Happy Mum’s Day.
Yes, today is a very special day dedicated to probably the most important person in our lives. Though the origin of Mother’s Day could be traced to ancient Greek tradition, the founder of the modern Mothers Day was an American lady,
The occasion started as a campaign for peace, for then, in any part of the world, who would care more for the well-being of a young soldier sent off to war than a concerned mum.
After the American Civil War (1861-5) where the USA suffered almost one million casualties (including more than 600,000 dead) social activist Julia Ward Howe called on women to unite against war. Five years after the end of fratricidal war, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation - excerpt as follows:
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace.
But she failed in her attempt to get make Mother's Day as one for peace
Another American woman, Anna Jarvis, continued the effort to make the nation recognise Mother’s Day. As more states picked it up as a worthy celebration and recognised it officially, Woodrow Wilson, then US President, declared the first US national Mother's Day in 1914. It was to be celebrated as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honour of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
Unfortunately the celebration degenerated into obscene commercialization until Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become.
In the light of the increasing (and in the minds of many American mums, needless) American casualties in Iraq, there is now a call to return Mother's Day to its original purpose rather than just a wonderful business day for florists, chocolate shops, restaurants and card sellers.
Meanwhile, back here, malaysiakini reported that one of our mum’s, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil - Women, Family and Community Development Minister – woke up from her meditation in elegant silence (see my earlier post MP's menstruation mesmerised motherless monkeys) to say of the two BN MPs who made crude crass remarks in Parliament about a lady MP's menstruation:
“Even in jest, it should not have been done. I would like to request all MPs to show exemplary behaviour, especially on gender issues.”
Sisters in Islam programme manager Zaitun Kassim said: “The remarks made reflected more on them as they could not think of something better to say.”
Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan lambasted the two scurrilous sexist simians’ insults as "offensive, distasteful and unbecoming of a parliamentarians", and for violating provisions within the Federal Constitution which prohibits sexual discrimination.
She commented: “Against this background, the sexist statements reported to have been made by members of Parliament to the effect that another MP who is a woman ‘also leaks once a month’ are most unfortunate.”
“Enacting laws is one way to ensure equality but no amount of legislating can remove deep-rooted prejudices that lie in the hearts and minds of the people.”
On this day when we celebrate the special day for our mums, and hopefully for peace in this world and our nation, I don’t suppose those two monkeys would be doing so, considering they had crawled out from beneath a stone.