paromomycin will achieve a lifetime cure. The cost per patient: $10. Also in the pipeline is a promising compound with action against the parasite that causes Chagas disease, which now infects 18 million people in Latin America. A sustainable and affordable new source of artemisinin-based anti-malarials is currently being developed as well. ©Partners in Health
“Only 10% of the research and develop-
HEALING VISIONARIES | 23
Hale is being recognized for her visionary leadership in health. Her recent honors include being named one of 2004’s “Most Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs” by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in Switzerland and her selection as a Leadership Foundation Fellow of the International Women’s Forum in September 2003. Fast Company has named her as a leading social capitalist. She is also an official advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) helping to build ethical review capacity in the developing world.
Five years later Hale’s vision is thriving, clinically and organizationally.
Victoria Hale on the tsunami opportunity: “The tsunami disaster also provides an opportunity to educate people in the West about the everyday disasters in poor regions of the world: diseases such as diarrhea and malaria. Looking toward the future, the long-term goal for relief efforts should not be to restore people to their previous level of poverty. We need to create real change in health, the kind that heals and strengthens individuals, villages, communities, and eventually, economies and nations.”
The Lawyer Who Heals
Kim Wright | At the center of a movement to redesign the practice of law “We are developing a law ﬁrm of the future that uses all the peacemaking tools available.”
© OneWorld Health; © Renaissance Lawyer Society
When Kim Wright won her ﬁrst custody trial and enthusiastically crushed the other side, she expected to feel overjoyed. Instead she was distraught—the adversarial process had left the family members she served traumatized and unhappy. As a mother of seven children, Wright found herself questioning the polarized design of law and its ability to effectively resolve problems.
Instead of abandoning her practice, Wright struck out to “invigorate the soul of law” and use the lens of the healing profession to shape a new legal model that works for everyone—lawyers, clients, and society. Wright’s brand of law, which she calls “renaissance law” or “transformational law,” is a toolkit of evolving modalities that are rapidly gaining credence among tens of thousands of women and men lawyers “burned out from all the constant ﬁghting.” According to Wright, these modalities are based upon reconciling relationships, listening, apology, forgiveness, completion, and moving on with lives. Rather than looking to punish past transgressions, the focus is on the future and “What do we do now?” This new wave of law draws upon the crème de la crème of mediation, collaborative law, restorative justice, alternative dispute resolution, preventative law, and the international Truth and Reconciliation Movement. Wright has boosted this emerging ﬁeld by creating several organized forums that network lawyers seeking alternatives and facilitate the sharing of innovations. “I saw that there were other lawyers who were being called to be peacemakers, but there was rarely any organized connecting,” she says.
This observation led Wright to create a website, www.renaissancelawyer.com, and found the Renaissance Lawyer Society in 2000. She knew she was onto something when her website immediately received thousands of hits. Now Wright ﬁnds herself balancing the scales as managing attorney of the Healers of Conﬂicts Law & Conﬂict Resolution Center, Chairman of the Board of the Renaissance Lawyer Society, coaching other lawyers to help them transform their practices, speaking and writing internationally, and on the brink of launching a quarterly magazine called The Cutting Edge: Transforming your life, law practice, and the world!
MORE INFO: www.jkimwright.com www.renaissancelawyer.com www.healersofconﬂicts.com www.consciouscoach.com
24 | YOUNG GURU
“ I have no doubt that more dance projects like this can change the future of children.”
ballet throws you to the
world In Brazil, children are dancing their way from the slums to the stars.
More than a million people (19% of the
The founder of the DPND, Thereza
Borges, 16, are packing their suit-
population of the city of Rio de Janeiro)
Aguilar, a ballerina trained at the
cases to go to the Staatliche Ballettschule,
live in slums called favelas. Surviving
Staatliche Ballettschule in Berlin and
a world-famous ballet institute in
amidst unhygienic and unhealthy condi-
the Camaguey Ballet and the National
tions, the inhabitants of favelas are often
Ballet Centre in Cuba, decided to start
victims of gang violence. Children living
the project based on her experiences in
in the slums rarely have access to educa-
Cuba working with disadvantaged chil-
tion or skill-building. Many get hooked
dren. Aguilar says, “I knew that the road
on drugs, become drug peddlers, and
wouldn’t be easy. With the support of
join local gangs.
the residents’ associations, I called for
The two girls are from the slums of Rio de Janeiro. But instead of wasting their childhood on drugs and crime, or being defeated by poverty and a lack of education, the girls are training as ballet
the children to come to a dance audition.
dancers and stepping into a future they
“I don’t know what I would be doing
would have never dreamed possible a
To my surprise, 250 children turned up
now if it wasn’t for the project. I hope
few years ago.
for the 40 openings that were offered!”
to enjoy and make the most of this
Monteiro and Borges are part of a special project called Dancing to Take the Right Step (Dançando para Não Dançar) or the DPND. Since 1994, the program has been organizing ballet classes for slum children. Today it reaches out to 450 students between 6 and 17 years of age in 10 slums across Rio.
opportunity. My dream is to become a
With her ballet classes, Aguilar aims to
great ballerina,” says Borges. Borges
steer the children away from crime and
has a tough routine: She rehearses for
violence. The objective of her program
four hours every day in the Olympic
is not only to teach the children a profes-
Villa of Mangueira, a slum area. She has
sion that traditionally belongs to the elite
also recently joined ballet classes at
but also to increase their self-esteem.
the School of Dance of the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro.
©Women’s Feature Service | www.wfsnews.org
arceli Monteiro, 15, and Paulicéia
Women’s Feature Service | By Marlinelza B. de Oliveira
Today, two girls from the group—Márcia Freire, 19, and Aline da Silva, 15—are on a scholarship to the National Ballet Centre in Cuba. And Ingrid dos Santos Silva, 16, is getting ready to play her first role in the ballet The Nutcracker in Rio. “The ballet makes you change your entire lifestyle and the way you see the world. I am a
Reporter Marlinelza B de Oliveira caught up recently with Marcia Freire, who, with the support of the Dancing to Take the Right Step program, has received a scholarship to the National Ballet Centre in Cuba. Marcia is from the Brazilian favela Pavco-Pavcozinho Cantagalo. Her father sells kabobs on the street and her mother works at home.
different person. My parents are very happy to see me so devoted to something like this,” says Silva, who joined the project six years ago. “When I am dancing, I feel happiness; I forget the bad things of the favela. I want to keep dancing and become a great ballerina.” Although there are only 25 boys with the
hen the ballet program first came to the favela, nobody knew what it was about. My cousin joined the project and asked me to audition. I was 12 then. I was afraid of being
rejected. But I went and my experience was euphoric. My favorite part about the program is when we perform in other poor
communities who don’t have any idea what ballet is and have no access
project, some of them have already made
to any kind of art. I see the eyes of the children shining looking at us. It
a name for themselves. Júlio César, 19,
is so inspiring. They look at us as an example.
traveled all over the country in 2003 with the show, Terra Brasis. He was recently
“They look at us as an example.”
selected by the Center Cultural Opera
I have no doubt that more dance projects like this can change the future
Brazil for a role in a stage show.
of children. There are so many children who spend all day doing nothing.
Classes are held six days a week and
Before the dance program, I had no idea what I was
continue during school vacations. “The
going to do in the future. I had no expectations.
children take a break once a year, only
We all change. Because of my opportunities, I have
for a week. We plan in such a way that
become more responsible and smart. I see in the slum
they don’t have too much idle time, so
many girls my age who don’t think about the future.
that they don’t go astray,” says Aguilar.
But in our program we give priority to our profession. Now, when we walk through the favelas, we hear classi-
Besides ballet lessons, DPND offers
cal music. Can you imagine hearing classical music
classes on musical theory and exposes
in the favela? Before the dance program started,
the children to other dance forms.
we would hear only funky music.
Children are also taken for educational trips (to the planetarium, the legislative
The most exciting moments of my life were my two trips abroad. I
assembly), and for picnics. Sometimes,
have spent some time in the Staatliche Ballettschule in Germany and
the children perform to raise money for
the National Ballet Centre in Cuba. I never thought I was going to get
charities. The organization also supports
that far in my life. Ballet throws you to the world.
their education and offers medical care and counseling to some of the children. Aguilar has recently included nine children who have Down’s syndrome and ©Women’s Feature Service | www.wfsnews.org
eight children with hearing impairments. “Not all the young people being trained
“When I am dancing, I can forget all my problems, my reality.” The most important thing in my life is to dance. When I am dancing, I feel happy and light. When I am dancing, I can forget all my problems, my reality. The applause makes me feel proud and wonderful.
will become professional dancers, but they will have access to artistic activities and know how to make good use of the knowledge gained in physical and artistic professions,” explains Aguilar.
FOR MORE INFORMATION www.dancandoparanaodancar.org.br
birthing “ In the Netherlands, midwives attend over 70% of all births, and one in three children is born at home. The Netherlands has one of the highest percentages of normal childbirths and the
s the birth of your ﬁrst child approaches, the midwife comes daily. For 10 days she massages your taut belly and aching back with herbal oils and sings songs to welcome the child to the world. She instructs your family on your diet and care, leaving behind fresh fruits, nuts, and teas to nourish your blood. When the time comes, the midwife presides over your own personal labor team of aunties and cousins. Each has her own task: one mixes herbs, one massages your legs with shea butter, another helps you change positions, another talks praises and encouragement in your ear. When at last your child emerges, he is placed directly on your chest, the cord intact, to allow a gentle transition.
For weeks afterwards you stay in bed nursing, sleeping, and bonding with your child. Your family and friends take care of all the household tasks. You are bathed and massaged everyday. Everything is brought to you, your favorite protein-rich foods: ﬁsh, shrimp, sweet potatoes, palm oil. Celebration is in the air—everyone recognizes that you have survived a passage between life and death. Post-partum depression is unknown. If you become unhappy, someone is always there to shake you and say, “Why are you sad? You are blessed with a beautiful baby!” The midwife checks in on you regularly to assuage your fears and questions. She is respected in the village; no one can replace her. She catches life.
©Anna Kuperberg | www.kuperberg.com
lowest percentages of infant and maternal deaths in the world.”
MOTHER’S MILK | 27
By Robbie Davis-Floyd
ince the dawn of humanity, birth—in its raw,
In the West, perceptions of birth have changed since the rise of
awe-invoking splendor—has traditionally been
the science of obstetrics in the mid-18th century. Childbirth has
the domain of trusted and skilled hands of village
become a medical event and is subtly regarded as an illness.
midwives. Called “the special ones,” the “Grand Midwives,”
From the moment a woman’s pregnancy is confirmed, health
and “spiritual healers,” they carefully guarded the sacred
professionals begin to focus on potential problems. Once labor
threshold from womb to the world.
starts, a woman transfers to a hospital, is placed in a wheelchair,
Societies honoring skilled midwives typically have borne the signature of cultures where women and children—and women’s ways of knowing—are highly valued.
and is led to a room full of IV drips and fetal monitors. She frequently gives birth on her back, drugged, under glaring lights, with her feet in stirrups. Forceps, vacuum extractors, epidurals, episiotomies, and unnecessary cesarean sections are often used.
“ The winds of change are stirring a global midwifery renaissance.”
Today, however, the march of medical modernization is steadily
This medical model continues to spread globally, despite the
eroding the status of traditional midwives in many areas of the
fact that countless studies show that midwives not only typically
world. Midwives are increasingly vanishing, and often with them,
give women more nurturing care than do most physicians, but
an empowering and sacred culture of birth for new families.
that they are also generally more cost-effective and often have
Yet in some regions, the winds of change are stirring a global
midwife renaissance. Contemporary midwives are championing
Interestingly enough, it is in the regions where midwifery was all
this resurgence by fusing holistic, empowering, traditional
but wiped out, particularly in the U.S. and Canada, where we are
practices with beneficial aspects of medical science. Struggling
witnessing strong revivals. Although U.S. nurse- and direct-entry
for the freedom to practice without their “hands tied” and
midwives currently attend only about 10% of births, this rate is
to secure respect from governments, institutions, and local
increasing at about 1% per year. In Canada midwifery is presently
communities, they are increasingly networking and organizing
being legalized in all provinces, and as Canadian midwives gain
politically with a sense of mission to protect the welfare of
legal status, the percentage of births they attend is rising.
mothers and babies.
“ As steadfast guardians of
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, a cultural/medical anthropologist
life and blenders of the best of
specializing in the anthropology of reproduction, is a Senior
science and tradition, midwives
Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, at the
hold the promise of a world of
and transformations in health care, childbirth, obstetrics,
health for all in their hands.”
University of Texas, Austin. Her research on global trends and midwifery is ongoing. www.davis-ﬂoyd.com Contributions from Malaika Basé and Evelyne Ello-Hart
Beyond birth, midwives are often providers of total community health care. Their repertoire might include setting bones, massage, practicing prenatal and post-partum care, and administering herbs and nutritional information. They are frequently known as spiritual leaders, community organizers, and public health activists.
In not every case is midwifery beneficial. Not all traditional
Today, traditional Mexican midwives are striving to create
midwives are skilled, and some indigenous customs can be
midwifery as both an emerging profession and social movement.
harmful. There are also increasing reports, primarily in the Global
Many have birth centers attached to their houses, complete
South, indicating that some professionally trained midwives are
with autoclaves, sterile equipment, and dopplers. Their walls are
treating women poorly. These midwives are themselves often
covered with laminated diagrams of the female reproductive
treated badly—almost always underpaid, frequently mistreated
cycle, and their shelves are filled with homeopathic remedies
by physicians, and working long hours under stressful conditions
and herbal oils and salves. Dancing fluidly at the interface of
that often include inadequate facilities.
biomedicine, holistic alternatives, and traditional birthways, these
that I call “postmodern midwifery.” Postmodern midwives know
midwives are creatively producing a hybrid and increasingly well-articulated knowledge system of their own.
the limitations and strengths of the Western medical system and
Increasingly health organizations and governments are
of their own, and they can move fluidly between them.
recognizing that they can effectively partner with midwives
They are scientifically informed, articulate, organized, political, and highly conscious of both their cultural uniqueness and their global importance. They are mediators, crossing the boundaries between obstetric care and alternative care, home and hospital, modern and traditional, local and international. These midwives are working to ensure that the uniquely woman-centered dimensions of midwifery remain intact. They are shape-shifters and know how to subvert the medical system where appropriate
to deliver care and improve community health. For example, in recent years the Egyptian government embarked on a program to compliment dayae, traditional midwives’ knowledge with modern training, to ensure access to sterile supplies, and to establish relationships with hospitals and physicians who could be called in to cope with emergencies. The result was a stunning 50% decrease in maternal mortality in rural areas over the course of eight years.
while often complying with it. They make alliances with Western
Acknowledging that midwives can be a crucial line of defense
medicine where possible and make connections with other
in educating about HIV/AIDS, the International Confederation
midwives internationally to create a global culture of midwifery
of Midwives and the Netherlands Medical Knowledge Institute
as well as to preserve and teach to others the best of their own
have recently launched a global AIDS initiative called “Promotion
cultural traditions around birth.
of HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support,”
Recently, I encountered a flat marble delivery table complete with metal stirrups at a birth center owned by Doña Facunda, a
which will train an estimated 100,000 midwifery trainers in 38 countries worldwide.
partera tradicional (traditional midwife) in Morelos, Mexico. Doña
Contemporary midwives hold the promise of a world of health
Facunda, with a mischievous glint in her eye, pointed out that her
for all in their hands, even though today nothing is easy about
clients’ relatives believe in hospital procedures, including giving
being a midwife. Yet motivated by a shared desire to offer viable
birth on the back. “If they want me to act like a little doctor (mini-
long-term birth options, these daughters of time and tradition
médico),” she said, “I can do that! But when the mother-in-law
continue their struggle, always with the necessary determination
says, ‘Shouldn’t she get up on the table now?’ I say, ‘No, it’s not
to make sure that midwives, with all their limitations and all their
time yet,’ and I encourage her to keep walking around or to rest
power, remain available to care for the mothers and babies
comfortably in my big double bed. Most of my mothers give birth
of the world.
sitting, kneeling, or squatting.”
©Nancy Durrell McKenna | www.safehands.org
In contrast to these incidents, a phenomenon is emerging globally
MOTHER’S MILK | 29
“Midwifery is finally hot!” SHAFIA MONROE | Midwife of the Future “Do you know who brought you into this world?” tenderly asks Shafia Monroe, emanating motherly warmth through her colorful wraps. One of today’s pre-eminent midwifery leaders, Monroe was trained by sister midwives from Ghana, Zaire, and Alabama in the 1970s. Today she heads up a thriving traditional midwifery movement through her International Center for Traditional Childbearing in the United States. Her mission: Institutionalizing “the Africancentered approach to midwifery in America.” “Midwives are much more than just catching a baby,” says Monroe. “They are a community blessing. Imagine how community health would improve if you were bumping into the one who caught you, asking ‘How’s school?’ ‘How’s your nutrition?’—reminding you to love yourself and feel good about who you are.” The quickening of Shafia’s midwifery model—birth as a touchstone for loving, safe, spiritual community health care—is just beginning. Every year in October, Monroe hosts the International Black Healers and Midwives Conference drawing women from North America, Africa, and the Caribbean together to share wisdom, devise new strategies for care, join forces in policy actions, and set up new chapters. Monroe claims her message is not about home birth over hospital birth. “It’s about keeping the good of both the traditional and the medical approach. We’re supplementing ancient models with the science we need to learn to prevent deaths.” “Midwifery is finally hot!” says Monroe. “Five years ago I would hear ‘that’s old-fashioned!’ but now young girls want to be healers and midwives.” Monroe nurtures this budding interest through Sistah Care, an after-school preparatory program for teenage girls who are interested in entering maternal and family health care professions. Now in its third year, staff are noticing that nearly all the girls—whether African American, Ethiopian, Caucasian, Vietnamese, or Mexican—are staying in school and many are adopting healthier attitudes. For Shafia, this program is a natural evolution of her goal
The International Center for Traditional Childbearing
to see midwifery spread throughout the world. “I tell these girls they have a responsibility to keep this going. We need to look to our youth to pick up the work so the elders can move on to the next life and leave a strong foundation.” After long years of uphill struggle, Monroe is increasingly winning awards and ©International Center For Traditional Childbearing | www.blackmidwives.org
acknowledgement for her revolutionary public health work. The value of her program is also slowly being recognized by national midwifery associations, many with long histories of low percentages of women of color in their ranks. According to Monroe, “The most important thing I can do as a midwife is put the power back in a mother’s hands. I reassure her that having a baby is a normal everyday occurrence. If she is in healthy labor, I tell her, ‘I’m not here to save you, because you’re not dying anyway.’”
Birthing the Future
International Center for Traditional Childbearing
Citizens for Midwifery
www.cfmidwifery.org International Confederation
Safehands for Mothers
Invites you to join us at The Fourth Annual Black Midwives and Healers Conference “Honoring Our Legacy, Reducing Infant Mortality, Building Our Future” Atlanta, GA October 14th, 15th & 16th, 2005 An International Conference To learn more call: 503.460.9324 Register on-line: www.blackmidwives.org
30 | FOREIGN RELATIONSHIP THERAPY
believe that, like people, nations have their own archetypes. Archetypes are ancient and universal psychological patterns or spiritual energies, such as the Mother, Child, Trickster, Prostitute, and Servant. Archetypes take an active role in our lives as guardians and inner allies, awakening us when we are in danger of falling into destructive behavior. All archetypes have shadow manifestations as well as positive aspects.
Archetypes often emerge in language. Let’s look at how we talk about nations. In the U.S. we often refer to “Uncle Sam.” Russia is frequently referred to as “Mother Russia.” We could say that during the last century Russia and the United States represented a very bad marriage and they fought over the children of the planet. Mother Russia was a very devouring mother; she consumed the nations around her and abused them. We can see how, as their bad marriage collided, other nations were very much like children who could do whatever they wanted because these two captured the attention of the globe.
The Backbone of America
We carry the energies of our countries within us. Every time we sit across from someone, we’re sitting across from the archetypal history of the nation they come from. This is formed in the ﬁrst chakra, which corresponds to the area where the body makes contact with the earth when seated in the classic posture of meditation. It grounds us in the physical life. The ﬁrst chakra connects us to family loyalties,
“It’s time for us to get more of a backbone, instead of a New Age wishbone.”
In order to evolve, the United States must return to its core spiritual template.
©Tom De Bruyne
traditions, rituals, social laws, and the elements of society that give us a sense of identity. An enormous supply of our energy is invested in potent beliefs common to thousands or millions of other people. These chakras, like archetypes, are essentially neutral, providing us with either strength or vulnerability depending on how we make use of their energy. The strengths of the ﬁrst chakra are family identity, bonding, and loyalty. The shadow side can be excluding others, prejudice, and illusions of superiority.
FOREIGN RELATIONSHIP THERAPY | 31
By Caroline Myss
From my experience as a healer, I am
Having established the inner template,
in someone else’s hands or your own? Do
increasingly concerned about the shadow
I would then ask, “Have you been living
you want to maintain your comfort zone
side of the United States. The United
a conscious life?”
because you think it’s someone else’s job?
The answer is, “No.” “We dropped the ball.” “When?” “Oh, somewhere around the late 60s.”
Have you read the Patriot Act? Have you really taken a look at legislative matters in Washington? And if you decide that what is going on is fundamentally against the Constitution, are you willing to take to the streets?
States has many archetypal patterns, including the Rebel, the Entrepreneur, the Pioneer, the Mystic, and the Judge. This is a magniﬁcent nation founded by individuals who were mystics as well as statesmen. They were inspired by the belief that a human being had a right to be free because it was the essential right of the human spirit. In writing the Constitution and Bill of Rights, these men conceived of a nation that would ﬂourish as the result of creativity and freedom, not aggression and invasion. Unfortunately, there is increasing repression of our highest potential taking place and it has a serious impact. For example, we are one of the most litigious nations in the world. It’s paradoxical because we think we’re so free, but everything is under law here. Lawsuits inﬂuence everything from health care to where you park your car. We also have the invasion of Iraq, for which there was reportedly no justiﬁable reason. I hardly think historians will record this as America’s greatest hour. For those who are aware of these paradoxes, there is a low level of panic and crisis that is very real. Americans no longer have a sense of safety and protection. There has been a shattering of our historic comfort zone. So if I were to sit down and treat the United States as I treat individuals and assist in our nation’s healing, the ﬁrst thing I would ask is “What is your fundamental spirit nature? What are you formed of in your core?” At its core the United States was conceived to be a nation of consciousness. Illuminatis founded this country.
Vietnam represented the dropping of the ball. Though I don’t care to represent Vietnam as the issue, it was the last time where there was an uprising of consciousness. People took to the streets and said “yay” or “nay.” They voiced their opinion and made a difference. Since that time, consciousness has gone underground. We’ve gotten very sloppy and turned our attention to freedom of expression of anything we want. We became consumed with the birth of the age of energy—the age of computers, technology, and the Internet. We took our attention off maintaining conscious government, freedom, morals, and integrity—everything that awakened so dramatically in the 1960s. We have lost our focus. On our watch we’ve dropped the ball. Now we’re looking around saying—“My god, we got attacked, we gotta ﬁght back! Who are we ﬁghting? Who knows? What nation? Just pick a nation!” We are operating outside our design. We were never meant to be an invading nation. We’ve become vengeful and frightened. We’re not a vengeful people. We have stepped out of our character, we have stepped out of our soul.
It’s time for us to get into a political and philosophical conversation with ourselves and look at our relationship to the world if we claim to be conscious people. If we consider ourselves conscious, then out into the world—into the most tumultuous places—is exactly where we should go instead of withdrawing into a forest Zen comfort zone. How can we say, “I want to be of service to humanity,” and then say, “but it’s so terrible!”
“ We are operating outside our design. We were never meant to be an invading nation. We’ve become vengeful. We’re not a vengeful people. We have stepped out of our character, we have stepped out of our soul.”
For the people who make up the United States, I would ask, “What are you willing to risk to put this country back into a place of consciousness? What are you willing to do? Do you think this nation is
Caroline Myss is a pioneer in the ﬁeld of energy medicine and human consciousness. She is the author of four New York Times bestsellers. Since 1982, she has worked as a medical intuitive: one
©Caroline Myss, Inc
who “sees” illnesses in a patient’s body by intuitive means. She specializes in assisting people in understanding the emotional, psychological, and physical reasons why their bodies have developed an illness. Myss has found that people often don’t understand their purpose in life, which has led to a spiritual malaise of epidemic proportions. This metaphysical disease in turn leads to depression, anxiety, fatigue, and eventually physical illness.
32 | FOREIGN RELATIONSHIP THERAPY
It’s time to get more mature and more honest. It’s time for us to get more of a backbone instead of a New Age wishbone. We have to be willing to get our hands dirty in the world again. Consciousness isn’t just about you, but it’s about going back into this world and making a
day of my life. Sometimes I wonder why don’t I just stay home, put my feet up, and write novels? I’m 50 years old. I’ve been at this for 25 years! My voice is sore. I’m tired of hopping on planes every weekend. But then I look at Washington and this world and I get too mad. I think to myself, “Oh
difference in the dark corners.
no. No. No. Un-unh. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. I just gotta keep going.”
I do not want to present myself as a cynic, but as a realist. I want to inspire people. I don’t live a soft life and tell everyone else to go in the ﬁeld. I’m out in the ﬁeld every
“ We have to be willing to get our hands dirty in the world again. Consciousness isn’t just about you, but it’s about going back into this world and making a difference in the dark corners.”
As told to World Pulse’s Founding Editor Jensine Larsen
MORE INFO: Carolyn Myss’s New York Times best-
For more about the “Sacred Contracts
selling books include Anatomy of the
of America,” visit Carolyn Myss’s Website
Spirit, Why People Don’t Heal and
How They Can, Sacred Contracts, and Invisible Acts of Power.
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Grandmothers, tell us your wisdom.
ÂŠMarisol Villanueva MĂŠndez
For the first time in history, 13 indigenous grandmothers gather from all corners of the earth in a common vision for global healing. These are the voices of three grandmothers.
By Bernadette Rebienot
Nature Speaks Secrets “ My journeys are not about enclosing myself in the solitude of the forest. The forest doesn’t absorb my being. Instead, it permits me to capture the secrets of the invisible, of which we are the trustees.” BERNADETTE REBIENOT, from the rainforests of Gabon, West Africa
Since we are invoking a world healing, we must ask, “Is the world sick?” Unfortunately we are bringing up this topic rather late in the game since this immeasurable organism called Earth is already beset with gangrene. Our planet is sick from the never-ending ravages of people, pollution, deforestation, abusive power, jealousy, and hatred.
By listening to the secrets of the forest, I’ve used remedies made from plants to treat the maladies of my patients. These secrets have taught me to accept the Other and our differences. They have taught me about the fragility and the inﬁnite smallness of humanity, the vanity of our excesses, and the ephemeral nature of our existence. They have shown me the force of peace and of united families. For the last several decades, the forest has taught me respect for humans and for nature, respect that is cruelly lacking in our world. Perhaps this is why many who have tasted such wisdom and respect come from far away to see me in my African forest. Humanity must also understand that we cannot continue to walk “on one leg” in our daily life. We must take into account the visible, invisible, and spiritual dimensions of the world because two plus two doesn’t always equal
The Earth suffers from horriﬁc wars that transform people
four. Whether this takes the form of meditation in America,
into monsters and destroy what is human. These wars
a platform of world solidarity established in France, or
leave behind orphaned offspring who are ripped from
teachings drawn from our African rituals, there is a spiritual
their families—families that are precious to us. Then there
message that remains the same.
are the pandemics that we all face: AIDS, malaria, cancers, and other plagues.
Humanity must enter into reconciliation with nature if we wish to come upon a new reality, a new alliance. The great
This great sickness is exacerbated by famines, by galloping
initiates of Africa understand the very core of their forest,
poverty; by the death of ideas and of cultures, and by a
the language of the trees, of the rivers, and of the birds.
disdain and rejection of the Other, which signals the return
They understand the essential and mysterious language
of all forms of discrimination.
of nature that speaks to us. Those who are keepers of the knowledge of hidden things, the “luminaries” and the
The Earth suffers, humanity is threatened, we are disoriented, we have lost our way. Nature has been speaking to us for some years now and manifesting her anger in her perfect and terrible expression—catastrophes of the air and
initiates of the world, must transmit this knowledge to the new generations because everyone needs two legs in order to be balanced. Our true equilibrium rests on the existence of the physical and spiritual bodies.
water, deadly ﬁres and heat waves. By violating the laws of Nature, we are bringing punishment upon ourselves.
Humans constitute the link between all the particles of the universe that crisscross and ﬁll up space. Our ultimate
I have been in service to humanity since my youth as a traditional practitioner and a healer. Where I ﬁnd life is in the forest. In the forest, I still know how to become one with a landscape rich with thousands of mysteries. In the forest, my feet touch the earth every day. However, my journeys are not about enclosing myself in the solitude of the forest. The forest doesn’t absorb my being. Instead, it permits me to capture the secrets of the invisible, of which we are the trustees. I believe these secrets will soon become precious compasses for humanity.
horizon is not bounded by the visible world but dives deep into the sacred universe, into the unity and dynamism of a Great Whole of which only certain parts are visible. There is a submerged part of the iceberg waiting to be discovered and revisited. We are cosmic beings. Today’s civilization has been cut loose from the essential roots that formed humanity. We are destroying and polluting nature. The people of the future will no longer be those who believe exclusively in logic, in the reign of numbers and capital, but rather those who have understood that the net of tomorrow’s society resides in respect and consideration for the Other. Such respect would mean
CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT: Flordemayo, Highlands of Central America | Agnes Pilgrim, Great Forests of the American Northwest | Bernadette Rebienot, Rainforests of Africa
that dialogue would replace war.
36 | INDIGENOUS GRANDMOTHERS
Declaration of the Grandmothers We are 13 indigenous grandmothers who come together united in common vision. We gathered from the four directions in the land of the people of the Iroquois Confederacy. We come here from the Amazon rainforest, the Arctic circle of North America, the great forests of the American Northwest, the highlands of Central America, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the mountains of Oaxaca, the mountains of Tibet, and from the rainforest of West Africa. We have united as One.
MORE INFO: Global Women’s Gathering www.globalwomensgathering.org
We believe that our ancestral ways of prayer, peacemaking, and healing are vitally needed today. We come together to nurture, educate, and train our children. We come together to uphold the practice of our ceremonies and to afﬁrm the right to use our plant medicines free of legal restriction. We come together to protect the lands where our peoples live and upon which our cultures depend, to safeguard the collective heritage of traditional medicines, and to defend the Earth herself. We believe that the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future.
Grandmothers for Peace www.grandmothersforpeace.org
(Excerpt from the Statement of Indigenous Grandmothers in Phoenicia, New York, Fall 2004)
GrandMother Drum was built in 2000 from
continue to this day along the earth’s geologic
a vision of indigenous grandmothers and the
“Ring of Fire” from reconciliation gatherings
multicultural Alaskan community. The drum
with Aboriginal communities of Australia’s
took over a year to construct and has 200
“Stolen Generation” to Alaskan human
crystals inlaid in its 7-foot diameter kettle
base. It is covered by a giant buffalo hide.
Concertgoers are shaken to the core by GrandMother Drum’s soulful thunder. Her universal power is undeniable. HEATHER RESZ, Anchorage Chronicle
The drum produces an incomparable sound
For the Grandmothers, the “Ring of Fire”
that not only stirs the soul but is said to have
speaks to the alchemy of ﬁre to transform,
tremendous healing effect on the body.
transmute, and renew—the core of reconciliation and compassion. They believe that the
The GrandMother Drum is traveling the world
activation of this ring is a key element in the
as a living, beating international symbol of the
healing taking place for the Earth’s people
Universal Heart that connects all races and all
over the next 10 years.
cultures of the human family. World Tours
©Marisol Villanueva Méndez; ©Whirling Rainbow Foundation
THE GRANDMOTHER DRUM PROPHECY
By Agnes Pilgrim
Joining Prayers “ Handed down from my people was a story that the only duty left to us from the ancient ones was the duty of prayer, so, I became a prayer person.” AGNES PILGRIM, from the great forest of the American Northwest
I fought this inner-calling, thinking I wasn’t worthy to do it. Looking back, however, I can see where I began to change. I started to ﬂy around and I went to all my six children and asked them to forgive me for any hurts I caused them. I asked them to voice anything they wanted to me. I told them how much I loved them and that I would pray for them. I know I made mistakes as a parent.
It is exciting to be making history by venturing into the world praying to make a difference. However, there are
Yet I still hadn’t committed myself to walk this “spiritual”
still many things that I don’t talk about as I’m afraid the
path. I was still arguing with my Creator. Finally one day
Creator will quit helping me. In the beginning, my people
my friend, who is a psychiatrist, told me to stop ﬁghting
could become invisible, shape change, and talk to the
this path and resign myself and just do it. So, I did. It was
animals. I believe what happened is that they began to
like a big load was lifted off of me.
abuse their gift so the Creator stripped it from them.
Handed down from my people was a story that the only
So, I try to be careful.
duty left to us from the ancient ones was the duty of
I travel to a lot of different lands being a “voice for the
prayer, so I became a prayer person. The Creator has
voiceless.” All things created need a voice. I am called to
answered many, many prayers and I give blessings for
pray for the Bengal tigers, for animals in Africa, for wolves,
allowing me to be a mediator.
for salmon, and for the Ganges River in India. I went to
Prayer is needed throughout the World. It is time we
Australia to pray for the Murry Darling River and its pollu-
step forward and join prayers with people around the
tions. I prayed for the Condors and now they are coming
globe. Together we can stop the abuse of women and the
back after being gone for over 200 years from Oregon.
molestation of children, hunger, overgrazing, the lack of
My tribe sends me to areas that need prayer or blessings.
protection for our medicinal plants, and drug abuse. We
They send me to christen a ship, to burial places, to testify
can join together no matter what our religious or spiritual
for monuments, and to ﬁght for special plant life. I’ve been
beliefs are. We can join together and ﬁght to save our
called to lead prayers to stop clear-cut logging and to
Earth Mother and salvage our own existence.
lobby in Washington, DC, to save our Siskiyou Monument
It is time to take action now if we want to help all our rela-
here in Oregon, which has plant life that grows nowhere
tions. We need not for one moment limit ourselves about
else in the world. So far we’ve succeeded. We will con-
what we can do. We must give support and encourage-
tinue to struggle to save some of our beautiful spiritual
ment to each other and to whomever we meet on our
places. The prayers will help.
path. Love people unconditionally and add their voices
I’m the oldest living female left of the Rogue River Indians,
and prayers to ours. People need to be encouraged to use
who lived in Southern Oregon for over 20,000 years. As a
their voice. The Creator will hear our cries and turn the
registered member of my tribe, The Confederated Tribes
dark side around.
of Siletz Indians, for many, many years I have served on
Yes, we have a lot of work to do to have harmony and
tribal committees always ﬁghting for cultural and tradi-
peace. We have many goals set before us but we can
tional improvements. My children and I are all traditional
accomplish them by working together. Together we have
First Nation natives and we “walk our talk.” I’ve been at
gifts to bring by teaching what is sacred. We are all in this
death’s door; I have survived cancer since 1982. I asked
“leaky canoe” together so we need to be a united force to
my Creator to let me live because my family needs me and
be reckoned with and we will keep on keeping on until our
I’ve got a lot to do. I said, “if you let me live, I’ll keep busy the rest of my life.” And I’m certainly doing that! Years ago when I was about 45, I experienced a restlessness. This sensation was not only present in my waking hours but also in the dream time. There was a force pulling me toward a spiritual path. I was told to cleanse my inner self. Ultimately, I did what I call a “dying to self.” But ﬁrst
Aho! “hearts are on the ground.”
38 | INDIGENOUS GRANDMOTHERS
Being Honoring “ I don’t consider myself a traditional person, but a universal person. Instead of abiding by rigid rules, I want to be free in my heart.” FLORDEMAYO, from the highlands of Central America
For me, there has never been a question of what I came to this earth to do. I have always understood my purpose through my personal dialogue with the spirit of the ancestors through visions and dreams. I was raised learning to translate dreams. It was imperative in my family. Whether they were positive or negative, it didn’t matter. Even if
I believe that our global healing is possible. But like
they foretold of a death or an illness, I learned to receive
everything else, it is going to take a whole bunch of
the messages in a way that was honoring and respectful.
believers to do it. I am not a healer, but a mediator for
for me. I had heard about it through the prophecies of the Mayan people, and I had also been given a direct vision that the Council was going to come together.
healing. I am just a conduit of a massive amount of energy, and I allow it to travel through my body and present it to the person looking for healing. When people come to me, healing only takes place if they have already surrendered into a healing space. When
I chose to accept a role at the Council because I felt
people come with incredible faith, I have noticed
that there are so many of us around the world that have
lost the touch of “basicness” between the earth and the sky. Women now carry more toxins in their bodies then they ever have. All the chemicals from daily creams and shampoos are being transmitted through breast-feeding. The ﬁrst cup of milk children have from their mother is already full of sanitary napkins and deodorant.
The best way to continue to heal ourselves is to honor our free spirits. In honoring that, we become forgiving and when we become forgiving, we become understanding, and when we understand, we become honoring, and then we can move forward with our lives. Moving forward means that we have also mended the circles of the gener-
Hope springs from the re-teaching of people on
ations of the past. We are always brought into the present
gardening and survival. I have been working towards
to mend generational breakage of the sacred circle.
re-introducing people to the teachings of medicinal plants. We are re-learning how to take care of the Mother Earth. In doing so, we allow the spirit of the sacred plants and the sacred waters to heal us. In essence, we are re-empowering ourselves. For those of us who have forgotten, we are re-learning the teachings so that our grandchildren and their grandchildren to come do not forget. I really believe that the earth and the elements have the capacity to mend themselves. It might not be done in our lifetime, but everything takes its course. We live under a sacred law: Life is a circle. By being in the present, we are also in the past and the future. Nothing is unseen and there is always a reason for things that happen.
We can also respect our traditional practices and integrate them into our modern lives. I feel that traditionalism is a little bit restrictive. And that is okay, but for myself, I do not like to love my creator without any freedom. I don’t consider myself a traditional person, but a universal person. Instead of abiding by rigid rules, I want to be free in my heart. It is possible to integrate the traditional and the modern by opening our hearts and allowing the teachings of the cosmos to enter our daily lives. Ultimately we all have to ﬁnd our own individual way. We can ﬁnd it by stopping, being silent, and being honoring. It will take us a lifetime to do that. But it is imperative. As told to World Pulse’s Global Editor Ramya Ramanathan © Marisol Villanueva Méndez
The Grandmother’s Council was already written in stone
INDIGENOUS GRANDMOTHERS | 39
“ We are in unity here, the elders with the young ones, and all around us and above us and under us, we’re breathing unity right now. I pray that this unity continues to happen in circles everywhere, that people all over become one again.” MARGARET BEHAN, Red Spider Woman, a
PHOTO: Grandmother | ©Heriberto Rodriguez | www.digitalrailroad.net/HeribertoRodriguez
Grandmother from the North American plains
A 102-year-old Zapotec native woman from Juchitan, Oaxaca (The Place With Flowers). She worked as a baker all her life and joined a rebellion when she was young against Dictator Porﬁrio Diaz in 1911.
ÂŠ Lisa Gagne
“ We are standing in the vibration of a sacred prophecy. The prophecy tells us that consciousness is preparing the spirit of the feminine, the spirit of the grandmothers. In the prophecy, we shall walk into the light united from the four directions.” FLORDEMAYO, indigenous grandmother
© Lisa Gagne
from the highlands of Central America
42 | HEART OF AFRICA
Raising Africa’s Orphans
come from an oral culture. Most of what I know today was passed on to me by elders. As a young girl growing up in a remote village in Uganda, I heard and told many stories. Now I work with the United Nations, and I still tell stories. There are stark differences between the stories of my youth and those of today. The stories in those days were mostly legends or fairy tales. The stories I hear and tell now are reallife stories of human suffering and human compassion mixed with successes and failures of the human race in addressing the most pressing problems we face today. The stories I tell are the story of my life, the story of my family, the story of my African people, and the story of our struggles against HIV/AIDS. It is clear that today we need a continent-wide plan for dealing with HIV/AIDS. African nations need to approach the epidemic as an issue determining their fate. And as children are the future, we must care for those whose lives have been ravaged by the disease. The first place to direct support is HIV/AIDS-affected communities. To me, there is no doubt that this is where the most effective initiatives are today. In many communities, HIV/AIDS-affected people are organizing and going doorto-door educating others on prevention and positive living. Some are creating “orphan villages” so children can get treatment and care. I call these grassroots efforts “gardens of hope.” We can seed, grow, and interconnect these gardens of hope to create a huge Shamba (a giant garden) for children across the continent.
When AIDS Came to My House Eighteen years ago AIDS came to my house. My husband Christopher was diagnosed with the disease. Christopher died within a year. While my family cared for him, we struggled to understand what was happening to us. Since our community traditionally grieves together we were totally unprepared for the rejection of our friends. I also felt betrayed and angry by the negative attitudes of health care workers. I noticed other families who abandoned their ill loved ones for fear of catching the disease.
NOERINE KALEEBA in her homeland of
Uganda, which has experienced the most signiﬁcant decline in HIV prevalence of any country in the world.
I started to understand that the scarcity of information surrounding HIV/AIDS was creating panic. This panic combined with the two taboo subjects of sex and death resulted in a very profound stigma. I found other persons and families with AIDS and formed a support group. We named this support group The AIDS Support Organization (TASO). We wanted the word AIDS in there to try and break the silence of this disease. We began by offering each other support, praying and crying together. As we gained confidence, we began to organize counseling for infected people and their families. TASO is now the largest grassroots organization providing HIV/AIDS services in Uganda and I can say with confidence that it has made a significant contribution to our country’s success in curbing the spread of HIV. In Uganda today, young people living with HIV/AIDS are the most powerful AIDS educators in their communities. They are able to do this only because our community accepts and encourages them. Even during the early days, it was evident to me that HIV/ AIDS was having a profound impact on children. Every single one of our early clients was a parent to very young children.
Children and the Future of Africa Today we know that African children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS are the ultimate development nightmare for a continent grappling with major socio-economic problems. According to UNAIDS, every day around the world, 2,000 infants contract HIV through their mothers—95% of these infants are Africans. Every day, 6,000 children lose one or both parents to AIDS—more than 90% of these children are Africans. Every day, 1600 children die of AIDS—90% of these children are Africans. Today, a child in Southern Africa has a 50% chance of dying from AIDS. Today in Africa, 95% of pregnant mothers do not have access to health programs that can significantly reduce the incidence of mother-tochild transmission of HIV. The worst is yet to come. According to the UNAIDS, UNICEF, and USAID, by 2010 at least 20 million AIDS orphans will live in Africa. ©UNAIDS
Seeding a “garden of hope” for children across the continent
Martine, a one-year-old AIDS orphan, is fed in the House of Peace, a village sanctuary in Burundi where Hutu and Tutsi orphans are cared for by community volunteers. The founder, Marguerite Barankitse, says “I told the NGOs ‘Don’t give us protein biscuits—give me some money and I’ll build a bakery for ourselves’—and that’s what we did.”
By Noerine Kaleeba A mother of ﬁve daughters and grandmother to three little boys and one little girl, Ms. Kaleeba is a charismatic leader and activist totally committed to the vision of a world without AIDS through interventions that put people and communities ﬁrst. Ms. Kaleeba has been awarded several international awards for her national and global anti-AIDS efforts. In 1987, she set up a support group that blossomed into a vibrant organization, The AIDS Support Organization (TASO Uganda), to provide care, support, and counseling, and to mobilize communities and neighborhood care for people with HIV/AIDS and their families. Based on the concept of positive living, TASO was one of the very ﬁrst community responses to AIDS in Africa and is today one of the leading examples in AIDS care and support and community education for prevention in resourcelimited settings. Ms. Kaleeba currently works as a program development adviser, Africa, for the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and is based at their secretariat in Geneva.
Until then, large numbers of children orphaned by AIDS will become young adults. Whether these children are socialized, educated, clothed, or fed, they will assume their role in the society. Twenty million uneducated, street-hardened, weatherbeaten, and ultimately bitter African children will present formidable challenges to our continent and the world.
©Stuart Freedman | www.stuartfreedman.com
There are no serious continent-wide, comprehensive, multisectoral policies or programs directed at children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, nor am I aware of any integrated and comprehensive corporate or civil society efforts. I am, however, acutely aware of heroic efforts by small-scale community-based organizations to provide basic support for AIDS orphans in every country in Africa. There are some focused efforts by foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support child-specific initiatives. The Children’s Investment Fund is another recent innovative effort to focus support on children’s initiatives on AIDS orphans in selected African countries. Faith-based organizations have also spearheaded efforts in many countries; international agencies and foundations are addressing pockets of the AIDS orphan problem in Africa.
However, action needs to match the scale and duration of the pandemic. Currently, most initiatives are limited in scope and coverage, and in no country do the collective responses reach more than a fraction of the orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.
A Way Forward We have no roadmaps to rely on; we have to pioneer new ones. I believe that the African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Development Bank should, in conjunction with other international partners, develop a comprehensive continent-wide blueprint for dealing with children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. This blueprint, while recognizing distinct local and national issues, would set guidelines and parameters for scaled-up remedial efforts. This blueprint should also set guidelines for regional initiatives, for sharing expertise across national boundaries, and for creating opportunities for communities to share lessons learned. This collaboration would put much-needed “political muscle” behind children’s care as a top priority for the coordination and implementation of local and global efforts.
“ We have no roadmaps to rely on; we have to pioneer new ones.”
44 | HEART OF AFRICA
“No initiative, however elaborate, can replace a parent. Access to HIV/AIDS treatment for parents, especially mothers, is vital.”
Keep parents alive through treatment. Access to HIV/AIDS treatment for parents, especially mothers, is vital. If we can delay death even for a few years, many children can be raised. No initiative, however elaborate, can replace a parent. External interventions by governments, international organizations, NGOs, religious bodies, and others will only have significant, sustainable impact if they strengthen the capacities of affected families and communities to protect and care for vulnerable children.
Support, strengthen, and link community-based groups. Grassroots groups have made incredible efforts to identify extremely vulnerable children, monitor their individual situations, respond with local resources to needs, and secure small amounts of funding or material support and use it very efficiently. Groups in Uganda and Zambia and South Africa, such as Action for Children Affected by AIDS, provide excellent models. The Children in Distress Network (CINDI) in Kwa-Zulu Natal has created a network of over 30 government and non-government agencies seeking to effectively respond to the growing numbers of children affected by HIV/AIDS in the region.
Some of these groups are bringing together elderly, widows, and orphans to form communities of care complete with micro-enterprises and education. The problem with such efforts is that each generally reaches only a few children in a very limited geographic area. The programmatic challenge is to develop ways to systematically mobilize such responses on a large scale and to help communities to sustain them over time.
Stop HIV transmission through aggressive and empowering communication campaigns. A proactive media will “make or break” our efforts to stem the crisis, particularly by de-stigmatizing HIV/AIDS, promoting health information, and encouraging partnership with affected communities. Today most media sources are not adequately sensitized. Either they avoid the topic or they still use passive language like “AIDS sufferers” and “AIDS victims.” These people are not lying down waiting to be rescued! They are leading the charge in every country, against all odds.
Strengthen women’s rights. When women are raped, they cannot protect themselves against HIV/AIDS. Many marriages are death traps because husbands have sex outside of their relationship. In many places in Africa, women cannot inherit property, so when a husband
©Kevin McNulty, The International Rescue Committee | www.theirc.org
Such a plan needs to focus on the following:
HEART OF AFRICA | 45
dies, his wife and children will end up on the street. Also, due to their low status in society, women have less access to treatment when they should be given priority, especially mothers. Pregnant women in particular should have access to antiretroviral therapy as it can cut maternal transmission in half. The primary path to strengthening women’s rights is through education—for a woman is more likely to demand her rights if she is aware of them. I know for a fact that if I hadn’t gotten an education, my own story would be very different.
What Can Individuals Do? Use our voices and our finances. People outside Africa, especially in wealthy and influential countries, can make a huge difference. Since the U.S. is a global leader, its citizens can help their country lead by example. Although the U.S. is increasing its financial assistance, more can be done. For example, the U.S. administration’s strong promotion of just the A and B in the ABC strategy for preventing transmission (“abstain, be faithful, use a condom”) sends a mixed message. In Uganda, the success of the program was due to all three elements, including C. But even this is incomplete because it does not address the spread of HIV through sexual violence or within marriages. The entire ABC strategy and the strengthening of women’s rights and education are all needed simultaneously. However, the most immediate and practical need is financial
support. We need to find ways to fast-track small amounts of seed funding to numerous community groups, which will make an immediate difference. By financing these small groups, we will truly grow the children’s “garden.” My organization, TASO, is a shining example. We started from humble beginnings and the organization has now proven itself as a strong force against the spread of HIV/AIDS in my country. Individuals can also directly sponsor children’s education and care. Today I sponsor the education of 43 children. The wonderful thing about children is that they grow! When you see a child graduate, you feel unspeakable joy. Our coming together to face the AIDS/HIV pandemic is not about gloom and despair; it is about hope based on our collective efforts. We are here to create and strengthen our networks and support systems; we are here to give and gain from each other a renewed sense of hope and encouragement.
TAKE ACTION! See Tsunami Action, p. 82
MORE INFO: UNAIDS
A nurturing wave for Africa’s orphans
Download the report: “AIDS in Africa: Three Scenarios to 2025” presents three possible case studies for how the AIDS epidemic in Africa could evolve over the next 20
Coming in 2006. Stay tuned!
years based on policy decisions taken today by
Noerine Kaleeba and World Pulse are embarking on an
African leaders and the rest of the world.
exciting project. Ms. Kaleeba receives numerous project
proposals from grassroots community groups mobilizing to raise HIV/AIDS orphans from across Africa. However,
UNAIDS cannot fund them all and unfortunately she must
reject many viable proposals. Next year World Pulse will host a special web portal, called “Africa Wave,” which will view proposals that pass through Ms. Kaleeba’s office and
Africa Women’s Media Coalition, a project of the International Women’s Media Foundation
partner with these groups through an immediate infusion
Maisha Yetu: Media Campaign for our Lives
of seed funding. World Pulse will post electronic proposals
A project to enhance the quality and consistency of
from these verified organizations, many needing small
media coverage about HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and
amounts of funding to expand their effective efforts to care
malaria in Africa with responsible, accurate,
for orphans. World Pulse envisions a future where every
and relevant media messages.
school, talking circle, and community joyfully partners
allow schools, communities, and individuals to directly
with an HIV/AIDS affected community-based network.
46 | HEART OF AFRICA
Widows United A Village to Care for HIV/AIDS Affected Children Springs from a Determined Group of Widows
Veronica | We united to create the Ndiwa Women’s Group because of the high rate of death in our community. As widows, we could not individually fend for our families. We thought that by coming together we could help each other and our children. Josphine | We started meeting because we felt that it’s only when we form a group of widows that we can share the challenges facing us. This is because the problems facing us are unique and only fellow widows understand another one well. It was the power of God that led us to find Watoto Wa Dunia. One widow’s son studying in Nairobi came across a newsletter of Watoto Wa Dunia and when he came home, he shared it with us. We wrote a letter to the group requesting to work together on children’s issues. When we had a meeting with one of the advisory council members, we came up with the idea of creating the Empowerment Village, which can liberate us economically and socially so we can help our children. Kalewa | Since my husband died, I have lived with my six children in misery, without shelter, food, or clothing. Recently my older daughter went to work as a housemaid, and she built me an iron shed house with four walls. Currently I have five grandchildren to take care of and the hut cannot accommodate us all; some of the children are sheltered by the neighbors. Susana | Death is a big blow. When a husband dies, you are left a defenseless person. It becomes very difficult for you to educate the children and provide for the family’s needs. I feel inspired by the current move of Ndiwa and Watoto Wa
Dunia because one problem that really affects us is the inaccessibility of health facilities, as the only means of transport is a bicycle. The closest hospital is at Makindu, 100 km away, where you have to pay for hospital bills on admission, and blood transfusions are feared by many because of the high rate of malaria. This has resulted in a lot of deaths and we are forced to carry the dead tied to our backs on bicycles through the bushes from Makindu hospital.
“ In our tradition, we believe that a problem shared is a problem solved.”
(At this she breaks into tears and cannot continue.) Damaris | I dream that the Empowerment Village will create social and economic liberation because it will open up a way of sharing our pain and responsibilities in a constructive way for our education and health. Josphine | The village will bring peace to our hearts through sharing of our responsibility. Josphine | Some men say that they have never seen a project started by women succeed. (The group behind her choruses “Ours will succeed!”) Also, some men whose wives have died feel neglected and wish to join our Ndiwa group. Some men have commended our idea and have promised to support it. (The women applaud and joyously give each other high fives.)
MORE INFO: Watoto Wa Dunia is a grassroots organization that works with volunteers in local communities to find sustainable solutions to problems facing impoverished children and communities. Based in the U.S. (Portland, Oregon) and Africa (Nairobi, Kenya), the field office in Nairobi is supported by a dedicated group of Kenyans known as the Kenya Advisory Council. WWD works hand in hand with the advisory council, supporting the programs they develop. To contribute to the Women’s and
I believe others around the world can help our group. As humanity, we are obliged to love and cherish one another. In our tradition, we believe that a problem shared is a problem solved. When a community is faced with great challenges, it makes people come together. We also expect to get access to fellow widows from the other parts of the world to learn and know what they are doing to better their lives, be it in churches, villages, or towns. Some of us are talented in various arts so we wish to teach each other and jointly find markets for our products so we can earn a living.
Children’s Empowerment Village visit www.wwdhome.org CONTACT: Watoto wa Dunia PO Box 11622 Portland, OR 97211 Tel. (503) 595-1786 email@example.com
©Watoto Wa Dunia
World Pulse Magazine listens to the women of the Ndiwa Widow’s Women’s Group in Kenya, who have formed an innovative collaboration with a small U.S. nonprofit Watoto Wa Dunia (Children of the World) to create a Women’s and Children’s Empowerment Village. The village center, opening this year, will house 40 children and host micro-enterprise and community gathering space, cultural exchange, and education to the entire community.
By Monica da Silva
Forging a New Path
Pioneering Community Homeopathic Treatment for HIVpositive Children in South Africa
“ My dream is to share with the world that natural medicine can contribute to treating people with HIV/AIDS.”
t all started very simply. I was a homoeopathic student who wanted to do a research project on HIV/AIDS in children. I was going to conduct a clinical trial. Simple enough, I thought.
Instead, this trial became my biggest scientific challenge, my most humbling humanitarian experience, and the greatest heartache I have ever felt. South Africa is the epicenter of the worldwide HIV/AIDS pandemic, with the highest number of people (5.3 million) infected. There are an average of 1,500 new HIV infections and 600 deaths daily. HIV/AIDS has become the leading cause of childhood death in South Africa. Our country is in a joyous time of democracy and freedom, yet this is clouded by the destructive rampage of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. I knew that a classic homoeopathic approach, which treats patients on an individual basis, would be effective for a single individual treatment, but for a country with so many people infected, a broad-spectrum clinical approach was needed. A journal article discussing the clinically proven use of homoeopathically prepared growth factors for treating HIV/AIDS in the U.S. by Dr. Barbara Brewitt was influential. Dr. Brewitt agreed to collaborate with me and the University of Johannesburg.
©Kristin Ougendal 2004
My objectives were to see if this homeopathic growth factor treatment could: 1) increase functional immunity, 2) reverse growth failure, a characteristic feature in HIV-infected children, 3) show similar treatment trends to antiretroviral drugs, 4) be beneficial during each stage of HIV/AIDS progression, and 5) be as effective in South Africa, where a large portion of the country lives in third-world conditions.
I thought that with South Africa’s high infection rate, recruitment of children for the clinical trial would be easy. It wasn’t. I was faced with the prejudices of conventional doctors in Johannesburg towards homeopathy, and this brought me to an area called Finetown, a large informal settlement 35 km south. People there live in squatter conditions. Amidst the seemingly hopeless circumstances of Finetown, children’s laughter and play can be heard at Sancta Maria School, where the children are educated and fed, and, in essence, given back some of their childhood innocence. And now they are being medically treated. It took three difficult months to recruit 30 children. This time, it was about the stigma attached to sufferers living within a community. So many times my heart was ripped open and left raw. I shed many tears. I met Dibuseng, age 11, who was dumped under a bridge as a baby by her mother. Her grandmother eventually found her and took her in. When I first met Dibuseng, she never smiled. This little girl had only ever experienced ill health. Ben, age 11, looks after his younger brothers, 10 and 4. He also looks after his very sick aunt, who is HIV-positive. Ben’s parents both died of HIV/AIDS. Ben is also HIV-positive. When he is sick, his 10-year-old brother looks after him. The boys have to fight for the little food that they have, as the aunt’s boyfriend takes their food for himself. These boys sleep on a cement floor. Melody and Melusi, age 4 and 2 respectively, are both HIVpositive. Word came to the school that Kate, their mother, would sign the consent form, but that she was too weak to walk to the school. So we went to her shack. There lying on a thin mattress was Kate, not weighing more than 35 kgs. All around her were her five children. Her third child was raped recently; she was just 7
48 | HEART OF AFRICA
years old. Kate’s family didn’t want anything to do with her; they blamed and deserted her. Kate kept telling us that she would fight to live to take of her children, but she died in December 2004. I started my clinical trial in April 2004, ending in September 2004. In that time, I observed such a change in the children. Their lifeless and limp bodies became more lively and robust. They became more interactive with school friends and teachers. Some of the children began attending school because they were stronger and healthier. This brought me such delight. Results of the clinical trial were analysed and then statistically evaluated by an independent bio-statistical consulting group affiliated with the University of Washington. The following statistically significant conclusions emerged: 1) the homoeopathic growth factor treatment improved immune function, 2) it reversed growth failure, 3) it demonstrated treatment as effective as antiretroviral drugs, 4) it demonstrated effectiveness at every stage of HIV/AIDS, and 5) it showed the same results as the U.S. studies. The science supported what my heart had seen.
The Homoeopathic Satellite Clinic opened in May 2004, the first community-serving homeopathic free clinic in South Africa. More than 500 new patients have been seen with 1,200 follow-ups. People have now started to come forward and seek treatment for themselves and openly report their HIV-positive status. We have experienced a positive change in the community of Finetown. At the end of last year, we organized a Christmas party for the children of Sancta Maria School. We managed to collect a toy for every child—over 250. As we arrived, there was an electrifying buzz in the school. Every child was so excited. For one afternoon, the joy of receiving a toy masked the bleakness of Finetown living.
ration of so many people from many different walks of life standing united against HIV/AIDS. I qualified in February 2005 as a homoeopathic doctor in South Africa. The children of Finetown have taught me both the harsh reality of HIV/AIDS and how resilient the human being is. I saw that the children, despite their sufferings, still wanted to live and laugh and play. My dream is to share with the world the contributions homeopathic medicine can make in bringing about transformation for all children.
There are so many Finetowns in South Africa and throughout the world. If one has to look into the horror of HIV/AIDS and its consequences, it seems hopeless. One can ask, could my contribution possibly make a difference? I was just a homoeopathic student who wanted to do a research project on HIV/ AIDS in children. And now, there is collabo-
MONICA DA SILVA found a way to prove
that natural treatment can change the lives of HIV/AIDS-affected children.
“We no longer feel desperate.” Closing the global “gender gap” in HIV/AIDS care and treatment Where would you go to heal if you were a woman survivor in Rwanda who had seen family members killed, lost your home and livelihood, been repeatedly raped, and faced the additional blow of HIV infection and being ostracized as a result?
By Liz Highleyman
efore journalist Anne-christine d’Adesky and physician Kathryn Anastos set their vision in motion, there were few options for Rwanda’s estimated 250,000 survivors of mass rape, two-thirds of whom are believed to be HIV-positive.
The project was born when the two women, both intimately involved in researching responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, discovered that they shared an outrage. D’Adesky, traveling the world reporting extensively on AIDS, and Anastos, principal investigator of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), found that HIV treatment in Rwanda was, in some cases, being offered to perpetrators but not to rape survivors. “I started writing editorials,” d’Adesky recalls, “but I knew this wouldn’t change things. I felt a personal call to see what else I could do.
©Kristin Ougendal 2004; ©WE-ACTx
Launched in the fall of 2003, Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment for HIV/AIDS (WE-ACTx) was developed to focus international attention and resources on the global “gender gap” in HIV care and treatment by working in partnership with local grassroots NGOs in some of the most ravaged areas of the developing world.
HEART OF AFRICA | 49
“The main shift in the arena of global AIDS has been our collective expectation of what is possible. Once drug companies decided to package three drugs in one, once Cipla [a leading Indian generic drug manufacturer] decided to make a low-cost generic copy, once health leaders decided to adopt simpler guidelines for using and monitoring people on therapy, barriers fell away. The disease did not change— people simply changed what they thought about the problem. It is possible to treat the poorest people effectively with AIDS drugs, and it costs less to do so than we projected. The barrier to access is not poverty, or illiteracy, or the inability of Africans to take their drugs consistently, or any other indices of national development or capacity; it is a lack of political commitment, pure and simple.”
“There were many NGOs working there, but no one was really helping women access antiretroviral therapy,” she recalls. “The government had a plan to provide treatment, but women were not going to public health clinics because seeking testing and treatment meant reliving the trauma of how they were exposed. They wanted to receive services from the smaller local programs already set up to support them. “The model we’re creating is really a model of partnership,” says d’Adesky. Today WE-ACTx’s Rwanda Women’s Treatment Access Initiative (RWTAI) works closely with ﬁve national networks serving genocide and rape survivors and their families. The organization’s small medical team and volunteer staff provide clinical care, examinations, laboratory tests, and transportation. The Rwandan Ministry of Health offers free antiretroviral therapy to all who need it. Local nurses are trained to provide pre-test counseling and administer the medications, and WE-ACTx does follow-up care. Women with HIV are trained as peer educators and outreach workers, part of WE-ACTx’s goal of empowering poor HIV-positive women to take charge of their own health and lives. The program also recognizes the
Beginning with 50 patients per week, RWTAI soon scaled up to 50 per day, totaling about 1,000 to date. A supplemental nutrition program provides food for 500 women. WE-ACTx plans to open two more clinics in Rwanda in the coming months and will expand testing and treatment for clients’ children (an average of 3-4 children per woman, including their own and orphans they have taken in). WE-ACTx also plans to extend services to rural women. With the expansion of the clinic and food programs, the project hopes to reach 25,000 women and children in the next two years. “I tried everything in order to get treatment,” said Mukabashimwigabo Marie Mediatrice, a 37-year-old mother of three, who had severe symptoms and a T-cell count of 85 when she entered the program in September 2004. “WE-ACTx assisted me in getting triple therapy, transport, and food. I can now take [antiretrovirals] easily, as I am not as hungry as I used to be. When we come for crafts-making [an income-generating project], we meet and discuss our personal
Moving Mountains The Race to Treat Global AIDS
on one of the most urgent questions of our age: how to give people in poor countries the same chance to live as people in rich ones.
Anne-christine d’Adesky is an awardwinning journalist, author and ﬁlmmaker win who has written about AIDS and global politics for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Village Voice, and OUT. She received the American Foundation for AIDS Research’s Award of Courage for pioneering AIDS journalism and has just completed a global AIDS documentary, Pills, Proﬁts, and Protest.
Practical Solutions and Grassroots Victories
importance of other forms of support including adequate food, housing, trauma counseling, care of orphans, and incomegenerating projects.
“Indispendable for anyone trying to stop the global AIDS epidemic—or who wants to learn its searing lessons. From Haiti to Russia, India to South Africa, d’Adesky brings her rich history of thoughtful journalism and ﬁerce activism to bear
“With treatment, the majority of 46 million people with HIV could survive—and even thrive. It costs 38 cents a day per person…We— the world—can afford this.”
problems. We no longer feel desperate. And if this project develops, I have hope to be able to sustain my family in the future.” The need remains great in several other countries in central and northeast Africa. WE-ACTx is now focusing on the Darfur region of Sudan, northern Uganda (where for a decade the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army has carried out a campaign of genocide, rape, and abduction of children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (where international peacekeeping troops and paramilitary groups have been implicated in rape and sexual exploitation of the local population). The project has received support from several foundations, but more is needed to accomplish the ambitious goals. “Fundraising is my primary thing. I do it night and day,” says d’Adesky. “All our money goes straight into clinical treatment.”
MARK SCHOOFS, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for his Village Voice series on AIDS in Africa.
MORE INFO: WE-ACTx www.we-actx.org More on Moving Mountains www.versobooks.com Pills, Proﬁts, Protest www.pillsproﬁtsprotest.org
Q 50 | HEART OF AFRICA
Escaping genocide, but true liberation comes in teaching the world to talk
Questioning the River of Turmoil Elavie Ndura Elavie Ndura is a Hutu from Burundi, a Fulbright scholar, a worldrenowned speaker, and professor of Multicultural Education at the University of Nevada at Reno. She, her family, her community, and her nation have experienced colonialism, exploitation, and genocide. Ndura specializes in cultural identity development and peaceful conﬂict resolution. Her call is for teaching tolerance and multiculturalism, reconciliation, and nonviolence.
I am inspires these urgent words of hope. We can only solve these problems if we communicate. In Burundi, it is not just a political problem. When people are killing with a machete so intimately with joy and priding them selves on dead bodies in the river, it is beyond politics.”
learned to be a truth seeker from my father. He was always getting in trouble. We lived in Burundi, a country just below Rwanda in Central Eastern Africa, in a society that does not permit questioning. Although my father was a farmer with a 5th-grade education, he was a brilliant man and he would raise issues that put him in prison for several months at a time. Being Hutu in a country that was politically dominated by Tutsis meant that we were kept under control and silenced in many ways. The truth is a frightening thing from a Burundian perspective. When I got older and went to Catholic school, we were not allowed to question either. We were taught to be “good girls,” to do the right thing, to pray to God, and to study hard. As a girl, as a Catholic, and as a Hutu in Burundi, being blind and silent was the best way to survive. There has been a continuous cycle of killing and ethnic cleansing in Burundi since 1965, and we had our own genocide in 1972. I ﬂed the country for my life on a Fulbright scholarship with my two babies, who were 3 and 4 at the time. My husband and my sister had been killed. My parents were crippled; they lost their right arms due to the violence.
help us build a culture of nonviolence. When we are culturallycompetent, we are willing to question our own values, articulate and communicate, break down systems of inequalities, catalyze transformation, and care for others. I appreciate the power I have as a teacher. When I am teaching, I am liberating myself and my oppressor at the same time. It is a dual liberation. It is healing. I’m helping my oppressor to see the light. I’m not blaming and I’m not succumbing to victimhood. I know that I cannot depend on the Tutsis in Burundi to mend my wounded heart. I cannot expect White society in the U.S. to mend my heart. But if I can somehow garner whatever strength I have left to bounce back up and remain standing positively and refuse to let my life and dreams be taken away—because I do refuse—then I’m still here, moving forward. Though I am now “safe” in the U.S., when I look at my life, I see there are many parallels to the devastation I experienced under Tutsi domination in Burundi, especially as a mother to a Black son. In the United States, my family lives under White domination. There are so many African American men wasting away in prisons and I fear for my boy. On bad days I wonder—“What did I run away from?” To me the remedy is very basic: Start talking. We can teach how to do this in schools. We rarely get to talk about the important things like: What is it like to be White? What is it like to be homosexual? What is life like for you? What are your ideas? We pound the kids with all these social studies books that keep getting heavier and heavier, but they aren’t learning a damn thing!
When I ﬁnally broke away from Burundi, that was when I thought, “I don’t have much to lose now, so I’m just going to be me.”
We can bring deep conversations into churches. Too often in church we sing together and then everyone dashes out to their own cars, goes home, and closes the doors.
I arrived in the U.S. from Burundi in 1989. Since that time, I have devoted myself to teaching. I don’t focus on objective facts, but rather on what I call “cultural competency,” which I believe will
Media can be a valuable tool allowing space for these conversations to ﬂourish. The people behind the media need to do some serious soul-searching and get more creative. Media needs to
©Stuart Freedman www.stuartfreedman.com
“ I am neither a politician nor an activist—but whatever
HEART OF AFRICA | 51
“We must enter into communion with victims of violence everywhere for it is by making their suffering and hopes our own that we feel and affirm the urgency of non-violence upon which rests the salvation of humanity.” spring from the people. Right now, it doesn’t: My life is not in it. The life of the Black community is missing, unless they are shown being led away in handcuffs. The pains, the challenges, the dreams of those communities are not anywhere to be seen.
emotionally and logistically. In order for the world to help these victims, it’s not about sending some emergency kits. The world has to re-examine its dispositions towards the Hutus and the Tutsis. You have to say, “Why so much hatred?”
We must listen. We must enter into communion with victims of violence everywhere for it is by making their suffering and hopes our own that we feel and afﬁrm the urgency of nonviolence upon which rests the salvation of humanity. We must respond to brewing violence as urgently as we did to the tsunami, but with different tactics.
The problem is the underlying psychological pain festering from colonialism and domination. If you build a house on top of this underlying river of turmoil, the river will keep bringing down the house until you ﬁgure out—Who am I in relation to that current? Who am I to touch and face it? Am I willing to sacriﬁce something? Money is the simple part. It is the soul-searching and the underlying development of social consciousness that is the task.
We don’t want emergency kits. We need schools that teach reconciliation and nonviolence. When I ﬁrst realized the huge outpouring of support for the victims of the tsunami, I was so grateful, and I still am. My ﬁrst thought was that our hearts are not dry yet! My second thought was—the support is coming so strongly compared to humanitarian crises in Africa because it is an easier problem to help with. If your house collapses and I come and help you build a new home, it is a good act, it is a humanitarian act, but it is not as demanding as the work that needs to be done in Rwanda and Burundi and other countries struggling with violent conﬂict. These situations are more challenging
Once you begin the inquiry, you might be forced to transform assumptions with which you have been living with for a long time. For example, you might uncover that it is people who are oppressed who commit violence and it is the bystanders who are the most responsible. You may realize that simply opposing violence in principle is not sufﬁcient to build a culture of nonviolence. It might just be easier to send food to Asia! I understand the challenge, but I don’t excuse. If someone were to ask me “What can I do for Africa?” I would say, “Thank you for offering. I want schools with curriculum empowering the learners to see, to question, and to dream.” As told to Jensine Larsen, Founding Editor
The AWID Forum is not just another conference ... El Foro de AWID no es una conferencia más / Le Forum de l’AWID n’est pas juste une autre conference
How does change happen?
The 10th AWID International Forum on Womenʼs Rights and Development Oct. 27-30, 2005 | Bangkok, Thailand | Early Registration Deadline: Aug. 15/05
¿Cómo se genera el cambio?
El 10mo Foro Internacional de AWID sobre los Derechos de la Mujer y el Desarrollo | 27 al 30 de octubre de 2005 | Bangkok, Tailandia
Comment le changement a-t-il lieu ?
Le 10ème Forum international de l'AWID sur les droits de la femme et le développement | Du 27 au 30 octobre, 2005 | Bangkok, Thaïlande
Association for Women's Rights in Development Asociación para los Derechos de la Mujer y el Desarrollo L'association pour les droits de la femme et le développement
For more information / Para más información / Pour plus d’information:
52 | COUNTRY SPOTLIGHT
WAVES of DEATH and PEACE “All kinds of spaces have opened up that did not exist before.”
As we struggle to come to terms with the death and destruction from the tsunami, the networks we have built over the years of conﬂict are sustaining us.
ur island has been given many names by travelers
The sea around us was the source of life, energy, and endless
through the ages. The name Serendib is my favorite
pleasure. It was the sea that brought the earliest travelers to
because to me Sri Lanka is serendipity—a colorful and
our shores and that lent its rhythm to our lives.
hybrid nation teeming with tropical ﬂavors, the fragrance of spices, easy-going movements, and varied cultural expressions.
On December 26, 2004, our love of the ocean waters changed forever. The sea transformed itself into an angry raging mon-
Diverse civilizations have ﬂourished here, nurturing and enrich-
ster that snatched away people and homes without distinction.
ing one another. European colonizers from Portugal, Holland,
Those who saw the towering 30-foot wave said, “But it wasn’t
and England ruled the island for over 500 years and in 1948,
like the sea at all. This was dark and oily.”
Ceylon, as it was then known, became an independent country.
©Maciek Dakowicz | firstname.lastname@example.org
“ Somehow the courage re-appears.”
By Sunila Abeysekera
Yet it was not the ﬁrst dark wave of death that our country has seen.
COUNTRY SNAPSHOT Sri Lanka: War and Peace
In the years since Independence, the people of Sri Lanka have achieved impressive development with high literacy rates, low maternal mortality statistics, and equal rates of enrollment in schools for boys and girls. But in the 1970s, things started to deteriorate. Youth unemployment and the erosion of democratic principles by successive governments led young men and women, in both the South and in the North of the island, to take up arms. In the North, it was a struggle of a minority community, the Tamils, for self-determination and equality. In the South, it was the youth of the majority community, the Sinhala, who demanded social and economic justice. Since that time, Sri Lanka has been soaked in one of the
Sri Lanka is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean,
world’s forgotten wars. Over the last two decades, ethnic
just off the southeastern coast of India, with a population
conﬂict, primarily between armed militant minority Tamil
of about 20 million. The country has been torn by violent
groups and Sri Lankan government security forces, has
struggles between the two main ethnic groups, the majority
caused tens of thousands of deaths, the destruction of
Buddhist Sinhalese (75%) and the Hindu Tamils (17%).
precious natural resources, and the displacement of over a million people. Both the army and the insurgents have been
Though Sri Lanka’s Tamils and the Sinhalese worked
responsible for massacres, disappearances, ethnic riots, and
together to achieve independence from England in 1948,
bombings of civilians in public areas.
the new national government promoted Sinhalese inter-
The extreme violence has given rise to a culture of silence. In
ests, making Sinhalese the national language and favoring
Sri Lanka, you fear that if you raise your voice against injustice,
Sinhalese for top jobs. When the constitution formally made
the punishment will be a brutal death. In spite of the fear, women—mothers, sisters, and wives of those who were killed, “disappeared,” or in exile—have seen no other choice but to take on the responsibility of maintaining their families and becoming socially and politically active at the same time.
Buddhism the state’s primary religion in 1972, Tamil frustrations with discrimination led to an escalation of civil unrest and calls for an independent Tamil state in the North and East. The breaking point came when Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) secessionists massacred an army patrol in 1983 and Sinhalese mobs went on a two-day rampage, killing several thousand Tamils and burning and looting
In the South and North, women have formed Mothers’ Fronts
property. Over the next two decades, Sri Lanka slipped
and taken to the streets, demanding information about their
into a quagmire of cyclical violence, with both sides guilty
missing children from the authorities.
of ethnic cleansing and instilling hatred in children.
Ordinary women came forward to risk their lives for the sake of justice. Most of them had never before played an active role in politics. They were mothers and housewives, women whose lives were circumscribed by the home and the family. But in
Peace talks brokered by a Norwegian delegation in 2002 and supported by the international community, notably Japan, inspired a historic cease-ﬁre. A seven-year-old
the face of injustice, at times taking brooms and pots into
embargo on LTTE-controlled territory was lifted, and a
thoroughfares, it was they who challenged those in power.
glimmer of hope touched the country. In laying down their
Through their activism, women have become acutely aware
sion to change their position from a separate homeland to
arms for peace, the LTTE rebels made a dramatic concesof the similarities of their lives under a “gun” culture. They have reached out in small and creative ways across ethnic barriers that have divided them. They have negotiated with each other and with those in power for a small piece of normalcy—to let their children go to school, to market, or
one within a uniﬁed Sri Lanka. On the Sinhala side, too, there have been crucial steps forward. Most noteworthy is the acceptance of some autonomy for the North being written into the Constitution. However, shifting political winds and
to the hospital. They’ve joined hands in campaigns against
the recent tsunami disaster leaves the potential for success-
domestic violence and for women’s rights using theater,
ful ongoing peace talks hanging in the balance.
54 | COUNTRY SPOTLIGHT
paintings, and posters to draw public attention to the brutalization
In the immediate aftermath, ﬁve different women’s networks that
of women. They sing, write poetry, dream.
have worked collectively in the past for peace and justice came
friend Rajini Thiranagama, a founder of the University Teachers for Human Rights in Jaffna (UTHR-J), was assassinated in September 1989 for reporting on human rights abuses committed by both the Sri Lankan and Indian militaries as well as by the armed militant groups. She was a Tamil woman, married to a Sinhala man with two young daughters. Rajani is one among the thousands who have given their lives. Others have survived by going into exile. But many have also remained in Sri Lanka, sowing the seeds of reconciliation and healing within their communities. In 2002, the signing of a ceaseﬁre agreement brought us real hope. Ordinary people heaved a sigh of relief. Thousands of people traveled across the island for the ﬁrst time in many years. Our ravaged country had a chance to start off on a long process of reconstruction and reconciliation. Then the tsunami struck.
together to set up a coalition to monitor the situation of tsunamiaffected women and to extend material and human support. This coalition, CATAW, has set up a fund to take care of the special needs of women, linking the reconstruction and reconciliation needs of years of war with the immediate needs created by the tsunami. The group offers practical and material help to vulnerable groups, ensures that their security and dignity is guaranteed, and pushes for the equal participation of women in decision-making throughout the rebuilding efforts.
“The friendships and laughter of our past save us.” Many of the women in the devastated areas are so very brave. Rajeswary, a 42-year-old worker in the Batticaloa Hospital in the East, has been displaced over 12 times in her lifetime. Today she works in the hospital and spends her spare time lobbying for the daily needs of people in her resettlement camp. Sitralega, a
As we struggle to come to terms with the death and destruction
lecturer at the Eastern University, lost all of her books and music, a
caused by the tsunami, the networks we have built over the years
lifetime’s collection. She plays a leading role working with disaster
of conﬂict are sustaining us. The friendships and laughter of our
management units in her town. Women who were battered by war
past save us. In each house, someone is dead or missing. Homes
must now reconstruct their lives once again. From where can they
built together over years of toil have been reduced to rubble.
ﬁnd the courage to rebuild yet again?
Many women have paid with their lives for their dreams. My
COUNTRY SPOTLIGHT | 55
Somehow, the courage re-appears. In all the temporary relocation sites, I see women actively involved in the day-to-day tasks leading them back to something that resembles their prior lives. Some ask us for support to go back to work. My organization, INFORM, has been
Sunila Abeysekera | Woman of Courage
linked to many of these women through our partnership in human
Abeysekera is the Executive
rights documentation. Now, we return to these communities to offer
Director of INFORM, a lead-
our condolences and support their rebuilding efforts. In Kolavil,
ing Sri Lankan human rights
Akkarapattu (Eastern Province), a women’s sewing collective is now
organization. Over the past
unable to function because they gave all the clothes they had stitched
20 years, Abeysekera has
for sale to the displaced people. They ask us for money, perhaps $50
weathered death threats
in U.S. currency, to start sewing again, a critical step towards reclaiming
and intimidation to campaign
and collaborate with many
Young women are more enterprising. “Can you get us a scooter?” they
other human rights and women’s rights groups seeking peaceful
ask us. Once we look at the distances they have to travel to keep in
and democratic change in Sri Lanka. She was among the few
touch with the communities where they work, we agree that this is a
members of the majority Sinhala community who established
must. “Get your driving licenses,” we tell them, “and we will see.” Two
direct contact with Tamil women in the north and east of Sri
weeks later, they telephone, excitedly. They have, four of them, begun
Lanka after the outbreak of ethnic conﬂict in 1983. Abeysekera’s
their driving lessons.
consistent presence at international human rights gatherings and the international focus she has brought to the human rights
For those whose livelihoods are intimately connected to the beach,
situation in Sri Lanka have helped to pressure for improvements
the key issue is their ability to remain close to the shore. They are
in the country. For her commitment to peace-building, Abeyse-
saddened that the government has announced that no permanent
kera was awarded the UN Human Rights Prize in 1998. She is a
structures can be erected on the beach; a “buffer zone” of 100 meters
mother of two and lives in Colombo.
has been declared. Life slowly resumes, but everything is a struggle: for children to go to school, for adults to go to work, for women and children to feel safe from violence and abuse.
Let our voices be heard! This is the call of the Sri Lankan women facing the towering challenges of post-tsunami reconstruction. Their courage and determination meets the authorities at every step, as they demand their rights and claim their space in the public arena as heads of household and as decision-makers. Breaking through the culture of silence and making sure that the authorities heed their voices remains a major challenge. When the wave hit, it loosened up every existing structure. All kinds of spaces have opened up that did not exist before. The tremendous outpouring of support and solidarity in the immediate aftermath has cut across traditional ethnic and religious enmities. We are seeing the great strength of the human spirit that enables us to reach out to one another. Many challenges face us. Key among them is the challenge of devising creative strategies that empower communities healing from the tsu-
©Greg Kinch/UN/DPI; ©Vera Bogaerts
nami and the war to play a greater role in determining their futures. The opportunity to move forward on a path of peace, justice, and sustainable development is within our reach—almost. Now is a pivotal time for leaders of all communities to come forward to make a new beginning through the process of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is possible. Just as the nets we women have forged during the conﬂict are carrying us through the wrath of the tsunami, perhaps recovering from the tsunami will help to wash in a new perspective on the potential for peace.
TAKE ACTION! The Coalition for Assisting Tsunami-Affected Women (CATAW) and the Sri Lankan Women’s Fund for Tsunami Relief with the International Coalition for Women’s Health Supporting a rights-based approach to tsunami reconstruction. Administered by a coalition of women’s rights groups, the fund will ensure that relief efforts address the needs of the groups left most marginalized and isolated by the tsunami. www.iwhc.org/programs/asia/inform.cfm Circle Of Health International in Sri Lanka Balancing the scales of equity in tsunami relief, Circle of Health International focuses on women’s health in conﬂict, post-conﬂict, and disaster areas worldwide. A group of midwives, public health professionals, nurse practitioners, OB/GYNs, and researchers committed to access and equity through the provision of women’s health services and trainings in conﬂict and post-conﬂict zones around the world. www.circleofhealthintl.org
56 | GLOBAL GATHERINGS
2005 Global Gatherings Journey. Learn. Weave New Worlds. WOMEN’S WORLD: NINTH INTERNATIONAL INTERDISCIPLINARY CONGRESS ON WOMEN Embracing Earth: East-West/North-South Seoul, Korea June 19-21 www.ww05.org WOMEN AND GLOBALIZATION San Miguel De Allende, Mexico July 27-August 3 www.globaljusticecenter.org
WORLD FESTIVAL OF YOUTH AND STUDENTS Caracas, Venezuela, August 7-15 www.usnpc.net www.caracas2005.info WOMEN AND POWER IV Rhinebeck, New York September 8-11 www.eomega.com
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21ST CENTURY MOTHERHOOD: CHANGE Houston, Texas October 20-22 www.nwsa.org/conferences. html#mother INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT How Does Change Happen? Bangkok, Thailand October 27-30 www.awid.org THE FOURTH ANNUAL CONGRESS ON WOMEN WORK AND HEALTH New Delhi, India November 27-30 www.swl-delhi.org/wwh/ wwh_2005_conference.html GLOBAL GATHERINGS DISPATCHES, REPORTS, AND ANNOUNCEMENTS www.worldpulsemagazine.com
By Tatyana Goryachova
FRONTLINE JOURNAL | 57
My Revolution | Ukraine
A people power movement, called The Orange Revolution, swept my country in the closing months of 2004. As many as a million people wearing orange flooded Maidan, our capital’s Independence Square, and overturned the rigged presidential election.
“ When it became clear, on the eve of the second round of voting, that the authorities had given the command to move special armed subdivisions into Kiev, I knew I had to go to Maidan. There was a particular aura there that cannot be described in words. You could only sense it. People—children, youth, the elderly—everyone was seized with the desire to stand ground and defend the independence of the country.”
©Veronica Khoklova | www.vkhokhl.blogspot.com
he Orange Revolution introduced the Ukraine to the world. Today people on every continent applaud the courage of my compatriots. But the true price of freedom is known only by the Ukrainian citizens who fought to defend their country, in spite of threats, intimidation, and terror from the Kuchma regime. Reporting had never been so terrible and compelling for me as it was during this time. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine how we could physically and morally manage to continue working under such conditions of overwhelming stress and extreme fatigue. I understood that these elections would be cruel, but I didn’t anticipate that they would be so dirty. Fearing that
they could lose everything, the government authorities began an information war against their own people.
I remember watching news broadcasts that were filled with flagrant falsification of the events and aimed at discrediting Viktor Yushchenko. I turned to another channel, and it was the same situation; on a third, the same. Suddenly I became very afraid because I knew that millions of people would interpret these lies as the truth. This disinformation campaign in the state-controlled media lasted for several days. Unbelievable things were deliberately suggested to people about Viktor Yushchenko’s connection to fascist ideology, about his desire to re-divide the country into West and East Ukraine, and about the prohibition of the Russian language and the closing of churches. With the exception of Kiev residents, Ukrainians were isolated from the truth. Then came the repression of independent and local media. However, they did not begin pursuing me personally until three months before the pre-election campaign. It was then that they tried to physically eliminate me, just as they did in 2002. During the 2002 pre-election campaign for local offices, an unknown person sprayed me in the face with a solution of hydrochloric acid. The offender still has not been caught.
58 | FRONTLINE JOURNAL
In July of 2004, as I was driving along the coast, another car began forcing me into fast-moving oncoming traffic. I nearly lost control of the car and had to turn into the reeds to avoid hitting a moving minibus. Coming up alongside me, the driver of the attacking car sprayed me in the face with water from a child’s water pistol, warning me that I risked the same thing I had gotten in 2002.
At this point, the only way for the people to find out the facts about events in Kiev was through the online newspaper Ukrainian Truth to which the majority of Ukrainian citizens do not have access since they lack computers. I was extremely upset during this time, knowing that some sort of solution was necessary and not understanding how journalists at all the television stations could surrender to the government propaganda so easily. I wasn’t the only one who stood in opposition to the lies. In a watershed moment, around 150 employees of the country’s television companies rose above their fears of being fired and signed a letter refusing to work in news and other information programming as long as it was controlled by the authorities. For several days after that, not a single information channel functioned. And then Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned. I remember how my mother cried. I remember watching a banned documentary about the barely living Yushchenko being unloaded from the plane in Vienna and that all travel rules were broken in order to get him to the Rudolfinerhaus Clinic as fast as possible. We looked into the eyes of his wife, Katerina, who accompanied him with their 6-yearold son in her arms. Can you imagine what that woman was going through during these moments?
I suffered through Yushchenko’s tragedy as though it were my own. The maimed face of this formerly handsome man was unrecognizable, and it reminded me of my own face after the acid attack in 2002. He was treated and then returned to continue fighting. We were very afraid for him because he was our flagman—the person who carried everyone along. And they wanted to break him. We were afraid that they would kill him. Simply and crudely, just like everything the authorities did during the campaign. But every day he appeared in Maidan— Independence Square, the main square in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital—telling growing crowds of protesters that we must fight for our freedom, that we had to stand firm, that he believed in us, that we would win.
“I suffered through Yushchenko’s tragedy as though it were my own.” When it became clear, on the eve of the second round of voting, that the authorities had given the command to move special armed subdivisions into Kiev, I knew I had to go to Maidan. Everyone was going to Kiev, then to Maidan. Day and night there were crowds of 500,000 to one million people in the square. There was a particular aura there that cannot be described in words. You could only sense it. People—children, youth, the elderly—everyone was seized with the desire to stand ground and defend the independence of the country and their chosen leader, Viktor Yushchenko. By this time the freezing weather had begun, and Kievians tried to feed and warm people who arrived from the outlying areas, even letting them stay in their apartments. My childhood friend lives in Kiev, in one of the most prestigious regions in the capital. She is a rich woman with a 450-square-meter apartment. During the Orange Revolution, she took 11 students
©Veronica Khoklova | www.vkhokhl.blogspot.com
After this, I left the Ukraine. I returned in September to continue the struggle in the campaign season. Not two months later, at the height of the campaign, the bank accounts of my newspaper, Berdyansk Delovoy, were frozen. This also happened to the accounts of Ukraine’s only independent television channel, Channel 5. But both we and Channel 5 kept on working, even under the most severe financial pressures.
FRONTLINE JOURNAL | 59
COUNTRY SNAPSHOT Ukraine and the Orange Revolution
from Maidan into her apartment—complete strangers—and bought them warm clothes and shoes and fed them. She also stood at Maidan herself, quitting her own business because everything else had suddenly become secondary—everything besides the desire to win. All of the people in Maidan wore an orange ribbon as a symbol, and on the children, orange hats and warm scarves bearing the phrase “Yushchenko—Yes!” Parents went out and bought their children orange overcoats and jackets. At school and at home, children carried around little orange flags. The entire country was overcome with revolutionary spirit, and orange became the symbol of Ukrainian freedom.
©Veronica Khoklova | www.vkhokhl.blogspot.com
A small team from our newspaper traveled to other areas of Ukraine, to see what the mood was there. We went to the home of Viktor Yanukovych, Yushchenko’s rival and the other candidate, in the city of Yenakievo, in the Donets region. In Yanukovych’s hometown, in addition to his dilapidated childhood home and the neglected building where he attended school, we saw destitution and felt human animosity. We tried to talk with people, but aside from confirming their hatred for Yushchenko, we could achieve no constructive exchange. Yanukovych supporters nearly beat up my husband in a city market in Yenakievo. They broke the camera of the operator of our film crew when they found out that he had personally voted for Yushchenko in the first round. In the Donets Region, people did not want change, in spite of their squalid existence. Instead, they supported “their own Vitya.” Every third man in Donets has a criminal record. Gangster law prevails there. And a candidate with these same notions nearly gained power over Ukraine.
The Ukraine peacefully voted for independence from Russia in 1991. The Ukraine had endured both a brutal Soviet rule under Stalin, which left 7 million dead from starvation, and World War II, where 6 million died at the hands of German and Soviet troops. Since independence, Ukrainian politics have been characterized by high levels of cronyism and corruption that have stalled efforts at economic reform and civil liberties. In the closing months of 2004, a mass people power movement called the Orange Revolution swept the country, forcing authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election. A million or more people, primarily comprised of middleclass voters and students fed up with endemic corruption, censorship, and human rights abuse, withstood freezing temperatures to peacefully rally for opposition candidate Victor Yushchenko. Yushchenko’s euphoric supporters ﬂooded the streets with orange, his campaign color, and camped in “tent cities” during the precarious days of the contested election. Yushchenko was allegedly poisoned by government authorities during the bitter campaign. After winning the second round of elections Yushchenko, a charismatic moderate Ukrainian nationalist, nominated his political ally and Orange Revolution architect Yulia Timoshenko as Prime Minister. Since taking power, the duo has launched ambitious efforts to root out corruption between business and politics and to promote transparency, democratization, and integration with Europe. www.orangeukraine.squarespace.com www.orangerevolution.us
60 | FRONTLINE JOURNAL
Then we traveled to Yushchenko’s hometown, where everything was different. It is a small, tidy village with a nursery school and a church built with Yushchenko’s money. At his mother’s home we found a snowball tree in the courtyard and people with kind hearts. Two worlds, two different sets of ethics. We witnessed this, photographed and wrote, and then told our readers. I remember so well the words of one middle-aged woman from Khoruzhevka: “You know, we want you to understand us correctly. Here we really are all for Viktor Yushchenko, but not just because he is from our district. If Viktor Yanukovych was ours, we wouldn’t vote for him. We cannot have a criminal as our country’s president.” One evening after Viktor Yushchenko’s inauguration, my daughter took a piece of paper and wrote in big letters, “Yushchenko is our president, and we love him very much.” It was so touching. No one asked or forced her to do that. She did it herself. It was wonderful because in my entire life I could never write or say that about the president of our country. And at five, she can. And I can too now. I know exactly what it means to love your president and to be proud of him. And it’s a great feeling—the feeling of pride in the person who leads us.
YULIA TIMOSHENKO, Ukraine’s Ambitious New Prime Minister “Regardless of how you view Yulia Timoshenko, our new Prime Minister, it is impossible to deny the strength of her spirit and mind.”
Regardless of how you view Yulia Timoshenko, our new Prime Minister, it is impossible to deny the strength of her spirit and mind. She—Maidan’s beloved—worked for nine years in opposition to the ruling authorities, was imprisoned on account of her political convictions, and now has become a symbol of the nation. When the authorities put Timoshenko behind bars a year ago, she not only survived, she stood her ground. In prison they left her without water, then brought her poisoned water disguised as clean poison in the prison food. She didn’t eat it. They took
“It’s uncomfortable for me to talk about this because I may lose authority
her on walks underground, where there was no light.
among women if I say how little I sleep and that, unfortunately, I have no
Each time, she had no idea where they were taking
time for physical exercise. There is no time left for socializing with my family.
her and whether or not she would return to her cell.
But I am convinced that these things will change with time. We still have
They crushed her morally and physically. But they
roughly half a year to sort through the fundamental problems. We won’t fail in the essentials—we believe in the end result and we have risked everything for it.”
didn’t destroy her. Today she not only sets the tone of contemporary Ukrainian fashion but heads the country’s government alongside President Yushchenko.
YULIA TIMOSHENKO, three months after her appointment as the Ukraine’s first female Prime Minister
By Tatyana Goryachova
©Veronica Khoklova | www.vkhokhl.blogspot.com
from the medical clinic. She didn’t drink it. They put
FRONTLINE JOURNAL | 61
TATYANA GORYACHOVA, Journalist of Courage Tatyana Goryachova is the editor-in-chief of Berdyansk Delovoy, the only independent newspaper in Berdyansk, Ukraine, a small town on the Azov Sea. Goryacheva often covers city government, healthcare and local issues, and when she uncovers corruption in these institutions, she writes about it. In Ukraine, a country with one of the worst press freedom records in the world, this is perilous. In January 2002, Berdyansk Delovoy gave equal coverage to candidates in local elections, which enraged incumbents. Soon after that, Goryachova’s husband, also the newspaper’s publisher, lost control of his car and crashed on a winding road, suffering a concussion. A later examination of the car revealed that the car’s brakes had been tampered with. Two weeks later, Goryachova was walking home from work when an assailant threw hydrochloric acid on her face. She suffered temporary blindness in her left eye. Police have not solved the case. While Goryachova was in the U.S. for treatment in October 2002, her mother and daughter received threatening phone calls, warning Goryachova not to give interviews to the Western press. Goryachova decided that by remaining silent she would be giving in to her adversaries and took her story to the Associated Press and the Dallas Morning News. Berdyansk Delovoy is also under constant financial pressure. Building and tax inspectors visited the publication often looking for offenses and to impose fines. The city pressured businesses to stop them from advertising with the newspaper. In August 2002 the paper’s printing company, owned by a friend of the mayor, tripled the newspaper’s printing costs. Through it all, Goryachova has remained steadfast. Goyachova was awarded a 2003 “Courage in Journalism Award” by
©Veronica Khoklova | www.vkhokhl.blogspot.com
the International Women’s Media Foundation.
MORE INFO Berdyansk Delovoy www.delovoy.berdyansk.net International Women’s Media Foundation www.iwmf.org
Embracing Grief Surrendering to your sorrow has the power to heal the deepest wounds.
By Sobonfu Somé
y earliest memory of deep grieving was when
I thought this perspective on grief was natural for everyone
I was a little girl, about 5 or 6 years old. One of
until I came to the U.S. I was with a friend who was having a
my playmates died. I was shocked and confused
conﬂict with her family and I knew the situation was not easy
when they told me I would never see him again in
for her. But one day I heard her alone in the bathroom crying!
physical form. Every day I would go to his home with the hope
I said through the door, “Are you okay?” She said, “Yes, I’m ﬁne!”
of playing with him, but he wasn’t there. My community would
I said to myself, “Oh, my god, something is not right here.” The
gently say to me, “Do you remember that he died?” and they
people who were supposed to support her were not there.
supported me and grieved with me. Although I grieved for a long time, over a year, it was accepted as a normal part of life. I was never asked, “Aren’t you ﬁnished grieving yet?” Rather, they would say—“Have you grieved enough? Have you cried enough?”
I was in my late teens when my grandmother died. I was overcome with so much devastating grief and rage that I was unable to release it. Though I could not join everyone grieving around me, they made a space for me. Everyone took turns caring for each other as they broke down. Luckily, the 72 hours
For my people, the Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso in West Africa,
of usual grieving time were extended beyond 5 days. When
we see that in life it is necessary to grieve those things that no
everyone was ﬁnished, I still had much to grieve, and they were
longer serve us and let them go. When I grieve, I am surrounded
still there for me. Though I began my grieving late, I never felt
by family reassuring me that the grieving is worthwhile and I
disapproval from those around me. We experience a collec-
can grieve as much as I want. We experience conﬂicts, loved
tive sharing, so that an individual doesn’t need to bear all the
ones die or suffer, dreams never manifest, illnesses occur, rela-
weight of the suffering.
tionships break up, and unexpected natural disasters occur. It is so important to have ways to release those pains to keep clearing ourselves. Hanging onto old pain just makes it grow until it smothers our creativity, our joy, and our ability to connect with others. It may even kill us. Often my community uses grief
“The future of our world lies greatly in the manner in which we handle our grief."
rituals to heal wounds and open us to spirit’s call.
PHOTO: A woman mourns family members killed in the tsunami at a burial ground in Cuddalore, India
64 | INNER WORLD
“We are all in pain.”
Many years later in the U.S., I was having a relationship crisis. I felt like I was dying. I realized that I was feeling lonely in my grief. I was not used to giving an intellectual explanation to my grief, and I found my soul, heart, and mind continually colliding. When I got home and everyone joined me in the grieving, all of a sudden I felt lighter.
In today’s world, most people carry grief and do not even know it. In the West, children are trained at a very young age how not to feel, and are often taught that to be good girls and boys they have to “suck it up.” The consequences are isolation—even
There is a price in not expressing your grief. Imagine if you never washed your clothes or showered. The toxins that your body produces just from everyday living would build up until it became intolerable. That is how it is with emotional and spiritual toxins too. What we must remember is that the more these toxins rise, the more we have a tendency to blame or hurt others around us. People do not harm others out of joy. They hurt because they too are hurt or in pain.
Crying among others is too often a forbidden fruit. We learn to compartmentalize our grief because expressing it in an unwelcoming place will only lead to more grief. We are taught that the people who are closest to us have no way of holding us when we fall apart.
Many of us suffer from medical conditions that are grief-related. Whether we grieve privately or in community, grieving has many scientiﬁcally-proven health beneﬁts from lowering blood pressure and risks of heart attacks to providing a better quality of life. We need to begin to see grief not as a foreign entity and not as an alien to be held down or caged up, but as something natural. As the recipient of someone’s grief, we also must understand that it is okay for someone to express pain.
Yet we are born fully knowing how to grieve. We cry naturally to feel better, to unburden ourselves, to take a few pounds off our shoulders and souls. If there is a way for everyone to grieve openly, I believe it will also diminish the blaming and shaming that goes on between the races. When you are in the presence of someone grieving, you don’t see color anymore. Grief is a universal language. We are all in pain. There is no need to blame others. Blame, shame, and guilt come from being unable to express our grief properly. How can we pretend to be happy, peaceful, and loving when we have so much pain and grief? I believe the future of our world lies greatly in the manner in which we handle our grief. Positive expressions of our grief are healing. However, the lack of expression of our grief or its improper release is what is at the root of the general unhappiness and depression that people feel that lead to war and crimes. ©Kevin Rohr
This hurt and pain sustained by our souls for not being allowed to feel and to express grief is directly linked to the general sense of spiritual drought, emotional confusion, and many illnesses we experience in our lives. There can be so much grief that we grow numb from the unfelt and unexpressed emotions that we carry in our bodies.
among the most intimate and trustworthy friends, grief is not shared. You might feel like you are burdening them.
YOUR GRIEF RITUAL There are things we can do in society to help heal. We can begin by accepting our grief and the grief of others. We can have grief rooms and shrines in public spaces where people can go to grieve. I have seen this happen in different communities in the United States and it works for them. Churches can also have rooms for people to grieve. One of my dreams is to turn places where there have been repetitious crimes into grief shrines where people can go to mourn. I see Memorial Day, not as a day of barbecue, but as a day to allow us to deal with our frictions, losses, and grief as a community. Communal grieving offers something that we cannot get when we grieve by ourselves. Through validation, acknowledgement, and witnessing, communal grieving allows us to experience a level of healing that is deeply and profoundly freeing.
Every Ritual is Unique Rituals have their own flavor. The people involved are the only ones who can determine exactly what elements are needed. It is best to look at each situation with care, then determine what is needed.
which you prefer so you can let people know if you don’t want to be touched. They can hold space for you.
2 3 4
most voices in African spirituality. She travels the world on a healing mission,
Africa, and Falling Out of Grace, Sobonfu’s message about the importance of spirit, community, and ritual in our lives rings with an intuitive power and truth that author Alice Walker has said “can help us put together so many things that our modern Western world has broken.” She is the founder of Wisdom Spring, Inc., an organization dedicated to the preservation and sharing of indigenous wisdom as well as holding fundraisers for wells, schools, and health projects in Africa. Sobonfu often tours the United States and Europe teaching workshops, including grief workshops. www.Sobonfu.com. or www.walkingforwater.org.
Invite spirits and guides. Ask spirits to come and support you to go to the root of your grief and release it. Usually if you ask one spirit to come, it will not come alone. It gathers its friends, its relatives, friends of its friends, and so on. You don’t need a Ph.D. or to suffer pain and contortions in order to attract them. All you really need is the sincerity of your heart and a willing ear. Begin the grieving. There are no limitations. Scream, cry, moan, groan, beat the ground, be silent, do whatever you need to do. You may experience many stages of grief. Some people are numb, some enraged, some indifferent, and some are in fear. Allow all your emotions to be. The people who are with you can sing if they wish, or if they are moved by your grief, they can join you. Think about your grief like the ocean waves. The waves come and go. Allow yourself to forgive yourself and the people or things that brought about the pain.
Sobonfu Somé, whose name means “keeper of the rituals,” is one of the fore-
Africa. Author of The Spirit of Intimacy, Women’s Wisdom from the Heart of
Prepare sacred space and build a shrine. Be sure to ask permission from the land on which you are grieving before you build the shrine. Bring water and salt. You can use fabric; blue or black colors are best.
The intimacy comes when everyone adds an ingredient here and there.
sharing the rich spiritual life and culture of her native land Burkina Faso, West
Gather your community. You will need the support of your community. This is the reason why some grief never seems to go away—we don’t have the witnessing and validation of our community that will hold us in our grief. Some people grieve easier when they are held, some people don’t. It is good to know
Close. Thank spirit and everyone around. Take the water out and pour it under a tree. You can create a permanent shrine if you wish, either indoors or in nature such as by a river or by the ocean. If it is on land, I recommend the northern part of the land. The only place I don’t recommend you keep a permanent grief shrine is in your bedroom, because the grief can get stuck there.
66 | MIND VOYAGE
The Island of Bicycle Dancers Jiro Adachi | Picador, 2005 | USA Yurika Song, a 20-year-old Korean-Japanese woman, moves from Japan to New York City one summer to improve her English while working in her relatives’ grocery store. While her cross-Asian identity always brought her attention in Japan, it quickly gets swallowed up and absorbed into the City’s hybrid street culture as she takes up with the Lower Manhattan bike messenger crowd. She falls for a dangerous Puerto Rican biker and learns the ropes of American life in this gritty, fast-paced environment, getting a taste of self-determination but also discovering its companion, responsibility. Adachi is equally focused on depicting the intricate process of absorbing language and the kaleidoscope of influences that gives shape to this one-of-a-kind cosmopolitan community. www.picadorusa.com
Broken Verses Kamila Shamsie | Harcourt, 2005 | Pakistan Set in seductive Karachi, Shamsie’s fourth book follows Aasmani, a savvy but divided Pakistani woman, along a winding trail to the truth about her past. Her mother, a wellknown political activist, disappeared 14 years ago, just two years after her lover, Pakistan’s greatest poet, was killed by the government. But a seemingly recent letter, written in a secret code they shared, falls into Aasmani’s hands. At once intellectual and emotional, Broken Verses offers readers a thrilling tour of contemporary Pakistan, an intricatelywoven mystery story, and a mother-daughter narrative that scrutinizes the complicated task of forgiveness and the hazy line between personal and political choices. www.harcourtbooks.com
There is Room for You Charlotte Bacon | Picador, 2005 | USA After losing her father to a car accident and her husband to a younger woman, Anna Singer, an independent New Yorker, embarks upon a trip to India, hoping to put her suffering into perspective. Her English mother, Rose, was raised in Calcutta during the twilight of the British Raj but never speaks of her time there, so Anna has always had a fascination with the country. As she is departing, Rose gives her a manuscript she wrote in 1969—a memoir of her years in India. Alternating this narrative with Anna’s own journey, Bacon turns the two stories (which span the 1940s to 1992) into a memorable family saga. She evokes the intoxicating atmosphere of Calcutta and constructs a moving tale about the limitations of human understanding and the complex joys of enduring personal bonds. www.picadorusa.com
Lighthousekeeping Jeanette Winterson | Harcourt, 2005 | England Lyrical and literary, Lighthousekeeping is the tale of Silver, an orphan who is taken in by Mr. Pew, the blind, ancient caretaker of the Cape Wrath lighthouse. He coaches her in the art of “tending the light,” both the functional skill and the allegorical art of keeping an oral chronicle of local stories. Silver soon discovers her own identity amidst these tales and learns that authoring histories is an important and powerful act. Winterson shines again in this ﬂuid coming-of-age story, homage to language and love, and passionate, gothic-style romance. www.harcourtbooks.com
All reviews by Maria Jett
Rainy Days in Madras Sumina Ali | Picador, 2004 | India This eloquent contribution to the growing pool of Indian émigré literature tells the tale of one woman’s journey “from possession to self-possession” against a backdrop of rising Hindu-Muslim-American tensions. Ali will appeal to a broad international audience with her unique blend of politics, cultural illumination, and personal drama. Rainy Days centers on the difﬁculties of multicultural reality and the importance of understanding and mercy in the name peaceful coexistence. Her portrayal of Layla, a young Indian-American Muslim, humanizes issues faced by the many women who lead full lives behind the veil. Ali also breaks new ground by challenging taboos and boldly exploring issues of sexuality and personal fulﬁllment (for both men and women) in an environment where love is forced and truth is feared and hidden. www.picadorusa.com
The Language of Baklava Diana Abu-Jaber | Pantheon 2005 | USA/Jordan Abu-Jaber’s new memoir is a stew of bicultural existence that steams with an aroma of nostalgia for all the places she has called home. The novel revolves around Bud, her quirky Jordanian immigrant father, who ﬁnds an outlet for his sentimentality in the kitchen, where food and family meet in celebration. An endless stream of relatives and recipes pepper the feast, enticing readers to recreate similar soul-soothing treats at home. www.pantheonbooks.com
Who Slashed Celanire’s Throat: A Fantastic Tale Maryse Condé | Atria Books, 2004 | Caribbean/USA A proliﬁc author born on the French Caribbean island of Guadalupe, educated in France, and now a professor at New Jersey’s Princeton University, Condé has long been a favorite among literature buffs. Who Slashed Celanire’s Throat is her 12th novel—a dark quest for justice, inspired by the 1995 murder of a female baby. From this terrible story, Condé fashions the narrative of Celanire—a formidable, enigmatic woman of African/Asian/ European descent who is aided by spiritual forces in her twofold mission to avenge the crimes committed against her as a child and to better conditions for other children. Set at the turn of the 20th century, as slavery was giving way to a more quietly destructive form of colonialism, this “fantastical novel” fuses magical realism with a partially ﬁctional mix of African and European history. www.simonsays.com
Becoming Naomi Leon Pam Muñoz Ryan | Scholastic, 2004 | Mexico/America A name like Naomi Soledad Léon Outlaw is a lot for a young girl to live up to. Ryan, an award-winning children’s author, tells the story of how this timid girl develops the voice of a lion. Naomi and her brother have lived in California for seven years with their grandmother—ever since her mother left one day and didn’t come back. Now their mother swoops into town with plans to take Naomi to live with her in Las Vegas. But her ﬁercely protective grandmother and neighbors are not about to let that happen. They band together and embark on a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, in search of Naomi’s father. There they witness the city’s Christmastime arts festival and Naomi learns important truths about herself and her heritage. This is a charming book that opens up a number of topics for discussion. Appropriate for ages 9-12. www.scholastic.com
68 | MIND VOYAGE
The Turkish Lover Esmeralda Santiago | Da Capo Press, 2004 | Puerto Rico/USA Santiago thinks of herself as part of a breed of authors who “have the courage to ask tough questions about what it means to be who we are in a culture that expects us to be something less.” Her highly-anticipated third memoir adds to the story begun with When I was Puerto Rican (1993) and continued in Almost a Woman (1998, later made into a Peabody Award-winning film by PBS’s Masterpiece Theater). Here she unfolds a tale of self-discovery and liberation from a passionate, abusive relationship, along the way exploring feminism, racism, sexism, and the role of education in her hybrid culture. The Turkish Lover follows Santiago from an innocent 21-year-old living in Brooklyn through an eye-opening relationship with a dominating older man, to her graduation from Harvard and transition into full adulthood. Santiago has mastered a form of storytelling that is at once painful and inspiring. www.dacapopress.com
Fragments of Grace: My Search for Meaning in the Strife of South Asia Pamela Constable | Brassey’s, Inc., 2004 | USA Washington Post correspondent Constable’s account of roaming and reporting for nearly two decades throughout India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan reads with the intimate tone of travel literature. Yet she’s no languid bystander. With stories, anecdotes, reﬂections, and her own gorgeous photos, she humanizes the details of daily life, never hesitating to examine her own role as an active participant in the events and conditions at hand. Current affairs-minded readers will appreciate Constable’s persistent effort to decipher the labyrinth of factors shaping religious, ethnic, and political tensions in these volatile regions. www.potomacbooksinc.com
Breaking Free: Women of Spirit at Midlife and Beyond Marilyn Sewell, ed. | Beacon, 2004 | International The sudden loss of partners, parents, and/or children can mark the second half of life with incapacitating grief. If the self is not closely attended, drastic changes in family and social status at midlife and beyond can leave gaping holes in identity as well as overwhelming feelings of loss and solitude. Yet many women also find that turning inward and listening during such periods can trigger a new phase of freedom and self-knowledge. Dr. Marilyn Sewell, chief minister at the First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon, gathers the thoughts of 28 seasoned writers into a collection of “precious gifts from women who have looked boldly at the realities of their lives, have reflected upon these realities, and through their careful telling, have enriched and deepened the lives of their readers.” Maya Angelou, Terry Tempest Williams, Audre Lorde, and Isabel Allende are just a few of the authors offering spiritual guideposts for women experiencing radical life changes. www.beacon.org
The Good Body Eve Ensler | Villard, 2004 | International “Artivist” powerhouse and international anti-violence crusader Eve Ensler uses the body as a vehicle for humor and socio-cultural analysis, inspiring women to take responsibility for and pleasure in the self. Her poignant prose creates a collage of women of various ages and cultures communing with their bodies. A middle-aged woman in India battles with her treadmill; an African-American teenager sends her thoughts from “fat camp;” a 74-year-old African woman speaks of the delight she takes in her body; and actor and former Lancôme model/spokesperson Isabella Rossellini reflects on the subject of beauty. These are just some of the personalities Eve has chosen to help demonstrate that negative body obsession seriously detracts from the full experience of living. www.villard.com
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Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa’s Fragile Edge William Powers | Bloomsbury, 2005 | USA/Liberia One of the first people Powers meets in Liberia tells him, “Nothing bothers Liberians more than this: We know everything about America, but you all don’t know a damn thing about us. We Liberians came over here from America. Our flag is red, white, and blue! We are America in Africa…but it goes so much deeper than all that.” Powers’s memoir of his paradigm-shattering experiences explores the nooks and crannies of this deep connection. Sent in 1999 as a freshfaced aid worker into Charles Taylor’s war-torn Liberia, Powers is given the daunting task of guiding the country from dependency into sustainability while reducing poverty and protecting the rainforests. Reared in a liberal-intellectual-spiritual American home, Powers is constantly compelled by rampant violence, crime, corruption, ignorance, apathy, and bureaucracy to consider his own participation in destructive institutions and attitudes. Blue Clay People recounts both a moving spiritual journey and a shared cultural history, deftly drawing fine narrative connections between the mystical and the earthly. www.bloomsbury.com
Blown Away: American Women and Guns Caitlin Kelly | Pocket Books, 2004 | USA The ﬁrst words inside this book proclaim its provocative topic: “Today, 17 million women own guns. Yet widespread and persistent discomfort with this choice still begs the question—should they?” To address this question, award-winning freelance journalist (and non-gun owner) Kelly goes directly to the source, presenting the voices of American women who either choose to own guns or whose daily lives—marked by the threat of violence—have pushed them to consider the possibility. Kelly hopes of humanizing a highly charged issue and ﬁnding real solutions to making the world safer for all women—gun owners and non-gun owners alike—and she creates a balanced forum for voices that are often not heard in media debates. Kelly acts as an expert mediator for the conﬂicting viewpoints of activists, legislators, victims, self-empowerment gurus, and celebrities, achieving a thoroughly readable, unﬂinchingly honest look at the multifaceted issue of women and guns in the U.S. www.simonsays.com
Warrior Mothers: Stories to Awaken the Flames of the Heart Thaïs Mazur | Rising Star Press, 2004 | International Mazur is a woman of great passion and many projects, including choreography, directing, and sculpting as well as radio, newspaper, and investigative reporting (she is perhaps best known for her groundbreaking broadcast of the Three Mile Island nuclear mishap). With Warrior Mothers, her ﬁrst book, she celebrates the ﬁerce, compassionate spirit of women who heed the call to protect our planet and each other. Michelle Manger Keip discusses “Martial Arts—A Tool for Life,” Lourdes Portillo gives her thoughts on “Filming Struggles for Justice,” Sherry Glaser talks about achieving “Activism through Comedy,” and Terry Greenblat offers her expertise as a feminist activist in “Working for Peace.” These and other moving essays will make perfect bedtime reading for anyone looking to greet the next day with a warrior’s sense of purpose. www.risingstarpress.com
What Makes a Man: 22 Writers Imagine the Future Rebecca Walker | Riverhead Books, 2004 | USA Rebecca Walker is the daughter of novelist Alice Walker and goddaughter of Gloria Steinem. Her feminist anthology To Be Real has been standard fare in women’s studies courses for a decade. But when her son came home from school one day and suggested that “maybe girls will like me if I play sports,” her attention turned to contemporary constructs of “maleness.” Alarmed by the fact that he felt pressured to pretend so he would be accepted, Walker began inquiring into potential pitfalls within the masculine role laid out for her child. Here she brings together the insights of critics like Michael Moore and Howard Zinn and world spiritual leaders like Malidoma Somé and Choyin Rangdrol. By creating a well-rounded picture of what it currently means to be male in the West, Walker opens up space for models that can potentially offer greater personal fulfillment. This anthology will be especially useful for anyone working in gender and cultural studies, introspective men, and parents who struggle to raise self-aware children. www.riverheadbooks.com
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EDUCATOR’S LIBRARY Against Empire: Feminisms, Racism, and the West Zillah Eisenstein | Zed Books, 2004 | International Eisenstein has been teaching and writing feminist theory in North America for 25 years. Long before Western media turned its collective attention toward issues like race, gender, and class relations; extremist fundamentalism; environmental piracy; neoliberalism; democracy; and militarism, she was meeting these tough realities head-on in Afghanistan, Ghana, Bosnia, Egypt, Cuba, and the U.S. For this critic of artificial delineations, Western feminism seems prescriptive, and universal is too small a concept, too singular. Driven by the belief that the key to a more just and peaceful world lies in the ideas and activism of today’s women, she envisions a “polyversal” feminist democracy—a pluralized notion of feminism that incorporates nonWestern interpretations and emphasizes real practices that promote equality and justice. Incredibly wide in scope, this book is an important read for students of contemporary politics and feminism and for activists hoping to better understand the intricate connection between empire and gender. www.zedbooks.co.uk
Developing Power: How Women Transformed International Development Arvonne S. Fraser and Irene Tinker, eds. | Feminist Press, 2004 | International This is a specialized yet personal collection of essays from 27 pioneering women who have devoted their lives to transforming feminist theory into feminist policy. Leaders from all over the world offer their personal stories of struggle, triumph, and defeat, reflecting on the daunting process of organizing on a global level. Activists and teachers offer essays that fall into these broad categories: “At the United Nations”; “New Ideas, New Organizations”; “In and Out of Government”; “Influencing Development Policy”; and “Education and Development.” Every author included has an extensive track record in development and credentials too numerous to mention. This collaboration is an invaluable look at how far we’ve come and how we might replicate and move beyond those successes—a gem for anyone interested in comparative models of development and progressive policy. www.feministpress.org
A Will of Their Own: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Working Children Manfred Liebel | Zed Books, 2004 | International The issue of child labor is closely intertwined with the process of globalization. Yet research on children’s work is very often influenced by political interests, and the cacophony of voices eager to speak “for the good of the children” makes it difficult to discern the true repercussions of child labor practices. Liebel, a sociology professor at the Technical University of Berlin, spends much of his time researching and consulting on working children and youth movements in Latin America and Africa. His book offers a refreshing and controversial look at working children, privileging their own understanding of the value and meaning of their work. Without avoiding the negative impact of child labor, he honors the various forms that children’s work can take and considers both the harmful and beneficial effects. Liebel is concerned that Western scholarship still treats it as a “backward” social feature. He maintains that cross-cultural and cross-continental dialogue is the only route to finding viable solutions that truly benefit children. www.zedbooks.co.uk
Gender, Peacebuilding, and Reconstruction Caroline Sweetman, ed. | Oxfam, 2004 | International A volume of 10 articles linked by the common goal of clarifying the impact of armed conflict on women, men, and gender relations. The basic tenet of Sweetman’s argument is this: Conflict is a gendered experience, and if we are to achieve sustainable peace, decision-making must be based in the desire to address the needs of everyone involved. Women must, she claims, be included in conflict resolution and the healing process that follows. She presents case studies from specialists in India, Kosovo, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, and Uganda as well as an extensive list of resources, making this a helpful source for peace workers and those in post-conflict reconstruction. www.oxfam.org.uk
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Akku Raushan Orazbaeva | Felmay, 2004 | Kazakhstan At once honoring and challenging the established musical traditions of her homeland, Orazbaeva puts a spin on age-old Kazakh customs. Her instrument is the kyl-kobyz (a cello-like structure, resembling an upright, two-stringed spoon). Until the last century, it was played only by men—and customarily as part of shamanistic and curative rituals. Communism abolished such ceremonies, and the instrument became a cello-alternative in civic folk orchestras. Orazbaeva resurrects the kyl-kobyz as a medium for both art and culture with lush, emotive tones and ethereal, haunting melodies that evoke Kazakh music’s magical roots. www.felmay.it
Provenance Hooshere | Hooshere Bezdikian, 2004 | Armenia A ﬁrst-generation Armenian-American from New York City, Hooshere is eagerly advancing in her mission to reach fanciers of global fusion through the music of her ancestors. Provenance is her ﬁrst album, and it marks a convergence on the map of world music—ancient and modern, foreign and domestic. Hooshere traveled to Armenia’s capital city and recorded native musicians on traditional instruments like the duduk, dhol, blul, kamancha, and oud. Then it was back to NYC for some contemporary Western touches. In all, it was an inspiring process that prompted her to compose three original tracks for the album. The self-produced debut achieves a harmonious balance of melodic vocals, acoustic interludes, and spacey electronica that introduces this classically trained pianist as a promising presence on the world music scene. www.hooshere.com
A Bahamian in Paris Diana Hamilton | Diana Hamilton, 2005 | Bahamas/France Hamilton grew up in the Bahamas during the 1950s and 60s before it gained its independence. Her own image of the islands differs starkly from the glossy tourist snapshot of island life she is out to amend. Thematically, she sometimes turns to the pain, passion, and protest of social inequity, but the songs retain an overall lightness, conﬁrming that the true motivation for her lively, upbeat tunes is to help “shake off the pain.” The appeal of her style lies in the expert merging of these experiences with the colorful effervescence of Paris’s music scene. www.dianahamilton.net
Smashing the Ceiling Magdalen Hsu-Li | Chickpop Records, 2005 | USA “When I was writing the songs on this album, I felt I was experiencing a kind of quantum leap or personal gestalt. There were so many breakthroughs that happened to me personally, emotionally, musically, and spiritually. And I am a person who is all about breaking barriers. That’s why I chose to call it Smashing the Ceiling,” says Magdalen. While the title honors this analytical and rebellious spirit, the album is ﬁlled with pop-inspired ballads and occasional forays into rock and country rather than angry-girl anthems. www.magdalenhsuli.com
Psalms of the Sirens Siren’s Echo | Oldominion Records, 2005 | USA Check out this new studio album from Portland, Oregon’s brazen hip hop duo Siren’s Echo. Toni Hill and Syndel joined forces seven years ago; today they’re opening up for the likes of Snoop and the Roots. Like their high-proﬁle predecessor Eve, they sport plenty of tuff-girl style and a particularly female take on the task of urban survival. Though Psalms features catchy anthems, tight beats, and Ms. Hill’s gloriously resonating voice, this isn’t pop or clubby dance music. These ladies have something to say. They treat their talents as god-given gifts, using them to speak a positive message about strong communities and individuals. www.SirensEchoMusic.com
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Ano Neko Dobet Gnahoré | Contre Jour, 2004 | Ivory Coast Gnahoré’s path to international stardom was cleared when Putumayo featured “Abinani” on Women of Africa (2004). One sample of her velvet contralto and undulating rhythms will hook any lover of contemporary African music. With Ano Neko, her debut album, the versatile and socially committed artist is already drawing comparisons with African divas Miriam Makeba and Marie Daulne. Currently residing in France, she uses her music as a vehicle for her thoughts on Africa. The overall tone of the album is compassionate and life-affirming, though Gnahoré doesn’t hesitate to express her frustration with destructive politics. www.contrejour.com
Sumiglia Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico | ECM, 2005 | Greece Yannatou is a classically trained singer—one of the ﬁnest in Greek music—known for both her exquisite traditional repertoire and her experience with avant-garde jazz. The material is time-honored, including songs from Spain, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Sicily, Albania, and Greece; but the arrangements are fresh and evocative. The Primavera en Salonico ensemble excels in two areas: the strength of their interpretive skills and the space they make—even on recorded albums—for collective improvisation and playful exploration. www.ecmrecords.com
Travel Edition: 1990-2005 Saint Etienne | Sub Pop, 2004 | England Amazingly, Saint Etienne managed to escape the ear of many a music lover during their heyday. This compilation— their ﬁrst released in the U.S.—will lure longtime fans and create a new wave of devotees. The band was formed in England in the late 1980s and reached their zenith in the club scene of the early 1990s. Their style is a mix of classic, 60s Brit pop and deep, energetic Euro-club rhythms. Saint Etienne is one of those bands with the grace and sophistication to borrow profusely without diminishing the original material—and to delightful ends: Once you’ve heard their catchy version of Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” you may never go back. Ultra-tight production and Sarah Cracknell’s breathy, dreamy vocals make this a luscious piece of ear candy you’ll return to again and again. www.subpop.com
Lullabies from the Axis of Evil Valley Entertainment, 2004 | International This global collaboration was initiated by Erik Hillestad to bridge the rift created by the American president in 2002 when he singled out Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, demonizing them as enemies of democracy. Hillestad wants to remind the Western world that these countries are ﬁlled with women and children. To this end, he invited women from all over the world to produce 14 tracks that embody a new space for dialogue and understanding. A host of “evil” artists bring traditional lullabies from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea, followed by an English version offered by their colleagues. Iraq’s Halla Bassam teams with Ricki Lee Jones (U.S.) and Sevara Nazarkhan (Uzbekistan); Germany’s Nina Hagen joins Cuba’s Marthha Lorenzo for a lovely tune called “Lullaby, Sweet Baby;” and Lila Downs (Mexico/U.S.) and Afghani artist Kulsoom Syed Ghulam perform the bluesy “Don’t You Worry, My Child.” You may buy this one for your child, but you’ll end up listening to it yourself. www.valley-entertainment.com
Fingerpainting in Red Wine The pickPocket Ensemble | Odd Shaped Case Records, 2005 | USA Fingerpainting in Red Wine, the fourth album from San Francisco’s pickPocket Ensemble, pairs impeccable musicianship with the sublime compositions of frontman Rick Corrigan. Joining Corrigan are Marguerite Ostrovski, Greg Keheret, Tim Fox, Katja Cooper and Aharon Wheels Bolsta. Their combined talents generate vivid imagery and infectious tunes that will instantly transport you to Europe’s sidewalk cafés. This group specializes in playful, timeless arrangements that blend the grace and sophistication of the chamber with the colors of the street. www.pickpocketensemble.com
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Chants, Hymns and Dances Anja Lechner and Vassilis Tsabropoulos | ECM, 2004 | Germany/Greece Chants, Hymns and Dances is an auditory oasis born from the musical union of a German cellist and a Greek pianist/composer. Together, they gracefully execute Tsabropoulos’s compositions, which are based in ancient Byzantine hymns and the music of the Armenian-born philosopher-composer Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (c.1877-1949). But these musicians are comfortable with improvisation, and they draw upon melodies and rhythms of the Caucasus, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Lechner coaxes lush, rich melodies from her instrument, laying velvet bridges over Tsabropoulos’s light, ﬂuid keyboard. Their sound resides in the grey areas between jazz, classical, and world music (Tsabropoulos refers to it “a polychromatic mosaic”), but in spite of its obscure roots and experimental nature, it remains supremely soothing to the ear. www.ecmrecords.com
Mantra Chant Sutra Beat Vibhuti | Vivid Sound Productions, 2004 | USA Seattle’s Vibhuti (“blessing” in Sanskrit) is Lisa Pidge—chanter and yoga teacher—and musician/music producer Bill Wolford. The two combine mantras, chants, and yoga sutras with downtempo funk, soul, and electronica to produce ambient, introspective grooves. The music is aimed at healing the lost connection between body, mind, and the vital life energy. It sounds like worldly, industrial dub: at once hypnotic, throbbing, and spiritual—a highly versatile sound, suitable for any chill scene from the meditation mat to the dark, hip nightclub. www.peacepidge.com
Smadar Smadar | Smadar Levi, 2004 | Israel/USA Smadar was born to Moroccan parents and grew up in Israel listening to Egyptian and Tunisian music. Difﬁcult to categorize, Smadar’s musical style echoes the diversity of the Jewish people, incorporating Israeli, Spanish, African, and Greek traditions and blending original and traditional music. Her vocals are in Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish/Ladino (the medieval language of the Jews in Spain). Smadar now lives in New York City, where she’s cultivated relationships with the crew of talented artists that backs her up, including Uri Sharlin, who contributes his expertise in Brazilian and Middle Eastern music; Pedro da Silva on Portuguese classical guitar and sitar; and Emmanuel Mann, one of Israel’s ﬁnest bass players. www.smadarlevi.com
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74 | EYE VOYAGE
Rachida Yamina Bachir-Chouikh | First Run/Icarus Films, 2004 | Algeria In Algeria, where television is state-run and ﬁlm companies regularly cease production because of insufﬁcient funding, completing a ﬁlm is an achievement in itself. But Bachir-Chouikh’s passion, which easily compensates for her short ﬁlmography, motivated her to work for four years to drum up the money to create this stunning directorial debut. Set in Algiers during the civil conﬂict of the 1990s, Rachida recreates the viewpoint of a young, conﬁdent teacher at an elementary school who is attacked by terrorists when she refuses to place a bomb in her classroom. She learns what it is to live in fear but also that “courage is fear’s child.” While the subject matter is dark, the ﬁlm features a sparkling and stirring performance from Ibtissem Djouadi in the title role and a poignant, hopeful ﬁnale. www.frif.com
Moolaadé Ousmane Sembene | New Yorker Films, 2004 | Senegal A gorgeous, progressive, and provocative new ﬁlm from the “father of African cinema.” In an unnamed village in Burkina Faso, six girls facing circumcision escape the cutting ceremony. Two run away to the city, while the more fortunate four are taken in by Colle Ardo Gallo Sy, one of the wives of a village tribesman (powerfully portrayed by Fatoumata Coulibaly). Colle, who still suffers the effects of her own “puriﬁcation,” puts the spell of Moolaadé, or protection, over the girls to keep them safe. Her persistent defense ignites an ideological battle between the men and the women, between tradition and modernity, and between religious and secular values. Moolaadé tells the story of a humanist hero and, in spite of its heavy subject matter, is undoubtedly one of the most uplifting ﬁlms you’ll see all year. www.newyorkerﬁlms.com
Googoosh: Iran’s Daughter Farhad Zamani | First Run Features, 2004 | USA/Iran Zamani’s ﬁlm tells the fascinating story of Googoosh, an Iranian legend who, like Marilyn Monroe, has constantly sought the luxury of a private identity. Primed from an early age for the stage and screen, she was later silenced, and in her silence, became “the voice of a nation.” Googoosh was born in 1951 into a very different Iran than the one we know today. The highly visible singer and actor had a powerful image that was venerated by government ofﬁcials. They found her chic, fun, and charismatic and courted her as a representative of their own interests. But with the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran began a social, political, and cultural transformation, shifting back to a prohibitive fundamentalist government. Women singers were labeled “temptresses” and forbidden to perform publicly or to release recordings. For Googoosh, whose identity was inseparable from performance, this fate equaled death. Instead of leaving her country, as other entertainers did, she retreated from public life for 20 years, becoming a symbol of censorship and oppression and fueling the frenzy of her fans. Zamani gradually paints an impressionistic and honoring portrait of Googoosh, using footage from her starlet years and interview material from those who know her. www.ﬁrstrunfeatures.com
Take My Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos) Icíar Bollaín | New Yorker Films, 2005 | Spain Brilliant acting and a ﬂawless screenplay earned Bollaín’s ﬁlm seven Goya awards—Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars. Bollaín concentrates on the complex desperation that accompanies situations of chronic domestic violence, making it tangible by accumulating tension to the breaking point. The sad story is familiar, yet executed here with understated grace and great sensitivity. Pilar’s husband abuses her psychologically and physically. She succumbs for nine years, then takes her son and moves in with her sister. Her sister, who knows the truth, tries to protect her, while her mother, refusing to see reality, advises her to go back home to her husband. Meanwhile, the husband begins therapy for anger management, and we are let in on the all-male group therapy sessions, during which perpetrators of domestic violence attempt to get in touch with their emotions. These are priceless pieces of satire—hilarious until you recall that their bumbling attempts are all too authentic. Bollaín forces her viewers to have patience with Pilar but rewards them with a compassionate, serious drama so suspenseful it feels like a thriller. www.newyorkerﬁlms.com
A Star is born Fourteen-year-old Marina Gulbahari of Osama defies convention by pursuing a film career.
Sohaila Mohseni is an Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) staff reporter in Kabul.
www.iwpr.net to work to save her widowed mother and grandmother from starvation. The film takes place during a time when women under the Taliban were banned from working and even appearing outside their home unless accompanied by a male member of the family. The film won numerous international awards in 2003, including three at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe as the best foreign-language entry.
“The best day of my life was when the Taliban fell… the second best was getting a film role.” The discovery of Marina Gulbahari, 14, who has become the star of Osama, a major international film, reads like the script of a Hollywood movie. Marina, was 11 years old, begging outside a hotel in Kabul when she was spotted by Afghan film director Sediq Barmak. “Barmak asked me to take part in a public poetry recital,” she recalls, sitting recently in an unheated hotel in the city center. “The piece I read was a very sentimental piece, very moving, and halfway through, I found myself thinking about two of my elder sisters who were killed by a rocket during the Soviet invasion. “It was very emotional. I lost control and tears started rolling down my cheeks. I think it was because of this that Barmak offered me the part.” Marina went on to star in Osama, in which she portrays a 12-year-old girl forced to masquerade as a boy called Osama, in order
EYE VOYAGE | 75
Osama’s success has also meant that Marina can afford to pay for her education and support her family. Since making the film, Marina has appeared in two more features as well as in five short films. Her decision to pursue an acting career is a brave one in a country still living in the shadow of the Taliban-era. Even now, Marina says she sometimes has to contend with a barrage of abuse when she walks through certain parts of her neighborhood. “It was bad when Osama first came out in 2003,” she says. “Young boys were the worst. They would shout some very insulting remarks and it had an effect on me. “I became very dispirited and started having regrets about taking the part but when the film started winning awards, I realized I had been right. Gradually I grew stronger.” Marina was born in 1990 and lived with her five surviving sisters and two brothers in a very poor district of Kabul, where her father ran a cassette stall until it was closed by the Taliban. In order to help feed the family, she and one of her brothers would beg in the city center. Now circumstances have improved. She has received cash awards from several countries, including $4,000 US from Korea, $1,000 from Japan, and $5,000 from Iran—enough to buy
a $10,000 house in a better part of the capital. Marina also traveled to Tajikistan, where she has been offered more film work. Afghan president Hamed Karzai has invited her to the presidential palace and she also received an invitation from US First Lady Laura Bush to visit America. “My brother and I were to have gone in November,” says Marina, “but at the last minute it was cancelled. They said it was because my brother couldn’t speak English.” Now Marina wants to pursue her twin ambitions. “I would like to carry on my education and become a good doctor. I want to help the poor in the same way as I was helped. “And I would like to carry on film-making. When I first went on the set, I was very nervous. I was always afraid of the mullahs because I didn’t realize they were actors. “Gradually I became more relaxed and now I love it. One day I would like a leading role.” Her decision, she says, has upset a few people, “People have asked my father to stop me because they don’t approve.” And some close relatives have ceased all contact with her family because of one scene in Osama where Marina appears in a public baths with a group of boys. But Marina has no regrets. “The best day of my life was when the Taliban fell,” she says. “We lived in poverty and, like all girls in Afghanistan, I was deprived of education. The second best was getting a film role. “If the Taliban had been in power, I might still be outside the hotel begging.”
Maya Digvijay Singh | Home Vision Entertainment, 2005 | India
Digvijay Singh’s debut feature ﬁlm, which earned him the 2002 Remy Martin Emerging Director Award at the 25th Asian American International Film Festival, has ﬁnally found its way to American movie stores. In the tradition of ﬁlms like The Magdalene Sisters, Maya begins as a deceptively innocent coming-of-age story and quietly turns into a hair-raising exposé on an outlawed practice of ritual rape that still occurs in parts of India. Maya, 12, lives a simple life in her village in rural India. She spends most of her time with her cousin Sanjay, playing pranks in the forest and village. But their fraternal love is shattered when Sanjay is unable to save her from the forbidden ceremony that even today is practiced in some areas. Other directors might have chosen to address this subject via documentary, but Singh employs breathtaking cinematography and heavy symbolism to create a piece of ﬁne, heartbreaking art. He hopes his ﬁlm will raise awareness of child abuse as a global epidemic, and he encourages people to look outside their own protective walls and recognize the need for action. www.homevision.com
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REIKI is a stress reduction technique that creates deep relaxation, encouranging balance on emotional, mental and spiritual levels. It is a gentle yet powerful form of “laying on of hands”.
Julianne R. Johnson presents
INSPIRED: Mind, Body & Spirit A WELLNESS EXCURSION INSPIRED Mind, Body & Spirit
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REIKI INSTRUCTION Learn how to facilitate healing within yourself and others. Individual and group classes are available.
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In America, women have been flying airplanes since 1903, driving automobiles since the 1890s, talking on telephones since the 1880s and running for president since 1872.
Celebrate the female candidates since then.
1872 Order 1872 Journals online for only $14.95 Brought to you by NW Women’s Directory. Published by Purple Turtle Press, Inc. 360.750.1622 www.nwwomensdirectory.com
Vagina Warriors: An Emerging Paradigm, An Emerging Species Vagina Warriors are Everywhere. VAGINA WARRIOR | A woman or man committed to or working toward ending violence against women and girls
UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS Join us, support V-Day, visit vday.org
Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit V-Day. www.vday.org
Bulfinch Press www.bullfinchpress.com
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78 | TSUNAMI ACTION
Targeted Actions for Transformation
Sign the One Declaration A pact to fight the global AIDS emergency and end extreme poverty [5 minutes] The ONE Campaign is a new effort seeking to give Americans a voice, to ring church bells and cell phones, on campuses and in coffee shops, for a historic pact to end AIDS and poverty. The campaign believes that allocating an additional ONE percent of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food, would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation of the poorest countries. www.One.org
Speak Out for Increased Investments in Maternal and Child Health Small investment will make an incredible impact. [5 minutes] Three out of the 4 million newborns that die annually can be saved with low-cost measures such as exclusive breastfeeding, clean delivery and antibiotics to treat illness. It will only cost $1.00 per capita per year in additional spending to provide life saving interventions to 90% of mothers and babies globally. Although 99% of newborn deaths are in resourcepoor countries, almost all of the funding and research worldwide focuses on high-technology solutions for the 1% of deaths in rich countries.
Join the Campaign to Educate Girls Globally No action will do more to help global healing. [5 minutes] “I brought many experts to Washington and asked them all how to reduce the gap between rich and poor nations. They all said the same thing: ‘Educate girls’.” MICHAEL CAMDESSUS, Former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
Edit this action letter, provide your information, and it will be immediately sent to each of your representatives. www.ga0.org/campaign/girls_education
“Never Again!” Make your stand on ethnic cleansing in Sudan. [5 minutes] Do your part to stop this preventable humanitarian crisis, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 1.6 million people have been displaced. Edit and send an action letter to your representatives urging more peacekeeping troops and pressure on the Sudanese government, which is backing the attacking militias. www.savedarfur.org
Edit this action letter, provide your information, and it will be immediately sent to each of your representatives. www.ga4.org/campaign/newborns
20 minutes to join a tidal shift towards a child-honoring world.
Minutes to a more powerful you!
“The only institution in the world today more powerful than the American government is American civil society.” ARUNDHATI ROY
SYNERGY | 79
SYNERGY sparking insight and action
Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls The universal right to rock “ The atmosphere of the Camp is something I wish all the girls who sit in their bedrooms with a guitar could feel at least once in their life.” AMELIA, guitarist and returning Camper, age 15
In the summer of 2000, “a monster was born,” says Misty McElroy, founder of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls. Not just any monster but “a large mob of anxious girls armed with electric guitars, drum sticks, and lots and lots of sparkly eye shadow.” That year Elroy found herself swamped with applications, more than she could possibly accommodate. Originally developed as a one-time college project, the camp is now heading full force into its fifth year, with offshoots in Washington, D.C.; Nashville, Tennessee; California; and Tucson, Arizona. Despite expanded headquarters, staff, and resources, the camp still can’t keep up with the rising flood of applications. Girls age 6-18 come from as far away as Brazil, Germany, and Alabama to experience a week-long hands-on and holistic summer camp led by rockers and musicians local to the Pacific Northwest. Each girl is trained on an instrument of her choice: bass, drum, vocals, or vinyl. But that’s just the prelude for a camp as committed to pumping up positive self-esteem and self-reliance as they are teaching a riff. Campers choose between learning modules that cover sound and lighting, stage presence, history of women in rock, media literacy, ‘zine writing and publishing, body revolution, and self-defense. They also get practical tips any serious rocker should know: What to do with a fidgety audience, forgetting words, insults and bad pictures as well as how to book your own tours, perform self-massage for upper body maintenance, and record music with your home computer. The week culminates in an all-out live performance showcase, where a string of confident self-organized bands belt out their creations to a sold-out theater of rowdy, sweaty, screaming fans—and parents. Seasoned camp facilitators gleefully warn parents, “These may be quiet, nice little girls at the dinner © Shayla Hason
table, but just wait ‘til you see what happens when they hit the stage.”
MORE INFO: www.girlsrockcamp.org
WOMEN OF VISION AND ACTION www.wova.org INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S MEDIA FOUNDATION www.iwmf.org MOTHERS ACTING UP www.mothersactingup.org WOMEN’S ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION www.wedo.org INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH COALITION www.iwhc.org WOMEN WAGING PEACE www.womenwagingpeace.net VITAL VOICES www.vitalvoices.org EQUALITY NOW www.equalitynow.org THE WHITE HOUSE PROJECT www.voterunlead.org www.thewhitehouseproject.org THE GLOBAL FUND FOR WOMEN www.globalfundforwomen.org WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM AND PEACEWOMEN.ORG www.peacewomen.org www.wilpf.int.ch THE ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT www.awid.org WOMEN OF WISDOM www.womenofwisdom.org WOMEN’S LEARNING PARTNERSHIP FOR RIGHTS, DEVELOPMENT, AND PEACE www.learningpartnership.org EVOLVE www.evolve.org ISIS INTERNATIONAL www.isiswomen.org THE HUNGER PROJECT www.thp.org ALLIANCE FOR TRANSFORMING THE LIVES OF CHILDREN www.atlc.org
80 | SYNERGY
SYNERGY sparking insight and action
Dropping Knowledge: A Table of Free Voices The frontier of collective knowledge
“A much needed effort to gather a global dialogue of voices.” HOWARD ZINN
MOMS 4 PEACE www.moms4peace.com THE GLOBAL FUND FOR CHILDREN www.globalfundforchildren.org WOMEN’S BUSINESS EXCHANGE www.wbex.org MERCY CORPS www.mercycorps.org
Dropping Knowledge is an ambitious global audio-visual resource created to expand and share collective knowledge that unites the experiences and visions of diverse cultures,
WOMEN’S EDGE COALITION www.womensedge.org WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL www.womenforwomen.org
continents, and intellectual disciplines. Dropping Knowledge brings together a group of 112 visionary individuals who have had an innovative, creative, or humanistic impact on the international public including artists, philosophers, educators, writers, socially responsible business leaders, scientists, filmmakers, economists, musicians, religious leaders, and human rights activists from around the world. For one day these individuals will respond to 100 of today’s most pressing questions, which will be gathered through the international public and will
IMAGINING OURSELVES: THE INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN www.imaginingourselves.org INDIGENOUS WOMEN’S NETWORK www.indigenouswomen.org FACE TO FACE www.facetoface.org CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND www.childrensdefense.org
be selected by a committee beforehand. The questions will be asked one by one, and the participants will respond simultaneously into individual cameras. The responses of each participant will be recorded as a single audiovisual portrait. Together these portraits—672 hours of recorded material—will create the base of the open source wisdom archive. In addition, the material will be distributed
CENTER FOR WOMEN POLICY STUDIES www.centerwomenpolicy.org CENTER FOR WOMEN AND DEMOCRACY www.womenanddemocracy.org
internationally through educational outreach and a movie.
THIRD WAVE FOUNDATION www.thirdwavefoundation.org
Questions are currently being collected, and the Table of Free Voices will occur with a
historic high-profile event in 2006. The wooden table will become a multimedia exhibition piece and travel throughout the world to centers of global communication such as Beijing, Dakar, São Paulo, and New York.
DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVES WITH WOMEN FOR A NEW ERA www.dawn.org.fj CENTER FOR WOMEN’S GLOBAL LEADERSHIP www.cwgl.rutgers.edu
MORE INFO: To view participants or pose a question, go to:
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S TRIBUNE CENTRE www.womenink.org www.iwtc.org WOMEN’S ACTION FOR NEW DIRECTIONS www.wand.org INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR RESEARCH ON WOMEN www.icrw.org
WOMEN AND WAR PROJECT www.womenwar.org
“ The past is not a burden, it is a scaffold that brought us to this day. We are free to be who we are—to create our own life out of our past and out of the present. We are our ancestors. When we can heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, and our children.”
Tzutujil women in the fog of Lago Atitlan, Guatemala ©Robert Leon www.robertleon.com
RITA BLUMENSTEIN, Grandmother from the Arctic Circle of North America
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