MOMENTS OF awful gravity pass us by. It's a curious fact of human nature that the more serious the implication before us, the more likely we are to miss it. Then, after all clues are processed and clarity is achieved, we eventually stand up and scream, "You've got to warn everyone and tell them! Soylent green is made of people! You've got to tell them! SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!"
By then it's always too late. Follow this example of my own lack of awareness, and sudden traumatic awakening, as I wandered through today's instalment of Margo Kingston's Webdiary:
Non-political people all over Australia have fired up over Iraq, coming up with all sorts of ways to express their opposition to Australia invading Iraq. Grace Knight, singer and songwriter, saw a photo late last week, put the rest of her life on hold, and got the ball rolling on an anti-war 'action' called DISROBE TO DISARM.
Why not "eat clams to disarm" or "make roofing tiles to disarm"? Both are more likely to succeed. Today I founded a group called "enormous numbers of US, British and Australian troops to disarm Saddam Hussein". I have high hopes that my grass-roots action will be a real force for peace.
The former lead singer of Eurogliders lives in the Byron Bay hinterland settlement of Federal, where she's working on the lyrics for an album she'll record with her ex-partner Bernie Lynch. But after seeing the photo and reading the story of a few ordinary American women getting it off to protest the war she emailed an "invitation to the women of the shire of Byron" to join her this Saturday to "disrobe and show them we are willing to go to any lengths to have our feelings respected".
Naked hippies. The world reels.
"In recent weeks a a group of American women - mothers, school teachers, shop assistants, lawyers, couriers, actresses, hippies and housewives - joined forces, took off their clothes and lay down in a paddock to spell out their protest. Their naked female bodies, arranged in letters that spelt out "NO WAR" made a powerful picture to present to their president and the world," she wrote. Why naked?
1. Because it attracts attention. We need the male-dominated parties of Australia to hear us. They are unlikely to listen unless we get their attention.
It sure worked in the US. Bush's instant withdrawal of troops is a testament to the power of freak-ass nakidity.
2. Because of its powerful symbolism. Stripped bare of any clothing or adornment that label and separate us, we become united as a single entity. We are simply female human beings who, in this moment in time, want one thing - PEACE.
3. Because although it's difficult, it makes a powerful statement. For some free-spirited Nimbin babies this might not mean a lot, but for most of us it is at best an uncomfortable idea and at worst, absolutely excruciating. Many of us have already signed petitions which have their value, but how useful does that really make us feel? Do you ask yourself - "What more can I do?" "How much of a sacrifice am I willing to make?" If nakedness is uncomfortable and embarrassing for us, think how uncomfortable and embarrassing the pictures of Iraqi citizens or Australian soldiers blown to bits will be."
The connection eludes me. I'm uncomfortable wearing rented bowling shoes. Does that mean I'm a war protester?
Grace's idea has taken off, with women now planning similar protests in Sydney and elsewhere. "I feel helpless, and I feel angry," she told me yesterday. "I'm angry that children are dying and are about to be murdered. As much as I love my son, what makes him more special than an Iraqi son is to his mother?"
Children are not about to be murdered in Iraq. They are being murdered, and have been for some time, by Saddam Hussein. And no Byron Bay bint shed an atom of clothing in response. Meanwhile, I'm troubled by a vague, nagging thought … did Margo say she'd received an invitation to Grace's nude peace fest?
"I don't believe Australia has ever invaded a country before, and to do it on the back of George Bush terrifies me. Although my political views might be wrong, this should not be happening! And how can anyone by politically aware these days - there's so many layers, so much history, so much propaganda, we all get lost."
This doesn't make sense. “By politically aware”?
Grace believes many women feel as she does - desperate, helpless, and afraid to speak up because "they're not able to back it up with political analysis".
So they take off their clothes instead? What is this, some kind of elaborate blonde joke?
She says she's never done anything like this before, and the momentum her email has generated "thrills me but scares me as well". She's nervous about stripping off, as are most women who've agreed to come, and she asked me not to reveal the location of the protest for fear of unwanted onlookers.
It's a private protest. The most effective kind.
If you're interested in her action, or in doing one yourself, her email is graceknight5@bigpond=.com.
In a subversive act on behalf of her monopolistic mainstream media employers, Margo cleverly publishes a misspelt e-mail address. The "=" renders it invalid.
Since Grace saw the photo and got her action off the ground, she's begun writing anti-war lyrics. Here's the first draft of a song she might sing on Saturday.
Oh, God, no …
how the hell did we end up here
life is worthless, to live in fear.
Are our children's lives merely dust
to be wiped from the coat of the president?
Well, it is a first draft …
Who owns the voice that speaks for me
Caught in a trap, that only HE can't see
Open the door, I'm not going in
......... this is wrong
No, this is terrible. This is shit. This is the worst trash ever committed to print.
How the hell did it come this far
when we send our children to die in war
No fuckin way will you lay your hands
on a child of mine to fulfill your plans
Rhymes aren't her strength.
You bastards of war you took your turn
running our planet into the ground
now you sanction a dying child's last breath
won't stop till you own the rest.
The planet is being run "into the ground". Which ground? The ground of the planet itself? Is the earth being run into … the earth? Is this a bad thing? And what about the invitation to Margo? What could that possibly mean? Margo spends a lot of time in Byron Bay. She's a popular figure there. Maybe she knows some of the people who'll be involved in the protest. Maybe …
You've got to warn everyone and tell them! Margo Kingston will be naked! You've got to tell them! MARGO WILL BE NAKED!