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Stop the War Now

To be Led by Happiness is a foreword written by the renowned author/activist Alice Walker. Walker is best known for her Pulitzer Price novel The Color Purple; she was also active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and continues to be involved in the movement still to this day. She is an avid spokesperson for the women’s movement, the anti-apartheid movement and the anti-nuclear movement. The foreword was initially intended as an essay to thank Medea Benjamin who had personally asked walker to write a piece about the Codepink led protest that was held on March 8th 2003 (Walker, 2005, p.

xiv). In the essay Walker speaks about the injustices and harmful consequences of war. Particularly of those led against impoverished third world countries such as Iraq. She makes an interesting reference to a statement that had been made by Albert Einstein that is that “The problems we face today cannot be solved by the minds that created them” (Walker, 2005, p. xii). Revealing how incredibly hopeless the situation truly is and to what extent we the current generation can actually make a difference.

But despite this depressing fact she feels that the individual can make a difference and that is why she has chosen to walk hand in hand with her fellow female activists to make a stand against the government who has decided that above all other recourse war was the best solution to the problem that has permeated in the region Iraq; a country where half the population are young children under the age of fifteen (Walker, 2005, p. xi). In the same book, Stop the Next War Now, where Walker has published her foreword another well known activist has also published a short essay entitled, We Must Separate the Warrior from the War.

Patricia Foulkrod, although not a writer, has been able through the lens of her video camera to capture some important images in order to demonstrate the harmful aftermath of war. Foulkrod, a well know documentary filmmaker, has revealed through her film, The Ground Truth: The Human Cost of War, that the Iraqi people are not the only ones to suffer at the hand of war. The American soldiers fighting the war on behalf of the United Sates are also being afflicted by the effects of war.

She exposes how soldiers suffer from an intense trauma one which creates a lifelong isolation (Foulkrod, 2005, p. 24). She argues that this isolation is fed by society’s indifference and as a result the isolation gives way to a sense of profound betrayal which has caused many soldiers to commit acts of violence, commit suicide, become homeless or become alcoholic (Foulkrod, 2005, p. 24). She suggests that women either as a close relative, friend or activist should try to help our soldiers by listening to them and giving them a voice.

The great struggles and obstacles overcome by women in the past one hundred years are outstanding. Not only have female activists given a voice to the “other” gender but they have also ensured that the rights of all fellow human beings be respected and upheld for all people. Women have led and are still leading to this day relentless efforts to make sure that justice be served for those who cannot speak for themselves or for those whose voices have been silenced.

The voices of women activist have been heard through various forms of communication, ranging from writing to filmmaking, allowing their perspectives to be represented as well as implemented within the mentality and understandings of mainstream society. They allowed for a different picture to be presented of what it meant to be a woman, to be a human being.

Their struggles have inspired many others to follow in their foot steps and have allowed new ideologies to break through the stereotypes imposed by closed minded cultural traditions.This is a heritage that is embedded with the history of the United States and one that all Americans can be proud of.

References

Foulkrod, P. (2005). We Must Separate the Warrior from the War. In Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans (Eds. ), Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism (p. 24-5). Maui: Inner Ocean Publishing. Walker, A. (2005). To be Led by Happiness. In Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans (Eds. ), Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism (p. xi-xiv). Maui: Inner Ocean Publishing.

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