Friday, March 25, 2022
Reading Madeleine Albright’s obituaries is stepping back in time. Too many events and names to count but were familiar long ago. They’re either pleasing or disturbing, popping up and recalling.
She was a powerhouse mentally and even physically with all her four-foot eleven inches of height. She was an accomplished writer who could speak multiple languages. Every inch of herself communicated clearly through the clothing she chose and the jewelry she wore.
I saw her in person, in Florida, on stage and discussing foreign policy with Henry Kissinger. That was long ago before I understood much about diplomacy and world events. Since then, I’ve wished to turn back the clock to reattend that event and listen more closely to what those world influencers said.
Her early life in Prague was difficult because of aggressive Nazism and Communism, forcing her Jewish family to flee several times and change its religious identity. Nonetheless, she had been born into an educated and influential family and was encouraged to become well-educated. She learned the power of influencing and how to use it.
A similar powerhouse who comes to mind is Golda Meir, Israel’s first woman head of government. She was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, and immigrated with her family to Wisconsin as a child. She was educated at the University of Wisconsin and, after graduating, became a teacher. After marrying, she and her husband, in 1921, moved to then Palestine. Much later, after serving as Israel’s Labor Minister and Foreign Minister, she was elected Prime Minister in 1969. Meir is considered the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics.
Other influential women on the world stage include Aung San Suu Kyi. Her story is evolving and unpredictable. She’s been a politician, diplomat, author and has received the Nobel Peace Prize. She currently is imprisoned by a military-controlled court. It’s a blow to democracy in Myanmar.
Just think, only since the late 1800s have women become educated, finally achieving voting and financial rights. Before then, they couldn’t own anything, nor make independent decisions about social, financial, and family matters. As slaves to their husbands and bearers of children, women often died young. For Black women, their lives were the same and worst.
Dear Friends: Here’s a toast to growing equality, despite an uncertain social future. Diana