January 19, 2003
BARING WITNESS STANDS FOR PEACE
On January 18, Baring Witness staged a pro-peace demonstration at the National Peace March in San Francisco. The organization, which has become famous worldwide for spelling out the word PEACE with naked bodies, this time chose a different means to communicate their message.
Figures shrouded in black body bags and veils stood motionless for twenty minutes before falling to the ground in piles of bodies. It was a stylized representation of the needless deaths the US government seeks to inflict upon its military, the people of Iraq and the future victims of terrorism spawned by the pending war.
Most onlookers expected Baring Witness to take off their clothes again. But Donna Sheehan, the creator of the international movement, decided that the mystery of Baring Witness should be preserved. "We like our actions to appear unexpectedly and with dignity. There has been a lot of excitement in anticipation of a naked action today. The march organizers and the City were uneasy about it. But stripping on demand is not what we do. Iím sorry if anyone feels deceived, but it is nothing compared with the deception of our governmentís cynical marketing strategy for the war."
"Our naked events express the beauty of the human body. Today, we wanted to express the horror of war. The perception abroad is that Americans donít think about peaceful solutions until the bodybags start coming home. Our government is about to commit us to what may become a nuclear Third World War. We hope to make them hesitate just long enough to think about what theyíre doing. We would like their wives to say, "Honey, we need to talk. If that means we must uncover our own secret weapon of mass distraction, itís a small price to pay. Peace must have a future, or we will not."
Baring Witness has plans for more pro-peace actions and is actively encouraging many organizers in the US and Europe. The groupís website http://www.baringwitness.org/ has more information and photographs of its own and similar events.
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