Saturday, May 5, 2012

More than dinner ...

IWAJ Gala Banquet Ticket -- a gift to Rebecca
... go to The Guildhall, Gresham Street ...
... present this ticket at the door ...
This post is for Catie Jarvis in particular.

She sent me an email a few months ago, one that moves around the internet, a protest about child soldiers, and bringing awareness about them to the recipient.

Thank you for that forward, Catie.

I have been thinking about that email again in the context of listening to Aunt Rebecca today.

She has been attending the The International Association of Women Judges Biennial Conference 2012.

Right now she is on her way to the Gala Dinner.

Here is one of the stories she told me this morning:

"I shook hands with the Irish Judge, Teresa Doherty, from the Special Court from Sierra Leone.

She is the one who put Charles Taylor from Liberia in jail. He has found guilty in April of 11 charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, terror, murder and rape.

She gave a talk on Women and Girls as Armed Combatants.

... conference bag ...
Here is how she got her training.

As a law student, she worked with legal students who gave advice in the no-go zones in Ireland.

Law students would give legal info in schools, in information clinics in Belfast that the law students ran.

As a student she was there at Christmas.

Students there had their artwork on the wall.

All of the pictures had the Trinity in them, Joseph, Mary and the baby.

Some drawings  had a cow, a goat, an animal unknown to human kind, but almost every painting had a soldier carrying a gun or a military helicopter flying above.

That was the moment that stuck with her, the impact of violence on children.

So, this judge’s life-experience is coming out of Northern Ireland, thinking how violence works it way out into people’s lives.

She was on a panel about women and girls as soldiers and combatants and was looking at how kids were taken and turned into forced child soldiers.

Brutal to listen to in many ways. Go into many villages, round everyone up who was left after raping the women, killing the men, and putting the kids through programmes to break them, different for girls and boys.

Then send them back to kill a family member in their village.

Then the kids could never go back there into the town and they are your soldiers for life.

It was a complicated story ... of how the integration of the children back into villages happened at the end of these wars, but the girls weren’t attended to, their need for reintegration wasn’t looked after.

And now there was left the problem of re-integrating the women who are outcasts. last look at my email before I leave for the dinner ...
But the judiciary in these countries are also corrupt and can’t always really hear the stories of these women.

So an independent organization brought her in and she needed to hear from women and girls. She needed to hear their stories. So she just sat herself up with her knitting and knitted every day. The women would send a child in to see what the judge was doing, watch for a while, come back and report, then send in others whose job it was to see what she is doing. She kept knitting and talking to people who would come in. Over time developed trust between them and her and they could gradually come to her and could tell their stories to her.

What an amazing person. Duncan and I went to a play here in London about this very thing. I will link to that if you want to read it as well."

That is all for now, Catie.  Thanks for reminding us that 12 year old girls know and are concerned about this problem, as are Rebecca and many other wonderful women.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Catie for reminding me too that the work that sometimes seems long and hard is worthwhile! Helping others, even starting with knitting and moving on to other gestures, is useful and meaningful.