It is not about acquiring wealth, power, prestige. One can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What will it take to put a person eye to eye with the truth, the truth that our country and people, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay can learn. We need to remold society by redefining what it means to be a human being in the 21st century. There are those illiterate Grenadians who use social media to post their ridiculous, false allegations, hiding behind fake names, those people are worse than scum bags. They are cowards; they are like the Taliban extremists.
What we need in Grenada is a new politics of meaning. We need a new ethos of individual responsibility and caring. We need a new definition of civil society which answers the unanswerable question posed by both the market forces and the governmental ones, as to how we can have a society that fills us up again and make us feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
We sympathize with women’s rights and human rights and their cause, but it is disappointing to know that, once again, the crucial concerns of women might be sacrificed. Seldom are issues such as women’s health, the education of girls, the absence of women’s legal and political rights or their economic isolation injected into the foreign policy debate. Yet it is clear to us women that in the new global economy, individual countries and regions would find it difficult to make economic or social progress if a disproportionate percentage of their female population remained poor, uneducated, unhealthy and disenfranchised.
The United Nations Conference was expected to provide an important forum for nations to address issues such as maternal and child health care, microfinance, domestic violence, girl’s education, family planning, women’s suffrage, property and legal rights. It would also offer a rare opportunity for women from around the globe to share stories, information and strategies for future action in their own countries. The conference is held roughly every five years. We have been working on women’s and children’s issues in Grenada recently, and although some women in our country have made gains economically and politically, the same could not be said for the vast majority of women in the world, although that is changing in Grenada. Our present government seems to have adopted the communist mentality.
We need to be able to speak out on their behalf. We need to push the envelope as far as we could on behalf of women and girls. Grenadian women such as Miss Cassandra Mitchell, Mrs Franka Bernadine are known for their unwavering commitment to improving the health and welfare of Grenadians, especially the less fortunate. They are bringing professionalism to one of the most delicate jobs of fighting for women and children in Grenada. We are buoyed by their courage and passion of women, who are breaking their silence and raising their voices on behalf of their causes. Their lives and achievements against great odds deserve respect.
They tell women, that with faith and inner strength they could overcome whatever difficulties life presents, because no woman should stand alone. Our message has always been that people ought to be involve in caring. And we should all fight for social justice, and we must protest the unjust restrictions placed upon us by Grenada’s government, by forcing his laws upon us and society. Women need accomplishments of their own. We are living in an age, where women could aspire and achieve and our daughters could be cherished as much as sons. We as women must never allow disappointment to give way to anger, we must be determined to do all we could to raise the station of women in society. Rather than succumbing to disgust and frustration, let’s channel our anger into strong action. We must take every slight, every unfair practice as a chance to advance the cause of equality. Let us all do all in our power to advance the cause of women’s rights, much work remains to be done if women are to enjoy meaningful equality in Grenada and the world.
We will continue to fight for the rights of women and children, the rights of those without money or power, the rights of those without a voice, let it be known, Mr Prime Minister. Former first lady of the United States of America Hillary Clinton addressing the United Nation Conference in Beijing once said I believe that on the eve of a new millennium, it is time to break our silence. It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights… For too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words. The voice of this conference and of the women at Huairou must be heard loud and clear.
It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives. It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation. It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will, it is a violation of human rights in Grenada when our government tries to stop our freedom of speech.
“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights… and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”
Another form of human rights violation is trafficking in women, it enslaves girls and women and distorts and destabilizes economies of whole regions just as drug smuggling does. The USA State Department estimates that as many as four million people, often living in extreme poverty, are trafficked each year. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, passed in 2000, is now the law of the land, helping women trafficked to the United States and providing assistance and aid to governments and NGOs combating traffic abroad.
Malala Yousafzai is a true hero who was shot in the head by a Taliban extremist in Pakistan. She spoke at the United Nations on July 12th. At only 16 years old she surely is a remarkable teen who was shot for promoting education for girls in third world countries and yet spoke of peace. I saw excerpts of her speech and had a lump in my throat trying to hold back a tear as I listened to her hopes, dreams and aspirations for herself and all girls worldwide.
She moved me when she said, “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” I applaud Yousafzai for her courage and tenacious spirit to bring about change. Yousafzai is a true role model. Now she is the youngest to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I feel that is a remarkable achievement for a brilliant and remarkable young girl who will be a remarkable woman and will accomplish much.