World War I was said to be the great war and the war to end all wars. It was certainly horrific. So many attrocities happened during that war. So many civilians and soldiers lost their lives during those 4 years. Never before had combatants from the four corners of the world been involved in one single war.
But it was not the final battle. Wars have followed since that have been even more horrific. Millions more people have lost their lives due to war. Horrific acts from the First World War seem mild compared to atrocities that have happened since.
The Metoo campaign began to spread virally last October. The campaign stated that women were permitted to speak up against sexual harrassment and that women were not going to take it anymore. As Oprah said, she hopes for the day when sexual harassment and gender discrimination will end. Predators were named and you could hear the voices of women say they were not going to take it anymore.
But of course sexual discrimination has not ended because of the Metoo movement. Women continue to get paid less then men. Women continue to be objectified by some men. Women still face cat calls, get passed up for promotions, and face more obstacles then men in life.
The students of Parkland school in Florida decided to speak up after fellow students and teachers were slaughtered at their school one month ago today. They have called on students and teachers to stage a mass boycott of schools on April 20th. They have staged gun control rallies and called out politicians who have towed the line fed to them by the National Rifle Association. They have been so well spoken and so organised, people have accused them of being actors and not students.
Yet this course of action has not had immediate results. Since the Parkland massacre there have 19 mass shootings in the US (a mass shooting is where at least four people are shot). Since Parkland, well over 1000 people have died as a result of gun violence. And the numbers keep rising.
One could get discouraged. Maybe things like peace movements, Metoo, and gun control is not all that effective. Maybe we should give up and think that there is nothing we can do. Why should we bother? But I don't think that is the lesson that we should take away from these scenarios.
I think a better answer is that we need to be aware that such movements do change us. Peace has not become a reality yet. There is still world conflict around. But maybe, enough of us now, knowing the high cost that war places on society, are committed to working for peace. I think there are far fewer people alive now who are certain that war is a good thing. So yes battles will continue to be fought, but at least we know that battles bear a high cost and even those who win the battles suffer.
Yes women will continue to face discrimination. Some men will continue to dominate, put down, de-value women in our society. I think the little girls that Oprah talked about in January will still be facing extra barriers then boys. But thanks to Metoo, women are now willing to speak up and know that they are not alone. Thousands of others are willing to say yes we understand how you are feeling and we will be there for you. And maybe some little boys, seeing how big stars such as Kevin Spacey and big movie moguls like Harvey Weinstein have been called to account for their actions, maybe they had treat women kinder and gentler or face throngs of angry women.
Yes mass shootings will continue to happen in the US as long as the National Rifle Association has such pull. The students and teachers who died at Parkland won't be the last students who die at the hands of a gunman. But their deaths have sparked a movement. A formerly apathetic generation has found it's voice and said, "We are mad and we are not going to take this anymore." Whatever happens, teenagers across the country have found their voice and the politicians would find it best not to ignore them.
Change does not happen at our pace. It never happens as fast or as slow as we want to, it obeys it's own clock. Goals such as world peace, ending of sexual harassment, and ending needless gun violence won't happen overnight. But I think more people are willing to say, "I am not going to take it lying down though." Change won't come today, but the possibility of change is alive and well. Blessings.
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