Posted by Pattie on 3/23/2002 10:47:00 AM

Ah, Chatty Cathy. One of my first dolls, or at least, the one I remember first.

My hope is that conversation can heal, can save, can humanize. There are days when I am overwhelmed by the sheer futility of it all...

After to moving to Canada, I found some of the limits of the American mainstream press and how much information control concerning the rest of the world goes on in the U.S. While I find more information in Canada than I did in the US, I am still amazed when I discover how many things happen around the globe that just doesn't get talked about in North America. This morning I found an e-mail in my box from one of the members of SWS about the massacres in Gujarat. The link I found was the best I could do. The eye-witness account reported in the e-mail isn't published anywhere my search engines can find. Basically, Muslim women and their children were singled out, gang-raped, burned alive or bludgeoned to death, having to watch their children slaughtered first. The government apparently calls this a riot, but reports were that the people who committed theses barbaric acts were carrying maps, lists of residents, water-bottles, sophisticated weapons, and acted with military precision, arriving in trucks and spreading out over the area in a systematic fashion. This indicated anything but a riot. It was a systematic assault and over 700 women and children died.

So what does conversation do? I admit that my first impulse after reading about such horrific events is to scream "nothing" and shut down all forms of it. But I have come to see all forms of bullying as being related. Some are obviously more brutal and consequential than others, but as long as we tolerate one group of people deciding the humanity of another group of people, we leave a space open for the bullies of the world. Where am I going with this? I guess I'm not sure yet. I guess I'm still trying to figure out justice in a postmodern world. I guess I'm still thinking about discourse in a world that still uses violence above all other methods to handle difference. But it didn't escape my attention that talking preceded the massacre -- bullhorns and slogans were part of the event, whipping these barbaric young men into a frenzy, encouraging them to do what they did. Would they have done these aweful things without the slogans? without the speech? I wonder. And if speech is needed to create violence cannot it also be used to stop it?

Women and their children are often the targets of these violent acts. Perhaps, Chatty Cathy is the answer. Perhaps it's time for women to speak out. Maybe we are part of the larger conversation. I can only hope so.