Yesterday Italy, along with many other countries, celebrated Mother's Day. This too began as a peace movement, started by Julia Ward Howe in 1870. The proclamation is copied below.
Mother's Day Proclamation
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will 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, the 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 out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough 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 solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace, Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace 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.
Perhaps it is appropriate that Legato, an exhibition promoting education for peace, was started by a woman profoundly affected seeing all the graves of the young men at Cassino, who could only think, trying to hold back her tears, "each one of these young men had a mother". Out of the devastation of war we must build international bridges, strive for reconciliation when we remember the history, and honour those who died by working for peace.
Governments find all the money they need to go to war; peace movements ask for little in comparison. Women, you are voters and politicians. You can make a difference on mother's day and every day. Unite with other women, and like-minded men, and teach your children that education, tolerance, and the equitable distribution of resources is more important than military power. "Charity, mercy and patience" wrote Julia Ward Howe. These words are no longer in fashion. Let's bring them back again.
"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a cake stall to buy a bomber" (Author unknown).
Some might argue that historically some of the toughest politicians leading countries into war were women, but I would argue that the peace movement begins in the home, where the mothers have the most influence on their children.
My thanks go to blog writer Alison Sampson for her inspirational post Cake Stalls and Fighter Jets.
(Peace rose image and tea towel images from google images search, owners of the original images unknown).