Lysistrata, a comedy by Greek dramatist Aristophanes (c. 447 – c. 385 b.c.e.), tells the story of a group of women from opposing states who unite to end the Peloponnesian War.
After matronly stormtroopers take over the building where public funds are kept, the women rise to end the war by withholding sex from their mates — Until, desperate for intimacy, the men finally agree to lay down their swords and see their way to achieving diplomatic peace.
Though we are not necessarily suggesting these tactics be used to end this war (but, wouldn’t it be fun if the First Lady …), Lysistrata provides a humorous entree into a healthy community dialogue: What CAN we do on a local level to stop “diplomacy by violence” in our world?
In many countries, women have progressed to greater positions of power since Aristophanes wrote this play. Many of us do have a voice now. We are free to run for office. We are free to speak out for humanitarian foreign policy. We are free to teach our youth about conflict resolution through compassionate negotiation, rather than violent domination. And we can do much more.
For the sake of women who DON’T have those freedoms (the very women who will feel the brutality of Bush’s war in a direct way), we must speak out. We must unite.