|Art Laffin being arrested at another disarmament event in 2010.|
by Art Laffin
Focusing on the theme: "Remember the Pain, Repent the Sin, Reclaim the Future," about 25 people attended the annual Hiroshima-Nagasaki Faith and Resistance retreat in Washington, D.C. sponsored by Jonah House and the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. The retreat included prayer, viewing the compelling new film by Bud Ryan and Susan Overbey, "The Forgotten Bomb," presentations on the U.S. Bomb complex and the Drone and Trident weapons systems, and three nonviolent nonviolent actions.
On August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration and the 66th anniversary of the US nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, we witnessed at the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb, which was on display at The National Air and Space Museum Steven Udvar-Hazy Center. As we knelt in silent vigil in front of this warplane of unspeakable horror as a tour guide told the myth about the bombing, we held photos of the A-bomb victims, and placed peace cranes near the plane. From a catwalk above the plane, a banner was unfurled with a quote from Pope Paul VI, referring to the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima as "butchery of untold magnitude." We concluded the witness with a reading of Dan Berrigan's poem, "A Shadow on the Rock," and processed out of the museum singing "Child, Child."
On August 9, the anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Nagasaki, and the martyrdom of Sr. Edith Stein and Franz Jagerstatter, the community held two actions were held at the Pentagon and White House. At the early morning Pentagon witness, Catholic Workers' Amber and Kevin Mason and Bill Frankel-Streit, peace activist Rosemary Thompson from Baltimore, and Sr. Margaret McKenna from the New Jerusalem community in Philadelphia, were arrested as they stood outside the designated "protest area" near the visitor's entrance holding photos of the A-bomb victims and a banner that said: "No More Hiroshima's and Nagasaki's." Following their arrest, other retreatants who were in the designated protest zone read the entire "Original Child Bomb," by Thomas Merton, as well as an account of a Nagasaki survivor. Selections from the writings of Franz Jagerstatter and Sr. Edith Stein were also offered.
Later at Noon at the White House, the community offered a similar action as was held at the Pentagon. During this witness many of the same readings that were read at the Pentagon were offered, as well as a recent quote from the Apostolic Nuncio to the UN stating there is no longer any justification for nuclear weapons (see below quote). Songs were also sung remembering the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An urgent appeal was made to abolish all nuclear weapons and war, to stop construction of new bomb facilities at Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and Kansas City, and to redirect all the wasted money and resources going into modernizing the U.S. bomb complex to instead meet urgent human needs. We also invoked the names of all the peace prisoners and recounted their life-giving actions for a world without weapons and war. And finally, a powerful peace poem was offered by Palmer, from the New Jerusalem Community.
As the witness concluded, Ron Greene, a veteran, biologist and activist from Oregon, was arrested as he sat on the sidewalk in front of the White House holding a sign announcing his hunger-strike to save birds that are going extinct where he lives and calling for a peaceful, sustainable planet.
We continue to keep our eyes on the prize as we strive together to forge the beloved community.
Art Laffin firstname.lastname@example.org
Dorothy Day CW
503 Rock Creek Church Road, NW | Washington, D.C. 20010
Phone: 202.882.9649 or 202.829.7625