Women cycle round region for peace

Nearly 200 women from 23 Arab and European countries have cycled through three Middle East countries to raise awareness of the plight of women in conflict.

    Cyclists from 23 countries have followed their own 'road map'

    The initiative, launched by the Swedish-based Women For Peace group, will conclude with a two-day conference in the Jordanian capital Amman, organisers said on Friday. 

    The meeting that opens on Saturday aims at planning future action towards peace in the Middle East. 

    The women left last Monday from the Lebanese capital Beirut on a bicyle ride that also took them to Syria although they did not spend all the time cycling, a group spokesman, Muhammad Mutawah, told reporters. 

    "They were bussed to the Lebanese-Syrian border. In Syria, they cycled about 160 kms with several stops in between and arrived Thursday night in Jordan," Moutawah said, adding that in total they logged about 260kms.

    "The aim of this was to show solidarity with the Arab women and show that the region, despite its upheavals, seeks peace," he said. 


    Maureen Boyington, a 62-year-old grandmother from Reading,
    England, said she took part "because as women we hoped that this action could contribute to peace in the Middle East". 

    "Arab women are mothers and grandmothers like us and like us they want peace for their children," she said. 


    "Arab women are mothers and grandmothers like us and like us they want peace for their children"

    Maureen Boyington,
    Grandmother from Reading, UK

    Anja Ainaborch, a 34-year-old from Norway who works for a youth information centre in the town of Lakselv, said the trip was an eye-opener. 

    "I found out that Arab people love peace, are friendly and warm, not like the picture we see in the Western media which makes them seem as terrorists," she said. 

    Women from countries such as Denmark, Iceland, Lebanon, Britain, Jordan and the Palestinian territories took part in the event, sponsored by the European Union's Euro-Med youth exchange department, organisers said.



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