Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Grandmothers for Peace Get Busted!

(Subtitled “Post-arrest thoughts from a 57 year old ‘grandmother for peace.’“)

By Susan (that’s her in the picture)

[Note: On Monday March 17, ten Atlanta Grandmothers For Peace were arrested for trying to enlist. Susan was one of them. Below she tells her story.]

I went into this act of civil disobedience primarily to bring the Iraq war back into the corporate media spotlight-and we have been somewhat effective in reminding people that there is a war still going on in Iraq, people are still dying and coming home damaged. And although i knew there was another war here at home that was never in the news, it was never made so clear to me as it was in the fulton county jail on Monday-what one of the guards said was a “light” day. All of the grandmothers talked to the other women sharing the “blue benches” with us. We were an anomaly here, being mostly white and decades older than most. People were curious about us, guards and prisoners. So when we were asked why we were here and responded that we were arrested trying to enlist in the army so younger people would not have to go, the conversation inevitably changed to the sharing of stories of their relatives who had gone to iraq and come home damaged… physically and mentally, or not come home at all. And then the thank-yous for doing what we did - from the employees and the inmates alike.

There was a common thread to their predicaments: A few minor things considered “wrong”, but it is easy to get caught in the web once you step over “the line.” Just miss a court date (too bad if your kids get sick or your baby sitter falls through), or be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And many of these young women have no choice BUT to live in “the wrong place” - there is no decent affordable housing here anymore. These are not bad people, not the criminals you would think they are by the depiction on the evening news-they are just people trying to survive in the hostile environment they have been handed to live in - an economy devastated by greed with no affordable housing or childcare, and jobs paying so little that no one can survive on just one anymore. There is a war going on right under our noses-and it was clear to me that we should bring it into the light and try to do something about it. It was easy for us-we knew we would walk away in a few hours and go back to our somewhat comfortable circumstances. But not for the ones still in the system. One of the guards (who had been to Iraq) asked us to please try to do something about this broken prison system. He knew that we saw it was totally flawed, and he thought we might have some connections to others who could help. Just by being there 10 hours we learned so much - a lot of it from the other women waiting with us. Their knowledge of the “justice” system was amazing-they could really be of service to others trying to navigate the system. We have a lot more work to do here, and we won’t forget the people we met at the Fulton County Jail that day (and night).

Our prison system is a profit making industry which benefits the wealthy few, at the expense of many. This is very very wrong. We have lost our way.

- Additional pictures from the protest can be found here.

- More media coverage here. (Zoom in to read it.)

(Here's the video. Thanks, Artemis.)

God bless these grandmothers. They act in the great tradition of non-violent civil disobedience.

No comments: