Thursday, August 23, 2007

May The Goddess Guard Her. May She Find Her Way To The Summerlands. May Her Friends And Family Know Peace

WaPo reports that Grace Paley, peace activist and feminist poet and author, passed away yesterday:

Ms. Paley, who once described herself as "a somewhat combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist," was willingly distracted from her writing by other pursuits.

. . .

During the Vietnam War, she encouraged young men to avoid military service, participated in rallies against the war and in 1969 went to Hanoi as part of a U.S. delegation to bring home prisoners of war.

She once spent time at Greenwich Village's Women's House of Detention for blocking a military parade. She described her time there in the essay "Six Days, Some Rememberings," noting among other things that the bullpen is "an odd name for a women's holding facility."

In 1978, she and other members of the War Resisters League were arrested and fined $100 for unlawful entry on the White House lawn and unfurling an antinuclear banner. During this period, she also attended peace conferences in the Soviet Union and El Salvador, meeting in the second with mothers of the disappeared during a bloody anti-government struggle.

A New Yorker, she also maintained a second home in Vermont, where she protested the war in Iraq in a low-key manner she once described as "vigiling on the common."

Ms. Paley could talk wryly of her activism. In her introduction to the "Greenwich Village Peace Center Cookbook," she warned the reader that "this cookbook is for people who are not so neurotically antiauthoritarian as I am -- to whom one can say, 'Add the juice of one lemon' without the furious response, 'Is that a direct order?' ".

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