Saturday, December 12, 2009

In the pink

Terry has alerted me to the latest piece by his formidable comrade, Lauryn Oates. It deals with the position taken by Code Pink, a Canadian feminist peace group, after a visit to Afghanistan to show solidarity with the women there. All was not as they thought.

"... the pink T-shirted women were surprised to learn the overwhelming majority of women do not support a withdrawal of foreign troops from their country."

So their decision?

"... Code Pink would stick to its position of calling for troop withdrawal."


At this point it would be easy to lay into them and their branch of feminist pacifism (actually, it would be enjoyable as well as easy), but I am not going to. People who think like this are not bad people. They are idealists, dreaming of a better world, a world free from oppression. It is just that the purity of their dream, their righteous anger and their heroic self-image trumps reality every time. And this is the way that good people can do evil in the world.

I think back to Oskar Schindler. He was a crook. He saved over a thousand people from the Holocaust precisely because his skills were perfectly suited to the organised criminality of the Third Reich. There are times we need crooks with a conscience.

And so in an imperfect world we aren't always helped by dreams of perfection. We need imperfect action for imperfect, though hugely preferable, ends. And as for those people who scrap and cajole, who argue relentlessly to try and win support for those actions, I reckon they are heroes in their own way too.

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