We Want Every Home to Be a Zone of Peace

Lys Anzia – WNN Features

Muslim family returns home after the war, Kosovo, 1999. Image: Svetlana Bahchevanova

 

When Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold says, “We want every home to be a zone of peace. We want all forms of violence to cease,” she means it.

Everyone who hears this cry will agree it’s time to do something to help in the world’s peace effort. Yes. Peace is on our minds these days. Peace is essential.

As the 1967 poster by Lorraine Schneider said, “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” Lorraine had gathered a group of 15 friends to her house on February 8, 1967. It was the time when the Vietnam war was raging and activists gathered together in living rooms and kitchens to talk and take action.

Schneider decided she could do something.

“We decided to send a Mother’s Day card to Washington,” said Schneider about those days. “We decided to print and distribute one thousand.” In it were the words, “For my Mother’s Day gift of this year, I don’t want any candy or flowers. I want an end to killing. We who have given life must be dedicated to preserving it. Please talk peace.”

On the outside of this card was the same image that was later made into Lorraine Schneider’s poster, along with bumper stickers, note cards, and key rings that would help form a strong brand for the peace movement during the days of the Vietnam war. It started with a thousand cards send out by AMP – Another Mother for Peace. Soon it became 200,000 cards.

It was a simple image of a sunflower that would mobilize a nation of peace activists.

 

September 19, 2008, Monrovia, Liberia – Peace DayA young Liberian girl on the occasion of the observance of the International Peace Day. Celebrations in Monrovia, Liberia included cultural performances by Liberian youth. Image: Christopher Herwig/UN Photo

This statement couldn’t have better timing today. The UN has designated September 21 as the International Day of Peace asking all to support, at the very least, one full day of global ceasefire.

Vermont-Mangold is the Co-Chair of Switzerland’s new Peace Women Across the Globe, a new extension of 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize that heralded the amazing work to nominate 1000 women for one Nobel Peace Prize last year in 2005. Even though the dream of nomination by the Nobel Committee did not make its way to the complete nomination for the 1000 women it was approved by the Nobel Committee and did grab the world’s attention. The constant work represented by all women through all 1000 women chosen brought a large and welcome lens to media outreach and public knowledge.

Now the former 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize acting as Peace Women Across the Globe is doing it again. They are launching a Partnership Campaign inviting community groups, women and youth to join in the UN International Day of Peace on September 21 by personally demanding an end to war. Especially the wars in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan.

“Most of all we want an end to economic violence, exploitation and inequalities,” says Vermot-Mangold.

Through its Partnership Campaign, over the next year, Peace Women Across the Globe will be searching for partners to identify and document women peace-builders who have been working around the globe over the course of next year.

“This campaign will make visible the peace work of women, which have kept communities alive, which have created and protected lives in the face of extreme violence,” says Co-Chair Kamla Bhasin of India. “This partnership campaign opens up great opportunities for debate, learning and public advocacy,” adds Bhasin.

“We invite anyone interested to contact us.”
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This video shows the terrible impact of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo
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  • Peace Women Across the Globe can be contacted through their headquarters in Bern, Switzerland through their website at: www.1000peacewomen.org.

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Sources for this article include: AMP – Another Mother for Peace, Peace Women Across the Globe, YouTube and Flickr Public Domain Photographs.

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– Lys Anzia of Women News Network is a journalist writing for human rights, gender equality and women’s advocacy. – Bulgarian photographer, Svetlana Bahchevanova, has exhibited her work in Europe and the United States in galleries and museums and has been published by numerous major newspapers, agencies and magazines such a International Herald Tribune, l’Humanitie, Soar, Pravda, Biography, Reuters and Associated Press.

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©WNN – Women News Network 2007