Interview with Medea Benjamin aka Code Pink and book review (Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection).
First Published in The Canary on 8 October 2016:
The President had promised changes, but it soon became clear that nothing was going to change fundamentally – either with his drone policy or with the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. After heckling him, he responded, before she was dragged away from his address. He said:
“The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to… these are tough issues, and the suggestion that we can gloss over them is wrong.”
This event gave Benjamin a bigger platform to talk more about the tough issues. But she’s been speaking truth to power since the 1960s, when her friends were being drafted into the Vietnam War:
“I recall the moment when I became an anti-war activist because this was when my sister’s boyfriend sent her back the ear of a Viet Cong fighter to wear as a souvenir, as a necklace. As she opened the package, I went to the bathroom to throw up and decided this was crazy! To send these nice young men and turn them into killers for no reason. So I decided there was something wrong with our government and have questioned them ever since.”
She championed economic causes in her earlier career, bringing the ‘Fair Trade’ label to the US, while suing big companies for their exploitative labour practices. And she would have continued making an impact in this area if it hadn’t been for 9/11.