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Published: Friday, 3/23/2012

Steinem leads drive opposing war on Iran

Toledo-born activist pushes for diplomacy

BY KATE GIAMMARISE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gloria Steinem Gloria Steinem
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

Toledo-born feminist writer and activist Gloria Steinem is spearheading a campaign with the anti-war women's group CODEPINK opposing an attack on Iran.

Ms. Steinem, author Alice Walker, and playwright Eve Ensler are calling on three prominent women -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Susan Rice, and First Lady Michelle Obama -- to push for diplomacy with Iran.

The anti-war activism is certainly no first for Ms. Steinem, who grew up in Toledo and attended Waite High School. She worked with CODEPINK in 2003 in a campaign prior to the war in Iraq.

During a speech in Toledo in October, 2001, she cautioned against military action in Afghanistan.

"It is not unusual for her to take an anti-war stance. I think it is in line with her values as a feminist," said Rae Abileah, co-director of CODEPINK, which opposes wars and militarism.

Ms. Steinem co-founded Ms. magazine in 1972 and has been widely regarded as the face of the women's movement for decades.

CODEPINK is circulating a petition online that reads: "We, American women and our allies, join with Iranian, Israeli, and Palestinian women to oppose the inflammatory rhetoric of war and the recently publicized plan of the Israeli government to attack Iran. Such an assault is not likely to stop the Iranian nuclear plan, but is likely to lead to regional war, loss of human life, and long-term environmental damage.

"On moral and economic grounds, we also oppose any U.S. intervention to support an Israeli attack on Iran. Economically, we can't afford another war -- and the escalating oil prices -- during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Morally, we need only look at the devastation from the Iraq War, which left thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. We cannot repeat this tragic mistake.

"We cry out for diplomacy, not bombing, to ensure security and peace. We join the brave call started by Iranian women and say no to war."

As of Thursday evening, the petition had more than 9,000 signatures.

An e-mail from CODEPINK written by Ms. Steinem states the group is especially calling on women, "not to add a burden, but because, as we've seen from Ireland to Liberia, women often have a peacemaking advantage: we're less likely to be raised with the culturally 'masculine' idea that dominance and violence are inevitable."

Ms. Abileah said the organization hopes to hand deliver the petitions to Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Rice, and the First Lady.

"We are as women, trying to speak to women," she said.

Contact Kate Giammarise at: kgiammarise@theblade.com, or 419-724-6091.



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