Cape Town, South Africa Women Give Peace Their Pants
Published on Wednesday, February 5, 2003 by the Independent (South Africa)
Cape Town Women Give Peace Their Pants
by Tricia Shannon

A group of Cape Town women have bared witness to their desire for peace, exposing their vulnerability in the face of naked agression.

21 Bum Salute:
Twenty-one Cape Town women strip down to spell out the word PEACE, in protest against a possible war in Iraq. Photo: Benny Gool
You could call them fearless. Or you could say they were primarily motivated by the basic human fear of war and violence. But whatever it was that motivated 21 valiant Cape Town women to gather early on a cool morning and bare their bodies for peace, they certainly spelled out their message.

According to the Baring Witness website: "When the first 45 California women were photographed on November 12, 2002, forming the word PEACE with their naked bodies, it struck a deep chord around the world."

Now Cape Town has joined the global chorus calling for peace. On February 1, a group of women lay in the grass and chanted "No War! No War!" as photographer Benny Gool captured them forming the word PEACE and the classic peace sign at the foot of majestic Table Mountain.

The South African government has called on all citizens to oppose the looming war against Iraq, which is being driven by United States President George Bush and supported by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Sign of the times:
Table Mountain forms the dramatic backdrop as the nude protesters form the peace symbol. Photo: Benny Gool
South Africa will take part in the global day of protest on February 15, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the featured speakers at a major rally in New York on that day.

Opinion polls show that the majority of South Africans oppose this military conflict, and a survey has found that four out of every five Europeans are opposed to their countries participating in a US-led war on Iraq without explicit backing from the United Nations.

Can the naked protests and impassioned speeches make a difference? This is how democracy is supposed to work. The question is, will the leaders who seem hell-bent on destruction listen to the cry for peace?

©2002 Independent Online