Weary Brooklyn Christmas shoppers were unexpectedly entertained on Friday afternoon, Dec. 18, when a troupe of approximately 20 Granny Peace Brigade members and Raging Grannies sang revised Christmas carols condemning war toys at the TARGET Store in Flatbush's Atlantic Shopping Center simultaneously with a serious demonstration against the toxic playthings. This was the second protest in the grannies' recently-launched campaign called "NO MORE WAR TOYS, NO MORE WARS." The first action took place on December 4 at the Times Square Toys "R" Us store,
Although warned by the police earlier in the day to not attempt to conduct any mischief inside TARGET, the grannies nevertheless "invaded" the store at approximately 4 p.m. and quickly went to the toy department where they filled up four carts and some baskets with the most violent toys ever conceived.
The grannies then rode them down the escalator while unfurling many bright yellow banners imprinted with the black letters, "WAR IS NOT A GAME" and "NO MORE WAR TOYS." As they rode down to the next floor, they sang the famous John Lennon refrain, "Give Peace a Chance."
Granny Peace Brigade singing while riding escalator with banners, TARGET, Dec. 18
They intended to leave the toy-filled carts and baskets at the check-out counter, but by the time the elderly crusaders and the carts reached the bottom of the escalator, however, a bevy of policemen was awaiting them and requested that they leave the store, which they did, singing and displaying their many banners as they wended their way outside.
The toys they gathered are disgraceful, to say the least -- guns with repeat bullets, grenades and all manner of killing machines designed to arouse the bloodlust of impressionable young children and teen-agers. The grannies, who have been trying for years to end the destructive and immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, feel these toys militarize America's young and pave the way to more and more killing in the guise of protecting our homeland, a presumption the grandmothers reject.
Once outside, on Flatbush Avenue, the grandmothers opened their special songbooks and sang a number of Christmas carols which the women have revised with lyrics pleading that people not buy war toys. For, instance:
HARK, THE HERALD ANGELS SING
HARK, THE HERALD ANGELS SING
NOW, AT LAST, LET FREEDOM RING.
PEACE ON EARTH AND MERCY MILD,
NATIONS MUST BE RECONCILED.
LET US PUT THE BOMBS AWA-A-Y!
BRING OUR TROOPS HOME, NOW, TODA-A-Y
WARS ARE NOT FOR TOYS, OR A GAME.
DON'T TEACH OUR KIDS TO KILL AND MAIM!
GIVE THE CHILDREN TOYS OF PEACE,
HELP THEM TO LEARN THAT WARS MUST CEASE.
Passersby stopped to enjoy the concert, and many told the grandmothers that they agreed with them. The protesters gave out hundreds of leaflets listing appropriate toys for parents to buy rather than the horrendous ones glorifying lethal battle.
Other members of the grannies' audience included the eight or so cops assigned to protect Brooklyn from the dangerous aged terrorists. The officers stood across from the women throughout their entire songfest trying without success to hide their delight at the grandmas' vocal offerings.
Said the oldest singer, Lillian Pollak, hale and active at 94, "We won't be here forever, and if we can't stop these deplorable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in our lifetime, we must at least do all within our power to convince our grandchildren that they must end the cycle of killing and waste we have been engaging in for far too long. We're determined to continue this struggle to bring back appropriate and healthy toys."
Peace Granny Joan Wile is the author of, "Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies And Standing Up For Peace" (Citadel Press '08)