undoing hatred is a pilgrimage of hurt*
I wrote this thinking about war and violence. Ten years ago, as planes flew into buildings in New York and Washington, a massive movement of hatred erupted. That hatred continues. It is wrapped in the coils of war that have blasted Afghanistan and Iraq. It is the pain in bodies that have been tortured. It is also in the book burnings, the cartoon burnings, the shootings, and the flight of refugees across continents and seas.
September 11 brought back to the surface centuries of history of tension between the West and the Other. Bush spoke of reigniting the crusades. Why can’t generations of men let go of history? Why is it reignited every generation?
We need to undo hatred. It won’t be easy, it never is. But peoples around the world have made that effort. Women, in the main, let go of the violence perpetrated against them. Women, generation after generation, manage to go on with their lives in the midst of violence. But powerful men just want to take revenge and punish.
Pilgrimages take time. The pilgrim may need to walk for weeks or months with blistering feet.
In the year that followed September 11, Bronwyn Winter and I put together an anthology of feminist responses to that day. Eighty-six writers from every continent reflected on the causes and the results. They wrote of war and peace, of violence and non-violence. They wrote with visionary freshness and with imagination.
Among those who contributed are Robin Morgan, Kathleen Barry, Vandana Shiva, Arundhati Roy, Urvashi Butalia, Evelyn Accad, Barbara Kingsolver, Sonali Kolhatkar, RAWA, Diane Bell, Ronit Lentin, Barbara Ehrenreich and many others. Find out what a feminist response to September would have looked like.
(from Valence by Susan Hawthorne, forthcoming 2011)