MAPW farewells a great Western Australian activist and a friend to many.
Glenys Davies, an active and beloved MAPW member for more than 15 years, died on 17 November 2021.
Glenys' "commitment to the wellbeing of her fellow human beings was deeply embedded and actively expressed throughout her life."
We thank Glenys for her commitment to creating a better life for people - and a better future for our planet. Our sincere condolences to her loving family.
Read on for tributes from her WA friends. Vale Glenys.
Tribute to Glenys Davies
Sadly our great supporter in MAPW (WA Branch) Glenys Davies passed away on November 12, after losing her long battle with cancer. We send condolences to her family, including her young granddaughters whom she adored.
Dear Glenys, such a quiet gentle unassuming woman, has been a willing, thoughtful, capable and active MAPW member in our WA Branch since mid-2005. While still working as a physiotherapist, Glenys managed to always “be there” for MAPW’s meetings, campaigns and activities over the past 15 years, even still in the role of Treasurer to this year.
At Labor WA’s Annual Conference this October 2 & 3, Glenys joined John Stace to staff MAPW (WA)’s information stall on the first day. Two joyful outcomes that day made it a happy one indeed for her. The first, the unanimous passing of a motion put by Josh Wilson, Labor MP for Fremantle, that Labor WA approve Australian support for the UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons which had come into force on Jan 22 this year. The second was a personalised celebration of ICAN’s Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 2017 for its outstanding progress towards the UN’s TPNW. The Medal had been sent to Perth so that MPs and delegates at the Conference could be invited to hold it and be photographed with it. Almost all those who agreed to do so were willing to have their photos circulated via ICAN’s social media site thus spreading acceptance that Australia should step up and be on the right side of nuclear disarmament history.
Glenys’s commitment to the wellbeing of her fellow human beings was deeply embedded and actively expressed throughout her life. Her many trips to Lebanon to assist refugees in a crowded Palestinian refugee camp is an example of this. Once our brave, unassuming friend turned herself into a playful clown to cheer those children. She was a surprising and versatile woman!
Glenys’s reaching out to other peace and environmental causes saw her helping People for Nuclear Disarmament (WA) attending its meetings and events. For years she worked actively as a volunteer with Environment House, putting up and running its info stalls in City Farm.
We truly feel such gratitude that our lives and causes have benefitted so much through knowing this humble, gentle committed humanitarian. Always a lovingly supportive member of her family, and always generously giving her utmost to making our world safer and fairer. Hers was truly a Life of Service and we will miss her sorely.
Glenys Davies 1941-2021, a life of joy, adventure and service
We in the WA group of MAPW were deeply saddened to hear of our Treasurer Glenys’ death on November 17th. While eulogists more-often-than-not find irresistible the desire to turn the unkempt we knew into the spruced-beyond-recognition, the tight-fisted into the open-handed, the drinkers abstemious and the serial skirt-chasers model husbands, it is difficult to write of Glenys without appearing to create the picture of a saint. This is to be avoided for the following erratic, but I hope poetically resonant, reasons.
First, Glenys would hate being so characterised. Indeed, personal modesty, self-reflection, and the strenuous avoidance of self-aggrandisement were three of her most outstanding attributes. ’Me? Good? – you’re joking!’ she would reply.
For like many of the other and real heroes who have been drawn to join MAPW, in her bones she understood ‘goodness’ and its pitfalls. By this I mean that she had internalised that paradoxical Taoist idea that one should not pursue ‘doing good’—but, better, ‘believe in goodness’—so allowing this belief to work its way into action by going ‘with the grain’ and thus leading to an outcome beyond the need for acknowledgement and our ego.
Second, she held dear, and fostered, personal bravery, but of a subtle and delicate form, one far distant to its usual apparent manifestations of ‘muscular heroism’. Try this example.
Once I spent three weeks in war-torn Lebanon trying (and failing!) to extend our Artists for Peace Initiative and had the luck to coincide with Glenys. She was there on her third mission as a volunteer to disabled children in Palestinian refugee camps – places I discovered were both desperate and dangerous.
One day she explained that she needed to visit a small clinic in the Beqaa Valley. Right then, twelve Dutch cyclists had been foolish enough to try and cycle there and had vanished without trace, presumed kidnapped and/or murdered. Further, the public bus she had to take required passage through several roadblocks run by heavily-armed militia, with allegiance to God-alone-knows. Thus, though feeling myself a coward, I tried to dissuade her from going and declined her invitation to join the trip.
Eventually, at dawn I took her, clad in full Arab gown and headscarf, to the battered bus. With her devoted comrade Khalood beside her, I was astonished to see that Glenys was in the highest spirits – ‘Now this is an adventure!’ you could hear her saying. And, smiling, she reassured me that she was sufficiently invisible that everything would be all right.
It struck me how this nearly old, less-than-robust woman, disguised in the costume of another and violent culture, was ‘in it’, while I was the one ‘out of it’… and seriously frightened.
Glenys suddenly turned and said: ‘And Peter, you shouldn’t be worried about not coming with me – you would stand out so much more than me and would be at far greater risk!’
And she then disappeared into the bus –now looking very serious, very unobtrusive indeed.
As I see it, this little vignette reveals that Glenys was not only herself brave, but skilled and generous in her bravery: she held such sensitivity that allowed those weaker and less determined than her to be understood and forgiven rather than chastised—indeed, minimalizing herself, she could turn her own stubborn commitment into others’ inspiration.
In short, Glenys not only understood the maxim—'Before judging others, walk a mile in their moccasins’—she lived it. But if to her compassion might be essential, it was but the beginning of action and empowerment: for those of us who saw her ‘at work’, we glimpsed the simple yet sublime possibilities of being human.
Yes, Glenys gave her heart and soul to her causes – peace, the dispossessed, the disabled – but loved and supported her family with devotion, ever self-effacing humour and real joy. To daughter Amanda and son Jules we send our heartfelt sympathy. And how she loved being a grandmother!
Thus Glenys’ example, in my view the path of the truest hero, will continue to stand before us, with the result that our own often wavering bravery, our own less than robust belief in goodness and in calm and unobtrusive commitment to fostering fuller lives in all those we meet, will find kindly encouragement…
And when all is too much for us, we will catch her quiet smile and hear her say; ‘Hey and after all: isn’t this world just marvellous! An adventure! And, maybe, even a chance for us to be of use to someone!’