The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 13

sTorIes oF PeaCemakers
is underdevelopment, destruction, refugee flows, deaths in the
hundreds of thousands. It matters.

m

***

iriam (not her real name) comes from a small village
outside of dimapur in Nagaland. She is here as part of
a group of 85 women who are gathering in guwahati from all
over the North East. they are women's department employees
from each of the seven conventions and 100 local Associations.
they've come for training in three things: women's human
rights, conflict transformation and biblical peacemaking. This
is all to be accomplished in three days-a daunting task.

"'Our tribal identity supersedes our
Christian identity,' he said to me over
morning coffee in the Garo Hills. So,
'Love your enemy' gets lost as the key
signpost of biblical interpretation. Sort
of like us."
Miriam's was an arranged marriage, "not a love marriage,"
she told me when we happen to meet at the compound canteen
the day before the training was to begin. "It still isn't." She
has two children and lives with her father-in-law. She has the
typical Asiatic epicanthic fold of the eyes, testimony to ancient
migrations from the east and north; her skin is pale, her hair
tinged with something ruddy, added or natural, I'm not sure.
her husband works in Arunachal Pradesh, helping to build a
dam. She doesn't see him much-which is okay with her. he's
better off there than in his village.
We are interrupted by the entrance of a young teenager
whom miriam introduces as her nephew, Kesonyu. In his arms
is 10-month-old zelian. She accepts the baby into her arms and
smoothly manoeuvres him onto her breast. Kesonyu dashes
out, grateful for the reprieve. "Because of him," she says, "I
can be here. my sister's son." She smiles.
"I love my work with the Association. I wasn't paid last year,
and not yet this year. But that's okay. We do what women are
supposed to do, support one another, prepare programmes that
bring women together so that we can talk and share our needs,
and then we figure out how to meet those needs. Sometimes
the most important thing we do is talk!" She laughs, sweet
memories flashing across her face.

She becomes thoughtful, lowering her voice. "We're tired,"
she says. "We're so tired; tired of war, of all the violence and
death. It makes no sense." She turns to face me, defiant. "Men
make war; we clean up the mess."
"We have no say at panchayat (village council)," she says.
"Unless we are summoned-usually for punishment-we
don't count. And the church is no different." She turns away
and says into the distance as little zelian begins to gurgle with
satisfaction, "I don't know what we're going to learn here. But
we want to show them that we are ready to do our part, trained!
to bring peace."

o

***

ver the next three days, we sing and talk and tell stories
and pray. We probe the Bible for things we didn't even
know were there. We lay the groundwork for skills in conflict
transformation. We talk about how uN-protected religious and
cultural rights are trumped by a woman's rights to the integrity
of her person, to freedom of movement, rights to marry freely,
to inherit and own property.
We talk about Reservation 33, a federal ruling mandating
local governments to set aside one-third of the seats for women
and, in Nagaland, in particular, the bloody protests by men
who fear its implications for cultural practices protected in
their autonomy agreement with Delhi. "In India," declared
Please see "Women Rising" on page 14

Right: From pupa to butterfly, women in North east India sculp
their futures as agents of peace in this
spring 2017 training led by Lee McKenna.
Photo courtesy of Lee mckenna.

Baptist Peacemaker

Oct-Dec 2017 13



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017

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The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 12
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 13
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 14
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 15
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 16
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 17
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 18
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 19
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 20
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 21
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 22
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 23
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 24
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 25
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 26
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 27
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 28
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 29
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 30
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 31
The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 32
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/38-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-4
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-3
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-2
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-3
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-2
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/35-4
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/35-3
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/35-2
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/35-1
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-4
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-3
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-2
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-1
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com