Creativity Marks Antiwar Protests

Two peace protests this week highlight some of the creativity behind the antiwar movement. Yesterday, more than 1,000 readings of the Greek pacifist play Lysistrata were held worldwide in an effort to raise funds for antiwar efforts and humanitarian aid for Iraqi citizens. Tomorrow, at least 300 colleges and high schools in the United States and abroad will take part in a student strike against the war, participating in a massive walkout, according to the New York Times.

Actors Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bowers founded the Lysistrata Project, billing it as a “theatrical act of dissent.” The play, a comedy written by Aristophanes around 400 BC, is a story of a group of women from opposing sides of the Peloponnesian War who unite to bring about peace by withholding sex from their husbands. The readings raised money for a variety of peace and humanitarian groups, and the readings were often held in conjunction with petition signings, candlelight vigils, and other events to support the antiwar movement. Readings in New York and Los Angeles included celebrities such as Christine Lahti, Kevin Bacon, and Kyra Sedgwick.

The student strike scheduled for tomorrow was organized by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC). With the slogan “Books not Bombs! Stop the War Against Iraq!”, the group “demands something positive, instead of just saying Ôno,’ to war. This allows students to connect their concerns with the rest of the world,” journalist Liza Featherstone told students at Winona State University, according to the Winona Daily News. Students at colleges around the nation have also been rallying support through student council resolutions opposing an attack on Iraq. The NYSPC hopes to generate at least 50 student council resolutions and letters before the government precedes any further with military measures. According to Cities for Peace, 28 schools have already passed resolutions and almost 20 more have campaigns underway.


New York Times 3/1/03, 3/4/03; Washington Post 3/4/03; Los Angeles Times 3/4/03; National Youth and Student Peace Coalition; Cities for Peace website; Winona Daily News 2/24/03; Lysistrata Project

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