Thursday, November 26, 2009


I was such a believer. Oh, how I believed!
The sun would shine again, the stars would twinkle,
the long night would be over and we would start anew.
Gone the wars, the torture, the bombs, the hideous inequities and disgraces perpetrated by his predecessor.

I dipped into my vanishing coffers and sent $10, $15, $25,
over and over again,
I called surly strangers in Ohio and hate-filled racists in Pennsylvania,
I wrote a song, "Grandmama for Obama,"
and paid from my meager pension to have it video-taped for YouTube.
I performed, I spoke, I leaflet-ed, I cajoled, I argued.

The pay-off was delicious!
There he stood in the full majesty of his brilliance and promise
and I wept with joy.

Months passed,
but we were still mired in Iraq, the Guantanamo occupation still flourished,
single payer was dropped, billions were given away to the financial thugs.
On and on the disappointments accumulated.
But, it's Him, the Great One, he will come through!
He WILL come through! He MUST come through!
I waited, clinging ever more desperately
to the flimsy thread that bound my faith to Him.

And, then came the news.
More troops to Afghanistan, he ordered.
More troops into the hopeless morass of the unwinnable war.
More needless death and destruction.
It was then that sadly, finally, the thread broke.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Lillian Pollak, 94 years old, and Lillian Lifflander, 90, both members of the Granny Peace Brigade, will be lead actors in a skit to be performed in Manhattan Monday evening, Nov. 9, 6-7 p.m., in the THAW (Theaters Against War) Monday vigil outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where U.S. citizen Syed Fahad Hashmi has been held for two years plus. The skit, written by Granny Peace Brigade author and ASCAP songwriter Joan Wile, also will feature other grandmothers in the group, Jenny Heinz, Ann Shirazi, and Barbara Walker. The sketch is titled, "If They Take You in the Morning, They Will Be Coming for Us That Night," a quote from writer James Baldwin.

This will be the fourth vigil held by THAW on behalf of Fahad, who has been imprisoned so long in complete isolation without a trial. The first vigil featured actors Kathleen Chalfant and Wallace Shawn, the second actor Bill Irwin, and the third was tagged Playwright's Night. Fahad's brother and parents have been present at the vigils, and have spoken movingly about their family's agony.

The vigils are being filmed and are available on YouTube under the heading, "Radio Free Fahad."

THAW has instituted these vigils as a way of hopefully bringing to public attention the plight of Mr. Hashmi, who has been inhumanely incarcerated on the shaky premise that he took part in an act of terrorism.

"We are participating in these crucial actions because we are so upset that our government can hold people like Mr. Hashmi indefinitely in such mind-destroying conditions in defiance of the Constitution and the Geneva Convention," said Brigader Barbara Walker. "We would never allow another country to treat one of our citizens the way we ourselves are treating this gentleman."

The Granny Peace Brigade, a leading anti-war organization, became internationally known when 18 grandmother members were arrested and jailed in October 2005 when they tried to enlist in the military at the Times Square recruiting center hoping to replace young people in harm's way.

Said 94-year old Lillian Pollak, one of the actors in the upcoming Monday skit, "I hope people will be inspired to keep on keeping on when they see me at my age out there being active, creative and positive."