I am Fatima-Zohra El Ferd and I am from Taza, Morocco.
I have a dream. My dream is to see peace painting the face of everyone around me. I believe in my dream. Please, do not tell me my dream as impossible and do not say that I am unrealistic. Possibilities are our reason for existing. Many songs, poems, articles, and speeches are flying around my mind embodying messages of peace. I just wish that every single word would land on the ground and turn into a fact or a real life situation.
I cannot escape the dark images of the bloody actions and violence, and I am overwhelmed with enormous feelings of pain and anger. Let us say every single moment that war, conflicts, poverty, death, injustice, racism, oppression, and egoism go hand in hand with depression, diseases, violence, abuse, discrimination and cruelty. I do not want to be heavy with all these words, but we cannot simply pass them by.
We can build peace. We can find our own peace. We can be giving trees. We can be helping hands. We can bring harmony back to our life and play the peace symphony to every individual around us. To quote John Lennon, “You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” My dream is common. It brings the world together and shows that our diversity embodies our unity. We must all have a hand in building peace and strongly believe that we can make change.
Every entity in this universe should enjoy peace. But we cannot talk about making peace without talking about women. Through the lines of this letter, I will try to be the voice of many women around the world. I wish my words to find their way to the hearts and minds of its readers, not just a moving script in front of their eyes.
Pictures of women in many situations keep raining over me. Images of moms singing and chanting to help their kids to sleep peacefully or forget about their hunger and fear, songs full of life and promises of a better tomorrow. Women making their bodies shields to protect their kids and families from danger. Women as mothers pretending they are full and cannot eat to share their part with their kids, husbands or other members. Women pretending they are happy and satisfied to bring stability to their homes. Women sharing the warmth of their bodies to protect their crying babies from rain and freezing weather. There are so many pictures that illustrate women’s sacrifice and self-denial. They are family and community centered.
Despite all their giving, most women are denied access to the process of creating peace. We cannot talk about achieving peace if half of the population is facing exclusion and discrimination.
Women and children are targets of armed conflicts, marginalization, poverty and psychological disorder. It is a very common image to see women in refugee camps. They are also vulnerable to violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, lack of education and lack of physical security. Women are imprisoned in a very traditional frame of roles and responsibilities. All these factors lead to disorder in their communities.
Women should move from victimization into leadership positions. Women need men and the whole community to support and collaborate to make a better life.
We must support women to act as peacemakers around the world, especially in conflict zones. It is high time to fight for our rights. We need respect for our life choices and more opportunities. Most women have been left out of the most important dialogues about peace. We need to listen to the peace building stories of women. Many women need to be recognized and celebrated for their hard work to create peace. We must establish space for women’s civil society and empower and protect the ones who bear the heavy burden of war. We should trust women’s ability in negotiations, in addition to institutionalizing gender equality and reinforcing their local capacity to support of women’s leadership. Women must be willing to take new directions and paths to generate power.
Some men are, and many more should be, partners with women. To reach peace, we have to find it among ourselves and build it between men and women. We should highlight the efforts of men who advocate in support of women. Still, too many people consider men’s violence and dominance against women as a normal act. Giving a new definition to men’s roles and duties will give a new shape to peace in a healthy community. They must take part in the solution since they took part in the problem. We call to men to create safe relationships and stand up against objectification and violence against women. Our community should support men who are willing to stop women’s exploitation. We cannot escape the fact that many decision makers and leaders are men and then they are invited to give hand to women around.
We have to shed light on the importance of empowering youth to work as agents for moral, social and financial support to prevent gender-based violence and establish peace. Youth can make change while adopting and adapting the healthy norms and decisions.
I hope every country will make use of its resources and its people’s power to create a great vision: Peace. Through love, we can make it!
Thank you, World.
I am looking forward to hearing from you Peace.
Peace Dreamer and Maker,
Fatima-Zohra El Ferd, Taza,Morocco