by Jerry Alatalo
hen three Nobel Peace Prize laureates come together for an interview, you know it’s a special occasion. Mairead Maguire was awarded the Prize in 1976 – the youngest recipient up to that point, she was 30-years old – for her efforts to bring peace to her native Northern Ireland. Jody Williams received the 1997 Peace Prize for her efforts to ban land mines globally, and Leymah Gbowee received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for helping to end the second Liberian Civil War in 2003.
The phenomenon of women becoming active for peace is nothing new, as the three women were in the Hague for a ceremony unveiling the statue of Dr. Aletta Jacobs, who in 1915 as World War I was ongoing organized the International Congress of Women calling for world peace. During their short interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now some challenging words were said on America’s militarism, and one is left wondering if the women will become invited to talk before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee any time soon.
Most reading these words likely believe that eventuality is a long-shot at best, but, after listening to the interview and the clear sincerity coming from the women, if they aren’t invited to appear before Congress it’s surely missing, first, any chance for repairing America’s reputation as a warring nation (these women are Nobel Peace Prize laureates!), and second, a great opportunity for learning peace. Again, two of the three Nobel Peace Prize laureates – Mairead Maguire and Jody Williams – directly challenged America’s militarism.
Mairead Maguire – after commenting on the need for a change of global consciousness and deciding we aren’t going to kill each other anymore, how the news media reports the world is falling apart, that 99% of the world’s people don’t want to kill each other, and that governments take us to war but we don’t want it – said:
“I would challenge the American government, because I think the American government’s policies are totally wrong. Their approach of going after militarism and war, and bombing countries is uncivilized, illegal and absolutely dreadful in the 21st century. So, I do believe that America has a moral and ethical responsibility to the world to listen to… the people in the world (who) want peace. Everybody has a right to peace. They can do it through dialogue and through negotiation, and let’s give peace a chance.”
“Of course we can change the world. Sometimes, as Mairead said, when we look at that, when I look at my own country – I’ve been fighting the U.S. foreign policy since Vietnam, my first protest, 1970, University of Vermont. But, change is possible, and, because I believe, like Mairead, the majority of the people of the world are sick to death of this, and we are starting to stand up and say no. We’re starting to challenge, and not accept words out of one side of the face and the actions which are different. I never thought, unfortunately, I didn’t drink the Obama kool-aid. That man fired, authorized, more drone strikes in the 1st 3-months of his administration than George W. Bush did in eight years of office.”
“We have to, as Americans, I agree with her (Mairead), accept the responsibility that we have the most militaristic nation in the world, and take responsibility to stop it.”
Later, Mairead Maguire (1976) added:
“Well, you know America’s a great country, and Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the contributors to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and you have a wonderful constitution. But… revive your constitution and dedicate yourselves to international law. Be a peacemaker, not a war maker.”
With only a minute left, Jody Williams (1997) added:
“Women need to be involved in all aspects of peace and security.”
Finally, Leymah Gbowee (2011):
“Do one good thing every day that everyone else is scared to do.”
Let these great women talk to the United States Congress.
Isn’t it time to talk peace in Washington?
For more information visit: peacepeople.com
(Thank you to Democracy Now at YouTube)