By Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
The human race as we know it may not survive if we continue to destroy one another through violence, including wars, domestic abuse and indifference to the pain and suffering experienced by tens of thousands of children who die each day because of preventable diseases.
The realities that surround killing and violence are daunting. There have been approximately 14,000 recognized wars since historians began recording such conflicts. The result has been 4 billion deaths of soldiers and civilians, who had little to do, if anything, with the wars that took their lives.
Recently at the peace seminar that is named “A World of Women for World Peace,” nearly two hundred residents of North Texas and some from around the country gathered in Dallas to search for ways in which we might bring an end to war and violence.
Many in the room were moved to tears as four globally recognized advocates of peace and conflict resolution shared their experiences and strategies to bring about peace in a world that seems bent on destroying its very soul.
Rais Bhuiyan, A Muslim who was shot in the face by a white supremacist shortly after the events of September 11, 2001, said that the dictates of his faith demanded that he seek clemency for the man who had been sentenced to death for attempting to kill him.
Mr. Bhulyan, a clerk in a store at the time of the shooting, permanently lost sight in one of his eyes, but said that executing his attacker would do little to cure the hatred that was in the man’s heart at the time that he pulled the trigger of the shotgun that he used.
Abigail Disney, a world acclaimed filmmaker, philanthropist and peace activist, said that women, who carry future soldiers in their bodies for nine months prior to birth, said that women have “special relationships” with peace.
Unlike men, who are often the first to call for the use of armed weapons when reflective dialogue could accomplish an end to bitter differences, women are asserting their voices for peaceful social change, Ms. Disney, the granddaughter of the late producer/director Walt Disney, said.
Her remarks were echoed by Judy Chen Hsieh, a communications mogul who lives in Taiwan. The two television networks that Ms. Hsieh founded are devoted to global peace, social change and understanding among people of various nationalities, ethnicities and religious beliefs.
The resolution of conflict and the end of wars will be enhanced if women were given a larger role in the pursuit of peace, said Dilshad Dayani, the founding President and CEO of the World Global Council. Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, who spoke via video from Saudi Arabia where she is among women peace leaders, said that Saudi woman must have a role in bringing peace to the region.
I believe that peace is achievable. That is the reason that I began the annual gathering 14 years ago. The violent wars and spirit-crippling conflicts that exist in just about every part of our world must end. They are equally damaging and shameful.
Women, however, must play a central role in the resolution of wars and disputes. We, more than anyone else, understand the unrelenting suffering, destruction and pain that war causes.