30 December 2011

Peace Thimble 110 - Janus at the Door

This last thimble of the year is dedicated to the Roman god Janus, who gave the month of January its name. Janus was the god of doorways, of beginnings and endings... of change and transition. He is depicted as having two faces - one old and bearded looking back... one young and fresh looking forward...

But Janus was the god of something not so often known - he stood between Peace and War as a protector. Because of this the temples of Janus only kept their doors open during war. In times of Peace the doors were closed.


Tomorrow we will stand in the doorway between 2011 and 2012. I don't make New Year resolutions, but I always say a toast - in memory to the year that is passed and the people we have lost, looking back as the old face of Janus does. And then to look forward, as the young face of Janus, to a new year we hope will be filled with good health, happiness and prosperity for everyone.

This year I'll be adding another toast in honour of Janus - to look back at war and look forward to peace. ;-)

And I have the perfect quote, by Maya Angelou, to use for that toast:

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, 
but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

16 December 2011

Thimble 108 - for Adelaide

Today is the day of Saint Adelaide.

Adelaide was born in Switzerland in 932. She was married at 15 to Lothair II, King of Italy. When her husband was killed by Berengar of Ivrea he tried to force her to marry his son. Adelaide refused and tried to flee, but ended up being captured, imprisoned and kept in solitary confinement for months.

According to legends Adelaide managed to escape and asked for help from Otto of Germany. He conquered Italy and married Adelaide. They were both crowned emperor and Empress together, which was unusual for the times. She died on 16 December 999.

Adelaide was passionately involved in promoting helping the poor and Peace during her life. She helped build churches and monasteries. She is the patron saint of abuse victims, exiles, prisoners, brides and widows. I think she'd like being here as a Peace Thimble. :-)

9 December 2011

Thimble 107 - Blessed Be


Blessed Be the Natives,
for they hold the Roots to the Tree of Life,
and Dance our Trails upon the Earth.

Blessed Be the Speakers,
for they hold the Truth for Us All,
and Sing our Songs to the Sky.

Blessed Be the Old Ones,
for they hold the Visions of Wholeness,
and Embrace Us until we Awaken.

~ O'siyo ~

John Roman

1 December 2011

Thimble 106 - Tears for Africa

Today is World AIDS Day. I thought I'd use this to 'thimble' to introduce fellow blogger Zoha Zee Kay. She's involved in a student research project called "HAAC" (HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign). On her blog she says:

"I will be posting links about AIDS and HIV.
Your opinions, participation and questions are welcomed.

Note : This is a volunteer/independent student research project . It is not supported by any organization or people. But If anyone of you want to support and work for this cause with me, you are more then welcome... "

My thimble for Zoha is about war and violence how it has affected the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

You see, two thirds of the world's population who have HIV/AIDS are from Sub-Saharan Africa and about 59% of them are women.

Why are more women than men suffering from HIV/AIDS in Africa? AVERT, the international HIV/AIDS charity, says that:
"In many parts of Africa, as elsewhere in the world, the AIDS epidemic is aggravated by social and economic inequalities between men and women. Women and girls commonly face discrimination in terms of access to education, employment, credit, health care, land and inheritance. These factors can all put women in a position where they are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection."
In any country or culture where a woman has no power she has no ability to educate herself, no ability to protect herself, or seek medical care. She has no way to learn the truths about HIV, no way to stop men from using/abusing her and no way of getting help once she is infected... and
this is always worse in times of war, violence and conflict.

UNAIDS / UNFPA / UNIFEM state that:
"...women and girls are disproportionately vulnerable to HIV infection during conflict and post-conflict periods. This is not only because they are frequently sexually abused by various armed groups, but because they may be fleeing their homes, may have lost their families and their livelihood, and may have little or no access to health care.

Along the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an ongoing civil war has destroyed lives, villages and livelihoods. Now the area is thought to be on the verge of a major HIV epidemic. Some 60 per cent of the militia who roam the countryside raping, torturing and mutilating thousands of women and girls are believed to be HIV-positive, and virtually none of the women have access to services and care. In Rwanda, during the 1994 genocide, hundreds of thousands of women were raped, many by men who were HIV-positive.

Adolescent girls are also prime targets for traffickers or militia groups. Worldwide, it is estimated that 800,000 to 900,000 people—women, men, girls and boys—are trafficked every year into forced labour and sexual exploitation... "

75% of the world’s HIV-positive pregnant women live in Africa.

Gender-based violence is now one of the leading factors for HIV infection.
The statistics and personal stories are truly heart-breaking, but Africa is fighting back and this "war" is one we all need to hear, applaud and support. All over Africa people are working hard to change those tragic statistics. Groups, people and charities - like mothers2mothers, who have 703 sites located in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Ripples of Hope Rescue Centre in Kenya...

Change is happening - lives are being saved, but there's still a lot that needs to be done.

This is one war we really do need to keep on fighting.

Can one everyday person really make a difference and change the world? Isn't that a bit like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble?

Maybe... but what if you got everyone to help you?
What if we bailed with a billion thimbles?

These are my Thimblefuls for Peace... I hope they make you think.