The Lysistrata Strategem

Aristophanes wrote his play, Lysistrata, about a Greek woman who was so disgusted by the Peloponnesian War that she persuaded her fellow Greek women that they should withhold sexual relations from the men of Greece until they agreed to negotiate a peace. It was a comedy.

It's not clear whether the men of Togo are laughing these days as women in that country have determined to use the Lysistrata strategy to try to effect political change there. They are trying to force the president of the country to resign. Moreover, their action is being supported by an opposition coalition of political parties, civic groups and movements in the west African nation. The family of President Faure Gnassingbe has held power in the country for decades and a discontented populace believes it is time for him to go. The Togolese women were inspired by a similar strike by Liberian women in 2003, who used it to campaign for peace in their war-torn country.

Of course, the Lysistrata Stratagem is not only used for political purposes and to secure peace. It has long been a weapon of last resort for women everywhere in the Battle of the Sexes. Until a lasting peace is achieved in that age-old battle, it most likely will continue to be used - sometimes even successfully!

Meantime, I wish the women of Togo well in their campaign. From this distance, it certainly seems that a change in political leadership for their country is probably a worthy goal. Perhaps President Gnassingbe will choose to do the altruistic thing and ease the suffering of his fellow Togolese men by abdicating. Hmmm...I wonder if his wife is participating in the strike.


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