I’m just glad that some of the Code Pink activists have the depth to listen to their sister organization in Afghanistan. I don’t know where I fall in terms of policy in the country, but sometimes life just isn’t simple enough to accommodate an ideologically based absolutist position. Do progressive activists really want to pull out of the country and leave girls vulnerable to the men throwing acid on their faces for showing up to school to learn how to read? Do American feminists continue to argue that the burka in Muslim culture context is actually a symbol of empowerment? Bear in mind that a large number women in Kandahar, upon arrival of American troops, tossed their burkas into piles on the streets and torched them. Afghan women, the feminists, are afraid.
Kudos to Medea Benjamin for thinking it over. And it’s not an easy paradox – reminiscent of the progressive activists during the civil rights era who had mixed feelings about the use of National Guard to enforce integration. Certainly her intelligence can respond to the cognitive dissonance, integrating the new data into a fresh ideological framework. Of course, preferable would be the loosening up of dogma and the recognition of nuance and complexity. Advocating independent thinking however carries a price. Slogans are harder to write. You can’t work speeches off a template of “isms” and villains.
Solidarity carries certain responsibilities. Maybe the peace movement in general can learn to listen a little. It’s out of practice.