Saturday--October 26, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 409
Women Of Vigilance
Seek Global Peacemaking Role
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York
City, October 26 --I've long believed we will inch our way toward more
world peace when more women sit around the war and peace tables.
That seems to be happening in a world of testosterone-based leadership
both on the war and peace side of the equation.
Historically, men wage war and men
decide the terms of peace in its aftermath. One of the most
critical parts of repairing the damages of war is the negotiations to end
such conflict. Generally, men cut up the peace pie, often at
the expense of women.
To combat the male-dominated war and peace
agenda, the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual
Leaders was launched this past week at the United Nations.
Next month hundreds of delegates will convene at the UN's Geneva offices
to forge a plan of action.
Reverend Joan Brown
Campbell, the first woman to serve as spiritual leader and general
secretary of the US National Council of the Churches of Christ recently
told the Christian Science Monitor, "It's not that I think women magically
have the answers and men are the problem, but I think adding women's
Voices to the debate can only help. Women tend to look at an
issue from a more family-oriented stance, and it's in our nature to think
about will happen to the children. And most women--not all
women--prefer peaceful alternatives to war."
Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of the UN
Development Fund for Women, the peace initiative's UN partner, said, "You
need a diversity of views, for all the different actors.
People always expect the warring factions to sit down at the negotiating
table, but you can't expect warlords to develop a formula for lasting
peace if they're not addressing all of society's needs."
Ms. Heyzer was referring
specifically to the rapes in Bosnia, Rwanda and East Timor that left women
to raise the children conceived from these assaults.
Also, in many countries subject to genocide, if a husband, brother or son
is killed the woman loses any hereditary claim to property.
Woman in Zimbabwe
could not inherit family home
The women are also calling
for "gender justice" from the new International Criminal Court for such
crimes as systematic rape and sexual slavery, the Monitor reported.
The European Union and the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe last year called for greater roles for
women in security issues, a step forward in balancing the Vigilance
necessary to keep the home fronts of the world safe.
My personal special interest in women as
peacemakers goes deep into my marrow. Nearly three decades ago
when I was senior vice president of marketing for Century 21 International
Real Estate, we were in the process of building the world's largest sales
force out of nothing. As a franchise, we started with zero
base, and over the eight years from 1972 until 1980, grew to more than
7,500 franchises and boasted a sales team of over 100,000.
Part of my plan as head of marketing was to
include more women in real estate. At the time of Century 21's
inception, the women's liberation movement was building steam.
Previously, real estate had been a "male oriented" business.
We focused on recruiting women, insuring
all our television ads showed a woman rather than a man in the forefront
of the action of the sales process. While the rest of the
industry lagged far behind in women in its ranks, around 15-20 percent at
the time, our company escalated to more than 50 percent.
Women are far more effective and efficient
negotiators than men in the majority of cases, for they have a foresight
that extends well beyond a man's. Perhaps it is part and
parcel of their "maternal instincts," but they can see the future more
clearly than most men.
A home is a social structure to a
woman. So is a nation. It houses the generations, the
children, and while men come and go, the women remain, living longer and
shouldering the massive chores in the daily operation of the society.
Real estate is just
a microcosm of a nation. Our company took the world by
surprise, generating 11 percent of gross product sales of the $500
billion-a-year real estate market, and I attribute that to our focus on
both women and children. In our ads, we won awards for showing a
bright young girl in a dollhouse playing salesperson. She
became an icon of the future--a feminine leader in a world of men.
Vigilance is ultimately about
protecting the "nest." It's what eagles do. They
soar above their nests where their eaglets chirp, protecting it from harm,
ever watchful for the Terrorist who might attack.
Last night my wife and I watched the movie
Enough on DVD. It was about a battered woman running from her
violent husband who threatened to kill her if she didn't give him their
daughter. Her friend told her, "You have a divine right to
protect your siblings from harm."
I believe that is equally true for
women and men. To negotiate for peace without a fair
representation of women at the negotiating table leaves great gaps in the
final resolutions. Men are myopic in their vision,
limited by their nature to want to "end it" and "get on" with living.
Women want the nest as clean as possible before the ink dries on any
negotiations, and the most vulnerable, the children, assured of a lasting
My passion for promoting the Pledge
of Vigilance speaks more to the genes of a woman than most men.
While men are more interested in protecting their children, women tend to
be as concerned about the children's children's children as they are their
own. Again, this is the "maternal instinct" at work, offering
more perspicuity than a man who wants to move on, and use his
hunter-explorer instincts to build castles rather than social systems that
endure over time.
While I tend to think in the present, my wife and
daughters think more forward than I. They look at the nest while I
look for the vultures who threaten it. I live in today, and
they live in tomorrow. It creates a balance and, often,
conflict. My instincts are to resolve the issue NOW and let
strings dangle. They prefer to trim the strings prior to capping the
Both of my daughters are
leaders in their fields--one is a federal special agent who works to keep
the streets of New York City free of those who would inflict pain and
suffering on the innocent and vulnerable; and the other is an activist for
peace and prosperity, working in the spiritual world of helping the
homeless and disenfranchised. One carries two 9mm Glocks, the
other a cross.
Chechen woman in
ruins of her home
In both cases they fight
the stigma of being a woman. Women's Voices in the
spiritual word are often muffled by a the male dominance--especially in my
one daughter's case where she is a Catholic, and the patriarchal Church
excludes women from its ranks. In law enforcement, my
younger daughter is a minority, working in a male-dominated world of
crime-fighting. Neither complain. Neither are radical in
their viewpoints, but both seek to find equality rather than disparity
when it comes to voicing their opinions.
I find it fascinating that when
I have major concerns about my life, I ask my daughters their opinions.
Their wisdom and foresight often shock me, for they can see things I would
never look at, never understand without aid.
In battling Terrorism with
Vigilance, I face a constant danger of being too "male." I'm a
former Marine with a lot of combat experience, and my first instinct to
resolve any issue is violence. It is fast and expedient.
Sometimes my negotiation skills reduce themselves to simple threats,
"either or I will..." While seemingly effective, such
approaches leave a pile of resentment and unresolved issues on the table.
America's warlords are
all men. Most nations are. Decisions to act are usually
made from the testicles rather than the uterus. The big
stick rather than the iron fist in the silk glove rules.
Since Vigilance requires
Courage, Conviction and Right Actions to the benefit of the children's
children's children, it would seem that until women's Voices are equally
represented in the planning and execution of conflict, or ending them, the
world will only have Band Aids on problems rather than "nesting
But the recent movement
toward more women in peacekeeping and peacemaking roles is another example
of the dawn of the Era of Vigilance. I believe it is also fueled by
the fact that many of the modern Terrorists include women, who, at the
opposite end of the peace pole, are just as committed to violence and
destruction as their counterparts are to peace and prosperity.
For the first time
women delegates in Kabul attend and vote at the Grand Council
Terrorists included over a dozen women willing to blow themselves up to
make their Voices be heard. Suicide bombers include women.
And, in my experiences in Vietnam, some of the most fierce of all warriors
I further believe that as the
Era of Vigilance grows, it will demand more women be part of its growing
tidal wave. Unlike a territorial war where victors attempt to
control the borders of their conquests, Terrorism is amorphic, a shapeless
kakistocracy whose only government is the mindset of its members.
If those members include women, the power of Vigilance has a chance of
creeping into their marrow, to ring alarms in their wombs and cause them
to think ahead to the future of the children while their male counterparts
remain stuck in the here and now.
In history, women
have the power to stop war. In
413 B.C., Aristophanes, the most inventive comic dramatist of ancient
Greece, mounted his latest in a series of plays exposing the folly of war.
Its fiery heroine Lysistrata (meaning "releaser of war") called together
not only the women of Athens but of Sparta, with which Athens had long
been at war. What she proposed left the women initially aghast --that they
should refuse to have sex with their husbands and lovers until the men
made peace. In the play, the women are victorious.
Twenty-four-hundred years later,
Vigilance rather than sex is the bargaining tool. But the goal
is the same--peace. Or, at least a more secure peace
than one negotiated by a singularly male-dominated peacemaking team.
I'm hopeful the Global Peace
Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders will evolve into the
Mothers of Vigilance Global Peace Initiative, and join with equal force
the Fathers of Vigilance Global Peace Initiative.
It will all begin by starting
with a Pledge of Vigilance, one that comes from the Eagles of
Vigilance who can see both the present and the future of the
children's children's children, and not just their own reflections.
Minutes Of Terror/Fame
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