Saturday--October 26
, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 409
Women Of Vigilance

Seek Global Peacemaking Role

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, October 26 --I've long believed we will inch our way toward more world peace when more women sit around the war and peace tables.  That seems to be happening in a world of testosterone-based leadership both on the war and peace side of the equation.

     Historically, men wage war and men decide the terms of peace in its aftermath.   One of the most critical parts of repairing the damages of war is the negotiations to end such conflict.   Generally, men cut up the peace pie, often at the expense of women.
       To combat the male-dominated war and peace agenda, the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders was launched this past week at the United Nations.   Next month hundreds of delegates will convene at the UN's Geneva offices to forge a plan of action.

Ethiopian Women allowed to protest war for the first time

Reverend Campbell

       Reverend Joan Brown Campbell, the first woman to serve as spiritual leader and general secretary of the US National Council of the Churches of Christ recently told the Christian Science Monitor, "It's not that I think women magically have the answers and men are the problem, but I think adding women's Voices to the debate can only help.   Women tend to look at an issue from a more family-oriented stance, and it's in our nature to think about will happen to the children.  And most women--not all women--prefer peaceful alternatives to war."
      Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of the UN Development Fund for Women, the peace initiative's UN partner, said, "You need a diversity of views, for all the different actors.   People always expect the warring factions to sit down at the negotiating table, but you can't expect warlords to develop a formula for lasting peace if they're not addressing all of society's needs."

      Ms. Heyzer was referring specifically to the rapes in Bosnia, Rwanda and East Timor that left women to raise the children conceived from these assaults.    Also, in many countries subject to genocide, if a husband, brother or son is killed the woman loses any hereditary claim to property.

Woman in Zimbabwe could not inherit family home

       The women are also calling for "gender justice" from the new International Criminal Court for such crimes as systematic rape and sexual slavery, the Monitor reported.
       The European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last year called for greater roles for women in security issues, a step forward in balancing the Vigilance necessary to keep the home fronts of the world safe.
       My personal special interest in women as peacemakers goes deep into my marrow.   Nearly three decades ago when I was senior vice president of marketing for Century 21 International Real Estate, we were in the process of building the world's largest sales force out of nothing.   As a franchise, we started with zero base, and over the eight years from 1972 until 1980, grew to more than 7,500 franchises and boasted a sales team of over 100,000.
       Part of my plan as head of marketing was to include more women in real estate.   At the time of Century 21's inception, the women's liberation movement was building steam.   Previously, real estate had been a "male oriented" business.  
       We focused on recruiting women, insuring all our television ads showed a woman rather than a man in the forefront of the action of the sales process.   While the rest of the industry lagged far behind in women in its ranks, around 15-20 percent at the time, our company escalated to more than 50 percent.
       Women are far more effective and efficient negotiators than men in the majority of cases, for they have a foresight that extends well beyond a man's.   Perhaps it is part and parcel of their "maternal instincts," but they can see the future more clearly than most men.  
        A home is a social structure to a woman.   So is a nation.  It houses the generations, the children, and while men come and go, the women remain, living longer and shouldering the massive chores in the daily operation of the society.

        Real estate is just a microcosm of a nation.   Our company took the world by surprise, generating 11 percent of gross product sales of the $500 billion-a-year real estate market, and I attribute that to our focus on both women and children.  In our ads, we won awards for showing a bright young girl in a dollhouse playing salesperson.   She became an icon of the future--a feminine leader in a world of men.

Vigilant Bald Eagle

     Vigilance is ultimately about protecting the "nest."   It's what eagles do.   They soar above their nests where their eaglets chirp, protecting it from harm, ever watchful for the Terrorist who might attack.
       Last night my wife and I watched the movie Enough on DVD.   It was about a battered woman running from her violent husband who threatened to kill her if she didn't give him their daughter.   Her friend told her, "You have a divine right to protect your siblings from harm."
        I believe that is equally true for women and men.   To negotiate for peace without a fair representation of women at the negotiating table leaves great gaps in the final resolutions.    Men are myopic in their vision, limited by their nature to want to "end it" and "get on" with living.  Women want the nest as clean as possible before the ink dries on any negotiations, and the most vulnerable, the children, assured of a lasting peace.  
        My passion for promoting the Pledge of Vigilance speaks more to the genes of a woman than most men.   While men are more interested in protecting their children, women tend to be as concerned about the children's children's children as they are their own.   Again, this is the "maternal instinct" at work, offering more perspicuity than a man who wants to move on, and use his hunter-explorer instincts to build castles rather than social systems that endure over time.

Male 'Hunter-Warrior'

   While I tend to think in the present, my wife and daughters think more forward than I.  They look at the nest while I look for the vultures who threaten it.   I live in today, and they live in tomorrow.   It creates a balance and, often, conflict.   My instincts are to resolve the issue NOW and let strings dangle.  They prefer to trim the strings prior to capping the issue.
         Both of my daughters are leaders in their fields--one is a federal special agent who works to keep the streets of New York City free of those who would inflict pain and suffering on the innocent and vulnerable; and the other is an activist for peace and prosperity, working in the spiritual world of helping the homeless and disenfranchised.   One carries two 9mm Glocks, the other a cross.

Chechen woman in ruins of her home

       In both cases they fight the stigma of being a woman.    Women's Voices in the spiritual word are often muffled by a the male dominance--especially in my one daughter's case where she is a Catholic, and the patriarchal Church excludes women from its ranks.    In law enforcement, my younger daughter is a minority, working in a male-dominated world of crime-fighting.  Neither complain.   Neither are radical in their viewpoints, but both seek to find equality rather than disparity when it comes to voicing their opinions.
         I find it fascinating that when I have major concerns about my life, I ask my daughters their opinions.   Their wisdom and foresight often shock me, for they can see things I would never look at, never understand without aid.
         In battling Terrorism with Vigilance, I face a constant danger of being too "male."   I'm a former Marine with a lot of combat experience, and my first instinct to resolve any issue is violence.  It is fast and expedient.   Sometimes my negotiation skills reduce themselves to simple threats, "either or I will..."    While seemingly effective, such approaches leave a pile of resentment and unresolved issues on the table.
          America's warlords are all men.  Most nations are.   Decisions to act are usually made from the testicles rather than the uterus.    The big stick rather than the iron fist in the silk glove rules.
         Since Vigilance requires Courage, Conviction and Right Actions to the benefit of the children's children's children, it would seem that until women's Voices are equally represented in the planning and execution of conflict, or ending them, the world will only have Band Aids on problems rather than "nesting resolutions."
          But the recent movement toward more women in peacekeeping and peacemaking roles is another example of the dawn of the Era of Vigilance.  I believe it is also fueled by the fact that many of the modern Terrorists include women, who, at the opposite end of the peace pole, are just as committed to violence and destruction as their counterparts are to peace and prosperity.

For the first time women delegates in Kabul attend and vote at the Grand Council

        The Chechnya Terrorists included over a dozen women willing to blow themselves up to make their Voices be heard.   Suicide bombers include women.  And, in my experiences in Vietnam, some of the most fierce of all warriors were women.
         I further believe that as the Era of Vigilance grows, it will demand more women be part of its growing tidal wave.  Unlike a territorial war where victors attempt to control the borders of their conquests, Terrorism is amorphic, a shapeless kakistocracy whose only government is the mindset of its members.   If those members include women, the power of Vigilance has a chance of creeping into their marrow, to ring alarms in their wombs and cause them to think ahead to the future of the children while their male counterparts remain stuck in the here and now.

        In history, women have the power to stop war.   In 413 B.C., Aristophanes, the most inventive comic dramatist of ancient Greece, mounted his latest in a series of plays exposing the folly of war. Its fiery heroine Lysistrata (meaning "releaser of war") called together not only the women of Athens but of Sparta, with which Athens had long been at war. What she proposed left the women initially aghast --that they should refuse to have sex with their husbands and lovers until the men made peace.  In the play, the women are victorious.
        Twenty-four-hundred years later, Vigilance rather than sex is the bargaining tool.   But the goal is the same--peace.    Or, at least a more secure peace than one negotiated by a singularly male-dominated peacemaking team.
         I'm hopeful the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders will evolve into the Mothers of Vigilance Global Peace Initiative, and join with equal force the Fathers of Vigilance Global Peace Initiative.

       It will all begin by starting with a Pledge of Vigilance, one that comes from the Eagles of Vigilance who can see both the present and the future of the children's children's children, and not just their own reflections.

Oct 25--15 Minutes Of Terror/Fame

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