Mothers Day, War and How the US Is Failing our Mothers and Children

May 8th, 2011 - by admin

Julia Ward Howe & & Iraq Veterans Against the War – 2011-05-08 00:51:32

Mother’s Day Proclamation — 1870
Julia Ward Howe

Arise then…women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts!

Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered 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 a 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 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.

Save the Children Releases Annual Mothers Index Report

(May 4, 2011) — In honor of Mother’s Day, Save the Children released its 12th annual Mothers Index report,”Champions for Children: Why Investing in Maternal and Child Health in Developing Countries is Good for America,” which rated 164 countries to determine the best countries in which to be a mother.

The rating was based on maternal and child mortality rates, women’s life expectancy, maternity leave, and women’s education. It found Norway to be the best place to be a mother and Afghanistan the worst.

In Afghanistan, women have an average life expectancy of 45 and approximately 1 out of every 11 (which was 1 out of 8) women dies during childbirth. Moreover, Afghan women are 200 more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than from bombings or bullets.

Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, stated, “Thirty years of war in Afghanistan has destroyed the health care system. Plus there is an acute shortage of clear water and sanitation and adequate nutrition in Afghanistan.”

Mary Beth Powers, chief of Save the Children’s Newborn and Child Survival Campaign, stated, “In many countries, vaccines, antibiotics, and care during pregnancy are hard to reach and as a result child and maternal death rates are very high. This Mother’s Day, world leaders should honor mothers everywhere by ensuring they can celebrate what they want most — healthy children. That means helping all families, moms and babies be within reach of a trained health worker.”

The United States placed 31st out of the 44 industrialized countries that were rated, primarily due to its higher maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rate in its highly populated inner city areas.

According to the report, women in the US are 7 times more likely to die during childbirth, especially women of color, than women in Italy or Ireland.

In addition, 8 out of every 1,000 children born in the US die before reaching age 5. Current maternity leave in Europe, which is paid, far surpasses the Family and Medical Leave Act in the US, which only provides for 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Media Resources:
Champions for Children: Why Investing in Maternal and Child Health in Developing Countries is Good for America 5/3/11;
Associated Press 5/3/11;
National Partnership for Women and Families Fact Sheet; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/9/10

To Our Mothers Who Bear the Brunt of War
Iraq Veterans Against the War

With deep gratitude, we honor mothers and women worldwide who are bearing the brunt of war. Whether it is our own mothers who stood by us in long-distance torment as we fought on foreign soil, or the mothers of the dead and wounded here as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan, we recognize that most often, it is the women — mothers — who are left to care for the broken bodies, souls, and societies left in the wake of war.

It makes sense that Mother’s Day originated as a pacifist call to action for women globally to end war. In 1870, Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. This proclamation was tied to her belief that women had a critical role to play in shaping a peaceful future for their societies.

Malalai Joya is one such woman today, a leading voice for peace and human rights in Afghanistan. Iraq Veterans Against the War had the distinct honor of hosting a dinner for Ms. Joya in New York City during her recent US tour.

Watch this short video of IVAW members sharing their feelings and inspiration during the dinner:

Happy Mother’s Day!

In Peace and Solidarity,
Iraq Veterans Against the War
PO Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved.
P.S. Special thanks to our friends at South Asia Solidarity Initiative and War Resister’s League!