14 January 2013
IRAQI KURDISTAN REFLECTION: They called the wind
by Garland Robertson
A refreshing and gentle breeze is
being felt above the plains of Iraqi Kurdistan. It brings with it courage and enthusiasm, and
the prophecy of a new generation of human relationships. It affirms the wisdom
within every human spirit that all persons are equally positioned by the Great
Creator. It declares that everyone is worthy of dignity and respect. It informs
all individuals of their right to self-expression. And it challenges every
structure in the community–political, economic, and religious–that represses the
opportunity for all persons to share in the same privileges.
This breeze is brought into being by
a group of sensitive and compassionate members of the community raising their
voices together. Their witness echoes across the land. Their courage is
contagious. They are announcing the dawning of a new day and inviting others to
join them in the dance.
This breeze is the voice of
passionate women speaking on behalf of other women who are suppressed by
prevailing culture and family tradition. Their voice encourages others to
embrace the coming age when human rights and equal respect shall be extended to
all members of the human family.
The work of these women has not been
graciously received. Their work has been threatened and characterized as
degrading. They have been accused of undermining the culture and displacing
important values set in place by those before them–persons who believed they
were elite, more important than the others. And interestingly, these
threatening remarks have come from persons who have refused to reveal their
Honestly, what greater confession
that a behavior is unjust can there be than for someone to take an action
without having the grace to admit to having done it?
In spite of concealed threats and
public insults, and even a suspicious gunshot directed toward them, these women
continue, inspired by the conviction that everyone shares a common origin and a
common destiny. They are refusing to let prevailing culture and family
tradition continue to dictate a discriminating pattern of structuring
community. Just as the transforming word of wisdom birthed forth from Elizabeth
and Mary before, so it is coming again from these and other women like them
across the earth.
The breeze is blowing and soon it
shall be a wind and then a torrent capable of displacing every inequity and disrespectful
policy and privilege and law that may stand in its way. In the wisdom of the
human spirit resides the voice of the Creative Spirit. Everyone has the same
capacity to hear it, women and men alike. But only the courageous have the
capacity to act on it. To these the future belongs.