Saturday, July 08, 2006


This article was sent to me recently. I think it is relevant in many respects. Mao Tse Tung said, "Women Hold Up Half the Sky." Women are the greatest untapped resource in the world. We are not screaming out to be "bra burning" feminists. We are asking that men and women work alongside one another as equals for the greater good of everyone. The V.Q.

By Roz Shepherd

I have heard Stephen Lewis speak several times, in person, on the radio and on videos. Each time, he inspires me to feel real rage at the injustices done to women and children. My ancient rage comes again to the surface. The rage I felt each time I worked in Africa with the street children, with the women. The rage I have felt throughout my life as a woman, when I have been disrespected and intimidated and devalued as a woman by men, even by other women. The rage I felt as a little girl when I was spanked again and again by a big strong man, or encouraged to wear cute little dresses and make- up. It all seemed like a huge conspiracy to keep me from being who I really was, and from accomplishing all that I was capable of.

In Africa the injustices were strangling, and I cried again and again. And often the rage spurred me on, to form an NGO, raise funds, build program after program to ‘save’ lives, change lives, etc. etc. But it was never enough, and it did little to affect a global conspiracy against the well-being of women and children.

In ancient times women in some cultures wielded power – spiritual power. It frightened the men to the point where they constantly tried to destroy the women. The witch hunts were only one example. Sometimes men were wise enough to recognize the importance and value of Woman’s spiritual power to heal, to resolve, to elevate, to bring love and harmony.

Now is the time, women of the world. We all know we have enormous spiritual power. We have felt it, seen it, we know it. It is familiar, it is amazing, and it is the only thing that will turn around the destruction happening now – the wars, ecological holocaust, genocides, AIDS, starvation, and most importantly, the torture of children.

I don’t need to explain to you what I mean by spiritual power. It has nothing to do with what religion you believe in, or what church you attend. It has nothing to do with groups, or culture, or race. It has to do with calling on your own inner wisdom. And the deep knowing that comes with being a mother, birthing a child, being in touch with the loving energy of the Universe, and the loving energy of Truth. It has to do with standing firm, speaking clearly with all the wisdom of all the generations of woman-hood. Having the courage to take control of your life, and saying “No” to anything that harms children, or that takes from you the right to live in safety. And it means standing strong to support all our sisters, all the other women who are holding bright lights for us to follow. And equality is not just a nice platitude. It doesn’t mean that women want to be the same as men, or take on the same tasks as men. It means that women have the right to have all the strengths and talents that are inherent in being female – and those are beyond measure! The reason they are beyond measure is because there is a component which is beyond this world – the spiritual component. We can understand the longings of the heart, the connection to the soul, and the depth of loving kindness. We can transform hate into love. We can transform sorrow into joy. We can heal the sick, and comfort the grieving. We do it every day, and we need to call on these gifts to overcome the hatred and destruction now happening.

Stephen Lewis is calling us into action. Enough is enough, and we have suffered too much at the hands of those who worship money and status and sex. Women can transform the world. Let’s get on with the job.

The first step is to get in touch with the deepest wisdom that resides deep in your heart and soul. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, and call on the loving energy with which you were born. Ask for guidance to know your next step in bringing the children into this safe, loving place. Ask what role you can play in creating a world of safety for women and children. Ask that each daily step, each moment-to-moment decision be based from this place . You will be called on to draw on your greatest well of courage, strength, grief, and joy. You will find new sources of energy. You will know that you are where you are meant to be in each moment, and that you have the power to change the world because it is all based on Truth, your own truth. You will find yourself turning away from the rules and impositions of the old ways, and you will find yourself creating new pathways for yourself and those around you. You will find that you have untold strengths and knowledge, based on humility, but with a power beyond measure. You will no longer listen to the small voices of politics, commerce, dogma, or even education and television. You will know that the ways of control used by the systems of government and the systems of the military have no bearing on your path for the well-being of the Earth. It is time for the women to call on this power, this ancient power that can bring forward what we are all dreaming of.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


This is an article written by Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN. I thought it was marvellously candid. He is correct; the UN has every reason to be envious of how the World's Cup brings people everywhere together, aware of each other's countries, and the skills of the players no matter where they come from! P.R.

Published: 2006/06/07

You may wonder what a secretary-general of the United Nations is doing
writing about football. But, in fact, the World Cup makes us, at the UN, green with

As the pinnacle of the only truly global game, played in every country by
every race and religion, it is one of the few phenomena as universal as the
United Nations.

You could even say it's more universal. Fifa has 207 members. We have only
191. But there are far better reasons to be envious.

First, the World Cup is an event in which everybody knows where their team
stands, and what it did to get there. They know who scored and how and at what
minute. They know who missed the open goal and who saved the penalty. I wish
we had more of that sort of competition in the family of nations.

Countries openly vying for the best standing in the table of respect for
human rights, and trying to outdo one another in child survival rates or enrolment
in secondary education.

We would like to see states parading their performance for all the world to
see, governments being held accountable for what actions led them to that

Secondly, the World Cup is an event which everybody on the planet loves
talking about - dissecting what their team did right and what it could have done
differently - not to mention the other side's team.

People sit in caf├ęs anywhere, from Buenos Aires to Beijing, debating the
finer points of games endlessly, revealing an intimate knowledge not only of their
own national teams, but of many of the others, too, and expressing themselves
on the subject with as much clarity as passion.

Normally tongue-tied teenagers suddenly become eloquent, confident and
dazzlingly analytical experts.

I wish we had more of that sort of conversation in the world at large.

Citizens consumed by the topic of how their country could do better on the
Human Development Index or in reducing the number of carbon emissions or new HIV
Thirdly, the World Cup is an event which takes place on a level-playing
field, where every country has a chance to participate on equal terms. Only two
things matter in this game: talent and team-work.

I wish we had more levellers like that in the global arena - free and fair
exchanges without the interference of subsidies, barriers or tariffs; Every
country getting a real chance to field its strengths on the world stage.

Fourthly, the World Cup is an event which illustrates the benefits of
cross-pollination between peoples and countries. More and more national teams now
welcome coaches from other countries, who bring new ways of thinking and playing.

The same goes for the increasing number of players who, between World Cups,
represent clubs away from home. They inject new qualities into their new team,
grow from the experience and are able to contribute even more to their home
side when they return.

In the process, they often become heroes in their adopted countries - helping
to open hearts and broaden minds. I wish it were equally plain for all to see
that human migration in general can create triple wins - for migrants, for
their countries of origin, and for the societies that receive them.

Migrants not only build better lives for themselves and their families, but
are also agents of development - economic, social and cultural - in the
countries they go to work in and in the homelands they inspire through new ideas and
know-how when they return.

For any country, playing in the World Cup is a matter of profound national
pride. For countries qualifying for the first time, such as my native Ghana,
it is a badge of honour. For those who are doing so after years of adversity,
such as Angola, it provides a sense of national renewal.

And for those who are currently riven by conflict, like Cote d'Ivoire, but
whose World Cup team is a unique and powerful symbol of national unity, it
inspires nothing less than the hope of national rebirth.

Which brings me to what is perhaps most enviable for all of us in the United
Nations: the World Cup is an event in which we actually see goals being

I'm not talking only about the goals a country scores. I also mean the most
important goal of all - being there, part of the family of nations and peoples,
celebrating our common humanity.

I'll try to remember this when Ghana plays Italy on 12 June. Of course, I
can't promise I'll succeed.