Protest against War in Iraq
Women Baring Witness, Flamborough, Ontario
February 15 2003, by Maggie Thomas
On the afternoon of the 15th February 2003, in Flamborough Ontario, a few miles out of Hamilton, a group of about 20 women gathered together in a farmhouse to discuss, rehearse and enact a protest against war in Iraq. They were following the example of hundreds of women in California, South Africa, Australia and Britain and using their bare bodies to form a peace symbol by lying naked in the cold white snow. (The temperature was about 8 degrees below zero, but the wind chill factor made it feel more like twenty below.) I was one of them. In the upstairs window of a barn overlooking the back yard of the farm house where the women ultimately lay down, were two or three specially invited female photographers taking their photos as speedily as possible. In the circle was one woman wearing a black burka to represent women of other cultures, cultures where women have suffered terribly in the aftermath of war.
It was an exhilarating experience in more ways than one! Our feet went numb very quickly and when we were finally ‘released’ to run back to the farmhouse and warmth we could not feel the ground or our feet upon it, a strange sensation. We warmed up quickly in front of a wood fire, sipping mulled cider and eating chili and samousas. We were excited, laughing and feeling the power and satisfaction of sharing a unique experience with each other, all of us strong, crazy, gutsy women, women to whom peace in the world was of paramount importance. As we said in our manifesto “We claim, as our right, peace on earth for our children and grandchildren”.