Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ten minutes of thoughts

I'm a bit backed up on orders after the holidays (a good problem) so I'm giving myself just ten minutes to write about what's up and what's on my mind.

First, I'm a bit overwhelmed and sobered and excited all at the same time about what I learned when I attended/observed 2 days of a short-term class at Harvard for which Zan is CAing (course assistant--same thing as a TA--teaching assistant). I don't know the course name; the topic--the portion I heard--was about including women in governmental and community strategy and planning following war. I had the privilege, the honor, to sit with and meet and hear the stories of women from all around the globe who have experienced war and its aftereffects personally. The professor, Swanee Hunt, was the US ambassador to Austria during the time of the Bosnian war and was directly and personally involved in observing, negotiating, etc.

I haven't yet read the course materials, but I was able to listen to the lectures and discussions and watch two movies about the Bosnian war--one a documentary, I Came to Testify, about the women who came to The Hague to testify regarding the systematic rape of women as a weapon of war (for the first time rape was recognized and prosecuted as a war crime), the other a soon-to-be-released feature film, In the Land of Blood and Honey, also about rape in the Bosnian war written and produced by Angelina Jolie.

None of what I heard and saw was easy to hear or see. I've been extremely sheltered, and have sheltered myself, from what is happening today in other parts of the world. I've been comfortable being apolitical, excusing myself on the grounds that knowing bad things gives me anxiety and on the false belief that all politicians and politics are corrupt and that there's really nothing I can do to change anything.

I no longer believe that and I'm committed to following whatever path God takes me on to help make the world better. My first step is to educate myself about the recent and current situation of women in war ravaged areas in the world and about women in politics. I'm going to start with Zan's course reading and go from there. I also want to find a handful of other people who would like to read and discuss and research with me, people with a variety of experiences and opinions so we can debate and challenge each other.

Time's up, in fact I took an extra 10 minutes. Thinking takes time. :)


Talk of the Town said...

I would love to attempt to read along with you. My reading has severely dropped off, but what a valuable topic.

There was a girl I worked with up here who didn't believe that women suffered oppression in other countries. An idea that completely baffled me. I did learn later that she was being somewhat oppressed by her father, so maybe that's part of it.

Oh how I wish we lived in a fairytale world sometimes.

Megan said...

You are always amazing me. I love that you're taking this step. It isn't an easy one. I find myself keeping real life at a distance. Sometimes watching the news is more than I can stand. But I know it's important, and I'm proud of people like you, smart people, who want to take it in and make a difference.