Peace Grannies Declare War on G.I. Joe
By Joan Wile
The Granny Peace Brigade, shocked and outraged at the transformation over the years of the relatively benign toy soldier, G. I. Joe, into a vicious killing machine, will launch an attack on Hasbro, the manufacturer, in the belief that such an emblem of militaristic overkill distorts the sensibilities of kids into violence and war lust.
"Let's face it -- the increasingly violent nature of toys and games these days is militarizing our children to a dangerous degree, Our occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, plus our drones in Pakistan, exemplify the escalation of the U.S. into a nation more interested in making war than peace," said 94-year-old Lillian Pollak, one of the active Brigaders." "G.I. Joe and other such ferocious toys help foster these harmfully aggressive tendencies."
The grandmothers' first strike will occur on Saturday evening, Feb. 13, when the grannies ambush with fliers, signs and an enormous banner the people streaming into the 10th annual "Toy of the Year Awards" ceremony at the Chelsea Piers, at which Hasbro has been nominated in two categories. While peppering the gala attendees with their paper weapons, they will sing revised lyrics to old songs around their anti-war-toys theme, assisted by the Raging Grannies. For Instance, to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat":
(partial lyric) HASBRO, CANCEL G.I. JOE
AND SWITCH TO OTHER TOYS
DOLLS THAT TEACH TO KILL AND MAIM
ARE BAD FOR GIRLS AND BOYS
The Brigade will repeat the action at the Javits Center on Monday, Feb. 15, 11:30 a.m., targeting all attendees to the Toy Fair held there.
This will be the third foray by the grannies in their "No More War Toys, No More Wars" campaign. The first occurred at the Times Square Toys "R" Us store on Dec. 3, 2009, when the grannies rode its giant ferris wheel displaying signs saying "NO MORE WAR TOYS" and "WAR IS NOT A GAME" while singing the phrase from John Lennon's song, "All we are saying is give peace a chance." Asked to leave, they went outside and sang their revised anti-war-toys Christmas carols on Broadway for an hour. Following that successful action, they repaired to a Brooklyn Target store on Dec. 19, where they gathered up as many war toys as they could fit into shopping carts, and very visibly pushed them through the store until asked to leave, and, again, sang their revised Christmas songs outside for an hour. Both actions were viewed widely by approving shoppers and noted in various segments of the media.
Such unique protests are nothing new for the legendary Granny Peace Brigade women, who first came to public attention at the time of their arrest and jailing at the Times Square recruiting station in Oct., 2005 when they attempted to enlist in order to replace America's grandchildren in harm's way. After a widely reported 6-day trial in criminal court, defended by Norman Siegel and Earl Ward, they were acquitted of disorderly conduct. They then embarked on a non-stop series of lectures, vigils, performances, and actions here and abroad known for their creativity, commitment and humor.
"We may not end these despicable wars in our lifetime, but at least we can try and influence our grandchildren to make peace, not war," stated another of the elder stateswomen of the Brigade, 94-year-old Marie Runyon.
TIMES, DATES AND PLACES
Monday February 15
meet at northeast corner of 34th street and 11th Ave., NYC