Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mum's war

Motherhood does funny things to you. Last night more bombs were dropped on Gaza. Before I had a child, I would listen to reports of the world’s daily horrors with a vague sadness, suitably horrified, and always glad that my loved ones and I lived in the comparably safe UK.

By Ajai Shukla, uploaded by User:Sniperz11,
via Wikimedia Commons
Now every atrocity gives me a physical jolt. It's a kick in the stomach, as I look at my beautiful, well-fed and safe baby, and imagine being a mother who can’t keep her children fed and safe. It’s a feeling of panic, deferred.

Being a mother in Gaza, Syria, Sudan, and all the others doesn't bear thinking about.

Men at war

Wars, particularly territorial squabbles, are something men do. They often do it in the name of their women and children, but it is primarily about them. 

Meanwhile, women pick up the pieces: struggle to feed and care for their children, protect them from whatever form of violence threatens, and provide for their families while men are away fighting or getting killed in the wars they never wanted them to fight in the first place.


Women at war

That’s not to say women never initiate or take leading roles in wars – Margaret Thatcher took the UK into the Falkands, and I’m sure there are other examples. But she was a woman operating in a men’s world and, as such, she acted as a man would in her situation.

What would the world look like if it were run by women? Probably just a different kind of awful. Maybe we’d have invented the stiletto heel but not the wheel.

I don’t really want a world run exclusively by women. But I reckon if we had a world that was truly run jointly by men and women - real equality, in other words - then we really would have fewer wars, which would mean fewer babies and children suffering and dying from living in areas of conflict. And fewer mothers who have to stand by and watch that happen. 

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