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Pink! The Satya Interview with Nancy
Photo courtesy of CodePink
Pink Gift Idea
How to Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to
Violence and Terrorism edited by Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans; Forward by
Alice Walker; Introduction by Arundhati Roy (Inner Ocean, 2005).
I like to think that if George W. Bush ever sat down and perused
the logical, passionate, and poetical outrage expressed in CodePink’s
new book How to Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses
to Violence and Terrorism, he’d have to find some humanity within himself
and realize war is bad. This incredibly empowering collection of
essays by some of the world’s leading female experts, artists,
activists and journalists, allows us to delve into their personal
vision for a world without war. Pleas for peace and rousing calls
to action provide valid and effective ways to make a difference.
Add to this book something from their selection of hip sweatshop-free
message gear, like a short or long sleeve T-shirt with “CodePink: Women for Peace” in
fuchsia, pink or black, or “Stop the Next War Now” tee in hot pink
($15-$20), or black yoga pants with “CodePink: Women for Peace” emblazoned
on the back side ($25), and you will create the perfect gift for any enlightened
person. Visit the CodePink store at www.codepink4peace.org. — K.A.M.
of pink takes on a whole new connotation when describing the women-initiated
peace and social justice movement, CodePink. With an emphasis on
cheeky, creative campaigns, CodePink brings together a union of peacemakers
with a devotion to nonviolent direct action to end the war in Iraq.
With over 200
active regional communities, each CodePink group does its own dreaming
and scheming. From New Orleans, where they continue to service
clinics and clean up the hardest-hit areas, to standing tall in
the historic 26-day vigil in August, CodePink has a gift for making
In between all of her rabble rousing Nancy Kricorian, CodePink’s
NYC Coordinator, found time to speak with Kymberlie Matthews
Adams about the pink phenomenon.
What inspired you to become involved with CodePink?
I went to a CodePink anti-war rally on International Women’s Day in 2003
outside Hillary Clinton’s office. It was a total blast—Dan
Zanes played music, the Missile Dick Chicks performed; I brought my kids
were a lot of other families as well. I started going to meetings and the
women were smart, passionate, feisty and funny. What could be better?
What is the significance of the name CodePink?
It is a response to Homeland Security’s color-coded terrorist alert system.
They say code yellow for risk of terrorist attack—we say CodePink
CodePink is a peace activism organization geared towards women. Do you think
women have a particular affinity for peace?
Women and children suffer most during times of war. Women often have better
skills of listening and negotiation than men do. But the reason I like
CodePink is I’m
working with a group of dedicated, passionate, articulate women, and there isn’t
a lot of posturing or ego stroking involved.
What would you say are some of the more controversial actions
been involved in? Most successful?
Not sure about most controversial, maybe it was Medea Benjamin crashing
the RNC and getting dragged out by the hair, although that was successful.
New York action was a peace vigil on Veterans Day in November 2004. We
did another one this November 11 as well. We invited everyone to wage peace
the troops, hate the war—in which we honored our servicemen and women
by demanding an end to the war in Iraq.
You recently published an article supporting the use of direct action. Can you
tell us why you think this is an important tactic?
Well, you know the old expression, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Using
direct action is a way of being a very squeaky wheel.
Basically, huge media conglomerates control most of the information we
see and hear about the world. Corporate-owned television outlets show us
part the version of reality that the current government wants us to know.
For example, the Bush administration doesn’t want us to see the dead
bodies of Iraqi women and children who are killed in U.S. military campaigns,
bodies of dead U.S. servicemen. By controlling the images, they feel they
can control our perceptions.
Direct action and street theater are ways to break through this control.
A couple dozen women dressed in pink, holding dolls wrapped in red-stained
carrying a coffin show up in front of Donald Rumsfeld’s house in
Washington, DC and it might just show up on the evening news.
CodePink believes that direct action works. And beyond having a direct
influence on legislation, we believe street actions have an impact on our
It’s about educating people. It’s about making an alternative version
of reality visible on the streets and on the news. We’re angry about what’s
going on; we’re standing up for our beliefs and principles, and we’re
strengthening our movement and ourselves by working together.
And often we’re also having a great time.
How are you working to get the people of NYC involved in CodePink campaigns?
We have an organizing committee of 20-plus women here in New York; we work in
coalition with lots of local peace and social justice groups. We send out alerts
to our list of 2,500.
What do you see as the most effective means to create change?
You know that old saying, “Be the change you want to see”?
It’s tough work being an activist. Made even tougher under the
Bush administration. How do you find a sense of peace?
It’s just great to be working with a bunch of women who are not only
angry, but also smart, strategic, and funny. We laugh a lot—at ourselves,
at how bad things are—and that gives us energy to keep working. The small
successes also motivate us to keep working. And peace? Do you mean a sense
of stillness and inwardness? That’s something I get from yoga and from
Do you see a connection between peace activism and the food on your plate?
The food on my plate is a bit of a stretch for me. But I do see a connection
between peace activism and the clothes on my back. Peace activism and the car
that I drive. Peace activism and the way I’m raising my children.
Finally, where do you see hope?
I see hope in the faces of the women I’m working with. I see hope when
my kids stand up for what they know is right in the face of peer pressure.
I see hope in the fact that the Republican party appears to be imploding.