Kate, USA

Dear World,

My name is Kate Hirsch, and I’m 21 years old. I grew up in New York City in a small, cozy apartment with a wonderful family. I am privileged. There is no doubt about it. I am white, and of a stable socioeconomic status. My life in New York City was comfortable, my upbringing relatively easy. But I have seen traces of violence, war, hate, and injustice.

I was in first grade when 9/11 happened. I remember my mom coming to get me from school. I was mad I had to leave early and I wanted to go to gym class. My mom made me put my shirt over my mouth on the walk back to my apartment so I wouldn’t inhale the smoke. I remember sitting in front of the television watching the towers fall on a loop as our house phone rang in the background. At the time, I didn’t understand that it all happened forty blocks away from where I lived.

Throughout the years that followed, I acclimated to a post 9/11 world. George Bush invaded Afghanistan, and later Iraq. The words “weapons of mass destruction,” “drones,” and “terrorism” became part of my vocabulary. I had to take my shoes off at airports.

As the wars escalated so did Islamophobia. Hate speech and slurs permeated the news. The construction of a mosque next to ground zero resulted in anti-Muslim protests. People on the street began to point and whisper and women wearing hijabs, men with headscarves and beards were profiled by police officers on the subway. I would wonder to myself, how was this right? This behavior seen on the streets, in the news, in schools, was conditioning us to hate. It was giving us an ‘other’ to justify continued violence and war. It wasn’t fair.

In my opinion, the first step towards peace is mutual understanding. We must strive to understand that difference should not be equated with fear but should inspire us to learn. Understanding differences makes us more aware as consumers. We are able to pick out the lies, prejudice and stereotypes we are exposed to everyday.

As an American woman, I hold myself accountable to this challenge. To strive to understand and check my privilege, learn about others, and critique the institutions (both governmental and otherwise) that continue to espouse negative and harmful societal norms.

To all my powerful ladies, I encourage you to do this as well. Because why shouldn’t we be at the forefront of change?

Let’s do this.

Kate

 

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Marlene, Germany

marlene

Dear world,

You’re alive and you’re moving.

Every hour 15 thousand children are born. Every minute, 3.6 thousand new photos are shared on Instagram. Every second, Google gets 56,315 searches. Every year, people are forced to leave their homes: the numbers—not measureable. A lot happens in a year, in a month, in a day, in a minute, in a second. Most of it drowns in the depths of our memories, of the Internet or surrenders to the speed of the rotation of this world. But some things don’t just go away and disappear. Some things insist on staying. Some things keep on hurting and some questions are pinned to the wall of history for a long time.

What will happen if I leave – and what if I stay? What will happen to my children and what to me? Will I stay alive, will I be? So many questions, so much hope. So much fear, so little rope left to hold. Where will we go and will we survive? Hearing the stories about the dark drive. Will we be invited or will we have to leave? Will we be reunited or run into reefs? So many questions so little answers. Should we stop walking or fight like the lancers? Should we adhere or should we part? Questions the old ask, just as the young.

Some things are uncertain but one is for sure; there never was an answer that simple and pure. Humans are humans, girls just as boys. Humans are humans, no matter the orientation. Humans are humans, no matter the belief. Humans are humans, at land like at sea. And humans are humans, no matter you or me.

Have you ever built a house alone? From each brick to the roof, bulletproof. From the wall to the floor, waterproof. From now to then, shatterproof and from then to now, fireproof. We can’t do it alone. We have to stand hand in hand and must not bemoan, the lost and the broken, the gone and the dark. Instead we must build a new wooden ark. Resting at land and swimming at sea. A place for all those who decided to flee.

But what relates to the future and what is fading away? Can we colour the future if the present is grey? 
Dirt and dust filling the air. Falling down – But united, we can take it away. Women are strong and women are hopeful. Men have the power and the power is vocal. Together be better, together be brave. Together, let’s break the violent cave. Together, let’s cease –

Dear World, Please, Move us toward peace.

Marlene Louisa Mörig

18, Germany

Malak, Egypt

malak-el-shamy

Dear World,

My name is Malak, I am an 18 year old from Egypt who stands for equality and respect. The word “peace” is a very broad term we use to describe a state of calm. Yet, peace is not the stagnancy of a state, but the harmony of how our legs move, the symphony in how our world dialogues, and the sonnet of how our countries communicate.

Those of us who chase after a healthier world, dream of secure lands, tranquil neighborhoods, and confidence in a safe sleep. In a world which harm happens more often than kindness, war is almost noiseless but damages and threatens us all. There is a nagging fear, a present that signals an unnamed future that we must save. I am a believer in purpose; I believe that each of us is created for a purpose that we must fulfill during our stay in this world. As a woman, I am aware of the capability of our gender, our potential, and the limitless possibility of our contribution. A woman is the mother of the world. A woman is the refugee who was stripped of equality, fairness, rights, liberty, and security. Women around the world have created a revolution seeking freedom. They set an example to all oppressed people. Women are the inspiration for a civilized rebellion; they are the anchor to those striving for security, independence and the peaceful world we seek.

Men who revolt alongside women set an example for the rest of the world. With their ability to empower women, they can provide support and justice that will make peace and security our new normal.

But it is the youth that give us hope that our dreams for the future can become a lived truth. Our investment in them must never be treated with laziness. Their education is our hope and they can reshape the future. Our example to them is the light they will follow and they are the spark to our every dream.

My role as an individual is to speak to them and be the example for them to follow. I seek to offer them guidance and become one of them, as a leader not a superior. My role is to call for their needs and ours, to stir in them the endeavor of revolution.

Security and peace is a way of life not a luxury, it is a necessity that we lack and that in itself is dangerous. This is an issue that cannot wait or be paused. It is time to make a change.

Thank you,

Malak El-Shamy.

 

Farida, Algeria

Dear World,

My name is Farida, I’m 22 years old, I’m from Algeria and I’m studying computer engineering. Every time I open my computer or see the news on TV or read some articles on the newspaper, I find out very sad stories and violent facts that YOU, dear planet are suffering from. Every day in my planet blood is flowing, houses are getting destroyed, and children are being raped or killed. Women are suffering from gender discrimination, domestic violence and sexual harassment. Should we live every day the same thing, expecting bad things to happen and always being afraid? Should we stay like this? When can we expect at least a little change?

As an Algerian woman, I’m very lucky compared to women from other countries. I grew up in a great city and I have access to an education. My parents taught me that as a Muslim woman, I am very empowered and open to the world. They taught me to be tolerant, to accept other’s differences. They taught me to be a successful woman, to help others when I can and be always open and available when someone is in need.

I dream to live in a peaceful world. Since my Women2Women experience in the United States, I believe that I can contribute to change. I’m convinced that peace can happen one day and it won’t be something just written in papers. For this change, I need help. I need people around me believing in this positive change. I need people first to understand what causes these problems and to do more than just talk. I need people to be free to share their opinions and ideas and accept other’s points of view. I need people to collaborate and unify their opinions for a better future and a better world. I need them to be wise, to know that tomorrow is very important for future generations. I need people to be tolerant and accept diversity and other’s differences, no matter where you came from, to which ethnicity you belong or which religion you practice. You are a human like me and it’s my duty to respect you.

I need parents to know that education is the most important thing for their children. I need authorities to understand that dialogue is the most powerful weapon to end conflicts. I need women to be strong and fight all forms of gender discrimination and extremism. I need men to understand that women are not their enemies but their partners in life. I need politicians to make good decisions for their countries. Finally, I need YOU, dear reader to believe in this change with me.

I’m sure that we can do it all together. It may take time, but believe me when I say that it will happen.

I hope for a positive change. I pray to God for that.

Take care of yourself, dear world.

Farida Bouachi