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Politics & Government

Thomas Merton Center Honors Medea Benjamin

The Thomas Merton Center is honoring Code Pink and Global Exchange co-founder Medea Benjamin at its 40th Anniversary Celebration Thursday night. Benjamin created Code Pink after 9-11 and the war in Afghanistan. She said they chose the name based on the color-coded terrorism warning system created by the Bush Administration. Lately Benjamin has been leading a campaign to educate the public about the impact of unmanned drone strikes abroad.

Benjamin told 90.5 WESA's Essential Pittsburgh she recently returned from a trip to Pakistan where she witnessed the effects of the strikes first-hand. Benjamin said many people assume Code Pink is a partisan organization, but she said their goal of ending war and spreading peace and social justice is not affiliated with a party. In fact, Benjamin said their job has gotten harder under the Obama administration.

"The peace movement is a shell of its former self, it was quite vibrant under the Bush years. It's been much harder under these Obama years to get people to speak out against things like drone strikes and the continuing war in Afghanistan."

Benjamin said the organization uses traditional and non-traditional methods to get their point across - from marches and protests, to confronting lawmakers, to making a public spectacle. She also recently authored the book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.