A Mother’s Day Proclamation, May 9, 1870


Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace, Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And at the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions,

The great and general interests of peace.

~ Julia Ward Howe

WorldBeyondWar.org:  A global movement to end all wars

United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

13 responses to “A Mother’s Day Proclamation, May 9, 1870

  1. lovely.
    US troops now in Yemen. i mean, they’ve been there, but now we know it. and the “intelligence” & weapons all come from the US. iirc, yemen is & has been the poorest country in the Middle East. similar to Afghanistan, poorest country in the world. war is always a war on the poor, in its ripping food from the mouths of babes to drop bombs on peasants.

    • are the US troops there in ‘an advisory capacity’?/s directing bombs and drone strikes, perhaps? US troops in libya, too, with another R2P in the works?

      to create the ostensible need for a ‘war on terra’ was possibly the best psyop ever.

      • the “intelligence” portion consists of providing targeting info to US-supplied but Saudi-flown planes/bombs. so it’s every bit uncle sam’s war. i’ll try to remember where i found this as i don’t typically scour Reuters, but Reuters is reporting that AQ now has a sizeable & quite profitable presence on some portion of the coast of Yemen.

        • ah, our comments intersected in time. what a dirty war as it began, and now has morphed into another proxy war. remember when the government there first pretended that the drone killings weren’t authored by the U? heaven forfend! what hegemonic sticks might rain down on them for anything close to the truth!

    • p.s. i guess. it was niggling at the corners of my mind that our partners in peace the saudis had been accused of cluster-bombing in yemen, but i dunno from whence the clusterbombs came, nor if it’s a whole nother misdirection. i’d been watching an argument over the ‘glory’ of the clinton foundation at another site, and dug up this sirota/perez exposé on the queen of chaos when she was SoS. i never finished it because: well, yanno: 2 much 2 read w/o an airsick bag. but’ let’s fund both sides of any war’ and become the queen’ is brilliant, yes? yeah, this is Olde New, but still.

  2. Thank you for this magnificent reminder, wendye. I now understand the outrage I felt asking the questions I asked earlier (click on my little kiwi upper right column if you haven’t read my ‘dissertation’ – it’s in the piece on the Odessa matushkas).

    The college article I referenced opened as follows:
    “Service” is a strange word. It’s derived from the Latin ‘servitium’, ‘slavery’. And that makes sense. Our chief service is in “The Service”, the Armed Forces. The primary law of the military is to obey unconditionally and immediately.

    How’s that for speaking truth to power — err, sorry, I mean speaking power to truth.

    Our chief service????

    Thank you, Julia – and wendye.

    • killing people is like being a butler or governess or chauffeur to the nation? euphemism to make turning the globe into an abattoir palatable? NATO troops, e.g., in Ukraine will be doing “service” for some people, for sure. like joe biden’s family.

    • well i’ll go read later a bit of a siesta, ww, but wth? otoh, i packaged up 3 jars of goodies for mr. wd’s father yesterday, made him a card that said ‘Happy:’ then mother’s day, father’s day’…and had to look up amerikan holidays after that. so many have been re-dedicated to WAR and vets that i finally went with ‘thanksgiving’. i didn’t reckon he’d like the muslim holidays…

      how grievous it is that the US like war if one can be declared to have been ‘won’, how they’ve been agit-propped into kinda liking torture and those drone assassinations that don’t require caskets coming home.

      sometimes the weight of capitalistic wars gets almost too heavy to bear. MLK paraphrased: ‘when a nation spends more on its military than it does on social programs, it’s approaching spiritual death’. how far beyond that warning are we now? whooosh.

      thank you, juliania. all credit here goes to JWH.

  3. Oops, I should mention there is a teeny footnote to the word “unconditionally” – 1 “There is one exception: If the command breaches a higher law of morality.”

    Okay then.

    You think? You really, really think that makes everything okay?

  4. OT:
    Inside/Outside or Just a Longer Path to Cooption?

    In These Times, This Political Revolution Will Continue Long after Bernie Sanders Campaign.

    It seems that there is a complicated political dance coming up around the disposition of Sanders voters in the general election and what the Clinton campaign can expect from them. It has the smell of lots of different autonomous actions instead of a Sanders attempt to herd everyone in one direction. But wait and see.

    Thanks for the reminder that it was the abolitionist movement, who first discovered pacifism with the American War on Mexico, who became the articulators of the moral argument against war in the US. The opponents of the Crimean War served the same function in Europe. In the US, the Civil War created a movement of women who sought suffrage so they could end war and later sought suffrage so they could end the battering of women by drunken men through passage of prohibition. Those two movements were related. And with the peace movement in the 1960s, their notion of the moral argument against war became widespread enough to seem intuitive.

    In fact, the warmongers just adopted a low public profile and kept doing what they always have been doing — including before Julia Ward Howe and her friends spoke out in the moralistic phase of Transatlantic Victorian culture.

    Daniel Berrigan was able to transform that moral argument in the 1960s. It needs to be transformed an made again in an age of fear and cynicism.

    • ‘wait and see’; well, i guess. last interview i saw with bernie he was saying that he’d done what he’d said out to do: ‘re-energize the democrat party’, so…no, the coalition shouldn’t count on him. the other big play going on is to get on the green party ticket, stein moves to veep, tra la la. she’s reached out to him for a second time, hasn’t heard back. as far as i’m concerned, she’d be selling her soul for an advance of the greens. worth it? not in my book.

      there’s been so much daniel berrigan coverage since his death, and i wish i’d taken the time to read them. but yes, where are the great orators for peace?

      and thank you much for your long paragraph on the history of the related anti-war resistance movements, even with the bleak ‘warmongers just adopted a lower profile’. ;-). OT, but sometime i think about the music group ‘system of a down’ whose raison d’etre was/is to tell the story of the armenian genocide, in hopes that those responsible would admit that it was so. apparently erdogan is not to be moved.

      speaking of which, can you explain why the EU genuflects so mightily before turkey and erdogan? i know i must be a thick-wit for not getting it.

  5. Turkey is the guardian of the entrance to the Black Sea. If Turkey is in the EU corner, Russia is bottled up. If Turkey is a Russian ally (historically unlikely), Russia has free access to the Mediterranean. More than just pipelines. It makes Russia a naval power when it is naturally disadvantaged by geography. Erdogan is just the custodian of the Dardanelles and Bosporus of the moment.

    Being one of the powers in the Middle East, along with Iran and Egypt, Turkey and Erdogan can counterbalance other powers. Saudi Arabia and Israel are powers through large expenditures and US aid, which is not a persistent condition; if the US goes away, they lose power. Turkey, Egypt, and Iran depend on their own economies and populations to create their power.

    It is curious why Turkey is so unmoved by a genocide that happened in a previous regime and a hundred years ago. But that attitude goes beyond Erdogan and even infects US policy.

    • well blow me down again; you’re talking *actual* geopolitics. geography as destiny in a way. yes, i remember when i’d shown the magazine cover with putin breast-stoking thru the dardanelles, and you’d hipped me as to the photo-shopped location. gorgeous and unforgettable image, imo. ;-)

      i reckon i’ll just have to take on faith that you know this is so; it gave me pause: ‘Turkey, Egypt, and Iran depend on their own economies and populations to create their power’. but i thank you so much for cluing me in to ‘the why’.


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