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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Women's Action for Peace - An Invitation from Norma Field 「女の平和」1.17国会ヒューマンチェーン行動のお報せ(ノーマ・フィールド)

1月17日「女の平和」行動のご案内です。Facebook Page: See HERE. フェースブックはこちら
Please see below Norma Field's invitation to join the "Women's Action for Peace."


 
Dear Friends,

I wanted to let you know about an action planned for the afternoon of January 17, a week from this Saturday. It's the brainchild of a dear and respected friend, whose childhood years coincided with the war. Desperate from the events of last summer (passage of the state secrets law, for instance) and frustrated by mainstream media refusal to cover protest, she hit upon the idea of having women come together in the name of commitment to opposing war and encircle the Diet. Her inspiration is the Icelandic women's Redstocking movement--1975, when 90% of the women of Iceland took the day off from doing whatever they normally did, wearing red stockings. Did you know about this? I didn't. This will not literally be a "red stocking" day--they'll wear something red. Women who can't attend are organizing events in Nagasaki and Sendai (so far), and others will get together as they can and send in photos. Men are encouraged to put on something red in solidarity, too (and that gives you a chance to explain why).
 
They had a press conference on December 25. Tokyo Shimbun, Mainichi, Akahata, and Iwanami attended. Can't help thinking Asahi's absence is a sign of the times. Tokyo Shimbun and Akahata published articles with photos. Here's the facebook page, with 2 photos of the members present at the press conference at the top. You'll also get some of the atmosphere of the organizers. The yobikakenin span the generations and different orientations and affiliations--the arts, education, medicine, labor, antinuclear. A few are quite famous, but the point, of course, is to bring together as many women of all walks of life--and that this visual impact will puncture the increasingly stifling pressure not to express one's views--that this will be a beginning. (That happened, for a time, with the antinuclear movement.) 
 
I'm attaching a flyer and Japanese and English versions of the short statement, "Why Women's Peace." Do you feel some hesitation, precisely over that? I do, always. I'm recalling the experience of trying to get a statement signed by "women of the University of Chicago" opposing the Gulf War. Two reasons I thought of appealing to the women-- not surprisingly, it was the staff, clerical workers, overwhelmingly female, who had family members directly affected, and belonging to a self-identified group of leftist faculty, I knew there would never be agreement on wording, for starts, till the proverbial cows came home if I appealed to that sector. Some of the women faculty of course brought up the objection to maternalism and the historical role of women's collaboration in war, but all of them signed (only one refusal, a courteous one, probably because of identification with Israel).  
 
And I always think of the reasoning of Muto Ruiko (Fukushima): "If I emphasize action by women, it's not at all out of a wish to exclude men. Historically speaking, women have been subjected to intense discrimination and oppression, but in the present dog-eat-dog world, with primacy of the economy, it might be men who are placed at the front lines of oppression. In that sense, I think that women might still have a reserve of a different kind of strength." (from her book, Fukushima kara anata e, Otsuki Shoten 2012, pp. 67-68)
 
 Those of you in Tokyo, please go if you possibly can. Please help spread the word.
 
Yours,

Norma

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