Marin Women Strip For Peace
THEIR BODIES FIGURES OF SPEECH West Marin women are serious enough
about PEACE to spell it out. Wearing nothing but afternoon rain, 50
determined women lay down on Love Field near the Green Bridge Tuesday
afternoon to literally embody PEACE and "show solidarity with the
people of Iraq," said the organizers. "Women from all ages
and walks of life took off their clothes, not because they are exhibitionists
but because they felt it was imperative to do so," the organizers
added. "They wanted to unveil the truth about the horrors of war,
to commune in their nudity with the vulnerability of Iraqi innocents,
and to shock a seemingly indifferent Bush Administration into paying
attention." The coordinators, who came up with the idea only a
day earlier, said that the coming together of this group on short notice
was a testament to the seriousness with which the women view the threat
of war with Iraq. "Remembering that tens of thousands of civilians
have already died in Iraq as a result of US bombing and sanctions, these
women are not convinced by Bush Administration fear mongering that one
more person should die," organizers said. They hope the president
and news media take notice. (Photo by Art Rogers ©2002 Pt. Reyes)
The women who gathered at Love Field in Point Reyes Station to demonstrate against the US government plans for a war would normally never have considered doing something as daring like this, but as organizer Donna Sheehan of Marshall said while we were holding hands: "We are making ourselves vulnerable for a greater cause."
I had gone to the protest to get an impression of it for The Light. As a visitor from Guatemala, I also felt it would also be a good time to meet local women during my stay in Point Reyes Station. As I talked with women young and older and heard them chat among themselves I felt that I could no longer be only an observer.
Although I had been raised in a very conservative society, I felt that becoming one of the "Unreasonable Women," as they called themselves, was the right thing to do, if only for a moment. I have participated in demonstrations and marches in Guatemala. I have dressed in black many Fridays in a row. I have signed petitions, all trying to bring a positive change in my country.
Participating in this unusual writing of the word "Peace" required a daring change in my frame of mind and behavior. At Love Field I felt embraced by all women in a mix of camaraderie, warmth, caring, laughter, and by their courageous desire to make a difference and to be heard not only here but in other countries.
"War is obsolete, not necessary," said Donna. What war will do to lives in all the countries of the world may be something we are not prepared to deal with. Already the "possibility of a war" can be felt globally; we are already suffering its consequences in my country. Foreign and domestic investment have plummeted, and unemployment has risen dramatically.
I hope the feelings we shared lying on the wet grass as photographer Art Rogers on his ladder lined us up to shape each letter and when we quickly took our clothes off under the cold rain to lie perfectly still until the picture was taken will reach beyond Point Reyes Station. I hope we will inspire others to join in protest.
this intention home. May it touch the world." Those were the last
words I heard as we left the field under increasingly heavy rain. Our
bare bodies in the picture are not important. What counts is the "reasonable"
demand expressed by the Unreasonable Women in this bold way: PEACE.