The wars must end.
The Times Square military recruitment center must close.
Just in case you missed yesterday’s print edition of METRO, page two is headed with a blue NEWS banner, a picture and the following quote from the mayor: “I’ve never made a decision in my life based on politics.” Immediately to the right, under the banner of MAKE TEA, NOT WAR is the reminder that the Granny 7 were to appear in Midtown Community Court today for trying to close the Times Square recruitment center.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Although we take Mr. Bloomberg at his word, it must be noted that the Granny 7 had barely entered the courtroom when the defense attorneys were informed the charges against our sisters were dismissed. The first arrest (2005) when grannies asked to enlist and the subsequent six day trial (2006) which resulted in the acquittal of 18 members of the Granny Peace Brigade became an international media event. Just as Mr. Bloomberg has worked so tirelessly to privatize public space, leaving the people with ever diminishing venues for peaceful protest and individual expression, it seems he is taking a similar stance with those who think of ourselves as the ‘loyal opposition’. There is no surer way to control the message or stifle dissent than to insure there is no platform for expression.
What astonishes us is that it appears Mr. Bloomberg – the founder of a formidable media empire and the self-appointed Emperor of the Five Boroughs – is so skittish about what 7 mature women might have to say about war and peace out loud in a court of law. Maybe he hopes that New Yorkers will forget that his legacy is forever bound to Bush and company, the architects of the slaughter of innocent civilians and US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. After all, with all that coy maneuvering, he remains on the ballot as the candidate of the GOP. Perhaps he would like to distract us from the memory of his disgraceful and unconstitutional conduct during the Republican National Convention in 2004. Mr. Bloomberg is not a man without motives and he has the resources to make sure his message is on every medium.
However, if the Mayor or anyone else thinks this is the end of the GPB’s continuing peaceful but vocal protest, just take a look at the determination on the faces of those Granny Brigadiers and supporters who showed up on this cold, damp morning. We won’t go away anytime soon, Mayor Mike.
As always, a huge shout-out to those two tireless defenders of civil rights and civil liberties, Norman Siegel and Earl Ward. These men have been there with us through arrests, court appearances, trials and tribulations. We are proud to have them represent us and we honor their dedication as tireless advocates for freedom. Thank you, gentlemen.
It must be noted that once the charges were dismissed, the assembled members of the Granny Peace Brigade and their supporters launched an impromptu march to the US Military Recruitment Center in Times Square — the scene of the 2005 and 2009 arrests. If Times Square is considered “the crossroads of the world”, how shameful that in the center stands this monument to war.
And another sad note — in the last five days it has been reported that 6 more U.S. soldiers have been killed.
To put it simply, we grannies won’t quit until the killing stops. Mr. Mayor, you can take that to the bank — assuming there is still one in business, of course.
– Fran Sears
Photos: Eva-Lee Baird