Zainab Salbi: Women, wartime and the dream of peace
There are two sides of war. There is a side that fights, and there is a side that keeps the schools and the factories and the hospitals open. There is a side that is focused on winning battles, and there is a side that is focused on winning life. There is a side that leads the front-line discussion, and there is a side that leads the back-line discussion. There is a side that thinks that peace is the end of fighting, and there is a side that thinks that peace is the arrival of schools and jobs. There is a side that is led by men, and there is a side that is led by women. And in order for us to understand how do we build lasting peace, we must understand war and peace from both sides. We must have a full picture of what that means.
…We need to understand that we cannot actually have negotiations of ending of wars or peace without fully including women at the negotiating table. I find it amazing that the only group of people who are not fighting and not killing and not pillaging and not burning and not raping, and the group of people who are mostly — though not exclusively — who are keeping life going in the midst of war, are not included in the negotiating table. And I do argue that women lead the back-line discussion, but there are also men who are excluded from that discussion. The doctors who are not fighting, the artists, the students, the men who refuse to pick up the guns, they are, too, excluded from the negotiating tables. There is no way we can talk about a lasting peace, building of democracy, sustainable economies, any kind of stabilities, if we do not fully include women at the negotiating table. Not one, but 50 percent.
…There is no way we can talk about the building of stability if we don’t start investing in women and girls. Did you know that one year of the world’s military spending equals 700 years of the U.N. budget and equals 2,928 years of the U.N. budget allocated for women? If we just reverse that distribution of funds, perhaps we could have a better lasting peace in this world. And last, but not least, we need to invest in peace and women, not only because it is the right thing to do, not only because it is the right thing to do, for all of us to build sustainable and lasting peace today, but it is for the future.
"There’s no such as thing as constantly being sad or happy. Life is the expansion and contraction, and learning to breathe through it is what makes the journey beautiful. The shadow of all these things — happiness, sadness — exists in light.”
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
― Albert Einstein
Nikolai Lutohin. Illustrations for Galaksija Magazine. 1970s.