Friday, February 21, 2014

Closing the Dignity Gap! – eradicating poverty

Learning & Integrating the Meaning of Human Rights in Our Lives for the Future of Humanity - Closing the Dignity Gap! – eradicating poverty
            Closing the gap of unfulfilled dignity is the most important initiative/challenge for the 21st century, for all women and men, youth and children, to learn, know and own human rights as a way of life so as to plan and carry out their lives guided by the holistic, comprehensive, interconnected and interrelated world view of human rights.   In a way, human rights are a secular “religion”, gives strength and richness to all cultures and religions… to all human hopes and aspirations...-- to break through the vicious cycle of humiliation.  --Away from POVERTY, POWER, FEAR and GREED. -- We must make human rights a counter-power to achieve full equality for all without any discrimination; to arrive at meaningful economic and social transformations; adopting positive creative choices.                                                                                                            
 With such knowledge as mentors, women stand to give real power to human rights; learning to identify the difference between symptoms and causes of inequality .—creating new realities.                                                                                                                  
Guided by the extraordinary vision and practical roadmap suggested by the human rights framework and applying it to our own ways of life, women –as mentors and organizers will gain real and meaningful equality!!  Shining the light on the new journey we should first  embark on  eradicating poverty, We as women, nurturing a new future by re-imagining, re-casting and re-defining the ultimate meaning our lives.                       
   Indeed, the most important challenge for humanity in the 21st Century is the learning and integration of the promise and dream of human rights as a way of life.. --belonging in society, in dignity and in community with others. We must recognize the humanity of others as our own. We must recognize women as full human beings with undeniable human rights, and for women to lead the discussions.                                         
    We must redirect our ways to effectively move horizontally to reach new horizons, achieving new dreams, new hopes, using an altogether new language, knowing that food, education, housing, healthcare and work at liveable wages are our inalienable human rights.  No one can take it away from us!!                                                                                                                                                                                   
            The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is indeed the most important promise for the 21st century; we must learn and mentor others to live by it de-facto, celebrating our dignity and genuine equality wherever and whoever we are. We must never again exchange our equality for survival and abide by the injustices some call ‘justice, to belong in dignity, in community with others, women and men alike. --whatever life form we choose  to abide by...--whatever historic memories guide our desires...--whatever culture gives us a sense of security and belonging!!.                                                                              
   Human rights close all gaps of unfulfilled dignity. Human rights are about inclusion; they extricate exclusion and provide a meaningful way to overcome poverty by and for the people who learn to claim irrevocably their human rights...-- knowing that poverty is an unacceptable, egregious human rights violation.   .                                      Learning about human rights as a relevant to our daily lives is the most important initiative for the multitudes in the 21st century. For millions to own, act and plan guided by the human rights framework is the way to go. This calls for an intense and ongoing process of learning for moving from charity to dignity .Whoever we are, we must build trust and respect and design a new future with full equality is at its center.                                         
    We have no other option!!                                                                              
                Human rights learning must become a never ending ongoing process. People  analyze how their own lives affect the lives of others and work to close all gaps of unfulfilled dignity.  In this process we reinvent our lives as we choose it to be. --Adding a new link to our past and to our historic memory. --Raising human rights to the level of a true way of life and self empowerment. .                                                                                    
                 No one should be left behind. We women --half of humanity --an acknowledged source of moral authority—need to assume the day-to-day mentoring of others towards integrating the holistic vision and practical mission of human rights as a world view, the absolute truth to guide to life. A covenant must be made, one that assures that the sanctity of life will never be desecrated or stepped on.                                              
            This step-by-step process of women mentoring communities is a sure way to acknowledge and achieve equality!!  --women and men learning to participate as equals in the decisions that determine our future, guided by human rights as a way of life.
            It is indeed the most forward-looking initiative of the 21st century.
            Join us in this effort. The future is in our hands! .

                                                                                                                                              Shulamith Koenig – Founding President 

People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning                                           ;
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Call for endorsement of this Feminist Declaration by February 25

La Declaración feminista, de la Reunión de Estrategia Feminista de organizaciones a mediados de febrero, presiona por un modelo de desarrollo que funcione para las mujeres y las niñas de todas las edades e identidades. Este modelo debe estar firmemente arraigado en las obligaciones internacionales de derechos humanos, la no regresión y la realización progresiva. Para ello es necesario revisar el paradigma actual de la seguridad de invertir fuertemente en la paz y la seguridad militarizada, respetando la laicidad del Estado donde se está consagrado en las normas nacionales; invertir el actual modelo de consumo excesivo y de producción a una de consumo sostenible, producción y distribución y asegurar un nuevo plan de sostenibilidad ecológica que aplica un enfoque de la biosfera y el respeto de los límites del planeta y la sostenibilidad ecológica.

Convocatoria para la aprobación de esta Declaración Feminista por los 25 de febrero , enviando un correo electrónico a , indicando el nombre completo de su organización, la sigla y el país.
Enlace directo a la completa Declaración 5 Página 2014 - Ampliar tamaño de letra.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

RISE, RELEASE, DANCE, and demand JUSTICE! On 14 February 2014

Last year, on 14 February 2013, one billion people in 207 countries rose and danced to demand an end to violence against women and girls.
On 14 February 2014, we are escalating our efforts, calling on women and men everywhere to RISE, RELEASE, DANCE, and demand JUSTICE!
ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community outside places where they are entitled to justice – courthouses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not.  It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories – politically, spiritually, outrageously – through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right.


Our stories have been buried, denied, erased, altered, and minimized by patriarchal systems that allow impunity to reign. Justice begins when we speak, release, and acknowledge the truth in solidarity and community. ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is an invitation to break free from confinement, obligation, shame, guilt, grief, pain, humiliation, rage, and bondage.

The campaign is a recognition that we cannot end violence against women without looking at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. Impunity lives at the heart of these interlocking forces.

It is a call to bring on revolutionary justice.

Begin to imagine what Rising for Justice looks like for you, your community, your city, your country.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Patriarchy Is an Institution to Be Outlawed

By Kamla Bhasin

In early December 2013 I received a call from Swaraj, a Karnataka wide network of women’s groups, fighting against violence and all forms of discrimination against women, to invite me for a function to felicitate six rural women who have challenged the oppression of widows in their families and villages. They asked me to speak on Patriarchy as a Superstition. I was amused by this formulation and asked them why this topic. They said the government of Karnataka was planning to bring a new law against superstition and they want patriarchy to be declared a superstition and outlawed. I smiled whole heartedly and said, WOW. What a great idea!! Once again I marveled at the wisdom of working class rural women. I wondered why in spite of such wisdom of rural working class women, so many media people think feminism is an urban phenomenon.

As I started thinking on this topic, I was convinced that patriarchy is indeed just a superstition with no basis in reality or in the law s of Nature. Actually, so many other man made systems like caste, racism etc. are nothing but superstition. The word for superstition in Hindi is Andh Vishwas., blind belief. Superstition is something which has no basis. It is illogical. It has no basis in natural law. Yet superstitions can be as powerful as patriarchy or caste system in spite of the destructive nature of these blind beliefs. One can once again see that if we repeat lies all the time they become the truth. Mother Nature gave women the special responsibility and power of carrying new life and caring for it by breastfeeding. Because of this I suppose, Nature made women biologically superior. For millions of years women and men lived together as equals. Because of their special power, women and Nature were worshipped all over the world. Then suddenly, a few thousand years ago when humans developed private property and weapons to control Nature, animals and other human beings, man created systems of class, caste and patriarchy. From equality human beings moved in to all kinds of inequalities and hierarchies mainly because of the development of private property.

Let us look at patriarchy more closely. Post patriarchal religions created all kinds of superstitious beliefs like Eve was created from Adams rib, Brahmins were created from the head of Brahma etc. Natural laws were put on their head. Men, who are unable to create from their bodies, were declared to be the Creators, the heads of households, the inheritors of private property and family names. Hinduism said only sons can do the last rites. Jainism said only men can achieve Nirvana. One lie after another repeated for centuries. Because they were lies, they had to be repeated everyday through rituals like karwa chauth, mundan for boys, kanya daan, father giving away the bride amongst Christians, four marriages and more property for men in Islam and I can go on and on.

As to the power of these rituals, even I did not wash my hair on a Thursday until I was 24. In our Punjabi community Thursday is called Veervaar, or brother’s day. We were told if sisters washed their head on this day, something bad will happen to their brother/s. Since I loved my brothers I followed this superstition until Feminism dawned on me. Of course there was never a day on which my brothers did not wash their hair for their love for me.

I think the time has come for us and our leaders to think and decide if we believe in our Constitution or in the superstition of Patriarchy or Caste. We cannot believe in both. Therefore, it is indeed time to remove these superstitions from our personal belief systems, from our families and communities and then declare them illegal. If we accept and respect the Indian Constitution, then words like Pati, Swami, Jajmana. Mijazi Khuda (all words for husband in different Indian languages), even the word husband which means controller, manager, domesticator (remember animal husbandry?)should be illegal and abandoned. Practices like Kanyadaan should be illegal and abandoned. Unless we do these things in our personal lives the Constitution cannot be implemented. This is why we feminists say the Personal is the Political.

Kamla Bhasin

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