Everybody's talking about Sonia Sotomayor. The country's abuzz about the torture memos. About Cheney, Pelosi, Swine flu, and GM and Chrysler's bankruptcies.
All well and good -- these are important matters.
But, where is the outrage about the continuing, even escalating, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? These are the most urgent issues of our time, and they've slipped into the dustbin of newsworthy topics.
Except for the peace grandmothers. We seem to be the only organized group actively and currently protesting the wars. Why is that, I wonder? I guess we are the wise ones, after all. Why haven't many others, those probably far more enlightened than we, seen the growing catastrophe if we don't get out of these hell holes and get out soon, no, not soon, NOW.
Surely others have seen the resurgence of suicide bombings in Iraq. Surely others have observed that the numbers of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are again increasing. Others must be aware that our Afghan bombing raids are killing women and children there by the scores. George McGovern knows. Russ Feingold knows. So do a few other reputable individuals, and they speak up, thank God.
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Why, then, have most Americans allowed these crises to slip from the front pages and from the nightly news?
Well, we grannies here in New York City -- the Granny Peace Brigade, the Raging Grannies, and Grandmothers Against the War -- are doing our best to keep these wars in public focus. We are on the streets regularly urging passers-by to call their elected representatives. In fact, in our frequent Phone-a-Thons we even offer our cell phones on the spot so they can make the calls free of charge. We hold a regular weekly Wednesday vigil at Rockefeller Center where we chant "OUT OF IRAQ, OUT OF IRAN, LET'S GET OUT OF AFGHANISTAN" and similar slogans, as well as displaying our relevant signs and banners. We declared the Times Square recruiting center a crime scene on March 18 and were arrested and jailed for exercising our right to peaceful dissent. Those are only some of our anti-war actions.
And, we are not the only ones. The Albany group, Grannies for Peace, protests. So does the Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia. Various chapters of Grandmothers for Peace International (based in California but spread all over the U.S and other countries) are outside protesting, particularly the Northwest Valley Chapter in Phoenix AZ, which has bi-weekly vigils against both wars. There are so many grannies actively opposing the wars. I wish I could name them all.
A lot of us are quite elderly -- several in our 90's -- but we keep on for the sake of our grandchildren, who we fear will live in an unbearable world of conflict, violence and war. We grieve for them and desperately hope we can bring peace in the few years left to us so they may live without fear.
This activity is painful for many of us. A lot of us grannies were ardent supporters of Barack Obama. We gave of our limited incomes to him, made telephone calls for him, traveled for him, supported him in every way we could. We thrilled at his election and our hopes soared. However, much as we like some of his moves, we are deeply disappointed at his stance about the wars. We don't understand why he says he will withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2010 but plans to leave 50,000 troops there indefinitely. We don't understand why he is escalating the numbers of troops to Afghanistan without clear objectives and exit strategies.
So, we must do what he asked us to do -- let him know when we think he is heading down the wrong path. We urgently hope he is listening.
It would be very helpful if millions of others would inform him of their disagreement with his war policies, also.
LET'S GET BARACK BACK ON TRACK!
JOAN WILE -- author of newly-published book,
GRANDMOTHERS AGAINST THE WAR: GETTING OFF OUR FANNIES AND STANDING UP FOR PEACE (Citadel Press, May 2008 -- available at amazon.com and in book stores), which is an account of her founding of (more...)