Ft. Hood Reprise: Empowering Women, Particularly Muslims, Key To World Peace—And Containing Immigration
opined recently about the
strong statistical likelihood that increased
Muslim immigration into the US will bring a higher
level of terrorism, it seems appropriate for me to
comment on the only sensible antidote possible over
time to bring down this threat here and elsewhere:
Empowering women—particularly in
Let me begin with some background.
There are numerous reports, books and speeches that have
been made for years on the favorable effect of
The latest, a new United Nations
Population Fund [UNFPA] Report
"says women hold
the key to solving climate change." [State
of World Population 2009] Well, that is a new
one, but certainly the arguments made in the report are
From UNFPA`s press release:
"The report shows that climate change relates differently to women, men,
boys and girls, and differently among countries around
the world, and even within nations.
“In London, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid noted that
environmental damage `is one of the most inequitable
risks of our time.` The carbon footprint of the poorest
billion people on Earth is 3 percent of the world`s
total, yet it is the poor, especially poor women, who
will bear the
brunt of climate change,
“`For many people, especially
poor women in
climate change is here and now,` she said. `Women work
hard to keep their households together. They
fetch the water, find the food and the fuel to cook it, and clean up
They watch their
children`s health and
care for their illnesses. In recent years, both food and
fuel have been harder to find. The available water
carries parasites. Malaria is creeping into areas that
used to be mosquito-free. And floods, rising seas and
drought present growing challenges.`
The report recommends that countries invest in green technology and
reduce emissions, but says they should also empower
women to make their own decisions and be involved in
public decisions that affect their lives. Nations should
invest in women by ensuring alternatives to wood and
imported fuel; secure clean water supplies; better
roads; access to education for girls; and access to
health care, including reproductive health services,
especially for women, the report said."[New
UNFPA Report Says Women Hold the Key to Solving Climate
Ok, let`s further posit that other
long-advocated elements, such as more family planning
and better education opportunities for women, are also
lower birth rates which could eventually stabilize
world population at levels which our increasingly
vulnerable planet can tolerate–it won`t comfortably
tolerate the 10 plus billion population now predicted by
later in this century.
This burgeoning population growth
will surely continue unless women are provided the means
to determine their own fertility. Today, Third World
cultures—such as in the Middle East—are
totally male-dominated . In too many places, women,
half of the world`s population, cannot achieve their
wishes in every department of life from child bearing to
education and career goals. Their
repeatedly exposed, none perhaps more eloquently or
poignantly than in the
Kristoff/WuDunn book, Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide.
argued in my article on the Gates Foundation`s misguided
priorities, the massive creation of excess people in
places where birth rates have run rampant, inevitably
people—which, of course, means emigration to less
populated, richer, safer, more democratic countries in
Europe and the USA.
But let me put forth a further,
more urgent argument, one which has been forecast
earlier in a seminal, but almost ignored book entitled Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World,
by Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden.
You may not be surprised to be told
that it is primarily male humans who bring us war. But
perhaps you are unaware or unmindful of the driving
force behind male tendencies to make war since the dawn
of human history—the male sex drive.
for much of human history the most
successful and dominant males went to war, took the
spoils and—exhibiting classic Darwinian behavior—raped
and impregnated women, thereby benefitting future
their genes. You know,
Genghis Khan, etc.
Potts explains how crowding and the
loss of food supplies leads to wars that are often
entered into with enthusiasm by young males who,
motivated by patriotism or seeking escape from
unemployment or boredom,
bond with their mates in tight groups and find
excitement or even joy in battle.
The power of group loyalty and,
yes, the reported joy of killing put male behavior into
sharp focus vs. that of females.
A benign manifestation of
aggressive male behavior or team aggression can be
NFL games, both on the field and in the stands. A
more dangerous manifestation can be observed among
terrorists, who are clearly imbued—and motivated—by
stories of heroic group male behavior.
So let`s talk about the key to
Plainly, obviously, and without doubt, the longer-term
solution much come via the full realization of
Yes, women`s empowerment.
The now not-so-secret weapon which could do the
job that endless wars and male-dominated conflict
Look at our own country, and
anywhere where women have achieved positions of freedom,
basic human rights and political power.
Such positive actions have been occurring for
example, a Senegalese based group,
by stressing basic human rights for women has
enabled the abandonment of the ancient practice of
female genital cutting in thousands of villages.
On my visits to several of these emancipated
villages in 2007, I found males and females living in a
co-operative atmosphere. Greatly improved overall
education and general environmental conditions were
The November 11th peace award to an
Afghan woman, Suraya Pakzad, from
Peace, provides encouraging evidence that women
internationally are joining in efforts to change their
inferior status by banding together.
As described in a November 13, 2009
spotlight Afghan women`s efforts
Mary Jordan says
"Suraya Pakzad was 12 when she saw a gunman kill the headmistress of her
Afghan school because the woman taught girls and refused
to wear a head scarf. A few weeks later, a rocket
smashed into the school and killed a student sitting
near her, another warning for girls not to learn.
“Now 39 and a celebrity known for her courageous work to further women`s
rights in Afghanistan, Pakzad sat in a grand Washington
hall Wednesday night where she was being honored with a
new local prize for female peacemakers, tears welling in
her intense brown eyes when asked about her own safety
“`During the night, sometimes I am scared,` said the mother of six who
runs secret shelters for abused women and
runaway child brides.
`Sometimes I think if they come to get me in my house,
it will be hard for my children to see it. `"
The honoree, of course, argues
against an American pullout now, saying it would stop
Afghan women`s progress.
The article underlines a key peace
strategy with which I so greatly agree.
"Pakzad, called one of the 100 most influential people in the world this
year by Time
Magazine, was honored in Washington at the Carnegie
Institution by the Peace X Peace group.
“Formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the District-based nonprofit
seeks to connect women around the world via the
Internet. The founder, McLean photographer and writer
Patricia Smith Melton, said she called a group of
international women to her home shortly after 9/11 to
try to answer the question, `What is peace and how can
women build it?` She wanted to focus on women, she said,
after looking `at the state of the world and who it was
“That discussion in Northern Virginia led to Peace X Peace (pronounced
`Peace by Peace`), which now has `circles of women` in
more than 100 countries. The Internet discussion topics
include how to prevent violence and strengthen women`s
rights. Melton`s husband is an Internet entrepreneur who
founded a company responsible for the credit
authorization terminals on retail counters around the
“This year, the group awarded its first Women, Power and Peace Awards to
Pakzad; Fatima Gailani, president of the Afghan Red
Crescent Society, part of the International Red Cross
movement; Abigail Disney, an American filmmaker whose
`Pray the Devil Back to Hell` tells the story of the peace efforts of women in Liberia; and Mario
Morino, co-founder of
Washington area nonprofits, including some focused on
“In an interview, Gailani said she, too, was worried about Americans
growing weary of the war in her homeland. `Tomorrow, I
don`t want to wake up and open my eyes and you are not
there. It`s really scary.`
“She said she hopes Americans see the Afghanistan war as a fight not
just for the people in her country, but also for the
security of those in the United States who want to ride
their subways and use their airports without fear of
Of course the price of such uppity
advocacy has included assassinations by extremists who
don`t want women`s progress, which includes working
outside the home!
As the events of Ft. Hood
worst qualities of Islam will continue to bubble up
all over the world, increasingly in the USA and Europe.
The empowerment of Muslim women will likely prove the
only longer-term path to molding Islam into a faith
which does not teach and practice Jihadism.
More unwanted births from
un-empowered women equals more violence—and more
Donald A. Collins [email
him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.