2007-05 and 2021-05. The Powerful Origin of Mother’s Day, 1870 & Jezile, Son of Man
A uniting force for Mothers, the original Mother’s Day Proclamation (below)
But start with:
Two Excerpts from Kent Nerburn’s Neither Wolf Nor Dog, sub-title “On Forgotten Roads . . . ”.
See, the men like my grandpa Dan, they are still fighting. You’re helping them fight. That’s good. But it’s our turn now – – Indian women. The men are tired. They fought for almost two hundred years. Now it’s our turn. . . .
It was taken from them (the men). Everything. (Their role is to provide for and protect their families. That role has been taken.)
. . . But no one paid any attention to us women. We kept things alive in our hearts and hands. . . . They ignored us. We were just women. . . . But we were always the ones to keep the culture alive. That was our job as women and as mothers. It always has been. . . .
. . . When I worked on Red Lake it seemed to me that the Indian women were strong – – stronger than white women in a lot of ways. But they were strong apart from the men, as mothers, as grandmothers. . . .
Which leads into The Mother’s Day Proclamation, the strength of the women behind it.
THE ORIGINAL MOTHER’S DAY PROCLAMATION, 1870, BY JULIA WARD HOWE
In the aftermath of the American Civil War (1861-65):
“Arise then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“Say firmly”: ‘We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own, it says “Disarm! Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.’
“As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace.
“In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality be appointed to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”
By Julia Ward Howe.
(who went on to work internationally (in Africa and elsewhere) at uniting women, implementing the ideals of The Mothers Day Proclamation.)
JEZILE, a film. Thanks to Phyllis from the Broadway Theatre
The history of Mother’s day is powerful. Its founders never intended it as a commercial event.
I have attached the Mother’s Day speech from 1870 for you. It is sad, really, that women have been saying the same things for centuries.
The history of Mother’s day is so much more than many of us know – it is much, much more than a Greeting Card and Flower Shop construct. Please check out online the story of American women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were early activists and promoters of the celebration of women and women’s work.
There was a marvellous speech written by Julia Ward Howe perhaps best known today for having written the words to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” when she was an antislavery activist.
The original Proclamation was an impassioned call for peace and disarmament. In the years following the Civil War her political activism increased, as did her condemnation of war.
“Arise then, women of this day! . . . “In the name of womanhood and humanity, . . . ”
Now – wasn’t that something? In this movie you are about to see, Son of Man – this mother/son story of Jesus, Mother Mary states those thoughts in her own fashion, surrounded as she is by the devastation that is Africa.
Today, I dedicate this movie to the intense bond between mothers and their children. I hope you like it as much as I do. /Phyllis
Phyllis saw the movie “Jezile, Son of Man” at a film festival. She determined that it had to be seen. She tracked it down, finally, to a British production company. Phyllis’ efforts resulted in the film being shown here (Saskatoon, SK) on Mother’s Day.
Jezile: Son of Man
2006 South Africa, Dir: Mark Dornford-May, 86 min.
(INSERT /S: the film is rich in spite of scant dialogue. You might, however, want to sit close to the front in order to read the sub-titles.)
Jezile, Son of Man: “Nominated for Grand Jury Prize Sundance Film Festival. This story of Jesus is set in present-day Africa and says the same sorts of things Jesus said in the Bible, updated only in terms of reference. The film sends an unmistakable message: If Jesus were alive today, he would be singled out as a dangerous political leader, just as he was the first time around. The movie has relatively little spoken dialogue but a great deal of music, that joyous full-throated South African music that combines great technical skill with great heart. Some of the best moments belong to Mary (Pauline Malefane), who sings in celebration after being told she will be the mother of Jesus (Andile Kosi). “One of the most extraordinary and powerful films at Sundance.” — Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com “
XHOSA, from wikipedia: “Presently approximately 8 million Xhosa people are distributed across the country, and Xhosa is South Africa’s second most common home language, after Zulu, to which Xhosa is closely related. The pre-1994 apartheid system of bantustans denied Xhosas South African citizenship and attempted to confine them to the nominally self-governing “homelands” of Transkei and Ciskei, now both a part of the Eastern Cape Province where most Xhosa remain. Many Xhosa live in Cape Town (iKapa in Xhosa), East London (iMonti), and Port Elizabeth (iBhayi).”
To me, Sandra, there is an interesting parallel between Jezile, Son of Man and the book “Testament” by Canadian author Nino Ricci. Jezile is set in modern-day Africa. Testament is set in the Roman Empire during a period of political unrest. The central character in both stories is a Jesus-like person.
Thanks. I’ll forward this to some S.African friends.