Medea Benjamin, the indomitable co-founder of the women’s activist group Code Pink has reported that en-route to a women’s conference in Gaza, she was physically attacked at an airport in Egypt.
While arranging her connecting flight to travel to an international conference in Palestine, she was apparently detained by five “officials” of the Egyptian government. Why five officials? Who knows. She’s a physically tiny 60’ish aged person, probably barely weighing a hundred pounds. But in the course of the detention and interrogation in an airport jail, she was thrown to the ground and man-handled, resulting in a dislocated shoulder and broken arm. This is a non-violent peacemaker who has learned well the art of passive resistance resulting from organizing hundreds of peaceful protests over the last couple of decades.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Medea at anti-war events. She’s rational, calm but a vocal lioness in a lambs body. You might have seen her on C-Span in the gallery of innumerable congressional hearings, leading shockingly peaceful but vocal protests to the absurd theater going on in those hearings.
Code Pink, if your not familiar with them, is a highly effective cadre of women advocating peace and social justice with local groups in many major and not so major cities around the U.S. I organized with this wonderful group in Houston and Texas, especially in Veteran’s For Peace events. They speak with clarity and intelligence and shock you with the fairy-like outfits which brilliantly draw attention to their message of peace and justice.
She reports that she’s been given pain killers by an MD who was on her flight from the U.S. and now is on her way to Istanbul for treatment. She may not make it to the Gaza conference, or at least, not on time. But the U.S. will be well represented there by Col. Ann Wright, of both Code Pink and Veterans For Peace, her good friend and another American patriot with whom I’ve also protested and shared experiences with in our attempts at peacemaking.
Medea reports that Ann Wright, herself retired from both the military and the State Department, made contact with the State Department in Egypt for intervention and help in Medea’s behalf. After hours of waiting at the airport, they were a no show. It is anybody’s guess why they did not respond.
Here is wishing for a good recovery for Medea and best wishes others who might have been inexplicably detained at the Egyptian airport, serving as non-violent peacemakers and advocates for justice in Palestine. It remains to be sorted out as to the motives with the Egyptian authorities in their brutal treatment of American travelers.