if I were a few decades older. . .
This past Wednesday in New York City, there was a civil disobedience conducted by " Grandmothers Against War". They are the same older ladies called "Grandmothers for Peace" prior to the launching of the War in Iraq.This courageous group of grandmothers ages 65 to 90, went to the Recruiting Office in Times Square, to enlist in the Armed Forces under the rationale that "we lived a long, prosperous life and by enlisting we can relieve some of our young soldiers from Iraq and give them a chance to live just as we lived".
As they arrived at the Recruiting Office, the recruiters didn't want to enlist old ladies in the Armed Forces, so they locked the entrance door and hid behind their desks. The grandmothers rang the doorbell repeatedly, but the marines were too scared to show their faces.
The old ladies thought: "if they are so scared of us, can you imagine how scared the insurgents would be in Iraq?"
The recruiters don't want to face gays and grandmothers at their office. The protesters sat down on the sidewalk blocking the entrance to the Recruiting Office; the hardest thing they had to do with their worn joints.Thirteen of them were arrested, jailed and booked and to the credit of Mayor Bloomberg (who is due for re-election) the cops were very nice to the grandmothers. They even help them up from the pavement, gingerly.
They [old women, not cops] were released from jail after four hours. They promised to return every Wednesday until the troops come home.
**Heck, maybe I should anyway. My kids would be so embarrassed for and by me it would be worth it. (It would serve me right if the recruiter said, "fine with us. We have a pressing need for middleaged romance writers with high blood pressure. Sign here.")
Joan Wile, the organizer, wrote to me (I wrote to her first--occasionally the old habit of getting the facts from primary sources kicks in.)
Dear Kate: I'm extremely gratified that you reported about our arrest and jailing, even though some of the facts are a little off. That doesn't matter, really, as long as the message gets out, but let me clarify a few of them for anything in the future you might write.
We did the actual sit-in/arrest/jail thing on Monday, October 17. Wednesdays we hold a regular vigil from 4;30 to 5:30 at Rockefeller Plaza -- on the west side of Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. We've been doing it for almost 2 years and have never missed a Wednesday. In the beginning there were just two of us -- now there are always on average around 20.
Last Wednesday, the 19th, two days after our Recruiting Center venture, we held our regular vigil, and Cindy Sheehan joined us. She was wonderful....warm, friendly, and eloquent.
We will not be going to the Recruiting Center on a regular basis -- although you've given me an interesting idea.
We will join other peace groups there the day after the 2,000th U.S. fatality occurs in Iraq--at 6 pm. First, we will hold a special vigil from 4:30 to 5:30 pm at our regular Fifth Avenue spot and then we will walk over to Times Square.
One more thing: Eighteen (18) of us were arrested and jailed, not 13. Also, I wish I COULD say I had lived a "long, prosperous life." I've certainly lived a long one -- 74 years -- but definitely not a prosperous one. I can't speak for the others, but I don't think we have any rich or even mildly prosperous ladies.
The police WERE very sweet to us, and as you say, probably instructed to handle us with care, given Mayor Bloomberg's re-election hopes. And, oh, boy, did we ever need help getting up from the pavement -- with our artificial hips, knees, arthritic bones, and creaky muscles. That was the hardest part -- getting down on our own and trying to get up before the cops rescued us.
Oh, one more thing -- it wasn't just my groups --Grandmothers against the War and Grandmothers for Peace International -- NYC Code Pink for Peace, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Gray Panthers, and Peace Action New York were also part of the group.
I thank you so much for your interest and the cute piece you** wrote.
Joan Wile, Founder/Director
Grandmothers Against the War
and proud Granny Jailbird
** Note to Joan and anyone else--I lifted the piece. I didn't write it. Vive la internet!
What was my sister-in-law saying? So about those WMD. . . . .