To All Women
This is the speech Paulo Coelho wrote in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 2003, Shirin Ebadi: words, which according to the author, can be applied to all those who are working to create a better world. The text, taken from his wonderful book “Like the Flowing River”, describes a conscience fit to be honored with a Chromy Award:
“The Persian poet Rumi once said that life is like being sent by a king to another country in order to carry out a particular task. The person sent may do a hundred other things in that other country, but if he or she fails to fulfill the particular task he or she was charged with, it is as if nothing had been done.
To the woman who understood her task.
To the woman who looked to the road ahead of her, and knew that hers would be a difficult journey.
To the woman who did not attempt to make light of those difficulties, but, on the contrary, spoke out against them and made them clearly visible.
To the woman who made the lonely feel less alone, who fed those who hungered and thirsted for justice, who made the oppressor feel as bad as those he oppressed.
To the woman who always keeps her door open, her hands working, her feet moving.
To the woman who personifies the verses of that other Persian poet, Hafez, when he says: Not even seven thousand years of joy can justify seven days of repression.
To the woman who is here tonight, may she be each and every one of us, may her example spread, may she still have many difficult days ahead, so that she can complete her work, so that, for the generations to come, the meaning of injustice will be found only in dictionary definitions and never in the lives of human beings.
And may she travel slowly, because her pace is the pace of change, and change, real change, always takes a very long time.”
I would like to add as an encouragement a citation of the Bhagavad Gita from the same book, which reflects the meaning of the Void in my Cloak:
“Man is not born, nor does he die. Having come into existence, he will never cease to be, because he is eternal and permanent.
Just as man discards old clothes and puts on new clothes, so the soul discards the old body and puts on a new one.
But the soul is indestructible; swords cannot pierce it, fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it, the wind cannot dry it. It is beyond the power of all these things.
Since man is always indestructible, he is always victorious (even in his defeats), and that is why he should never be sad.”