Part 2: War Cries
Songs of Grief
home is a castle
14. PROVIDE AND PROTECT
Dear Sisters of the World :
We are deeply hurt. Many of us by men. Through that primal tragedy of remembered human history, the fall into Fear ; which has condemned the Strong to Persecute the Weak throughout the centuries, and ceaselessly to hurt each other also.
OUR WOMEN’S PAIN and anger and resentment, and envy of men’s obvious advantage, can disguise from us the extraordinariness of our utter difference from men.
Our distress can provoke us to want to enter their arena, dressed in combat garb, and challenge them to a duel. In fierce retaliation. Take up their own assault weapons.
Our distress can blind us to our own thousand beautiful colours, the colours of Women: which when loosed free become the whole spectrum of expressions : of grandmother, and pacifist, and tigress, and sacred dancer, and lover of men, and dependant young mother, and separatist, and lesbian lover, and sisterhood, and mezzo singer, and single parent, and girl-child, and nun, and matriarch, and warrior, and devoted daughter, and woman of vocation.
It can blind us to our essential one-ness of purpose in sisterhood :
– To broadcast the over-riding universal ethic and aesthetic
which is ours to see first,
as Women –
– Seers as we are : –
– to capture, and revere, this beautiful worldly Ethic;
and raise it high into the sights
of watching men :
The ethic to Provide.
To Provide through Love.
Provision : the primal rule of our women’s bodies, which directs them throughout their most fundamental physical task, of pregnancy and lactation, to rear safely the most vulnerable new of the next generation.
In famine our bodies will starve themselves to emaciation, to provide for a healthy growing foetus. Our breasts will draw the last scraps of protein from our wasted muscles, to deliver milk for a suckling baby.
It is a physical law of Life.
The unborn and suckling child will draw life from its hungry mother, near until she dies. For her body is, utterly, committed to Provide.
So, also, her mind : for she will undertake to die in combat too, voluntarily : to save her child. A fierce solo sacrifice : without retaliatory weapon, or mates alongside, or armies in formation. Just her own death : alone, in despairing defence.
The family woman in a state of Provision ~ of pregnancies, and her period of nurturing ~ is a Disabled woman. Her body is heavy, slow and unbalanced; her pace can be only as fast as the small child at her feet, or the halting progress of elder family members.
Her powers of community labour are limited by the high requirements of close Care, of Provision for those utterly dependent upon her.
Thus she in turn must be Provided For, and Protected. The mothers of a nation’s children ; and all those who care for children ; all carers of elderly, or disabled people ;
~ All Carers, Women and Men.
Provision and Protection – A man’s given task, for millennia
With a Spear to hunt with, in one hand.
And also a Shield against enemy snipers, in the other.
Providing for her, for them ~ One-handed.
Whilst shielding himself.
Provision : the primal rule and duty of Men’s own bodies and minds : to help rear safely their own children, the vulnerable new of the next generation, and sustain their disabled mothers.
And the secondary duty ~ The burden of defence.
As other men threaten, and attack.
AND IN THE LAST DECADES, and on past the millennium — the men are threatening and overwhelming each other. All over the world.
Bosnia. Somalia. Northern Ireland. Falklands. Uganda. Burma. North Korea. Streets of Rio. New York. Sudan. Cambodia. Mozambique. Iran. Angola. Chile. Nigeria. Colombia. Vietnam. Ethiopia. Burma. Algeria. Lebanon. Laos. South Africa. Pakistan. El Salvador. Tienanmen Square. Mexico. Central African Republic. Indonesia. Liberia. Palestine. Sri Lanka. Azerbaijan. Nicaragua. East Timor. Fiji. Afghanistan. Panama. Iraq. Liberia. Rwanda. India. Chechnya. Burundi. Bosnia. Congo. Kosovo. Sierra Leone. Togoland. Northern Ireland. Dagestan.
And into the new millennium, a few more ongoing: Syria. Yemen. Sudan. Nigeria. India. Mali. Libya. Myanmar. Venezuela, Equador. Phillippines. Congo. Maghreb region, Thailand. Egypt. Cameroon. Mozambique. Central African Republic. Christchurch. Ukraine. Gaza…..
Just a few of them.
And men in western societies: over the last couple of generations, some going berserk, as lone crazed individuals. Street massacres. Family murder-suicides.
Not mass social collapse; not quite yet. Still just a malignant fringe psychopathology, embedded, growing, reddening; like an early tumour in the brain. Gang warfare, urban violence, woman-assault, vendetta, civil warfare, serial killings, random marksmen, cadre terrorism, race-hate massacres, supermarket gunnings, schoolkids murders, internet trolling and hack-sabotage.
And the just-now pandemics, and the combustions of man-driven climate change, polarising us further into hoarding and deprivation, gated mansions and shacks, gunshop bastions. The mutant diseases escaping from wild creatures into humans, as though a righteous vengeance for our inhuman cruelty against them, crushed into killing cages for gourmand eating – (though for some, simply to stave off the starvations of iniquity.)
We choose to use academic words like anomie and social alienation; or categories like overcrowding, poverty, unemployment ; which give us titles to intone, and none of which our societies through our governments have chosen to seriously address.
Who are they, these abandoned convulsed people ? ~ these our brothers (mostly), suffering powerless worthlessness : in a recent world-wide tradition of male hegemony, its dictates of power and personal wealth : their lesser lives in crammed proximity and loneliness and money-stress and social media fears, which provoke mutual aggression and paranoia to extremes ;
~ and whose forced malfunctions are overseen mostly by middle-aged administrative Men ; who have quite patently no real understanding or intent to heal the groaning wounds of their own kind.
And the children, and women, and elders, of men all over the world :
are falling dispossessed, widowed, orphaned, abandoned, dishonoured.
AND SO THE WOMEN OF MANY FORTUNATE NATIONS have accepted the gifts of science, and of timing, and of evolving social mores; and have at last taken their fertility into their own province. And their years of obligatory, proper, vulnerable disability with children, have now become much fewer.
*THEY ARE TAKING TIME TO TRAIN, and organise, and take ascendancy, and rescue each other. They are taking in and sheltering, behind their fierce platoons, the rejected and humiliated and vandalised families of angry men. They are finding each other, and teaching each other. Many are entering a voluntary and determined singleness. Some stand with pride and defiance in lesbian and transgender unions, where they have found identity and peace and strength and loyalty, and love without servitude.
to care for them,
where others have failed them their proper care.
O MEN OF THE WORLD :
TAKE STOCK of what you see before you : you who may have fathered two or even three families, and watched your earlier children disappear from sight. You who may have fought in at least one terrible war, and lost parts of you, friends, family, meaning: and may yet live to send off your own sons as cannon-fodder to yet another killing field.
You who see the look on the faces of girls and women, as you approach : that look of fascination, love, and recoil.
LOOK AT YOUR INSTITUTIONS across the world today, their massed armies in frightful war zones, their forbidding megacorp towers of exclusion and take-over, and heavy law hierarchy of prohibition and recrimination and punishment and rectitude and discipline and passion for power. Their exposed hypocrisies and aggrandisements and corruptions, this tickertape parade of appetite, consumption and casualty.
Realise what is happening :
Those women who were once your wives and lovers are going off to rear their (your) families without you. In their millions, they are refusing at last the cruel Lie that a single or abandoned mother is a bad girl and an unfit parent ; and despite the punishment of institutionalised poverty, they have undertaken to rear the nation’s children alone. The nation’s fathers are making a grudging and reproving contribution through their towering revenue-control systems.
YOUR WOMEN ARE IN RETREAT, in the face of your relentless display of avarice and dominion. They yearn for that preserve of all traditional high-minded societies : a place and time of their own, a Retreat of peaceful withdrawal and safety whose rightful existence is respected absolutely ; in which to love their sisters, brothers and their Children.
They are sickened by these ceaseless violent struggles for Power amongst vainglorious Men : who under the ‘Rules of War’ can fight and kill legally with explosive ammunitions over city-sized arenas.
They Have Realised: and they are seeking Refuge with people of wisdom — their sisters, parents, their grandmothers and grandfathers.
And you will not, this time, get them back by Force.
OH NO :
Your Birds Have Flown.
MEN WHO LOVE POWER :
You will lose us, if you do not hear us.
Hear our truthful female ethic,
our Ethic of Provision.
Your own Ethic of Provision.
PROVIDE FOR YOUR CHILDREN AS YOU SHOULD, O MEN :
Lay down your ugly and unwieldy shields, and free your other hand to do the work it was shaped for.
If you wield a weapon, let it be a hunting tool, or a spade. If you fire up a machine, let it be an excavator, or a crop-duster.
You have nearly all the material power, the political and money-crunching and industrial and food-producing power in your hands :
~ turned in ludicrous, indefensible proportion
and warrior posturing.
Turn them instead to Provision and Distribution : As You Should.
Your Children are starving because of your shameful fears and assaults.
All over the world, your Women are fallen dismembered
beside your sickening battlefields.
They are sleeping in shacks
next to your chandeliered mansions.
Your own Mothers,
the Mothers of your children,
and your Children themselves.
WOMEN BEREFT OF POWER:
If Women’s wretchedness in remembered history has been a chilling prison of repression, surrender, self-abnegation ~
~ and the miserable sequel of these ~ Self-contempt :
~ then Men’s wretchedness is surely a deeper, hotter hell of enforced aggression, warrior dominion, self-aggrandisement ~
~ and the dreadful sequel of these ~ Self-hatred.
Our own Women’s fear of Men arises from the same causes as men’s fear of each other. We all, in the end, live in the same cold stifled or hot furious hell : of blind Fear, and self-contempt, and self-hatred, and mutual abuse.
Millions, billions of our beloved and beautiful Men live, like us, under the bondage of martial domination, beholden to their brothers obsessed with Power ; and share with us a sense of loss, futility, and betrayal.
And if our children lie hungry or knifed or suicided or raped or drugged or conscripted, dead at our feet :
– Why have we women of democratic places
not yet yelled out our woman’s voter-shouts
to demand Peace and Healing?
In this we must surely remain accused also : like a trail of feeble collaborators –
our heads lowered, some shaven even, in disgrace –
– relinquished our claim to grace.
FORGIVENESS AND APOLOGY
We Must Forgive Men, Sisters: even though They Know what they do.
Forgive them : Recognise the origin of the cycles of tyranny, in wretched Fear and Self-disgust.
Forgiveness comes first :
Forgiveness is a Prime Mover in Healing :
it both precedes,
First we must Forgive :
And thereby Understand.
For the act of deep Forgiveness draws the Wounded one into a search for true Understanding;
that she may do Justice to the Assailant and his mean compulsions,
comprehend the forces at work upon him.
So also, deep Forgiveness must encompass fair Justice for herself, the Wounded one.
Without this, she is at heart still a sacrificial victim in silent guilt or martyrdom ;
and her words of Forgiveness remain hollow.
Forgiveness is a journey into two Wounded Psyches :
~ where the reasons for our Cycles of Oppression become clear :
– where the Wounded can truly Forgive their Assailant.
When the clear reasons for Violation are held up: these can open new understanding within the Oppressor, and release Shame in the heart.
And Shame is the well-spring of Sorrow, of Repentance ;
which brings release as Apology : the sister of Forgiveness.
These two lead into Healing, the great arena of Conciliation and Reparation.
And begin again with new-found Responsibility for all future actions to come.
And it is the Oppressed who has the knowledge
to Teach of these things;
for the Oppressed has survived only by
an enforced learning much about the Oppressor.
It is the choice always ~ is it not ? ~ of the Victor,
to maintain a vain and barricaded
Ignorance of the Vanquished.
Thus do Men know little or nothing
(Thus do invader peoples, too, choose to Ignore the ancestral wisdom and goodness of those they have dispossessed.)
Sisters: We are the ones who can Know.
We are the ones who have been pinioned in silence; and have Seen and Listened for millennia to the thoughts of Men.
We are the ones who have always Known : been able to See beyond, and into the further corners of human and animal suffering.
And we are the ones who are spared the blinding, deafening mental vortex of men : thus having ready access to the fields of quiet inward experience in which we can understand and initiate action for Peace.
We are the ones who can See, and Learn, and Understand.
WE CAN UNDERSTAND the lost suffering of Men, in their bewildered bounden duty to love and protect and provide for women and old people and children, while weighted under tools and armour and the self-imposed imperative to attack each other.
The impossibility of their task : disabled as they are by having to carry their tribe or nation’s shield at all times : leaving only one hand free to ford rivers, sink post-holes, dig gardens, work their trades and vocations.
If we women are disabled in our strongest years by having a baby on one hip – our Men are disabled from their highest duties of care by their ceaseless need to guard against their enemies near and far.
And Disabled, exhausted, one-handed warriors.
Poor Men. Whose multitudinous tasks demand impossible, maximum ability on all fronts.
We are the ones who can See, and Understand.
O MEN : NOW LOOK UPON US :
~ as we raise ourselves up on shaking feet, and cry out at the bruises and fractures and gunshot wounds of our Sisters on Earth :
And Cry Out :
We Are Not the evil, de-sanctified Eve of our collective livid fiction,
we are Not Guilty,
We are Not fated forever to be historic property, or exhibits for Men’s leer and display.
We are Good, We are Beautiful, We are High.
In our true vision of ourselves, and men,
we can realise your male suffering,
your hell-cycle of aggression and self-hatred.
And in our future vision:
you are no longer fated to be your own perpetual Collateral Damage.
WE CAN REACH OUT TO YOU, and show ourselves, we Women : our own historic blessing of inherent and obligatory Pacifism. We can offer our knowledge of Peace in all its myriad presentations : as great-grandmother and ballet-dancer and suffragette and pioneering plumber and mother-superior and passive resister and feminist rescuer and pregnant mother and tigress-defender and airline pilot and refuge for family and farmer and matriarchal provider and doctor and teacher and healer and carer and rock of ages.
Earth Mother. All her Daughters.
How advantaged we Women have been, to be spared the passionate extremities of Men’s suffering in this era of warfare, and corporate combat, and punitive sentinel duties.
How advantaged have Men been, to be spared the slow and ceaseless crushing that has been Women’s lot for so many centuries.
How advantaged we are, all Pacific men and women, to see and understand and reach out to all those who suffer in tyranny, both persecutors and victims.
Women at last are rising
to their full Beauty and masculine Strength
in the eyes of women
and in the eyes of men:
and Men are opening their eyes at last
to the woman-within-themselves,
and admitting into our sight
their own rich male Beauty and love of Peace.
For Peace is not the province of women alone, and War is not the province of men alone : on this suffering Earth.
Peace is the necessary province of the Female, the receiver, the incubator, the deliverer and nourisher of young life. The Female who resides within every single human being, man or woman. Whose edict, whose whole being, is dedicated to Life.
Defence is the necessary province of the Male, the fertiliser, the protector, the Provider for vulnerable Life. The Male who resides within every single human being, woman or man. Whose edict, whose whole being, is also dedicated to Life.
And in this terrible Fallen state,
it is Men who have cracked and broken
under the full force of the appalling contradiction of their self-imposed duties :
TO SAVE LIFE BY KILLING OTHERS.