Peace and stability must be at the heart of the global development agenda
This article was first published on 9th Sept 2013 - sadly, little has changed. I could simply amend the dates to 2023 and the year of the UN events and leave much ot the text, context and conflicts the same. The level of violence and conflicts not contained have escalated, the environment has not changed and sadly as humans beings it would appear, neither have we. So I am not changing it, re-writing or recycling it. It stands as it did 10 years ago. Testament to a moment reported. What will have changed are the faces in the photo. How many of them I wonder are still here? What have we done, to help them? The axis of the world is turning on so much instability and peace so precarious that the faces in the next photo could so easily be ours.
9th September 2013
Every minute, someone dies from armed violence somewhere in the world (pdf) according to human rights groups and peace campaigners. Though the number of international conflicts has decreased in recent decades, achieving lasting global peace remains an elusive goal.
Next week, world leaders will gather at the UN headquarters in New York to discuss, among other topics, a new global development agenda. The body's eight millennium development goals, which include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, expire in 2015, giving UN member states the opportunity to shape the future of development. They also have the chance to position peace and stability at the centre of the debate.
In countries marred by conflict and disaster, development tends to focus on promoting economic growth and progress in specific social sectors such as health and education. While essential, fundamental issues for lasting peace and stability, rule of law and justice, good governance, social cohesion, economic and environmental sustainability, are often left at the margins.
If we continue with the current model, the already costly global and local implications will increase. We are see rises in the recurrence, longevity and diffusion of conflict; the incidence and severity of disasters, degradation of the environment, depletion of natural resources, transnational crime, volatility in societies previously characterised as stable, financial crises and various forms of inequality. We seem to fail to see it seems as that these trends are all interconnected.
At the UN development programme (UNDP), where our mandate directs us to respond to crises and support long-term progress, it is our experience that sustainable development is tied to the advancement of lasting peace and stability.
To my surprise, I often hear arguments against including peace and stability in a new global development agenda. One of the most common of these arguments is that building long-term peace and stability is separate from the work of long-term human development. In fact, peace and stability do not fall outside the boundaries of development rather the two must go hand in hand.
Violence not only claims lives, but also unravels the very fabric of society, leaving schools and hospitals destroyed and a devastated population suffering the physical and psychological toll. Nine out of ten countries with the lowest Human Development Index have experienced conflict within the past 20 years and about 40% of fragile and post conflict countries relapse within five to ten years.
Investing in peace, stability and transparent and accountable governance, is fundamental to long-term development and prosperity. In Ghana, once known for political instability, military coups and violence, nationally led efforts with international support to address inter-ethnic tensions and promote dialogue across all sectors of society has paid off.
Ghana boasts 25 years of stability, four peaceful elections and has achieved significantly larger and more rapid increases in its human development index (HDI) than predicted for countries at a similar level of HDI value in 1990.
Another argument I often hear is that mixing peace and security efforts with development work can compromise national sovereignty. The reality is that early action to address the root causes of crisis, such as social inequality or low access to justice and security, is key to preventing brewing tensions from escalating into full-blown conflict. Waiting for the security council to intervene under "exceptional circumstances" may prove to be too late for many thousands of people.
In today's world of social media and instant connectivity, ideas and violence spread like wildfires. One final, dramatic and tragic act of protest by a fruit seller in Tunisia ignited simmering tensions across borders in the region fuelling rage and desperation.
The uprisings that followed were a reflection of tensions and social and economic inequalities that had been beneath the surface for years. Had an alternative development pathway based on inclusive growth and the rule of law been followed, the outcome could have been different. Isn't it aleast worth trying?
Some also argue that we cannot work effectively towards these goals because peace and stability cannot be measured. Though our experience with measuring progress against these outcomes is more limited than our experience with measuring progress towards socioeconomic outcomes, the fact that they are measurable is beyond dispute. A plethora of initiatives, tools and mechanisms exist for the purpose of identifying and measuring conflict, and violence-prevention outcomes, including within the UN organisations.
In Timor-Leste, for example, when returning refugees and internally displaced people destabilised the country's fragile peace between 2007-09, the UNDP and its partners trained community mediators to decrease tensions around land ownership and helped the government to establish a department for peace-building. Up to 13,000 families were able to return peacefully to their homes by 2010.
To evaluate these and other results, UNDP tracks success in terms of milestones that a country achieves – from accepting the need for development and conflict prevention to including such prevention (pdf) within national policies.
While armed violence and conflict continue to take lives, destroy infrastructure and deplete employment opportunities, their most destructive force lies in derailing states and societies from their long-term development goals and prospects for a better future. During the forthcoming discussions surrounding the next global development framework to succeed the millennium development goals, world leaders must work together to include peace, and put good governance and stability at the heart of the debate.
Looking for Elsie
Ingrid Stellmacher leaving Carteret Harbour
In the early hours of 11th August 1948, two lovers stole a 12-foot dinghy from Carteret harbour in northern France and rowed
14 miles through rough seas to Jersey. The wooden boat bore the name ‘The Elsie’ and the name of her builders who were English:
J Husk Jnr of Wivenhoe.
Eight years later those lovers would become my parents and the story of my father’s promise to come back for my mother when the war
ended, and his 14-hour battle with that stretch of water’s unpredictability, one of the most dangerous tides in the world, became
part of our history and their strenght our legacy.
Sixty-eight years later, I made that same journey my parents did. What took my father 14 hours though to row, took us barely 2 hours in a Rib,
and Jersey’s Rowing Club’s competitors, just over 3 hours with a 3 man crew in their races across the same waters. My father’s battle to navigate
Jersey’s treacherous rocks and unforgiving tides that night, to stop the boat from being pushed further off course and out into open sea, was
one my mother was convinced they wouldn’t win at times.
“I saw blood trickling from the corner of his mouth” She recounted. “He so was tired, the tide was so strong, the waves so high, and I thought
that’s it! After everything we’ve been through we're going to die here!"
But my father's metal battle with the tides and his own exhustion won through and I have often thought about 'The Elsie’s' part in that journey. How she came to be there that night and who the woman the boat was named after was. For while Elsie appeared at the right time on the righ night for my parents to make their escape it was also Elsie’s presence that betrayed them, alerting harbour authorities of her secret arrival on the island. Having made it to the last piece of land possible before overshooting Jersey altogether, my parents came ashore on a small rocky inlet at Vicard Point near Bouley Bay. From there the only way out is up. Forced to abandon Elise in full view, they scaled the Point’s dangerously steep cliffs and made the 5 kilometres into St Helier. From the moment they left Elsie the authorities began to search for spies arriving illegally on the island rather than lovers looking for sanctuary, to marry and start a new life. A life that would eventually lead they hoped
to England and settle amongst the British for whom my father had spied for during the war.
Trapped on the rocks where my parents abandoned her, Elise, pounded by the waves, broke up, and all that remained intact when she was salvaged were her ores and pieces of her that revealed her name and builder - not a French boatbuilder as expected along with the name Elsie, decorated with a blue star either side. An afterthought added later perhaps?
John Collins, a key member of Wivenhoe’s History Group in Essex and authority on maritime history, tried tracing a boat named Elsie built
by J Husk & Sons but drew a blank.
‘It’s possible she had been built by Husk’s but not the yacht itself.’’ Explained John.
“Husks only built boats and dinghies for vessels that they hadn’t built themselves, often as replacements, and mostly for yachts and
He did find one boat named Elsie though, last registered to a Mr Albert Glandas, fils, in Havre. Could this be Havre-de-Pas in Jersey?
The Elsie registered to Glandas was built in 1875 but John couldn’t trace her beyond 1899. That she would have survived the war years
and ended up in Carteret 51 years later is unlikely.
Peter Hall, Chairman of the Wivenhoe History Group, revealed that a fishing smack by the name of Elise was well known in Wivenhoe,
owned and raced by Friday Green, who won the America’s Cap and already detailed on Wivenhoe’s History website.
Could it be the name Elsie was recorded incorrectly by the authorities when wrting up the report and was really a second generation Elise from Wivenhoe? The builder after all is recorded as J Husk Jnr, not J Husk & Sons?
Is there someone out there with clues about the boat, or the name of the lady she was named after?
And my parents? They were spotted at sea heading towards Vicard Point the same afternoon they beached Elsie. Quickly found, the boat made headline news
in Jersey’s Evening Post, prompting extra police activity on the island which unlike mainland Britain, had been occupied by the Germans during the second World War.
Three days later, anxious that they would ultimately be identified and arrested anyway, my parents, exhustated after their incredibly journey, having stolen a boat, entered the island illegally and made false declarations when registering at a bed and breakfast, gave themselves up. They were arrested, held in custody, and 4 days later after a court hearing, deported to a jail in France having been banned from going back to Jersey for five years.
The mystery of Elsie remains unsloved but my parents fight for how and where to be together was solved. They made it to England where they married later that year, in the beautiful county of Kent, after 43 love letters, 1 promise and 9 years in between. They were together 59 years.
They never returned to Jersey.
Nelson Mandela in his own words
Rather than write the about the loss of this very special man, I felt it better to leave you with his own words on how he led what was a very
Nelson Mandela's ability to use words to breathe life into his cause was one of his most powerful weapons in the struggle for black equality in South Africa.
Here is a selection of some of his most compelling quotes.
Conclusion of his three-hour defence speech at his 1964 trial for sabotage and treason:
"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve.
"But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Letter from Robben Island, April 1971:
"There are times when my heart almost stops beating, slowed down by heavy loads of longing. I would love to bathe once more in the waters of Umbashe, as I did at the beginning of 1935."
On his time imprisoned on Robben Island (from Nelson Mandela's autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, 1994):
He was 46 when he was sent to prison
"I found solitary confinement the most forbidding aspect of prison life. There is no end and no beginning; there is only one's own mind, which can begin to play tricks. Was that a dream or did it really happen? One begins to question everything. Did I make the right decision, was my sacrifice worth it? In solitary, there is no distraction from these haunting questions.
"But the human body has an enormous capacity for adjusting to trying circumstances. I have found that one can bear the unbearable if one can keep one's spirits strong even when one's body is being tested. Strong convictions are the secret of surviving deprivation; your spirit can be full even when your stomach is empty."
Message read by his daughter Zinzi to a rally in Soweto in 1985:
"In the name of the law, I found myself treated as a criminal... not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for, because of my conscience. No-one in his right senses would choose such a life, but there comes a time when a man is denied the right to live a normal life, when he can only live the life of an outlaw because the government has so decreed to use the law.
"The question being asked up and down the country is this: Is it politically correct to continue preaching peace and non-violence when dealing with a government whose barbaric practices have brought so much suffering and misery to Africans? I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I, and you, the people, are not free. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated. I will return."
Describing the day of his release from prison in 1990 (The Long Walk to Freedom, 1994):
"The cameras started clicking like a great herd of metallic beasts. I raised my right fist and there was a roar. I had not been able to do that for 27 years and it gave me a surge of strength and joy."
On fatherhood (The Long Walk to Freedom, 1994):
"Perhaps I was blinded to certain things because of the pain I felt for not being able to fulfil my role as husband to my wife and father to my children.
"It seems the destiny of freedom fighters to have unstable personal lives... to be the father of a nation is a great honour, but to be the father of a family is a greater joy. But it was a job I had far too little of."
On prison (The Long Walk to Freedom, 1994):
"A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness... The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity."
On reconciliation (on acceptance of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with then President FW de Klerk):
"The value of our shared reward will and must be measured by the joyful peace which will triumph, because the common humanity that bonds both black and white into one human race will have said to each one of us that we shall all live like the children of paradise...
"But there are still some within our country who wrongly believe they can make a contribution to the cause of justice and peace by clinging to the shibboleths [dogmas] that have been proved to spell nothing but disaster.
"It remains our hope that these, too, will be blessed with sufficient reason to realise that history will not be denied and that the new society cannot be created by reproducing the repugnant past, however refined or enticingly repackaged."
Presidential inauguration speech, 10 May 1994:
"We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall without any fear in their hearts, assured of the inalienable right to human dignity, a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world."
"Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another... The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement. Let freedom reign. God bless Africa!"
Address to international Aids conference, Durban, July 2000:
"In the face of the grave threat posed by HIV/Aids, we have to rise above our differences and combine our efforts to save our people. History will judge us harshly if we fail to do so now, and right now.
"Let us not equivocate: A tragedy of unprecedented proportions is unfolding in Africa. Aids today in Africa is claiming more lives than the sum total of all wars, famines and floods, and the ravages of such deadly diseases as malaria. It is devastating families and communities; overwhelming and depleting health care services; and robbing schools of both students and teachers...
"Aids is clearly a disaster, effectively wiping out the development gains of the past decades and sabotaging the future... Something must be done as a matter of the greatest urgency."
Message to the Live 8 concert in Edinburgh, July 2005:
"Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times... So much of our common future will depend on the actions and plans of these leaders. They have a historical opportunity to open the door to hope and the possibility of a better future for all...
"Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all humanity now to rise up."
A rare public rebuke for Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, speaking at a dinner in London to mark his 90th birthday:
"We watch with sadness the continuing tragedy in Darfur. Nearer to home we have seen the outbreak of violence against fellow Africans in our own country and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighbouring Zimbabwe."
At the opening of the 2010 World Cup:
"The people of Africa learnt the lessons of patience and endurance in their long struggle for freedom. May the rewards brought by the Fifa World Cup prove that the long wait for its arrival on African soil has been worth it. Ke nako [It is time]."
On his public image (from Mandela's second autobiography, Conversations With Myself, 2010):
"One issue that deeply worried me in prison was the false image I unwittingly projected to the outside world; of being regarded as a saint. I never was one, even on the basis of an earthly definition of a saint as a sinner who keeps trying."
In our right minds?
57th Commission on The Status of Women
'In our right minds', was the perfect title for a session at this year’s United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Not because it’s the name of Dale Allen’s one woman show, the main speaker at our event, but because who in their right minds, of all the delegates, NGO’s and agencies attending one of the largest international forums in the world, could possibly think that we can actually ‘prevent’, never mind ‘eliminate, violence against women and girls in our lifetime? The title theme of this year’s 57th meeting of the Commission?
I had the privilege of being the opening speaker at the session, sponsored by Montage Initiative; a US based organisation working to create sustainable livelihoods for women in India. The participants purposefully reflected not only a range of expertise and experience but also the rarity of wisdom and youth as well as generation and gender; constituencies that must work together to help counter violence against women and girls.
The wisdom manifested itself in the form of 78 year-old veteran activist and scholar, Dr Mohini Giri, former daughter-in-law of President V Giri of India, and Head of India’s Guild for Service. Dr Giri, who saw first hand the affects of widowhood in India when her own father died, and who was later herself widowed, helped found the Guild in 1972 and works tirelessly to improve the lives of widows in her country. Numbering a staggering 42 million, many of them barely surviving and living on the streets, widows find themselves betrayed by a culture commonly lacking in compassion for its women, in a country beset by corruption that is flagrantly active at all levels of society and governance.
Dr Mohini Giri - Head of Guild for Service, India. Photo by 'ar'
Dr Giri’s tiny bespectacled frame belies her huge passion and commitment, undiminished with age, that bubbles just beneath the surface. Her opening words, that ‘patriarchy breeds poverty’, were received with nods of agreement from an equally distinguished audience and her sense of urgency for action only increased with the announcement that she had just delivered a declaration to the UN, requesting the rights of widows be formally recognised as a United Nations Mandate.
Violence against women and girls has for so long been firmly framed as a ‘woman’s issue’; a messy subject like menstruation; a taboo that no one wants to talk about, with some cultures in silent collusion more than others. But the thing about women’s issues is that they are for the most part, more about men than they are about women. Particularly in cultures where men have absolute power over women and corrupted that partnership absolutely in many cases, disastrously holding those cultures back socially, emotionally and economically. Even in the case of FGM, where it is mostly women themselves perpetrating and perpetuating the practice, it is with men in mind, marriage, and the need to be identifiable as a virgin, that young girls continue to be subjected to this ritual. Who will want them otherwise?
Which is why it was essential to have a male voice on our panel to provide that additional perspective to the discussion. That voice was the UN permanent representative to El Salvador, Ambassador Carlos Enrique Gonzales-Garcia, and this year’s Vice President of the Commission. For how can we talk seriously about ‘women’s issues’ without including men?
UN Per Carlos Garcia-Gonzales, El Savlador. Photo by 'ar'
The lack of men on other panels in some of the sessions I personally attended was disappointing. In an early one on eliminating violence, where increasing political accountability and addressing structural violence was high on the agenda, not a single man was on the panel comprising senior UN agency heads and government ministers from around the world. As heartening as it is to see women heading these organisations and holding ministerial posts, when the obvious absence of men on the panel was raised during question time by a young man working for the UN himself, the response from the chair was decidedly brief and vague, as if wrong-footed by a question that was totally unexpected.
Self deprecating and with equal amounts of humility and humour, Ambassador Garcia animatedly spoke about the need for accountability, calling for an end to impunity in cases of violence against women and the need to work together. Not just top down, through political policy, or bottom up through social movements but sideways as well. Integrating and collaborating with one another, with organisations dovetailing to create a whole approach to issues as never before. Not just soft power in action but the judicious use of smart power in pulling it all together.
Garcia is a huge advocate of El Salvador’s ‘City of Women’ Initiative - Cuidad Majure in Spanish, supported by the country’s first lady, Vanda Pignato, who is also the Secretary for Social Inclusion. It is more than the usual one-stop social shop for women providing refuge from violence, however. City of Women will provide childcare, police support, help and education on legal and civil rights, job training and a raft of other meaningful integrated services.
The plan is also to provide entrepreneurship opportunity as never before, creating confidence as well as competence. Crucial components for what could create a huge cultural shift regarding women if this initiative’s success equals its ambition. And with these centres set strategically around the country, connecting holistically with one another, not only will whole communities benefit from such collaboration, but the whole country as they form a new social, emotional and economic infrastructure driven by women. This is not just an initiative with guts but one with heart and a model to be applauded, adapted and adopted around the world.
And finally at the other end of the generation scale, the youth and enthusiasm on the panel came from the Co-Chair and founders of Montage Initiative’s Student Advisory Board, Klevisa Kovaci and Sharon Pedrosa. These young stars from Fairfield University are no longer leaders in the making for they have already demonstrated they are leaders and role models, working for the empowerment of young women not simply as a cause to champion but as a way to convert energy and ideas into action.
Klevisa Kovaci & Sharon Pedrosa, Chair & Co
Founders, Student Advisory Board, Montage Initiative. Photo by 'ar'
With polished professionalism Klevisa and Sharon spoke about creating a ripple affect of change through the board they had founded and model they created for youth empowerment. They outlined the need for other organisations to be more aware of how educational opportunities in Service Learning can reap real dividends for both parties if viewed as an investment and how they themselves had benefited from Montage’s student programme.
Given meaningful mentorship and responsibility, rather than filing and making tea, these young women had become not only mentors themselves to their peers but real decision makers in their own right. Along with several other Montage student colleagues, they had organised and co-ordinated most of the UN event themselves and even the camera crew filming the session were students from another university. Showing just what young men and women can do given the opportunity to collaborate and shine.
As Sharon put it, “Only a year ago we visited the UN during the Commission on the Status of Women for the first time with Montage and now look at us; we’re actually speaking here! And if we can do it, anyone can do it”.
Last in the line up came Dale Allen. Reading with authority as she stepped slowly through the room, her entry was theatrical. Wearing a full-length black cape she read from a large book, quote after quote, of different religious text from around the world that collectively demonised and denigrated women throughout history. The largely unsuspecting audience were spellbound by her delivery as much as stunned to hear women officially declared not only worthless but also evil across the continents, through the ages and in every holy book.
Dale Allen - Photo by 'ar'
Travelling quickly but seamlessly through time, Dale recounted how women of early cultures were honoured as goddesses, protectors and co-creators. How their fall from grace began slowly with the advent of the alphabet, writing and reading. The different way in which the brain needed to process this new form of information was also the beginning of its rewiring and the great switch over; like going from analogue to digital. From previously, image orientated right brain soft skills of creativity, empathy and intuition associated with feminine qualities, to left brain, hard analytical skills of logic, reasoning and linear thinking; traditionally attributed to male ways of seeing and being in the world.
Leonard Shlain, put forward the hypothesis of the alphabet as the ancient female nemesis, in his book the ‘Alphabet versus the Goddess’ published in 2004, in what he describes as the 'conflict of word over image'. As a consequence the written word became the God of all things; over symbols, sex and of course women. Dominating a world where feminine attributes had previously held the greater currency.
But technology and the keyboard is our saviour apparently and its widespread use in our offices, our homes and on the move, by both sexes, is activating left and right brain connectivity in a new simultaneous conversation as never before. Rewiring new areas of our brain and encouraging not only new pathways of connectivity but greater access to creativity and enabling men in particular, to see the world through new eyes. If the left brain/right brain theory holds validity then announcements from the scientific community last year that the human race had reached its evolutionary limit, as there is no space left inside our skulls for our brain to grow larger, then perhaps our brain rewiring itself is where the real action and evolution is; the sum being greater than its parts.
'The human race has reached its evolutionary limit'
The human race is now exposed to more information in a single day than our 15th century ancestors were exposed to in an entire year. But while the proliferation of ‘experts’ online makes more information available to the masses it does not necessarily make us wiser as a result. Information is simply knowledge. The wisdom lies in how you apply it. If Shlain’s theory is to be believed, not only is the use of our keyboards helping to balance out our brain but being bombarded by images through our TV’s, PC’s and hand held devices 24 hours a day maybe another contributing factor. Images being processed in the right, more ‘feminine’ part of our brain.
Dale ended her contribution with a heartfelt song about the long and lonely wait for the return of the soul; the archetype that is woman and the feminine, to an eruption of emotion and applause. Joanne Watkins, my close friend, colleague and CEO of Montage Initiative, had achieved what she set out to do; deliver a session on empowering women using different ways of engaging; through words, images and theatre and one that will be remembered for the unique why in which stories were told and issues were touched.
Memorable as it is however, in the time it has taken you to read this, somewhere in the world a woman has been raped, a child abused, and a life will have been broken forever. Against the backdrop of the cavernous collective wound of daily violence against women, that mankind continues to inflict on itself, what difference do all the statements, sharing and networking at a meeting of this magnitude make?
What can we take away from our own session and this year's Commission as a whole? What was clear, is that language and meaning is a key factor in both the sharing of best practice and its delivery. The shameful failure to agree acceptable conclusions at the end of last year's Commission was due to differences of language and terminology in the final draft document, which contained so many strike throughs and deletions it was rendered virtually incomprehensible. A repeat of a similar roadblock has thankfully been avoided this year.
'We want more mentors and less monsters'
Now more than ever we need smart, collaborative, strategic thinking and action if we are to succeed and making use of technology and big data in creative ways. Both as organisations, and in the use of our tools, approaches and resources from every possible avenue. Conventional and crazy; top down, bottom up and sideways. From left of field and right to the heart; from social media to individual effort leading to widespread co-operation at scale. Culture change comes through a number of different influences; including education, communication and imagination. Their effects converging in the mother of all tipping points when the 'hundredth monkey has joined the 99' and the timing is ripe for change. Most of all change comes when people have had enough. It is crucial for men to be involved in the culturally sensitive conversations needed at every level along with the concrete commitment at the top that is sadly lacking right now. We need more men to stand up and stand by us, as role models as well as change agents. We want more mentors and less monsters.
While introducing an additional perspective of difference between the sexes that could supposedly change mankind for the better if united, does pose an interesting hypothesis, the real meaning behind Dale's story is to help women understand and maybe even remember, that once upon a time it was different and that they must hold on to the hope that one day it will be again. This is what keeps us striving towards our common goals on the long road towards fighting violence against women and girls. We know that culture change is a long and complex process and that working together we can make a difference. The belief in that is part of why we have come. Not to just to share and learn together but to renew our hope together. For without that, our task surely feels insurmountable and we will have lost everything.
Poetically, hope comes in many forms. The ancient Greeks had a Goddess of Hope named Elpis, who alone stayed on earth to comfort mankind after all other spirits had fled. That the ancient Greeks made the quality of hope itself feminine is perhaps even more relevant in the present.
The Greeks had another Goddess named Nemesis. She is the Goddess of Retribution whose job it was to restore balance to the world. In order to do so, however, she had first to destroy it to pave the way for its rebirth. If we can't stop the worldwide epidemic of violence against women and girls soon, the perpetrators might beat Nemesis to it.
Elpis - Greek Goddess of Hope
Ingrid Stellmacher, 08/03/2013
Ingrid Stellmacher, 28/09/2012