May 5, 2009

A Reminder on Mother's Day: Raising Humanity one Child at a Time

Happy Mother's Day!

If we want to make our mothers happy, we should celebrate them more than one day, and, generally speaking, we should strive to elevate the position of women everywhere in the world.

Linguist George Lakoff in his book, Moral Politics, talks about the strict disciplinarian father and the nurturing mother as two different models of government. Lakoff suggests that we need more of the mother model--which is preferred by the progressives. The conservatives appeal to people's belief in a strict father; and it seems, that many people need the rigid structure in their lives as they prefer to follow than lead.

Mothers have played a greater role than fathers in raising the generations of humans. They're the keepers of the culture--even if this often means discriminating and prejudicial practices against themselves! But, without their long investment in our well-being, humanity would not have survived.

We do need a progressive culture of life, whereas family values have a true meaning...

Not when the government or religion try to control a woman's reproductive choices... Or, when the emphasis is on the cellular level (before and at conception) but afterward mother and child are left with no social support for survival...

Not when women are treated as chattel and as vessels for procreation. On the contrary, a true culture of life means pre-natal care, full health care coverage for mother & child; it means good educational opportunities for the children too.

Since societies became militaristic, wo
men were relegated to the bottom of the social ladder and their duty & self-fulfillment was to be found by serving their husbands. This has to change fast. For goodness' sake, we've come a long way to the 21st century; at least we should bring all humanity to the present and not leave them in the past!

We hear about family values but we see little in the way of policy that actually promotes those conditions that enhance family life when it matters! Family values should mean a much lower infant mortality. In the world today, every minute, a mother dies due to childbirth complications. Her children die of malaria and other preventable diseases by the millions. But, even before a woman becomes a mother, she can greatly benefit from formal education. An educated mother is less likely to totally depend on her husband, less likely to get AIDS (and more likely to be healthy), and less likely to have too many children.

Some of the conditions in the developing world are appalling. Yet, poverty, hunger, and preventable diseases are not strange to American mothers either. The US is a much better place than the Third Wold, but we do have the weakest social safety net among the advanced democratic countries! The indicators of the health of the nation tell a sad story: we're number 37 on the World Health Organization's list.

The bottom line is this: we honor motherhood by treating our mothers well. It makes sense, doesn't it? Better mothers & better conditions for motherhood and we all benefit. After all, we exist because we were the recipients of our mothers' nurturing and love. That's a smart culture of life, and good family values!

Domestic violence kills and injures more people in the developing world than war, cancer or traffic accidents

By looking at the condition of women in a given country, you can tell a great deal about that country--its economy, politics, and culture.

Mother's Day is this Sunday but I'd like the celebration to be more than one day. I have a problem when people become romantic just because it's Valentine's Day, or remember their mother because it's Mother's Day. I believe it has to be a way of life, an attitude to behave nicely, to be an enlightened person, to treat other human beings with respect and afford them dignity. Unfortunately, not every country is a liberal democracy [the only truly free society we know today], and many haven't arrived at the 21st century yet...

Motherhood cannot be separated from the condition of women in the world today.
UK's The Independent has a great article about that condition. The British government in cooperation with human rights groups have found some very disturbing facts:
  • Two-thirds of the world's 800 million illiterate adults are women as girls are not seen as worth the investment, or are busy collecting water or firewood or doing other domestic chores.

  • Two million girls aged from five to 15 join the commercial sex market every year.

  • Domestic violence kills and injures more people in the developing world than war, cancer or traffic accidents.

  • Seventy per cent of the world's poorest people are women.

  • Violence against women causes more deaths and disabilities among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war.

  • Women produce half the world's food, but own less than two per cent of the land.

  • Of the more than one billion people living in extreme poverty, 70 per cent are women.

  • Almost a third of the world's women are homeless or live in inadequate housing.

  • Half of all murdered women are killed by their current or former husbands or partners.

  • Every minute a woman dies as a result of pregnancy complications.

  • Women work two-thirds of the world's working hours, yet earn only a tenth of its income.

  • One woman in three will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime.

  • 43 million girls are not able to go to school.

  • In 2007, one million HIV-positive women died of AIDS-related illnesses because they could not get the drugs they needed.

  • Human Rights Watch, in reports on 15 countries including Afghanistan, Brazil, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Togo and South Africa, has identified violence against schoolgirls, child domestic workers and those in conflict with the law as on the rise.

  • Women across the developing world are the victims of systematic abuse.
I know that, in my lifetime, I propably won't see a world where true humanism and enlightenment are universally practiced, but for every life we change today, we can affect thousands in the future. Yes, every person can make a positive difference, big or small. Oscar Schindler saved about 1,200 human beings, who went on to have families, children, grandchildren, and so forth, for generations. I think it's rather basic, it's respect for human life, in the here & now, when it actually matters!

Women are our mothers. They deserve everything, and more, than we--the children, the men--enjoy today. It makes sense, it's good for the world, it's humane!

Added, 5/10:
This song is about a man bidding farewell to his mother..

1 comment:

drew said...

Haunting song... I know it's not a happy one, but it's really nice.