indiriverflow (indiriverflow) wrote,

Lysistrata Revisited

Lysistrata Revisited

By Indi Riverflow

The civil struggle over the invasion of Iraq has finally reached the grass roots. The peace movement, enlivened by the return of the two-party system (what, is it a democracy again, all of a sudden?) are reviving folksy tactics from the sixties, such as sit-ins and marches, in a quaint push to demand an immediate end to the occupation.

We have die-ins, candlelit vigils, rowdy rallies, and mock occupations of congressional offices. A courageous group, here on the West Coast, has been harassing dovish Democratic representatives, urging them to take a harder line on troop withdrawal, on the theory that Republicans are likelier to call the cops. But if we really want to stop the war, people, the protest is going to have to span from the boardrooms to the bedrooms.

The problem with the peace movement is that the underhanded tacticians are all on the other side.

The war will end when those who support it find their stance costing, not merely lives and freedom, but something really important to them.

If you managed to stay awake through your Greek comedy course, you’ll recall Lysistrata, a rather mind-blowing, bawdy gem from the vaults of pacifist literature.

Dating from the Peloponnesian War period, the play absolutely giggles with recycled relevance, as we confront the horrible reality that we are collectively culpable for the slaughter, and unless we get rolling on something more serious than tickling ourselves, tickling itself will be banned by the humorless neo-fascists currently occupying the organs of the body politic.

For those who were nodding off in class, the story goes like this: the women of Athens band together around one central base of power: their very wombs. Weary of the war against Sparta, the wives in Lysistrata heroically organize and go on sexual strike against their husbands, and are joined by prostitutes and priestesses alike in one hysterical act of truly grass-roots direct action that brought the battle of the sexes down to one simple reality:

Love is better than war.

Aristophanes is way headier than Aristotle, just as Groucho Marx is cooler than Karl. The philosophy of comedy is quite serious, except for the clowns who repeatedly insist on getting offended.

Therefore, I boldly propose, in the name of Lysistrata, that all lovers of life adopt a passive pro-peace stance, by steadfastly refusing to have intercourse with anyone who does not support diplomatic solutions to military problems. This will, incidentally, lead to more fulfilling and time-consuming relationships in general.

Feel free to disagree. But the logic is lovely and tested by the centuries. And unless you support the atrocities form Fallujah to Guantanomo Bay, time to vote with your womb or willy. While it still is yours.

Because there is a great deal more at stake than an appropriations bill that could ease poverty in either country, rather than enrich the merchants of death. There is a critical cultural judgment on the line: will we roll over and let the big cocks wag all over the more poorly armed nations of the world, or will we let it be known that this was not done in our name?

We can’t take this lying down.

Four years ago, the Blitzkrieg flew into Baghdad, on the flimsiest of pretexts, in a move that openly and cynically labeled itself OIL. Operation Iraqi Freedom has liberated hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from their lives. The next listing in the phone book is Iran, and by the time withdrawal actually begins, we can be sure the war machine will soon be knocking next door, peddling a similar emancipation in Farsi.

Oh, well. We’ll just change all the “q’s” to “n’s” on the protest banners.

Meanwhile, the Shrub is piously busy counting angels on the head of a pin, worried that stem cell research on dead fetuses might somehow impugn the sanctity of human life.

The Resident-in-Thief is a stubborn and unapologetic mess of contradictions, and like the monster under the bed, derives his power from the belief we have in him. We are supposed to believe that this regime is pro-life.

One can only conclude that they expect to need plenty of fodder for the cannons of the future. The sanctity of human life apparently doesn’t extend to the victims of imperialist policy.

And yet, in spite of all this, Newt Gingrich managed to find someone to practice being Bill Clinton with.

Someone is going to have to take a stand, and the bulk of the burden will have to fall on the sex workers and interns in Washington. When a hawkish congressman can’t find a lunch-hour handjob, the funds for waging war will dry up faster than an unlubricated Trojan.

Read On!
Tags: books, lysistrata, myth, peace, read, war, washington

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