Carol Husten Presente

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Oh Carol, Old Pricey,
I have known for several years now Carol from the Granny Peace Brigade and Peace Action. For me, she was like a tree,strong protective,seemingly eternal- but a tree with a great sense of humor. When the Grannies made a trek from New York to DC in 2006, we created actions and performances along the way. Carol had the idea of embodying the odious Barbara Bush: with a white wig and large pearl necklace, she hilariously impersonated the cold calculating mother of the mindless, scary cipher occupying the White House.

After she returned from a trip to Palestine,like all of us who have had the privilege of actually traveling there and meeting many of the incredibly courageous and resilient Palestinian people, Carol was changed. Not that she didn’t have great empathy for the terrible situation before she went. But having seen the brutality and destruction of the Israeli Occupation first-hand, she called a meeting and we formed a Palestine Committee, gathering in her beautiful kitchen, fortified by an abundance of delicious ethnic specialties from the neighborhood. Unfortunately, her hard work didn’t result in the range of actions she and we hoped for and I think this was a disappointment for all of us.

Even when she became ill and was unable to come to meetings or be physically present, Carol was with us. In one of her emails, she made suggestions about whom to contact and what research to do, adding ” Can I be on the phone. (Listening to all u r planning???”)

Carol never hesitated to speak her mind. She was always thinking, planning, working to solve the problem and bring light to every issue. I can hear her wonderful gravelly voice telling me: “Annie, here’s what we gotta do”, and off she went, ideas, creative ideas, overflowing.

Overflowing. A word I associate with Carol. Ideas, laughter, love, kindness, endless generosity, overflowing, all without an ounce of self-interest. When she was interviewed for Ahmad’s film on the grannies, Carol said,2006-09-19_un_protest_Ann photo

“I often think to myself, “You could be playing bridge.You could be playing tennis. But there is something inside of me that does not allow me to just go and make believe that nothing is going on in this world.” 2006-09-19_UN-protest

Carol’s home overflowed with beauty and hospitality, her heart overflowed with love for her family and endless pride in her grandchildren, and with boundless love and respect for all people, everywhere.

When I received the shocking news that Carol had died, the words of a popular song immediately came to mind:

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you (ooo)
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down…

Sail on, silver girl.

You are extraordinary.

We will always miss you.

– Ann Shirazi
for the Granny Peace Brigade

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