Shoppers in the Times Square Toys "R" Us flagship store were startled
on Friday, December 5, when they looked up at the giant ferris wheel in the middle of the store and saw fifteen people riding it while unfurling bright yellow banners inscripted with the words "NO MORE WAR TOYS" and "WAR IS NOT A GAME!" As the wheel slowly revolved around, the mischief makers sang over and over John Lennon's famous refrain, "All We Are Saying Is Give Peace a Chance."
This caper was how the legendary Granny Peace Brigade launched their latest anti-war campaign, entitled "NO MORE WAR TOYS, NO MORE WARS." Fed up with the proliferation of obscenely violent war toys, the grannies created this latest protest action in an effort to get the poisonous stuff off the shelves, thereby, hopefully, decreasing the militarization of our youth.
The grandmothers think their campaign is particularly timely coming on the heels, as it did, of the President's disappointing announcement of more troops being sent to Afghanistan. "Violence begets violence," said Barbara Walker, a founding member of the Brigade. "These awful toys indoctrinate our young with the concept that war is the preferred tactic to conduct our foreign policy. Such a mind set emboldens our leaders to supplant peaceful negotiation and diplomacy with bombs and bloodshed. We are trying to eradicate the cancer at its core."
While the granny ferris wheel gang rotated through the air, another group of grannies wearing Santa Claus hats sang revised versions of favorite Christmas carols near the inside entrance. For instance:
JOY TO THE WORLD
JOY TO THE WORLD, LET'S END EACH WAR
LET EARTH BE PEACEFUL ONCE MORE
LET ALL THE GIRLS AND BO-O-YS
BUY NO MORE WA-A-R T-O-OYS
AND ALL OUR TROOPS COME BACK
FROM AFGHANINSTAN AND IRAQ
OHH, WA-A-R IS NOT THE WAY
TO LIVE OR PLAY
NO, WA-A-R IS NOT THE WAY
TO LIVE OR PLAY!
After about 20 minutes, store personnel politely asked the troupe of protesters to get off the ferris wheel. The riders stalled as long as they could without creating mayhem, and finally complied. Don't ever think you can't get a free ride in this country, because the grannies did. Store employees refunded each granny's entrance fee to the wheel. So, though we vehemently disapprove of Toys "R" Us's stock of despicable war toys, we must give them credit for treating us with great respect and courtesy.
After all the grannies and their compatriots left the store, including the carol singers, who were also politely asked to leave, they banded immediately outside the store on Broadway and sang the revised carols for another hour. Passersby enjoyed the concert and many gave the singers the thumbs up sign of approval.
Said the oldest Granny Peace Brigade member, 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 teach our grandchildren while we are still here that war and violence are not the answer."