THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #38

From the bosom of the devastated earth
a voice goes up with our own.
It says, Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder
is not the balance
of justice.
Julia Ward Howe


 

 

MOTHER’S DAY IN A TIME OF WAR

A Special All Women’s Issue 

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In This Issue:

David’s Notes
Julia Ward Howe
Anne Lamott
The Hidden Wounded:
What Happens to Wounded American Soldiers
The Baghdad Burning Blog
GenderGappers

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David’s Notes:
The gang in Washington these days is the definition of macho, kick-butt, chest-thumping, arrogant, hubris-infected men, or as Anne Lamott says–below–“cold, rich, scary, armed, white men.”

It’s time to hear from the committed, life-affirming, nurturing militant feminine. Thus this all women’s, Mother’s Day, issue of the JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE.

First, a manifesto penned in Boston in 1870 by the creator of Mother’s Day herself, Julia Ward Howe.

Second, our friend, Diana Schmitt McCall, young mother of three, wife of one, new homeowner and homesteader from Black Mountain, North Carolina, recommended Anne Lamott’s engaging Let’s Have a Revolution: Does July 14th Work for You? Here it is.

Third, a note from a friend about what happens to American soldiers wounded in Iraq when they get back here to the so-called “United” States.

Fourth, a link to Baghdad Burning, an important new blog written by a young Iraqi woman.

And fifth, a recommendation to subscribe to GenderGappers, a cyberzine run by two women who we think are hitting the nail on the head over and over again.

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Mother’s Day Proclamation

by Julia Ward Howe

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Boston
1870

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Let’s Have a Revolution! Does July 14 Work for You?

by Anne Lamott

Leave your cell phone, bring some fruit, and protest – with kindness — what has happened to our country.

I’m drawn to almost any piece of writing with the words “divine love” and “impeachment” in the first sentence. But I know the word “divine” makes many progressive people run screaming for their cute little lives, and so one hesitates to use it. Also, we all know that there isn’t going to be an impeachment any time soon.

However, maybe there is the chance of a calm, polite revolution, and perhaps in lieu of “divine love” we could use the idea of simple “kindness.” Consider, just for the sake of argument, how good people, in a democracy that has been taken over by cold, rich, scary, armed white men, might proceed. Good people who have watched their country’s leaders skid so far to the triumphal right would have to do something. I mean, wouldn’t they? Am I crazy? Otherwise, those people’s children will ask them someday, when we are all living in caves, “What did you do to try and save us?” And the children will be so angry, and they are so awful and unpleasant when they are mad, even in the dark. I, for one, do not want to answer that I did nothing, or that I ranted and flailed, showing up to support my own interest groups, candidates and concerns. Instead, I think we should lay down our differences, and have a revolution. I am wondering if July 14 works for everyone.

My father wrote a great novel about an antiwar march in 1970, called “The Bastille Day Parade,” in which many protesters carried signs that read, “Turn Off the Lie Machine.” In choosing July 14, I would like to pay tribute to him and to the people of his generation, who are surely turning in their graves, as if on rotisseries, with horror about life in their beloved America. They were passionate in their fight against fascism, and Joseph McCarthy, their commitment to civil rights, and to libraries, and to good manners. All of us were raised to be polite, as honest as we could manage, and to live as if the word “fair” meant something, which all sounds a little Amish at this point. A renewal of these values would be the major plank of this revolution.

In this revolution, there will not be any positions except kindness, and libraries. We will not even have a battle cry, as that can lead to chanting, and haranguing: Hey, hey, ho, ho, all that chanting’s got to go! We would simply look one another in the eyes, shake our heads, and say, “This just can’t be right.” We will not try to figure out what it all means: Iraq, Guant‡namo, Abu Ghraib, Terri Schiavo, abortion rights, the Downing Street Memo, domestic spying, immigration, the Kyoto Accords, the Geneva Conventions, Tom DeLay — none of it. We all know what kindness means, and I think we can all agree that libraries are sacred, and our revolution will decree that we will fight tooth and nail for these things, politely. Mostly we will show up and say things like, “Giving India massive nuclear assistance? I don’t know — that just can’t be right.” “Madge, maybe I’m nuts, but John Bolton, at the U.N.? Can that be right?”

I am hoping for a large turnout even though so few people showed up to mark the third anniversary of the war in Iraq. This was dispiriting, but let’s not dwell on it. That was then, almost two weeks ago. This is now. Nearly 50 million people voted for Kerry, and I’m hoping for somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million (although I know the press will way under-report the turnout). We need precinct leaders to get the word out, although not the kind who go door-to-door while people are eating, then threaten sweetly to come back later. Bitter neighbors are the very last thing this revolution seeks. We would all show up on Bastille Day, propelled by the ferocious, heartbroken belief we’ve carried since childhood, that America is a republic, of 50 states, united and humane. It would be nice if everyone would turn off his or her cellphone that day.

Also, I thought we could all wear green – not because we have an environmental position we are pushing, but because trees, grasses and the natural world are just so incredibly beautiful and precious. Nature = life. Some will suspect that this is inching dangerously close to a “position,” what with everyone in green, hundreds of shades of green — and if I am being honest, it’s true that the tiniest point might be made that a black-and-white worldview, a Manichaean good vs. evil color scheme, is wearing out its welcome. Additionally, it would be great if everyone could bring a bit of fruit to share, and maybe a few dollars, in case one runs into someone desperately poor. Bananas are great, as I believe them to be the only known cure for existential dread. Also, Mother Teresa said that in India, a woman dying in the street will share her banana with anyone who needs it, whereas in America, people amass and horde as many bananas as they can to sell for an exorbitant profit. So half of them go bad, anyway. Maybe, come to think of it, that wasn’t Mother Teresa. Maybe that was Ram Dass, or my neighbor Irmgaard, but it doesn’t matter.

Trust me: Fruit is a nice touch. Apples, oranges, it doesn’t matter, and it would not be mandatory that you bring any fruit at all. All we would ask is that you show up and help us foment a revolution, based on kindness and that silly old idea our parents taught us, about fairness. Maybe we’d sing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” No offense in that, really, is there? But we won’t sing that if it is going to stir up a lot of debate and screeds and distraction. I was just thinking that both of my parents died here, on this land that they loved. They were both born abroad. A lot of our parents have died, people who made sure their children read John Steinbeck, Rachel Carson and Langston Hughes. I would show up for my parents, by proxy. Never mind; we don’t have to sing that song. Still, I cry when I hear it.

We will just all come together. Bastille Day. Ix-nay on the cellphones and the speeches. Like Woody Allen said once before I turned on him, 80 percent of life is just showing up. We will show up and foment a loving revolution, wearing green: I just looked up “foment,” to make sure that this is what I meant. It comes from the Latin “fomentum,” which means a warm poultice. One of the definitions is to apply a warm cloth, dipped in warm water or medication, to a body that needs healing; and that is exactly what I meant. I’m thinking noon-ish.

Copyright ©2006 Salon Media Group, Inc.

 

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The Hidden Wounded:

What Happens to Wounded American Soldiers

From a friend recently we heard about the mother of a soldier wounded in Iraq. The soldier was flown back to the States weeks ago. The military, however, will not permit a visit from his mother until they feel the soldier is “ready.”

Everyone is aware that the administration will not permit news coverage of coffins arriving in the U.S., but we hadn’t known until this case that the wounded are routinely flown in at night, to likewise maintain a low profile for the realities of war and then kept “under wraps” until they are “ready.”

We, of course, wonder what “ready” means.

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The Baghdad Burning Blog

The Judevine Mountain Emailite has found out about a blog written by an Iraqi woman in her twenties. The friend from Canada who told us about this has written saying, “The entries are priceless, and I’ve learned more–and gained more empathy–for the struggle of the human beings living in Iraq in a single morning than I have in all the daily news reports.”

The blog is called BAGHDAD BURNING and it’s at: http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com Have a look. The entries are intense, touching, painful, human.

We especially recommend the section TODAY IN IRAQ that is at: http://dailywarnews.blogspot.com

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GenderGappers

We’ve recommended GenderGappers before and want to do so again. It’s an occasional, short, pithy, hard hitting, no-holds-barred, truth-to-power blog created and sustained by two women known collectively as Twanda. Highly recommended.

A great place to start is with their recent note on Steven Colbert’s White House Correspondent’s slam of Shrubbie which is at: http://gendergappers.blogspot.com/2006/05/red-hot-colbert.html

GenderGappers has a new and attractive blog which is at: http://www.gendergappers.blogspot.com

To subscribe and view archives go to: http://www.gendergappers.org

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