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December 2005/January 2006
Think Pink!

The Satya Interview with Nancy Kricorian

 

Nancy Kricorian.
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). $14.95 paperback.

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.

The power of pink takes on a whole new connotation when describing the women-initiated grassroots 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 Crawford during the historic 26-day vigil in August, CodePink has a gift for making a difference.

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 and there 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 for Peace.

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 you’ve 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. Our best CodePink 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 with CodePink—love 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 for the most 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, or the 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 blankets and 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 communities. 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 literature.

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.

To learn more about CodePink or find a chapter near you, see www.CodePink4peace.org.

 


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