Women

You Couldn’t Make This Up: Jihad Jane…in Pennsburg

All writers have vivid imaginations, even us non-fiction types have the ability to spin a pretty good yarn, it’s part of the job. But the most intricate Tom Clancy or Stephen King plot might sound implausible if it revolved around a middle-aged American woman in a small, rural Pennsylvania town, who turned into an international jihadist, stealing passports and planning to do murder in Sweden. 

No one gets a book advance for this story…you can read it for free at mcall.com and in The Morning Call. At almost every paragraph I found myself saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me” or “This can’t be true”. According to the story, Colleen LaRose, “used e-mail, YouTube videos, phony travel documents and a burning desire to kill ”or die trying, to help recruit a network for suicide attacks and other terrorist strikes in Europe and Asia, based on a federal grand jury indictment filed Tuesday.”

Whether this woman was acting out some desperate need for attention, suffering from mental illness, or just devoid of any sense of self-worth not to mention patriotism, we should all be grateful to her for the service she has rendered. If you thought the enemy lived thousands of miles away and would be easy to profile, think again. It is only a matter of time until someone, who we would never suspect, blows themselves up on an American bus or train, or in a shopping mall.

The threat of terrorism is real, it is among us, and we must never let down our guard.

Oh, I almost forgot: I want to wish Colleen LaRose, Happy Women’s History Month. The theme for 2010 is “Writing Women Back in to History”…Ms. LaRose, if you are guilty of these charges, you certainly will have found your place in history…as a traitor.  

Purple Pride in Iraq

The Academy Awards, the tragic death of a beautiful young woman in California, the arrest of an Al Qaeda leader, flashed across our news screens and newspapers the past few days. Unless you’re a real news junkie, you could have easily missed an event that didn’t receive much coverage in the main stream media.  

To paraphrase an old newspaper slogan…Since it no longer bleeds, at least not American blood, it no longer leads. While odds were being placed on who was going to win best actress, 55% of the voters in Iraq went to the polls. Thirty-eight of them paid with their lives, thousands of our sons and daughters did too, which is why I thought the event worthy of more attention.

PurpleFinger wmnAccording to CNN, a woman standing in line to vote said it was her way of fighting back at the terrorists, another, who brought her two young daughters with her to the polling place said she had heard bombs go off and was scared but felt she had to come. It makes one wonder how many of us would do so under similar circumstances.

It is also worthy of note that the new Iraqi Constitution calls for 25% of the members of Parliament to be women. Not only did women across Iraq show their courage and determination by voting…they showed it by running.

The time for debating the validity of the war is long gone. The sacrifice of blood and treasure has been beyond measure. But we are where we are.

Let’s hope that place is the beginning of a stable future for Iraq. 

An Example of Leadership…

ECUADOR CHILE Chile’s President, Michelle Bachelet set an outstanding example of leadership in general, and women’s leadership in particular, following her country’s devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake.

Before the full impact of the tragedy had been calculated, Bachelet was on Chilean television screens and air waves reassuring her citizens that all possible resources were being mobilized to help them and asking them to stay calm.

What resonated with me, was not only those very Presidential words, but more importantly, what I believe are the feminine strengths of leadership that Bachelet displayed. She followed her official message with one that spoke to the heart and soul of her people, asking them to think beyond themselves, to offer assistance to others and “to take those who are homeless into your home”.

That willingness to show empathy and understanding is a hallmark’s of women’s leadership. To speak authentically from the heart demonstrates strength, not weakness.

President Bachelet is to be commended for simultaneously taking charge of the situation and comforting her people.  

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