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Trudy Rubin writes a column, Worldview, for the newspaper The Philadelphia Inquirer. I always look forward to her writing, because she is objective about whatever her subjects. She gets much of her information by being present and in touch with both the leaders and the common people of the nations she writes about. And she is non-partisan. I have no idea what religion, if any, she belongs to. But I do believe that she is pursuing God’s will through her writing. When I read her columns I often hear about bad news in the world. But then I almost always hear some good news in the midst of bad news. I hear about hope in and for places around the world where there seems to be no hope.
Recently her column dealt with the issue of the severe problems that women are facing in the world, with emphasis on the Middle East, and especially Afghanistan. I’m not going to retell everything she wrote. I’m just giving a few examples of hope fulfilled in and through the lives of some women she wrote about.
* Zin Mar Aung – She served 11 years of a 28 year sentence for handing out student pamphlets in support of Burmese opposition leader and Nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. Her life during those years must have looked hopeless. But today she trains women in political activism in hopes they can gain a role in politics and in peace talks with rebel minorities. In other words, as a person whose hopes for freedom were fulfilled, she is now helping to develop and share that hope with others.
* Claudia Paz y Paz – During a period of violence and civil war in her nation, she personally confronted those who were engaged in the murder of women (femicide). That took a great deal of courage and hope. And her hopes were fulfilled. Today she is the Attorney General of Guatemala, offering hope for women in and beyond her own nation.
* Nargis Nehan – She engaged in activism in a nation in which women are expected to do what they are told, and not speak out about the rights and treatment of women, or anything or anyone else, for that matter. She founded a non-governmental organization in her nation (Afghanistan) which works toward peace and democracy. Since the Taliban were removed from the control of her nation, some of the positive results (hopes fulfilled) affecting women include:
1. Life span of Afghan women has greatly increased
2. Maternal mortality has dropped
3. 3 million girls have attended school (up from zero)
4. Women can now work and go to university
Her concern, and that of many other Afghan women, as expressed to columnist Rubin, is the fear that all of this will be taken away as the USA and allied forces reduce their presence in Afghanistan. It seems to me that this is a real concern, regardless of whether the nation is controlled by the Taliban or the present Karzai regime. She tells columnist Rubin that the women of Afghanistan “…can’t believe the international community and the United States will allow that to happen. On the one hand, they fear; on the other , they hope”.
I too, have my fears and hopes concerning Afghanistan. Every time I hear the bad news that more of our military people have been killed, I say to myself that we have to get our people out of there as quickly as possible. At the same time, when I think that our departure might well open the way to the return of the old ways concerning treatment of women, rather than for further improvement, I find myself saying that we really need to be there. But as I read the quotation above, from Nargis Nehan, I notice that for her, the last word is not fear – the last word is hope. Neither columnist Trudy Rubin or activist Nargis Nehan know it, but God has used both of them, and others like them, to inspire me to trust that God will, in his time and his way, assure that those hopes will be fulfilled.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
May God be with you,
Patty and Ray