by Mary Lou Greenberg
“Lines in the Sand” can be either personal or political — or most often, both. Both frequently involve activism and personal sacrifice arising out of political commitment, and the print edition of On The Issues Magazine (1983-1999) carried many articles highlighting the need for such stands as well as profiles of women who have taken them. We’ve highlighted a few below.
Our lead archival piece by On the Issues Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Merle Hoffman, Thelma and Louise Live poses challenges for how women live their lives today, just as it did when first published in Winter 1991.
Another 1991 article focused on the dedication and steadfastness of The Uncommon Women of Greenham, peace activists who established women’s camps outside the gates of the Greenham Common USAF/RAF military base in the UK, as told by Leslie Webster and written by Ginna D. Rose. The base housed 101 American ground-launched Cruise Missiles, each with the destructive capability of 16 Hiroshima-capacity bombs. The women became internationally known for large mass actions protesting nuclear war preparations, as well as smaller night-time sorties like sneaking into the base to hang peace banners and spray military vehicles with anti-war slogans. They persevered for years, despite almost constant harassment and assaults on the camp by authorities.
In Fall 1998 as part of a special issue on human rights, On The Issues Magazine featured Aung San Suu Kyi: Burma’s Gandhi, with an excerpt from the book The Voice of Hope, by Alan Clements. Clements spent five months interviewing the Burmese opposition leader who is committed to nonviolent social change, even though she had been kept under house arrest for six years by that country’s military junta. During that time, she had almost no contact with her husband or two young sons. In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize, the first person to win it while under detention.
In May 2003, almost five years after the On The Issues Magazine interview, Aung San Suu Kyi was again put under house arrest after a convoy she was traveling in was ambushed by a regime militia and dozens of her supporters were killed. Today, she remains forcibly confined to her home but continues to be staunch and unbowed in her struggle to end military rule in Myanmar, as Burma is now named. May 24, 2009 is the legal date that she should be released from house arrest. There is currently a global petition campaign to free all of Myanmar’s political prisoners, estimated by Amnesty International at over 1,150. Read more about Burma’s political prisoners here.
Also see For two women shot to death in Brookline, Massachusetts by Marge Piercy
See Thelma and Louise Live by Merle Hoffman