Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I hate to be one of those people who say after something happens, "Oh, I knew it all along", But when Harriet Miers was selected for the Supreme Court by W, and she began to be critized by everyone....especially THE RIGHT, I said to a friend, See, he knew just what to do. He picked a woman that he knew even his best friends wouldn't want on the Supreme Court and she'd have to withdraw. Now he will say, "Well, I chose a woman, but those liberals and feminists didn't want her, and even some Republicans didn't want her because she just wasn't conservative enough." He'll grin his little grin. "So, now I'll just have to pick a man....and this is one is going to be so far RIGHT he'll make ALL my buddies happy."

OK. Let's see what happens. I think it was all just one more charade....with everyone playing the parts they were assigned by The Director....whoever that is.
Phyllis Y

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Violence in Israel and Palestine After Disturbing Statement

I am not sure about the sequence of events, since this Reuters article is not written in chronological order.

Here's what I think has happened:

  • Israel killed a leader of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank on Monday.
  • A suicide bomber killed five in an outdoor market in Hadera on Thursday. (The area is many hours ahead of CST.)
  • Later on Thursday, Israel fired missiles into Gaza. No injuries have been reported (so far, according to Reuters.)
  • From the article: "Israeli officials noted the attack followed remarks in Tehran by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel should be "wiped off the map.""
  • From the article: "Israel and the United States said the Palestinian Authority needed to rein in militants to push forward stalled peace talks. Abbas has so far preferred to negotiate with armed groups."
  • Let's think for a second about this Israeli / US position. It would be like the UK and the US telling the Northern Irish to reign in the IRA during their terrorist phase and not accepting the fact that the Northern Irish refused to be used as pawns against their countrymen. It is simply too convenient to label people "terrorists" and write off ever living peacefully with them. Let me be clear: violence and murder are horrible things. People who kill should be brought to justice. But I do not believe an outside government should determine how the Palestinian Authority deals with para-military / political groups.

Personally, I find both the suicide bombing and the Israeli missile response abhorrent. As a Woman Challenging U.S. Policy on Israel / Palestine, I believe the U.S. should allow the PA to determine how to diffuse the power and violence associated with paramilitary political groups.

More info: "Israeli warplanes pound Gaza after suicide attack," by Nidal al-Mughrabi with reporting from Wafa Amr and Corinne Heller, from Reuters on Yahoo News

Much more information available at IMEMC, International Middle East Media Center.

Welcome a Swedish Sister to the Blogosphere!

Birgitta Hambraeus, a Swedish member of WILPF, recently began a blog at http://blogg.passagen.se/birgitta.hambraeus

She is new to the blogging community, so please leave a comment on her blog to welcome her to this form of activism!

A reminder of US WILPF blogs / websites:
Cape Cod, Massachusett branch blog
Corporations v. Democracy Issue Committee blog
DISARM! Dismantle the War Economy Committee site
Issue Committees and Our Two National Campaigns also have information available on wilpf.org.
Peace Rave, the US WILPF staffs' blog

also check out International WILPF's website, with links to information about our sections around the world and our international program.

Friday, October 21, 2005

disasters, large and small

I turned on the faucet in the bathroom sink and there was no water. No water in the shower. No water in the kitchen. There was a water main break down the street. Nobody in our building had water. We couldn't brush our teeth, wash our hands, take a shower, flush the toilet. Yuk! I was VERY ANNOYED. I was ANGRY with the building management. I was MAD with the city water department. How could we live without water?

Then I recalled the yelling, angry people in New Orleans after Katrina who'd been cooped up in that sports arena without water...or food...in 98 degree heat for five days. And, those thousands whose homes had been totally destroyed by floods, and the parents who were separated from their children, and the old folks who were stranded in nursing homes. You bet they were ANNOYED and ANGRY and MAD!

When our building got water twenty-four hours later I was so glad to be able to flush the toilet and to take a shower. But I was also ANNOYED with myself for having complained about my little disaster when so many other people have suffered so much more.

It made me very aware of how important WATER is in our lives. We can't live without it, but we don't want it rampaging out of control either. My little disaster reminded me that WILPF's new program Campaign on SAVE THE WATER is right on target. We have so much to learn...and then so much to do! Just this week a whole community not far from Baltimore has been told they can't drink the water in their homes or even shower in it because of chemical contamination. Now, there's a place to begin.
Phyllis Yingling

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Peace Work

Just a little while ago I sent a blog entitled, "Peace, Disaster and the Flat World." I spent so much space writing about the flat world I knew no one would read any more. Here is the "peace" section of that blog.It's been a busy several months. The exciting WILPF Congress at San Francisco State, August 10-14, was followed by the Baltimore Peace Path on Charles St. For the fourth year since 9/11/2001 Women in Black of Baltimore and hundreds of other like-minded people lined Charles St, which bisects the city, holding signs that said "Peace" in several dozen languages. There were posters with other messages remembering those who died as a result of violence and war. It was on a warm sunny Sunday afternoon from 12:00 noon until 3 PM. We were happy that many people in cars passing by honked and flashed the two fingered peace sign. Only once or twice did some grump give us half a peace sign. :-( . That annual event takes a lot of planning, most done by Women in Black, Baltimore, but they were also joined by WILPF and other peace groups.That same weekend Baltimore hosted the "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit of over 1900 pairs of boots, representing each US soldier who had lost his/her life in Iraq.....and then thousands more shoes of all kinds represent the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died in the war. Again....a lot of preparation. It was a very moving experience to read the names on the tags of the boots as the names were being read over a loud speaker on the campus of Johns Hopkins University.Of course, several bus-loads of us from Baltimore joined other WILPF women and the 150,000 or so folks in Washington, DC for the massive demonstration on September 24. As a veteran of many anti-Viet Nam war demonstrations in DC in the late '60s and early '70s it was de ja vu all over again. It was heartening that the rally was so inter-generational, with older folks walking along or being pushed in wheel chairs, as well as little folks hanging on to Mommy's and Daddy's hands or being pushed in strollers. There were lots of teens and young adults too......a good cross-section of the U.S. population. The messages on the home-made placards were wonderfully creative. Thanks to the U.S. WILPF staff for being there in the peace tent to serve as a meeting point and to hand out WILPF materials. Visibility is important.On Saturday,October 1, we in the Catonsville WILPF branch celebrated our 10th anniversary, along with our "mother", the 81 year old Baltimore branch. The program featured as speaker Sr. Carol Gilbert, OP, who shared with us the planning and carrying out of the Plowshares Action in October 2002 that landed her and two other nuns in prison. She and Sr. Ardeth Platte are residents of JonahHouse here in Baltimore. I recommend you go to www.jonahhouse.org for more information about these courageous women and their "Citizen Weapons Inspection" action at a missile site in Colorado. There is also a nice account of the celebration and a good picture of us WILPF women and Carol surrounded by Lynn Robinson and the giant Peace Puppets.Oh yes, I almost forgot, on Sept. 2o, Baltimore and Catonsville branches met at Goucher College for a report back of the National Congress in SF and also to welcome our new younger sister branch at Goucher College. This coming Sunday both WILPF branches will have a table at the UNA - MD United Nations Celebration.So, the beat goes on. Last week I watched a re-run of the first episode of Ken Burns' documentary on the Civil War. As those young men marched out from Washington to their first experience of battle at Manassas, VA, and for many, to their deaths, it was the little drummer boys and musicians that kept their spirits up, that kept them marching in step. We are not military, but we are waging a battle against war and violence. And, being involved in this effort does take courage. Let's hear it for the drummers and muscians who keep the beat for peace going!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

peace, disaster, and the flat world

Hello, It has been awhile since I've sent anything to this blog....but now I am inspired. I've been reading Thomas Friendman's "The World is Flat" which is about how technology has helped to "level the playing field" so that young people in India, China, Timbuktu, and Brazil...to name a few....now have information at their fingertips, via the web....and the power that bloggers have in revealing truth....or in making up lies. I'm less than 1/4 through the book, so I have a long way to go. I know that Tom Friedman is not exactly a liberal....but he is pretty convincing....and I know that, like it or not, communication technology is running far and away ahead of most of us.
Just two days ago, a young woman in India helped me to solve a problem I was having connecting a new computer to my old printer. What Friedman tells us about this sort of outsourcing is amazing! MRIs and CT scans are sent by US doctors to India to be read overnight. Even our US income taxes are worked on by accountants in India. This is all very well and good. Bright young graduate students in India are making $9.00 and hour....a good income for them....rather than the $25 an hour bright young graduate students in the U.S. would require. But....what about those U.S. techies? Are their jobs gone for good? And, as a born n' bred West Virginian (now Marylander). I wonder couldn't some of those young people from WV colleges and universities enrich their meager salaries by benefiting from outsourcing to Appalachia? I will write more in another blog, but I think most people don't read long pieces. Hasta la vista, amigas! Paz! Phyllis