We apologize to the people of Japan for our country’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 69 years ago, and ask forgiveness for these atrocities and the ongoing suffering of those affected by nuclear radiation. We repent for the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons at the expense of unmet human needs. Further, we repent for the over 50 times the U.S. has threatened to use nuclear weapons since the first atomic bombings.
To commemorate the 69th year since the U.S. began the Nuclear Age by dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, seventeen friends (including a 6 month old baby Eli and 2 1/2 yr. old Stephanie) from the Atlantic Life Community and other peace groups participated today in a noon-time silent peace witness at the Pentagon that was organized by the Jonah House Community and the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. Carrying signs, photos of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing and banners, two of which read: “Remember the Past, Repent the Sin, Reclaim the Future–Hiroshima and Nagasaki” and “Abolish Nuclear Weapons,” the group processed from Army-Navy Drive to the regular protest area near the Pentagon metro station. Instead of going into the police designated protest zone which is situated behind a fence, the group initially remained on the sidewalk. However after a police warning that everyone move into the designated area or face arrest, most complied. However Liz McAlister, Kathy Boylan and Eric Martin continued to remain on the sidewalk for about fifteen minutes. After giving three warnings to comply with the order or face arrest, Pentagon police placed the three under arrest and they were taken to the Pentagon police processing center. They were charged with “disobeying a lawful order” and after being processed were released. They will be tried on October 17 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA.
One thing of note during our witness was that numerous soldiers from different countries were either going into or leaving the Pentagon during the hour we were there. This is yet another reminder that the Pentagon is the center of warmaking on our planet! We concluded our witness with a closing circle and read Dan Berrigan’s poem, “Shadow on the Rock” (see below), offered prayers of intercession and sang “Vine and Fig Tree.”
To mark the 69th anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Nagasaki, the group will hold a noon-time nonviolent witness this Saturday, August 9, at the White House.
by Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
At Hiroshima there’s a museum
and outside that museum there’s a rock,
and on that rock there’s a shadow.
That shadow is all that remains
of the human being who stood there on August 6, 1945
when the nuclear age began.
In the most real sense of the word,
that is the choice before us.
We shall either end war and the nuclear arms race now in this generation,
or we will become Shadows On the rock.
Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20010 For more info contact Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649
Script of Crucified Victims and Desecrated Earth
Today is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the Crucifixion and death of Jesus. Today, vast numbers of God’s global family experience a modern form of crucifixion as they are crucified to a cross of war, militarism, and economic exploitation. In the crucified people of our world we see the crucified face of Jesus. Today, we remember the victims who have been and continue to be crucified and deemed expendable, and call for an immediate end to their crucifixion. We also pray for an end to the desecration of our sacred earth.
crucified person #1-Iraq War Victim
For over twenty years the U.S. waged an unrelenting war against Iraq. We pray for the over 2 million Iraqis who have died since 1991–crucified to a cross of bombings, sanctions, invasion and occupation. We repent for destroying an entire society, traumatizing a generation of Iraqis and setting into motion a spiral of violence that continues to claim numerous lives. We pray for the countless millions injured and the over 4 million displaced. We call for all CIA personnel and security contractors to leave Iraq immediately and that the U.S. beg forgiveness from and make reparations to the Iraqi people.
crucified person #2–Afghanistan war victim
Since the U.S. began its criminal military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, thousands of Afghan civilians have suffered and died. We pray for all those Afghans who have been, and continue to be, crucified to a cross of ruthless U.S. military occupation. We pray and work for an immediate end to the immoral and illegal U.S. war in Afghanistan, for the withdrawl of all military and CIA personnel, and that the U.S. beg forgiveness from and make reparations to the people of Afghanistan.
crucified person #3–Drone bombing victim
We pray for all victims of U.S. drone strikes and call for an immediate end to the use of these immoral and illegal killer-drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. We call for a halt to the Obama Administration “kill lists” and that an apology and reparations be made to all victims’ families of drone strikes. We commit ourselves to abolishing these murderous Drones, our American death squads of the skies.
crucified person #4–Victim of Militarism and Nuclearism
We pray for all people–past and present–who have been, and continue to be, crucified to the cross of militarism and nuclearism. We pray and work for the abolition of nuclear weapons, nuclear technology and all weapons, for an end to all forms of militarism and military intervention worldwide, and for the conversion of our war-based economy to one centered on meeting human needs and serving the common good.
crucified person #5–Victim of economic exploitation
We remember all people who have been, and continue to be, sacrificed at the altar of greed, oppression and economic exploitation. We remember all people who have died early deaths in the U.S. and worldwide from dire poverty and malnutrition. We pray and work for an end to structures and policies which dominate, exploit and crucify people to a cross of dehumanizing poverty, debt and neglect. We commit to working for an end to corporate domination, the eradication of poverty, a fair redistribution of wealth and a just economic order.
crucified person #6–Torture Victim (dressed as a GITMO prisoner)
Jesus was a torture victim who was condemned by religious authorities and executed by the Roman empire. We remember all torture victims, past and present, which have suffered and died from the effects of torture. We remember the over 100 prisoners who, since 2001, died at secret U.S. military black sites, as well as the nine men who died at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo. We remember the 154 detainees in Guantanamo, most of who have been cleared for release, including those who are now on a hunger-strike calling for an end to their brutal, unjust confinement. We pray and work for the abolition of torture worldwide, and for the immediate closing of Guantanamo, the SOA/WHINSEC and all military torture and training centers.
crucified person #7–Nonviolent revolutionary victim
We remember all those who have given their lives and who have sacrificed their freedom as they have struggled, without using violence, for justice in their countries. We especially think of those who participated in the Arab Spring to break their shackles of oppression. We hold in prayer the dead and wounded people of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. These nonviolent resisters marched, demonstrated, occupied the streets and squares in order to free themselves from police repression, censorship, unemployment, and violence and were met with violent attacks. We remember all of the people of these nations and repent for U.S. funding of any of the guns, bombs, and materials used to prop up their abusive dictators. May all that has been stolen from these sisters and brothers be restored.
crucified person #8–Imprisoned victim
We picture before us the imprisoned Jesus–arrested, tortured, stripped, crowned with thorns, mocked and crucified. We remember today imprisoned political prisoners and all who are held in gulags and prisons throughout the world. We remember and pray for:
– Private Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, whistle-blower and truth revealer of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, who is serving a 35 year prison sentence;
– Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier who is serving a life sentence;
–Yang Yoon-Mo, serving an 18 month sentence for protesting the construction of a new naval base on Jeju Island in Korea. We remember, too, many others who have been imprisoned trying to nonviolently stop the construction of this U.S. -backed base;
–Transform Now Plowshares prisoners Sr. Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Mike Walli who are serving 35-52 month prison sentences for their plowshares witness at the nuclear weapons complex at Oak Ridge, TN;
– the thousands of Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel;
– the over 2.2 million prisoners in the U.S., all those on death row, and all prisoners worldwide.
In the words of Jesus, let us “proclaim liberty to all captives,” and work to create a justice system that is rooted in the biblical mandate of love and restorative justice.
crucified person #9–Immigration Victim
Mindful that Jesus was born as a migrant and exiled as a refugee, we remember today those immigrants who have been crucified to a cross of exploitation and oppression. We remember, too, those who have been driven from their homes and the hundreds who have died crossing the border in search of a better life. Loving God, help us to learn to love and welcome the immigrants in this land. Give us the courage to stand for justice for all immigrants instead of imprisoning them in dehumanizing detention facilities. Give us the courage to speak out and expose how our country’s policies of globalization and free trade are driving people to leave their countries and tearing families apart. Help us to take down the walls of division and fear that create physical walls of separation on our border. Teach us the words of love you would have us speak as we call for comprehensive immigration reform in this land.
10th Victim–Our Desecrated Earth
Creator God, we confess that the way we live today is desecrating the earth, changing the climate, the seas and the balance of life, and dispossessing the poor and future generations. Our environment and earth continues to be endangered by industrial pollution, toxic deadly chemicals, wasteful oil consumption, the Keystone XL pipeline, nuclear radiation and the effects of preparing for and waging war. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by CommonDreams.org, GREENWASHING THE PENTAGON, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.” Today, on Jeju Island in Korea, a global biosphere reserve and world natural heritage site, explosive blasting of the unique Gureombi lava-rock formation continues for the construction of a new naval base that will serve as U.S. military outpost in the Asian Pacific region. Creator God, help us to stop destroying your creation. Empower us to safeguard all creation and choose life for all that is at risk.
About 30 people from various peace and faith communities in D.C. held an Ash Wednesday Prayer Service of Repentance and Conversion outside the White House. We were also joined by eight new friends from Loyola University in Chicago who spent a week at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker for their Alternative Break Immersion. The liturgy was sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. When we returned to the White House two days later for our weekly Friday peace vigil, ashes that we used to mark the street during the Ash Wednesday liturgy were still very visible.
With great gratitude, Art
Archbishop Oscar Romero on the meaning of Lent
“This Lent, which we observe amid blood and sorrow, ought to presage a transfiguration of our people, a resurrection of our nation. The church invites us to a modern form of penance, of fasting and prayer – perennial Christian practices, but adapted to the circumstances of each people.
“Lenten fasting is not the same thing in those lands where people eat well as is a Lent among our third-world peoples, undernourished as they are, living in a perpetual Lent, always fasting. For those who eat well, Lent is a call to austerity, a call to give away in order to share with those in need. But in poor lands, in homes where there is hunger, Lent should be observed in order to give to the sacrifice that is everyday life the meaning of the cross.
“But it should not be out of a mistaken sense of resignation. God does not want that. Rather, feeling in one’s flesh the consequences of sin and injustice, one is stimulated to work for social justice and a genuine love for the poor. Our Lent should awaken a sense of social justice.”
From the arrogance of power…Response: Deliver us O God
From the tryanny of greed
From the politics of hypocrisy
From the addiction of control
From the idolatry of national security
From the cancer of hatred
From the hystreia of nationalism
From the sin of racism
From the sin of sexism
From the sin of war
In humility we ask o God, hear our prayer.
(Adapted from CPT Litany of Resistance, by Jim Looney)
Response: Forgive us O God
For wasting our gifts
For wanting too much
For wounding the earth
For ignoring the poor
For trusting in weapons
For refusing to listen
For exporting arms
For desiring dominance
For lacking humility
For failing to risk
For failing to trust
For failing to act
For failing to hope
For failing to love
For failing to negotiate
For our arrogance
For our impatience
For our pride
For our silence
Response: Change our hearts O God
That we learn compassion….Change our hearts O God
That we embrace nonviolence
That we act in justice
That we live in hope
That we do your will
That we love our enemies
That we strive to be peacemakers
That we practice sharing
That we protect the earth
That we cherish all life
(Adapted from Pax Christi USA)
“To keep Lent is to follow Jesus in the prayer of wilderness and garden…
To keep Lent is to confront the principalities and powers first of all in prayer. With Jesus we face the dark side of ourselves this is so susceptible to capture and control by the powers. If it happens that we keep vigil publicly at the gates of economic, military, political or religious authority, we do so confessionally, acknowledging the solidarity of sin…
To keep Lent is to discover and remember who in heaven’s name we are, as person and community. We pray against all confusers and confusions for our true identity and vocation. We know that means standing before the cross and making some choices…
The grace of this season is that Jesus suffers the choice with us. He’s been over the turf and is our brother exactly on that score, with us in the struggle of our hearts. Let the further grace be that we make our choice as disciples, in the mind and heart of Christ.”