The grandmotherly movement

Watch out for this lady. She’s a revolutionary.

Watch out for this lady. She’s a revolutionary.

Photo By Judith Hilyard

Seven years in Tibet is one thing, but Sharon Mehdi has spent 12 years in Egypt, where she was the first director of courses for Cairo’s American Cultural Center, and has clocked no small number of hours in Canada, Mexico, Lebanon, Iraq and Kuwait. There also have been stints in Spain, where she walked 500 miles to an ancient pilgrimage site; in France, to research a book about scrolls buried in a medieval cathedral crypt; and in Guatemala, to which Mehdi rode in a schoolbus 5,000 miles from Seattle to deliver medical supplies to an orphange.

These experiences, plus the arrival of her granddaughter, prompted Mehdi to write a short, 48-page prescription for peace on Earth. It’s called The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering, and in it two grandmothers decide to stand silently in a park for the sake of saving the world. Others join them. It becomes a movement. You’d be surprised at how powerful such a simple story can be.

Mehdi published the book herself in 2004 and got some phenomenal grassroots support from all over the place (a friend brought hundreds of copies to United Nations’ conferences, for instance). And then got it picked up by Viking. More good feedback followed. It became a movement. Now, this Friday at 7 p.m., Mehdi will read from and discuss The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering at the Loomis Basin Congregational United Church of Christ, 6440 King Road in Loomis. The requested donation is $5, or $3 for students, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. So, the movement continues. Call (916) 652-6011 for more information.