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when women want war,
war will go on
by candy green gustavson

This morning, Defne Bayrak, the Turkish wife of the Jordanian doctor who blew himself up along with 7 CIA agents in Afghanistan, said "I think the war against the United States must go on." What kind of wife has this woman chosen to play? If she's a mother, what kind of role is she modeling?

As a woman, I feel fulfilled and, basically, happy and optimistic, accustomed, as CS Lewis said, to the "undulations of emotion." I've shown resilience through trials. I've tried many roles in life and could easily call myself "The World's Worst High School Cheerleader"--when the call went down the line for a cheer following a touchdown, I called back (to incredulous stares) "First In Ten, Do It Again, We Like It, We Like It" simply because it was my favorite.

I could call myself "The World's Worst Teacher"--I confess I got the classroom quiet so I could plan the next day's lessons and not have to do it at night at home. I even confess that before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I fell asleep supervising a Study Hall. I was "The World's Worst Linguist" when I asked for directions in Quebec saying, "Parlez-vous Francais?"

I must have been "The World's Worst E.M.T"--I preferred to stand alongside the living who were watching their obviously dead loved one's ribs being broken by CPR. Sometimes, it seems, I could add "The World's Worst Wife" and "The World's Worst Mother"--I really don't want to go into those stories. But, I can also add "The World's Worst Actress."

Eons and eons ago, I played a role in "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes. It's a comedy about war. Lysistrata is a woman--imagine Bea Arthur, who died last year, playing the part. Lysistrata is sick of the Peloponnesian War and decides the only way to end it is for women to unite and refuse to have sex with their husbands. I played Myrrhine--imagine a young Goldie Hawn--who, in the play's most comic scene, agrees to meet her husband, Cinesias--who wears a large phallic prop--in a nearby cave.

Myrrhine postpones consummation until Cinesias is ready to tear his hair out. My problem as an actress was the actor playing my husband didn't believe in memorizing lines and, for me, improvising was a terror. As a result, I can barely remember the play, the experience was so awful.

"Lysistrata" may be a comedy, but it's message is deadly serious.

Many women are approving of war these days. It doesn't matter whether the woman is a Christian or a Muslim. They believe their husbands and sons are more manly--or will become men--or go to Heaven--because they wage war. In the letter of James, the brother of Jesus says that the fighting among us comes from passions that are at war within us. We want something and we can't get it, so we kill.

In the 12th Century, Richard the Lion-Hearted, in the name of Jesus, waged a vicious war on Islam. Saladin, the Sultan of Eygpt and Syria, a uniting hero of Muslims, had recaptured Jerusalem--allowing Christians to remain in peace there. But, Richard wanted Jerusalem for Jesus. Unfortunately Richard forgot that Jesus said God wasn't looking to be worshipped in a place, but in spirit and in truth all over the world "as the waters cover the sea."

But, warfare is the way of the world. "Not the point," my daughter has on her Facebook remarks for Religion. I like that. Maybe I'm not the "World's Worst Mother."

So, women of the world, what are we to do?


late bloomer, fontanelle of the baby boomers...full of hope, believing in life-long learning, mentoring, doors opening...mother of four, grandma of one: I cultivate gardens in both hemispheres of earth and brain...

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