BELFAST, Maine - In the heat and humidity of midday, an anti-war group of over-50-year-old activists known as the Raging Grannies sang just outside the Celtic Festival on Sunday, July 20.After the weekly Sunday protest on the corner of Main Street and High Street, nine grandmothers marched down Main Street to the waterfront to sing. Their uniforms included black T-shirts that read "I'm a Raging Granny," aprons and large sunhats.
The grandmothers - the Raging Grannies - say they are focused on the welfare of America. "We're concerned about generations to come," says Nancy Galland.
In order to express their frustration with "war and American imperialism," the Raging Grannies sing in protest, especially of the war in Iraq. They also write pamphlets to distribute their message.
Many of their songs are sung to well-known tunes like "Auld Lang Syne." The Grannies used the tune "My Bonny Lies over the Ocean," and charged the lyrics with political fervor:
"The Bushies lied over and over;
They all lied to you and to me;
The Bushies lied over and over;
Oh, bring back democracy!"
Raging Grannies is an international group that originated in 1987 in Victoria, British Columbia. It began as a club of women between the ages of 52 and 67 protesting the presence of U.S. warships and submarines in their waters, which they said posed threats to the environment.
The concept of using their "innocent" roles as grandmothers to fight for causes they believed in spread to the United States, where there are now more than 50 grandmother groups.
As Raging Grannies member Cathy Mink declared, "Outrage is our message!"
Jane Sanford and Margaret Laing co-founded the Belfast branch of the Raging Grannies. They debuted in March to commemorate the sixth year of the Iraq War. They meet once a week to rehearse songs and discuss politics.
There are between eight and 10 members in the Belfast chapter, and they are eager to "dress up and rail against authority," as Laing put it.
The Grannies also stage appearances at the WERU Full Circle and Common Ground Country fairs, and are willing to sing at any event free of charge. Anyone more than 50 years old, grandmother or not, can become a member.
© 2008 WaldoSoup