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Suffragettes?

"How You Gonna Keep Them Down on the Farm Once They Have Seen Paree?" were the lyrics to a song at the turn of the century. Bet you don't know the history of this song!   It was popular during WW1, and especially as applied to black soldiers, who fought alongside French military but were forbidden to speak with or even be acknowledged by their American non-black counterparts.  During this period in history, Harlem Jazz was introduced to Paris and other parts of France, and after the war was won and up until very recent times, great black artists of all genres often went to live and work in France, where they were given the respect and freedom they deserved. 

Liberation must come from within.   Outside sources can assist and enable, overtly or clandestinely, but in the end, those who have the short end of the stick must sacrifice, labor, and even be sneaky in insisting on their own liberation and the right to determine their own course.  Unfortunately, too many times the USA gives only lip-service to this concept, and "liberated" countries fall back into chaos.  If ALL factions - tribes, casts, clans, sexes, religions - aren't protected and given a voice in a new power structure, true liberty and democracy will be a long way off.

On a similar note, from son Mark (Zog to his friends), a news item from Jordan .  True or not, it sounds to me like a great idea:

"Jordanian Woman Attacks Harassers
Sun Sep 22,11:49 AM ET

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - All that was missing was the Wonder Woman costume.

Witnesses say a Jordanian woman ripped off her enveloping black cloak and veil — to reveal a traditional long dress that was nearly as enveloping — and punched and kicked into submission three young men who had been verbally harassing her.

The official Petra News Agency reported Sunday that shopkeepers and passers-by believe the unidentified woman must have had martial arts training. In Friday's incident on the main street in Zarqa 13 miles north Amman, the three men were too shocked to react at first and ended up knocked to the ground, screaming in pain. They then scrambled up and fled.

The woman quoted the title of a song made famous by the late Egyptian star Umm Kalthoum — "patience has its limits" — before continuing on her way as a crowd cheered her.

Petra quoted witnesses as saying the three men had regularly directed obscenities at the woman as she walked in the area. It was not clear if they harassed other women as well."

I have always held that women who are strong, confident in their abilities and walk tall (no matter what their height) are less of a target and more of a force to be reckoned with.  Imagine if only 10% or 20% of Arab women, including Afghanis, were  clandestinely taught martial arts!

This also reminds me of the time when Golda Mier was the Prime Minister of Israel.  There had been a problem with women, returning home late at night, being assaulted in the streets.  Government members, mostly men, decided on a possible solution:  require that women not accompanied by a man have a curfew.  Golda Mier was outraged.  She suggested that men have a curfew instead of women, since they were the offenders.  

Just as the suffragettes in the USA and other countries bore ridicule, jailing, physical abuse and discouragement until women were given the vote, Arab women must work - probably clandestinely in many cases - to help bring peace and freedom to their own gender and to the entire Middle East.  Martial arts isn't a bad way to start.

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