Every week, it seems, another can of worms opens, both nationally and internationally. After a time it can all seem too overwhelming, causing one to despair, bringing the feeling that the world is simply one big disaster zone, about which nothing can be done. This spiral of disempowerment can end with the inability even to look at, or care about, what is happening beyond our own front doors.
Well, maybe not you, but it could so easily have been me, and I owe my thanks to Greenham [the women's peace camp], the Aldermaston Women's Peace Campaign, WILPF (the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom), and WATFY (Women's Aid to former Yugoslavia), and the truly amazing women I find myself working alongside. They have given me the strength to look squarely at both present and potential disasters, and the opportunity of doing what I can to help make a change for the better.
Let me say quickly, before you get the wrong impression, this is not tight-lipped-grim-earnest-white-knuckled-duty stuff. It is about being positive, knowing that what we are trying to do is achievable. Taking nonviolent direct action, supporting others in their work, lobbying, being visible, making sure our views are heard.
It is about entering into animated discussions with women who are far better informed than myself, so I learn and gain insight into areas which would not otherwise have been open to me. It is about crossing barriers of distance, age, culture, bringing the delight of making trusted friendships with women I would never have met in the usual sphere of things. It is about fun, laughter, entertainment and, with all of that, working with people who are dedicated to trying, as well as they possibly can, to make the world a better place and well, it's so inspiring!Hazel Rennie has been involved in a wide range of campaigns for many years, and is a regular camper at the Aldremaston Women's Peace Camp. She also writes rather good poetry.
WILPF has national sections in many countries, for infomation contact their international office Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, 1 rue de Varembé, 1211 Genève 20, Switzerland (tel +41 22 733 6175; fax 740 1063; email firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wilpf.int.ch).