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The Week That Was: An End to the Violence

Posted: 25/11/2012 00:00

And so finally, with fingers still tentatively paused over triggers and soldiers lined up at borders, a peace settlement was agreed between Gaza and Israel this week, bringing to an end eight days of bloody violence.

Even the world's greatest optimists cannot believe this is the end of the story, with both sides seeking to write their own account of the tragic events, and claim a miserable kind of victory.

For many not religiously, historically or, due to family ties, connected to this conflict, it can be difficult to understand the intensity of feeling it inspires. Both sides believe passionately that they are right, and that the other is wrong, but as blogger Marcus Middleton wrote for us this week, that doesn't mean at a human level the pain differs.

"No matter if it is an Arab or Israeli death, the despair is no different. Ask an Arab mother or an Israeli father: What was it like to lose your son? What was it like to lose your daughter?

"Their answers will be exactly the same."

As the Middle East moves forward, however tentatively, Britain did quite the opposite this week, with the Church of England rejecting the introduction of women bishops in a totally unexpected move by its decision making elders.

Despite a majority of the Church's synod voting for the motion, rules unique to the institution meant the 122 votes against the proposal stopped it in its tracks. It will be another three years before the idea of women bishops can be put to the vote again, although if the outcry the decision provoked is anything to go by, it is unlikely the debate will die down during that time.

For an organisation that used the very modern-day method of announcing its latest leader via Twitter just a couple of weeks ago, to fall back on the very archaic decision to ban women from its most senior roles, beggars belief.

If it seems bizarre that in 2012 we are still having such debates, it is tragic that in this day and age there is also the need for special dates to eliminate violence against women, which is exactly what the United Nations marks today.

Across the world, governments and charities will be organising events to raise public awareness of the violence suffered by women and girls, not just in war-torn nations, but in developed countries, too.

As MP Lynne Featherstone wrote for us yesterday,

"Physical and sexual abuse of women is a global scourge, that transcends borders. From the UK, where one in four women will be the victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime to Zambia, where 47% of women have suffered gender-based violence."

Our modern world has many old-fashioned trials. It is up to us all to try and help move it forward.

 

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