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Women: The Flowerbed of Civilisation
by Apopseis.gr
2013-08-08 10:36:34
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Women: The Flowerbed of Civilisation
By Nikos Laios
North Sydney,Australia.

Women compromise half of the world's population, and the question has to be asked, where is half of the world's population?

Not one field of human endeavour has not been either inspired or influenced by women,yet that gender inequity still exists in almost every sphere of human activity is tragic, and that the subjugation and enslavement of women also still exists is even more of a tragedy.

apopseis01_01Today, almost twenty seven million women,children and men are held,sold and trafficked as slaves;and that slavery has only just recently been abolished in the Yemen and Saudi Arabia in 1962,or in Mauritania in 1980,or that India passed a law in 1976 banning bonded labour.

Other forms of slavery that women in today's world are still subjected to is human sex trafficking;whether it be in Thailand's brothels,or the trafficking and virtual slave-bondage of Eastern European women,or the sexual grooming and prostitution of young white girls in Britain and other western nations by Asian and middle Eastern gangs is an ever present testimony to the fact that men have taken for granted the very flowers that dwell amongst us who inspire our imaginations and our hearts, and yet are still not treated as equals!

In the civil war of Yugoslavia in the 1990's, rape was used as a system of war by Bosnian Serbs targeting women and girls of the Bosniak ethnic group for their physical and moral destruction;and that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped is another brutal reminder of the descent that man can make into his darker side at the expense of the most beautiful part of the world's population,causing incalculable psychological and physical harm on women.

For me, anytime that a beautiful woman walks by,her perfume lingering in the air,this is proof that god exists, that there is an order and design in the universe, for how can something so profoundly tender and beautiful exist without design?

Women have enjoyed varying degrees of freedoms throughout history;from women gaining the vote recently in western nations through the various women's suffrage movements, to the restriction of women driving motor vehicles in present day Saudi Arabia.

Any philosophy,religion or creed that is used as an excuse through the projection of outdated millennia-old archaic,anachronistic, patriarchal morals and precepts in today's world in restricting women from enjoying their political, social, or intellectual rights is to be abhorred and openly subjected to an intellectual attack and criticism with bravery and vigour.

Whether it is Islamic Fascism,chauvinism,or any other 'ism'; these outdated modes of behaviour and thought have no place in a civilised modern society.

Yet, there have been unusual and isolated,fleeting pockets of freedom throughout history where women have enjoyed a measure of freedom and equality albeit briefly.

Women in Ancient Sparta in Greece enjoyed an unusual measure of freedom,where they were famous for their independence;had their own gymnasiums,where polygamous, or polyandrous in order to bear the fittest children.

Where they had the freedom to divorce the husbands without the fear of losing their personal wealth; where they were by law equal citizens of the community.

The Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes even went so far as to echo our modern theme of women's rights in his play 'Lysistrata', where the women of Ancient Greece went on strike and denied their husbands and lovers their sexual privileges in order to end a war.

While today, it would be inestimable what effect the women in our lives make on our own existence ; whether they are our wives,girlfriends,sisters,daughters,

nieces,or grandmothers - they bestow a warmth and meaning to our lives.

The goddess Aphrodite archetype is a very powerful and nourishing ideal that would do us well to consider.For Aphrodite represents the feminine archetype of relationships and love;civilising mankind through her gifts of art and culture, and who also bestows upon us the divine gift of Eros,the god of love and sexual desire.

This gift of relationships has the power to melt men's defences and allow the magic of Eros to flow;like the story of Eros and Psyche.

Aphrodite was jealous of the beauty of a mortal woman called Psyche,where she then commanded her son Eros to make her fall in love with the ugliest creature on earth.

Instead, Eros fell in love with Psyche and stole her away; while Psyche's sisters grew jealous of her causing Psyche to betray her husband's trust.Psyche then wandered the earth searching for her lost love, and after awhile, Aphrodite then brought them back together and made Psyche an immortal goddess to live alongside her husband Eros, and where Psyche became the deification of the human soul.

In religion throughout the ages, before the reign of the male thunder gods, the supreme deities were female,like the Mother Earth goddess Gaia; the personification of earth,the great mother of all, creator and giver of birth to the earth and all the universe,and where the heavenly gods were born from her union with the sky (Ouranos).

The allure and magic of women never fails to inspire me, even in the dark times of life,which at times comes like a terrible foreboding,like the silk gossamer threads of a spider's web taut between two tree branches plucked by the wind like a harp.

Their inspiration is always nearby; or even sitting in shaded cafes,with light filtering through luminous green leaves,shadows cast dancing,dappling on the sidewalk like a soft tango,as the breeze gently caresses my hair invoking her name,or like the inspired beauty of a particular performer I know.

Who like an acrobat, or Cirque Du Soleil star, twirls suspended in mid-air by her feet,like a diamond flashing in the light,while her honeyed golden locks splash slow-motion mesmerising my soul,and firing the embers of my imagination

For me,walking in a city at night conjures feminine beauty, a introverted secreted charm; for a city is always more beautiful at night,the only time when the harsh geometric outlines of the skyline are erased, and the inside of buildings are revealed like reverse negatives.Where the lights of the buildings flash from the inside like the organs of a jellyfish or a glow-in-the-dark fish.

Even whilst walking on the way to a gallery in some grimy windswept inner city street,with scraps of paper swirling down the alley,while pungent cabbage smells shoot out of steam vents at the rear of some diner or cafe,the goddess is never far from our subconscious.

For art has always been inspired by women;like the ballerina paintings of Edgar Degas, or the can-can dancers painted by Toulouse Lautrec, or my favourite which is Rodin's sculpture "The Kiss".

Which is a sculpture of a couple in an embrace kissing; where Rodin was inspired by Dante's great literary work 'The Divine Comedy', of the story of an adulterous couple from 13th Century Italy, and where in Rodin's sculpture, he captures the moment the lovers first kiss just before they are brutally killed by the woman's jealous husband - a parable about desires.

The famous Greek poet Cavafy wrote about unfulfilled desires in one of his poems entitled "Desires" where he states:

"Like beautiful dead bodies which never grow old, but are enclosed with tears in a splendid   Tomb,roses around their foreheads and jasmine at their feet - so look desires that passed without fulfilment,without the blessing of a single night of pleasure , or of her light-rich mornings."

The most tender gift that women bestow, is their personal expression of love, and if I may quote the Greek poetess Mary Polydoure who proclaims in her poem 'Because you loved me':

" I lived only because you loved me so beautifully,to feed your dreams my handsome lover that set like the sun, and so, I sweetly die, only because you loved me so"

In the finality of it all, our existential dread of death always lingers just under our skin,just under our subconscious, and for me the greatest gift of all that women give us is immortality.

For when a man makes love to a truly great woman, in that moment of beautiful passion,man loses all fear of death, and this gift has been given to us by women, the flowerbed of civilisation.

P.S. There is a dislocation between what is said and done for women - 50% of the world's population - in both the media and society; and more needs to be said and done, and at the end of it all, it is not only beholden on women to speak up, but also for we men to take some bold action on the social inequities which women in various parts of the world are subjected to.This article is but a small tribute to that cause.


From the Greek magazine apopseis 

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Nikos Laios2013-08-08 11:10:21
There is a dislocation between what is said and done for women - 50% of the world's population - in both the media and society; and more needs to be said and done, and at the end of it all, it is not only beholden on women to speak up, but also for we men to take some bold action on the social inequities which women in various parts of the world are subjected to.This article is but a small tribute to that cause.

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