Thursday, April 8, 2010

Too Important Not to Read

Selling women in ancient Babylon

Long Pross, Trafficking Victim

Actress Maggie Grace (L) and jounalist Nicholas Kristof present Somaly Mam of Cambodia with the Human Rights Award at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on March 19, 2009 in Washington, DC.

This week I have posted a few reads that delve into the nature of culture, women at risk and how we all can make the world safe for women.

Leading off is this post from Steve DeAngelis who blogs about the power of culture to either hinder or advance the human experience.
The Victorian Scottish historian and essayist, Thomas Carlyle, once wrote: "Culture is the process by which a person becomes all that they were created capable of being." In past posts, I've noted that culture can either be used as a platform for progress or it becomes an anchor that keeps people mired in the past. According to a recent study, culture has played a more important role in humanity's evolution than once thought ["Human Culture, an Evolutionary Force," by Nicholas Wade, New York Times, 1 March 2010]. Wade explains:
Read the rest:
The Power of Culture

Related to culture is how women are treated in this world. For those of us living in a society that protects and values women, it is vital to read these next two posts to see how we can contribute to making the world safe for women.

Steve DeAngelis continues in this post to introduce Nichlos Kristof whom I have written about here and here.
One of the oldest objects of worship known to man is small figurine carved out of oolitic limestone that has been labeled the Venus of Willendorf. Displayed at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, the Venus of Willendorf was created sometime between 24,000-22,000 BCE. The figurine was probably carved by a man. Although it is not a particularly flattering depiction of a woman, it reminds us that men have always been in awe of the power of creation. Unfortunately, the awe that mankind has demonstrated for the process of procreation has not extended to the women who carry it out. When it comes to history, might makes right and the gentler sex has felt the brunt of that might for far too long.
Facts don't lie. Only one percent of the landowners around the globe are women. Widespread participation by women in politics is a modern development. Often in the past the only way that women could influence politics was between the sheets. The Greek comic playwright Aristophanes knew this and penned his famous play Lysistrata to demonstrate that although they were under-appreciated in the male-dominated Athenian society, women were nonetheless well-informed and capable of pursuing political agendas. The play was performed in classical Athens in 411 BC. The play is a comic tale of Lysistrata's mission to end the Peloponnesian War. Her strategy is to convince the women of Greece to withhold sexual favors from their husbands and lovers until they agree to negotiate peace. At the beginning of the play, Lysistrata says to her friend Calonice, "There are a lot of things about us women that sadden me, considering how men see us as rascals." To which Calonice replies: "As indeed we are!" Even back then, women were more appreciated for their beauty than their brains and more for their sexual prowess than their other life skills. Twenty-five hundred years later the world's women are still suffering at the hands of men.
The husband and wife team, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, remind us that women continue to be ill-treated in many places around the world ["The Women’s Crusade," New York Times, 23 August 2009].
Read the whole post:
Making the World Safe for Women

Finally comes this post from the outstanding blog and online magazine devoted to military matters Small Wars Journal who turned their attention to spotlighting an organization that is making a difference.

Innocents at Risk is a 501©(3) nonprofit founded to fight child exploitation and human trafficking. Our mission is to educate citizens about the horrific global and local problem of human trafficking and work to prevent it. In order to increase the visibility of the severity of the issue, Innocents at Risk established partnerships with the Department of State, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, Department of Homeland Security, ICE, Custom Border Patrol and the D.C. Task Force. We work with a vast number of non-government organizations and service providers.
Human Trafficking is 21st century slavery. It is happening throughout the world in every country and across the United States in every major city and small town. According to the Department of State, every year over 2,000,000 men, women and children are taken, trafficked and thrown into this cruel world of slavery. Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to obtain their victims.
Read the whole post.
Very Good People Doing Great Things

If any one is serious about stopping this scourge, please visit the links under Honoring our Commitments links on the right of this blog. As Steve DeAngelis noted in the end of his post on culture, none of us will live to see the results of how the information age will influence future cultures, but properly used it can be a powerful tool for doing good and making the world safe for women.

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