Along the inaugural parade route, the peace group CODEPINK were handing out thousands of pink ribbons, encouraging people to join them in holding President Obama to his campaign peace promises: end the war in Iraq; shut down Guantanamo; reject the Military Commissions Act; stop torture; work to eliminate nuclear weapons; hold direct, unconditional talks with Iran; and abide by Senate-approved international treaties. We speak with CODEPINK founder, Medea Benjamin. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to another activist: Medea Benjamin, who has moved here to Washington, D.C., from her home in the Bay Area, co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK, the peace group that had many women and men dressed in pink along the inaugural route and, throughout the festivities and activities of these three days, handing out thousands of pink ribbons, as they look to the future. Media Benjamin joins us on the phone here in Washington, D.C.
Medea Benjamin, why pink ribbons?
MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, they were symbolic. You know how you put a ribbon around your finger to remember things. Well, we wanted to remind Barack Obama of his promises for peace, to bring the troops out of Iraq, to start diplomacy with Iran, to close down Guantanamo, and many other things. And we wanted to remind ourselves and the people who were lining the parade routes and going to the balls that it was up to us to make him fulfill those promises.
AMY GOODMAN: And your thoughts now, on this first full day of Barack Obama in office, where the progressive movement in this country stands?
MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, we have to stand in action, which is why we’re continuing to celebrate the new administration by doing our first action today in front of the White House at 3:00 p.m., tying those promise ribbons onto the White House fence, or as close as we can get. And we’ll be immediately launching into campaigns to push on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The issue of Iran, we don’t want to see tightening of sanctions; we want to see a lifting of sanctions. And we’re calling on people to join us in a symbolic campaign by investing in a wind company in Iran, which is technically illegal to do but, we think, shows our commitment to working in ways that jointly help to transform the world, instead of the militaristic ways. And we have lots of other ideas of ways to be proactive in pushing the administration in the direction we want to see them go.
AMY GOODMAN: Medea Benjamin, I want to thank you for being with us, as we continue to follow the activities of not only the actions of CODEPINK, but of the peace movement in this country and around the world. Codepinkalert.org is an interesting website, where this program is laid out of those Obama promises for peace.