Mother’s Day

It is Mother’s Day (Sunday, 6 March 2016) today for some parts of the world, including Bangladesh, Ireland, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Nowadays, it is customary to view Mother’s Day as an occasion to celebrate women as caregivers – to give them a respite (albeit a brief one) from daily household responsibilities – by gifting and pampering them.

Is this the best way to celebrate all that women are and can be? We welcome your comments on this topic.

We have put together some articles taken around the web that are in-keeping with today’s theme. On the one hand, we want to recognise and celebrate women around the world for their indispensable service to humanity. On the other hand, we want to shine a light on some of the issues that still confront us as women, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and, of course, human beings.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day in 2014 , National Geographic published Mother’s Day Turns 100: Its Surprisingly Dark History via @NatGeo in May of that year. It is interesting to note that the woman credited for launching Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, never intended it to become a mass, commercialised affair. In fact, she spent the rest of her life fighting against this.

How Islamic State is training child killers in doctrine of hate As the first article shows, the precedents for Mother’s Day were set during the American Civil War and in the post-war era as a means toward peace and reconciliation. This article is looking at the way in which Isis is sensitising young boys to violence. Historically, perceptions of the role of children and women have been instrumental in nation-building. In various contexts, be it Nazi Germany, Charles Taylor in Liberia and now ISIS, the belief that children are the future have led to the co-option of both children and women in abominable and vile acts / schemes.

Widows in India: My children threw me out of the house @AJENews Reading this, the most shocking thing is that all of the women interviewed and photographed have lived in their widows’ communities for 50-60 years and they are likely to die without reconciling with their families and loved ones. Another thing to note is that some of these women were child brides. There was a brilliant documentary in 2010 ( called The Witches of Gambaga which is based on the lives of women who were accused of witchcraft, exiled from their homes to live in Gambaga. The twist is that, although Gambaga has historically been a refuge to these women who are homeless and ostracised, upon leaving their communities they would enter into a life of servitude. They were expected to work for the chief of Gambaga, predominantly, as brick makers. In the rare instances when these women are reconciled with their loved ones, the proof of their innocence being determined by the way a chicken dies, they would have to pay the chief (through money or labour) to secure their freedom and leave Gambaga.