First, my gratitude to Readers Views for members of the community to enter debates, often of unfamiliar subjects that opens the heart and mind to consider our world and how our history has moulded it and to consider what has really changed.
Second my gratitude to Frank McManus (Letters, February 13) for adding to the Great War issues by raising the issue of “never again”, and the rejection of war methods used over 100 years ago.
I am sorry that he focussed only on the munitions issue and missed my point of the huge hidden work of women abroad as nurses and doctors and ambulance drivers, living and working alongside the dying and injured in Europe even though the government and war Ministry turned them away in 1914 and thus he fell into the common reaction to dismiss raising a debate on women’s contributions to conflict and war.
I have found from experience that change happens by tackling and supporting communities in their dreams of freedom of war and longing for peace, especially empowering the women and children. Waiting for the politicians takes so long.
I remember with shock seeing the full length painting of General Allenby at the head of his army entering Jerusalem in 1918 to free the Palestinians from the 500 year old occupation of the Ottoman Empire, on the wall of St Andrews Church on the Green Line in Jerusalem. My friends in the refugee camps of Syria, Jordan and Gaza and West Bank are still waiting for the British and European governments to address their misery, left from the promises made in the Middle East Campaigns of the “Great War”.
It always interests me that when articles or issues are raised on the role and experiences of women and girls in conflict and war which the average school history curriculum would hardly mention, that a man or male dominated organisations immediately sideline those women’s experiences and raise “grander” global issues that seem much more important and that score possibly larger points in a debate.
I am a War Child from the Second World War. So my interest in the hidden roles and experiences of women and girls in survival and participation in war, military occupation and resistance, and being permanently or temporarily displaced arose through my own experience and then working in the West Bank and Gaza under occupation and the first Gulf War, in Lebanon at the end of its civil war, in Sudan and other Middle East countries and Afghanistan after the Taliban.
So my hope is that we will remember the men, the women and of course the youth and children who lived and died and survived the horrors of that war as we try to make sense of how to reduce and change the violence overwhelming our overcrowded world.