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Mother Famine

You were lost to me before I was born. When the ram’s horn blew and the temple walls came tumbling down over my head, stone by stone, at Jericho. I lost you when I ran into the forest, frightened and longing to see your pale face reflected under leaves, in between rocks, your smile of courage egging me on. I lost you when little girls were made to lie beneath the rude soldiers rescuing them, or the sweaty uncles petting them, or the firm young brothers forcing the soft ones with songs on their tongues. You were lost to me when the first midwife was throttled and drowned, when they began to round up the healer women, looking for the devil’s teats on our bodies, then lit the bonfires. I lost you before the Peloponesian Wars, lost you again when the Mongolian hordes rode their rough ponies through, lost you when the blue-tiled walls of Mikonos were razed by Greek soldiers. Your body bruised and buried, encased in the bogs, your memory and stories erased by Deuteronomy, by Hammurabai, by Zeus. You reign now only as a faint shadow in the moon, but even there, re-named Old Man, until archeologists unearthed your wide hips and round belly, bringer of rains, harvest, and safe berth. Give us this day our daily bread, and let us eat, remembering. Instead, our female children starve themselves bone-thin to repudiate your flesh, we slice it out of our bodies, we hide it in our fat, we choke ourselves and vomit, re-enact that first shame under the Tree, when making a human form, the labour it entails and the blood that comes with each moon became a curse. Oh let me rekindle that fierce mother love– and weep for the mother slayers. Can I shield my daughter from the truth that she is powerful and because of that she may be killed? This is your secret, the power of birth and the real miracle of blood turning into milk (not water into wine). We, who rely on these first stories to understand our place in the world, have had a bone stuck in our throats or should I say an apple core, for a very long time. Give me back my mother love, my rising star, my Venus, the sun’s circle of life: let the man in the sky stop building missiles and fighter F14 jets for South Korea, Pakistan, Israel and South Africa, let the Old Man in the US Senate hear the voices of the women. Let the African governments hear the voices of their raped and damaged daughters. Let the Lebanese women rise, let the Pakistani women rise, let the Afghan women, the Chechen women, the Colombian women, the Rwandan women, the Venezuelan women, the Chinese women, the Uzbekistani women, the Congolese women, let the women in the veil, the women in purdah, the women stoned to death, the women doused with kerosene for their dowry, the women thrown down wells for honour, the women sliced open and sewn shut, the women interred, let all the women remember you. Your light was not always this dim. Jennifer

Inner Wisdom Guide

N.B. This was written after reading Eve Ensler's speech to Canadian Parliament about the rape of the women in Congo. "Until the Violence Stops: How Canada Can Help End The Use Of Sexual Violence As A Weapon In War." Reading the news today about war crimes tribunal prosecuting a general in the LRA in Uganda, in 2021, reminded me how vital this work is.

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