Women and their role as Peace Bringers in Ada Aharoni’s New Book of Poems Horizon of Peace By Sarah SalazarPosted: 2018/03/24
Women and their role as Peace Bringers in Ada Aharoni’s New Book of Poems
Horizon of Peace
By Sarah Salazar
Ada Aharoni is an Israeli poet, writer, sociologist, and founder of: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace (IFLAC).
In her new book of poetry, “Horizon of Hope” (2018), published by Gvanim, she has created a collection of her work which welcomes the future of a world BEYOND WAR, with zeal and full of hope. This is one of the first bilingual books of poetry in English facing Hebrew, published in Israel, which is advantageous for people who wish to read the verses in its original English language, as well as to reach a larger international community with her convincing message for peace. When this message is brought in two languages and to two cultures it redoubles its impact and effect.
An additional advantage of having the e English in front of the Hebrew is that it allows the Hebrew reader to improve his English, and it allows the English reader to learn and improve his Hebrew. The reason why Prof. Ada Aharoni wrote her poems in English first, is that she was in an English School from the first lass in Cairo Egypt, where she was born, and after she came to Israel she continued her English studies at the Hebrew University and then she travelled to London and received her English Literature M.Phil. at Birkbeck College at the University of London.
Throughout her poems, peace is at the center of her message. Sometimes, this hope for peace is read as a hushed whisper, muffled into silence by oppressive and non-attentive authorities. In her poem “No Talking”, Aharoni describes the pain of losing loved ones on both sides of violence and cries which fall on deaf ears which are shown in the following sections:
The politicians decided –
No talking with the enemy
How can we convince violent leaders
To talk and not to shoot?
And we weep together with all the
Innocent people from both sides,
But still, first and foremost –
Each stanza is separated with a yell of, “NO TALKING!” as if to suppress those who dare oppose the leaders’ greed for violence and bloodshed by planting seeds of hope for peace. “No Talking” reflects leaders’ refusal to have an open dialogue, smothering their people into silence. Aharoni’s book is a journey which follows these hurt people, urges them to rise and demand peace. In “I Want to Kill You, War”, her poem personifies War. It shows great disgust for how it is maintained like a vile mascot that feeds from under the governors’ table:
The governors of the world go on
Feeding your fat belly with fresh
And nuclear arms, with blurring eyes…
Poems are carefully and purposefully placed, creating a narrative which the reader may follow along and see the transformation of war and terror victims as they begin to rise despite their oppressive leaders. Aharoni demonstrates her firm stance against the violence in “You Can’t Bomb Me Again”:
because I don’t allow you to bomb me
nor to choke
nor rape me anymore,
for I have my own strength now
and my own creative
peace business now….
The women of the world have arisen from their “sarcophagus”, where men have buried them, and now they are conscious of their being the majority of citizens in the world and that they have the power of numbers in the political game, and the assuredness that their cause of wanting to be equal in the running of the world is not only their right, but also democratic.
In another poem, entitled: “Year of Hope,” instead of waiting for the right leaders, Aharoni demonstrates her strength, showing the readers the way to peace by telling us to claim it. She says:
We face a choice – to rise to this
moment in time
And be the Peace we want to see –
It all depends on us, for we Peace – Lovers
Are the largest global community!
As the founder of IFLAC, she is a personal example that one can create change with others who are willing to make peace and promote it. In her poems, sometimes the hope for peace becomes like a painful human cry holding out its arms for the unseen world peace as in the powerful poem: “What is Peace for Me?”:
When I look at you our golden children
And feel the next war
Pinching the center of my heart.
There are additional moving cries of the victims of War: “‘We want to live – not die!’”. The book represents not only women’s desire, but also the whole of humanity’s desire to see this world of peace come to pass. It makes us wonder if we shall remain like the Biblical Moses who only looked on from afar from Mount Moriah, seeing the promised land on the horizon, yet never being able to reach it and taste its sweetness. The whole book expresses the opposite, as it clearly impregnates us with this clear and beautiful “Horizon of Hope”!
The narrator in “If a White Horse from Jerusalem” expresses her concern on when Peace shall arrive, and she urges peacemakers to bring it soon:
Perhaps before my hair falls
Before my teeth drop
Before my breath whistles
Before I go. . .
Aharoni shows the reader that War, Terror and Violence bring only destruction, and no benefit to one or the other. It creates a vicious cycle that makes victims of us all. In “Killing Us Softly” she warns where these present conflicts will lead us. War and Violence have nowhere else to lead us but to that place where no one is left standing, we teach our children:
“Stop fighting, you will hurt each Other,”
Then we calmly proceed
to annihilate one another.
We breed black widows
With red eyes in our labs!
Aharoni is true to herself and her dream for women and their role for peace, capturing the bravery of women, of mothers who stand united to fight for the better future of their children.
One of the effective sections in the book is titled “WOMEN’S VISION,” in which women are prized for their natural intuition of love and kindness.
Peace is like a second nature to women, as shown in “Siniora: My New Friend in Gaza”, when Ada visited Gaza, with a group of members of IFLAC, before the first Intifada. It insinuates the possibility and ease in which women from conflicting lands can bring reconciliation and healing together through bridges of communication, understanding and friendship. In a world of paternalism, men have held power so long, but have failed in the bringing peace. After having created close feelings with her new Palestinian friend Siniora, at the Palestinian Museum in Khan Yunis, her poem calls on men to learn from the example of women:
Men! Learn from women for a change
Let women help you make peace,
With women it is as natural, as easy as that.
Ada strongly believes that women are the future bringers of peace in this changing world. In a “Bridge of Peace”, an Israeli woman calls out:
“My Arab sister,
Let us build a sturdy bridge
From your olive world to mine” ….
Through all her powerful, true, and deeply moving poem, the whole book “Horizon of Hope,” speaks to us profoundly and effectively, to you and me, the readers. It gives us the profound vision and hope, as well as example, as Ada writes, to” build a sturdy bridge of Jasmine understanding”.
Ada continues to show us through her profoundly powerful poem: “Peace Is A Woman and A Mother”, that women’s natural inclination for nurture and intuition in abating conflict in the home between every member, makes her the expert and logical choice for the next generation of Peace Bringers. For women have arisen and are now ready to give birth to Peace:
Peace is indeed a pregnant woman,
Peace is a mother.
The wonderfully hopeful message we get from this beautiful book is that it is up to us all women and men, youth and children, to create the next chapter of equal responsibility for our planet and for humanity, to gain ground and grow closer to that horizon of hope for peace, until we behold it face to face, and hold powerfully it in our own hands.
Reading this powerful and lyrical bilingual book has been a wonderful and enriching experience for me, as Ada Aharoni has excelled in putting into words images and feelings that so many people cry out for in their hearts, but do not know how to express. As a Hebrew language student, this is a brilliant opportunity for me to practice and enrich my Hebrew, while retaining their impressive and profound original English, right beside the beautiful Hebrew.