June 1, 2010 — Sally Fay Cottingham is a member of the Board of Directors for The U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s New England regional office.
Anne Garrels, world-renowned foreign correspondent for NPR’s foreign desk, spoke at the Women’s Luncheon Series held in the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Boston office late last month.
“I have had enough of wars,” she told the audience. “The goal (of war) is to destroy one’s sense of self.”
Garrels told one compelling story after another, including the story of the women who, when asked what she would like Anne to bring her, asked for “a pot of crÃ¨me”, something that she could put on her face to remember that she was a woman.
|© Roger Farrington/2010
|Left to right: NE board chair Kaia Miller, Anne Garrels, NE board member Caterina Bandini
Garrels spoke about Iraq and the U.S. involvement there. She described how the Americans mismanaged money and were unprepared when they arrived. Speaking on the effects of the war on Iraqi women and families, she observed that the sectarian divides affected women the most. “This destroyed the family structure. They had to move–all those mixed marriages because there was so much tension around them. The middle class was depleted and moved away to Syria and Jordan.”
Anne spoke passionately of Pakistan, calling it “the key place” to be right now. She said the country is close to being in a civil war. “We should have done so much more for decades,” she said, particularly in the area of the educational system. Garrels noted that illiteracy in Pakistan is much worse than India. Primary education is always “informal,” which typically means “an ill-trained woman on a dirt floor, with no water.” She warned that “you’ve got more and more angry, frustrated Pakistanis. Healthcare getting worse, not better.”
She told us that there was an advantage to being a female journalist in Pakistan because she was allowed “to walk both sides of the street.”
“I can see the Presidents, local authorities, and I can go into the houses, maternity wards, boys’ and girls’ schools, and men can’t. Male colleagues who want to do these stories, can’t.”
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