Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Grannies

This story in the N.Y. Times describes the ongoing protest on New York's Fifth Avenue by mostly elderly grandmothers of America's wars abroad.  A few years ago, a small group of grandmothers affiliated with the "Granny Peace Brigade" was arrested and charged with blocking access to an armed forces recruting center in Times Square.  The judge, who seemed embarrassed to be presiding over the proceedings, acquitted the grannies.

Why do they stay out there, rain or shine, in a seemingly futile effort?  These comments summed it up nicely:

“The point is to interfere with the routine,” Ms. Heinz said. “As people walk down the street, it has an impact on their consciousness. If it engages them, it’s fine. If it infuriates them, it’s fine.”

Mr. Aubrey invoked Dylan Thomas’s admonition to not go gentle into that good night. “ ‘Rage, rage,’ ” he said. “That’s the way I feel. I have to do something.” Next to him stood James Marsh, 73 — a “granduncle for peace.” He said, “I don’t want to say at the end of my life that I didn’t stand up for peace and justice.”

Another protester, Laurie Arbeiter, invoked words ascribed to the Rev. A. J. Muste, a prominent pacifist who died in 1967. During the Vietnam War, he was asked at a candlelight vigil outside the White House if he truly felt that such actions would alter national policy. “I don’t do this to change the country,” he said. “I do this so the country won’t change me.”


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