21 December 2009

Grannies to Toys'R'Us : War is Not a Game

Granny and grandpa at Times Square. Photo by Bud Korotzer / NLN / The Rag Blog.

Grannies at Times Square:
'No more war toys, no more war'

By Fran Korotzer / The Rag Blog / December 21, 2009

NEW YORK -- On December 4, the Raging Grannies and the Granny Peace Brigade created a wonderful holiday peace event at the crossroads of the world, Times Square. The purpose was to send the message: No more war toys and no more war.

They met near the Recruiting Station where two NYPD officers, polite but not particularly interested in the first amendment, told them that they had to move on. Debate was futile. So, they moved to the huge Broadway Toys"R"Us where several grannies had entered minutes earlier, got on the three story high Ferris wheel in the store, and unfurled large yellow banners that read “No More War Toys -- No More War."

The other grannies -- and a few grandpas -- stood in a central area and sang peace versions of traditional Christmas songs. By then the number of demonstrators had grown to about 25 people -- many were wearing peace signs. Shoppers stopped to photograph the happening.

After about 10 minutes the Ferris wheel was stopped and the Grannies were asked to get off while three very respectful and courteous young men were dispatched to ask the demonstrators to either stay and shop without their signs or sing outside the store -- as long as entrances were not blocked. And that is what they did.

The weather outside was sunny and mild. Since that area of Broadway was turned into a pedestrian mall last spring, the area in front of the store was full of strolling tourists and people just sitting and relaxing. Educational leaflets were distributed urging people not to buy war toys (many being extremely violent) and military infused clothing (like camouflage prints) for their children. At the same time the Grannies sang their songs, for example:
Rudolph’s Dream

(Tune: "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"
Words by Corinne Willinger)

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very shiny nose.
Children thought he looked crazy
Because they said that his nose glows.

Rudolph was playing Star Wars
Shooting at strange warrior drones,
He fell and hurt that bright nose
War games made him accident prone.

Then one sunny Christmas day
Santa came to town.
He said war toys can instill
The idea it's OK to kill.

Santa said that we need practice
In having fun without a fight.
Learn to solve all your problems
By talking about what is right.
People stopped to listen, took pictures, and applauded. The response was extremely positive. It really seemed that people’s hearts and minds welcomed the peace message in the season of peace.

[Fran Korotzer is an independent journalist and a contributor to Next Left Notes, where this article also appears.]

Grannies tell it (and sing it) like it is. Photos by Bud Korotzer / NLN / The Rag Blog.

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