I absolutely applaud the message delivered on International Women’s Day by Lauryn Oates, Executive Director of Canadian Women for Women of Afghanistan.

Lauryn IWD message 2023 – YouTube

In her address, she said:

You don’t need to be Afghan to stand with Afghans, you just need to be human, and to recognize other humans, like you, in need. Human rights are for all. They work like that. They are universal, or they are nothing. Identity, culture, religion are simply not relevant. The common denominator is humanity.

The crisis in Afghanistan is not a woman’s problem, an Afghan problem, or a Muslim problem. It’s a human problem. So today, on International Women’s Day, I am speaking out, and I will continue to do so for all my days on earth, on that basis. Humanity. And we, as Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, will continue calling on other humans, regardless of their nationality, gender, religion, or any other points of identity, to do the same. Because none of us alone can stop the injustices or the torrent of pain and suffering women and girls in Afghanistan are experiencing, but united, we can each be a drop in the stream. And the streams will eventually join and form a river. And the river will break down the dam.

The vision that Lauryn offers of the rising river of humanity was echoed in a song that came to me several decades ago. It’s a call for peace, for reaching out to one another as human beings across all our differences.

In this increasingly toxic atmosphere of division, the first thing we can do is clear our own atmospheres. Let’s drive the forces of hate and tyranny from our hearts and minds, cleave to what unites us, and become part of a rising river of humanity.

Stillness Rising

There is too much noise between us
No stillness yet,
Listen for it and so shall I
And the channel will fill with water
Then shall we call it a river
And then shall it come alive
With a life worth fishing for …. worth fishing for …

Oh, oh, oh, let the river flow
Let the stillness grow
Between us
Give the fish a stream
Give them time to dream
Oh, let the river flow
Let the stillness grow
Between us, between us … between us …

Oh, oh, oh, you are tender
I am tender
Listen to the hymn
Of the waters rising …

Flowing back to sea
Through the softwood trees
And the humming bees
Between us, between us … between us …

Let us make a gentle place
Where fish have space to dream
Listen to the hymn
Of the waters rising…

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