My grandmother had a teatowel pinned to her kitchen wall with the slogan, “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” This is the logo of Another Mother for Peace, a group founded in 1967 “to educate women to take an active role in eliminating war as a means of solving disputes between nations, people and ideologies.” This mission, and the message, are (sadly) as important today as they were more than 50 years ago during the Viet Nam war.
There have been countless wars in the last 50 years, in fact there has never been a day when there has not been war somewhere in the world. The current war in Ukraine has really been going on since 2014, without much mainstream media attention. Conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Yemen, Myanmar, Sudan and many other places continue to simmer away whether they are given media attention or not. The west has cried out in horror at the Russian invasion of Ukraine more because it is on our own doorstep than because we are horrified by war. The truth is, war is not healthy for children and other living things, wherever in the world they may be.
My grandmother was a peace activist, she campaigned for peace, social justice and human rights throughout her life. She was constantly writing letters to politicians and engaging in direct activism – silent vigils on the streets, hanging banners over cliffs and staging dramatic walk-outs during political meetings. She was, and still is, an inspiration to me – as are all the mothers and other-mothers and not-mothers who each in their own way work for peace. In Russia, in the Ukraine, in Yemen and everywhere across the world, women must unite and work for peace.