Women's Appeal for Peace (LONG)

Kathi R. Kitner (KITNER@LAW.UFL.EDU)
Fri, 31 May 1996 21:25:43 EST

of course, i am always the skeptic, but in light of the recent debate
on feminism , i think this somehow fits...

------- Forwarded Message Follows - - - - - - -

Date sent: Fri, 31 May 1996 12:53:17 -0400
Send reply to: Donald Zhang Osborn <osborndo@PILOT.MSU.EDU>
From: Donald Zhang Osborn <osborndo@PILOT.MSU.EDU>
Subject: Women's Appeal for Peace (LONG)
Originally to: thrdwrld@sphinx.gsu.edu
To: Multiple recipients of list DEVEL-L <DEVEL-L@AMERICAN.EDU>

The attached is directed specifically to women, but is an effort that should
be of interest to us men as well. Please pardon duplicates & x-postings. DZO

The following letters were written and are being distributed by Women's
Effort For Peace, a small group of Icelandic women. The response to these
letters has been overwhelming in all parts of the world. They are being
brought to your attention in the hope that you might want to participate
in this effort. Please feel free to print out these messages and use them
as requested in the cover letter.
There are two letters:
1) A cover letter explaining the purpose of the effort
2) Main letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
*There is also a progress report and an updated report



This, and the enclosed letter, should be self-explanatory and is being
widely distributed to the women of the world. It is not an ordinary letter,
however, it represents a serious attempt to bring about lasting peace on

If you agree with the contents of the letter, please sign it and send it to
the Secretary- General of the United Nations. Before sending it, you are
encouraged to make copies of the letter and this cover letter for as many
other women as you are able to, and encourage them to use this opportunity
to help bring peace to the world.

The purpose of this effort is to demonstrate the deep yearning for peace
among the women of the World and urge the United Nations to take steps to
put an end to war. This project was initiated by a small group of women in
Iceland and is not linked to any organization, political or otherwise.


For further information on this project please write to:
Women's Effort for Peace
P.O. Box 18
IS- 602 Akureyri

Or send e-mail to: Mrs. Elsa Benediktsdottir.<edvardj@simi.is>


To the Secretary-General of the United Nations
The United Nations
New York, N.Y. 10017

WE, THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD, have observed with increasing horror, in one
country after another, countless tragedies and catastrophes - the results
of senseless, raging wars.

IT IS A FACT emphasized by the United Nations that most peace and human
rights movements in the world are made up mainly of women. However, as
the United Nations has also pointed out, women have unfortunately very
little influence or power to decide about or prevent wars. Whether in
victory or defeat, women and children are largely the innocent victims
and their suffering at this moment has become unbearable.

THE TIME HAS NOW COME that we, the other half of humankind, will no
longer tolerate war and its resulting disasters. We can remain silent no
longer. War has never and will never solve problems or disagreements.
Violence breeds violence. This lesson should have been learned a long
time ago.

WE, THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD, appeal with all our hearts to the United
Nations to call together the leaders of all nations to a historic world
meeting, the goal of which would be to discover, through sincere and
unprejudiced consultation, the means of creating a lasting peace on

WE ASSURE THE UNITED NATIONS that the establishing of such agreements for
peace, safeguarded by international laws and strengthened by the
willingness of all governments to abide by them, has our immediate and
full support.

LET US BE THE GENERATION that will at last bring about those changes that
tomorrow's generations will regard as the most significant in history,
changes which give every child in humanity's future the hope of growing
up in a secure and peaceful world.

Woman: _________________________
Work: __________________________
Country: ________________________
Date: __________________________


by Mrs. Elsa Benediktsdottir
March 7th 1996

The First Letters and the Response in Iceland:

The first letters we sent out in August this summer. They were sent to
more than 100 women in Iceland who were known to have a good contact
with women in other countries. These women were asked to give some
report on how many letters they send. Most of them have responded very
well and been sending or distributing from 10 up to 300 letters.

Unexpectedly, and to our great pleasure, many men in Iceland have shown
interest in this, and are eagerly supporting it. They have been
introducing it to women they know, and showing it to other men, asking
them to introduce it to their wives. One of them wrote an article,
encouraging women to participate, and encouraging men to assist in
whatever way they can. It was published in the biggest newspaper in

Overseas Letters and the Response:

In September we sent letters to 1500 women overseas. They were on a
list of women who had been participating in a conference on women's
issue. We did not ask them to give a report, but already we have got
letters and news from more about 50 women and organizations. It is
clear from the letters that no matter where these women live they seem
to agree fully with the text and the contents of the letter to the UN.
Only two have asked for a change, they wanted the word "mankind" being
replaced with the word "humankind". A few of them have only asked for
information but most of them have responded very positively and sent
their congratulations and said things like: "Why didn't we think of it
long ago?" or "Wouldn't it be wonderful if all women simply said no to
war and violence?" Several women have expressed wishes for cooperation
or to be in touch to hear about how it spreads and develops. The
response of these women and/or their organizations has been very

From the response we can see that the project is taken seriously. The
women find the idea simple, and write to us that the letter is
expressing what they themselves can fully agree with. This is what we
hoped for because it means that women in general can unite in this
simple action. The main goal is to create a universal participation
among them, hoping for millions of letters to the United Nations,
expressing the will of the women of the world, saying: We will no
longer accept war.


The letters have come from the following countries:
Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Russia,
Ukraine, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Greek, Turkey, France, Luxembourg,
Germany, the Netherlands, England, Ireland and Scotland.
Through other women we have heard of a good response in Spain and the
Canary Islands.
From Manitoba, Ontario and Halifax in Canada and close to 20 letters
from various places in USA. They are both from the West coast and the
Eastern part of the country and from New Mexico.
Other continents:
Letters and news have come from Israel, the Gambia, South Africa,
Taiwan and Australia.

The project is still spreading so the report is changing with almost
every week that goes. We know the project letter has reached all
Continents, but the highest number of letters has gone to Europe and
America. It varies a lot how many letters they seem to distribute. Some
are sending or distributing hundreds of letters, individually or
through their organization, and others have managed to distribute from
about 5 to 50 letters.
ADDENDUM, 30. March 1996

The last three weeks we have received 25 new letters. They came from 5
continents and many new places are now added to the list. A great part
of them was from USA and Canada, evenly spread from east to west. They
came also from places like Slovak Republic, Siberia, Singapore, New
Zealand, and South Africa.

It is hard to say how many letters have gone to the Secretary-General
of the United Nations but it is an undeniable fact that women all over
the globe have responded with enthusiasm for the project, Women's
Effort for Peace. The wide response gives the feeling that the global
society is like a small village and that women can easily become a
strong and unified force in it.

The voice of women is not usually heard and they are not asked of their
opinion when serious and fatal decisions about war are made. They
therefore need to make an extra effort to be heard. This project is one
way of doing it and it is still spreading and giving more women an idea
of what they can do to make a change.

As we see it, it is only a beginning. We think women have reached the
stage that they will not accept, anymore, that they are outsiders in
affairs that matters live and death of themselves, their children and
their families. They will do it peacefully, but with the strength that
comes with the assurance that it is both right and fair that women and
men are equal partners in making decisions about live and death of

The Women's Effort for Peace group has now sent a letter to the United
Nations to learn about the number of letters received by the
Secretary-General. We have not yet had a reply so we might write again.
For those of you who have the technical facilities, the project letters
and the progress report are now also available at this site.

Elsa Benediktsdottir
Women's Effort for Peace,
P.O. Box 18,
IS-602 Akureyri

Please use this e-mail address to receive information:
Mrs. Elsa Benediktsdottir

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