Independence Day for All

by Julie on July 4, 2009 · 4 comments

On the 4th of July, Independence Day in America, we celebrate our independence and the birth of our country. In the spirit of independence for all, I want to celebrate the fire and passion of the soft power and green revolution in Iran…as well as in all places where people are fighting for their right to vote, their right to speak, their right to freedom of expression.

Soft Power is a term that’s been in the news since the Iranian election and the protests in its wake. In PeaceXPeace’s blog, Week X Week, Mary Liston Liepold’s post of July 1, Peace The Soft Power of Iran’s Green Revolution, describes soft power and the velvet revolution in Iran:

“Governments aren’t good at soft power; their feet are too big. It’s exactly the right size for citizens like us. Our Sudanese friend Dalia Haj-Omar reports seeing these words on a protest sign: “Calmness, Hope, & Patience: The Keys to a Green Revolution.””

Along with calmness, hope and patience, I would suggest determination, fire, wisdom and heart. Soft power is fueled by the deeply profound outrage and determination found in women, when they reach the point of “Enough is enough”. And, women all over the world are reaching this point.

In the patriarchy, women have been conditioned to be afraid to cross the line. In her incredible book, Healing Through the Dark Emotions, Miriam Greenspan speaks of this line that women dare not cross.

“Fear for women is not an enemy to be conquered but a warning track that says: Go no further. It is the demarcation line that points to the bounds of possibility and permissible behavior. If you’re a woman and you don’t use fear to limit yourself, there is an implicit threat of violence.”

The “powers that be” (in Iran and all over the world) don’t want the status quo upset, and women are conditioned to not upset the status quo. This has kept us in line, or I should say “behind the line” in the past. However, the women of Iran are no longer behind the line. The women in Iran, and many other parts around the world, are fighting with soft power every day. They have decided to cross this line of demarcation. They are willing to upset the status quo.

Here’s the question I am holding: What does it take to push us past the point of fear, past the point where we are no longer stopped by this conditioned implicit threat of violence? What does it take to say, “Enough is enough”?

Women’s second-class status here in the west is not as obvious as it is in many other cultures. It’s easier to keep a blind eye to it here. In Iran, and in other places where women have risen up to fight against their lack of rights, it is much more obvious. And, it’s obvious to women here in the West that other women around the world face much more serious, and consequential, attacks on their personhood.

How can we develop the solidarity necessary in order to galvanize us to stand with our sisters? How can we link with each other across the miles to help us to know we stand united? What kind of infrastructure do we need to support our solidarity?

Peace X Peace has women’s circles for just this reason, and other ‘Networks of Grace’ (a term coined by Andrew Harvey) are possible as well, through the Internet and other channels.

I’d love to know how you feel about this and what vision you might hold for sisterly solidarity in the service of birthing a new, profoundly loving and compassionate consciousness.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly July 7, 2009 at 5:27 am

Hi Julie,

Thanks for this beautiful post. And for encouraging the conversation with your readers on these important questions. President Obama and Secretary Clinton have been talking about Soft Power as a core tenant of the new administration’s foreign policy. I’m eager to see where multilateral movements in this direction might lead us…

Peace to you,
Molly
Molly Mayfield Barbee
Development Coordinator
Peace X Peace

Reply

Julie July 7, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Dear Molly,

Thank you for leaving your generous comments here. I so enjoy your Week X Week blog each week, and have shared it on Twitter and Facebook many times. My our conversation regarding soft power and women’s contribution to peace continue to flower and unfold, so that we all, one day, live in peace.

Blessings to you,

Julie

Reply

Rebecca July 4, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Hear hear!

“Women’s second-class status here in the west is not as obvious as it is in many other cultures. It’s easier to keep a blind eye to it here.”

Yes.

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