"Pedalling for peace" starts in Lebanon
Nearly 400 women representing more than 30 nationalities from across the globe started a "pedalling for peace" tour from Lebanon Monday to promote peace and an end to violence in the Middle East, the dpa reported.
"We are here to tell the women in the region we want them to live with their families in peace," organizer Detta Regan, who is a US citizen, said.
In April 2004, Regan organized a similar bike ride and gathered around 270 women from all over the world - including the US, the Palestinian Territories, Britain and Iraq - to ride bicycles for over 300 kilometres through Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to campaign for peace and an end to violence in the region.
"Peace is more important now than ever before" Regan said.
"The problems of the Middle East do not just belong to that region. If we can help bring peace to that part of the world, we may just help it to spread everywhere."
Regan stressed that any show of female solidarity is better than none.
The 2008 Pedal For Peace, organized by Follow the Women group in the Middle East, was officially launched in Lebanon on Sunday and will end in the Palestinian Territories on May 14.
The formal opening ceremony took place at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut.
The bikers visited the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla, which witnessed a massacre during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
On Monday, the bikers moved into eastern Lebanon, before crossing the border into Syria.
The women are due to cycle to Damascus and Kuneitra in the Golan Heights. Kuneitra, a strategic position between Israel and Syria, was severely damaged in both the 1967 and 1973 wars between the two countries.
The women's journey also takes them to Jordan where they are due to take part in a Peace Advocacy cycle ride in Amman.
Follow the Women then crosses the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge into Israel and rides on to Jericho, Ramallah and Nablus.