Almighty: Courage, Resistance and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age

Speaker: Dan Zak, Washington Post Reporter and Author

Date: Friday, December 2, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW,

Washington, DC, 20010.

On a tranquil summer night in July 2012, a trio of peace activists infiltrated the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee. Nicknamed the “Fort Knox of Uranium,” Y-12 was supposedly one of the most secure sites in the world, a bastion of nuclear warhead parts and hundreds of tons of highly enriched uranium—enough to power thousands of nuclear bombs. The three activists—a house painter, a Vietnam War veteran, and an 82-year-old Catholic nun—penetrated the complex’s exterior with alarming ease; their strongest tools were two pairs of bolt cutters and three hammers. Once inside, these pacifists hung protest banners, spray-painted biblical messages against war, and streaked the walls with human blood. Then they waited to be arrested.

In Almighty, Washington Post Reporter Dan Zak uses this event to explore America’s love-hate relationship to the bomb, from the race to achieve atomic power before the Nazis did to the solemn 70th anniversary of Hiroshima. At a time of concern about proliferation in such nations as Iran and North Korea, the U.S. arsenal is plagued by its own security problems. Part historical adventure, part courtroom drama, part moral thriller, Almighty reshapes the accepted narratives surrounding nuclear weapons and shows that our greatest modern-day threat remains a power we discovered long ago. 

Please join us!

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649
Published in: on November 15, 2016 at 7:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

How the U.S. Has Destablized the Middle East

Speaker: Raed Jarrar 

Date: Friday, November 4, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: Rock Creek Church Rd. NW,

Washington, DC, 20010.

What role has U.S. military intervention played in destabilizing the Middle East?

How has U.S. bombings, sanctions, occupation and torture in Iraq helped create the conditions for the formation of ISIS?

What does the recent $38 billion U.S. military aid package to Israel over the next decade mean for peace prospects in the region?

How has U.S. military intervention in the Middle East contributed to the refugee crisis in Europe and elsewhere?

What are some of the nonviolent solutions to help bring about peace in the Middle East? 

Raed Jarrar will address these and other related questions regarding the role the U.S. has played in destabilizing the Middle East. Raed serves as AFSC’s Government Relations Manager at the Office of Public Policy and Advocacy in Washington, D.C. Since his immigration to the U.S. in 2005, he has worked on political and cultural issues pertaining to U.S. engagement in the Arab and Muslim worlds. He is widely recognized as an expert on political, social, and economic developments in the Middle East. He has testified in numerous Congressional hearings and briefings, and he is also a frequent guest on national and international media outlets in both Arabic and English. He also attended the historic Nonviolence and Just Peace conference at the Vatican this past April.

Born in Baghdad to an Iraqi mother and a Palestinian father, Raed Jarrar grew up in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iraq. He received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Baghdad, and his master’s degree in architecture, with a specialty in post-war reconstruction in Iraq, from the University of Jordan. Raed has appeared in numerous media outlets, including MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, Foreign Policy in Focus, and Alternet. His opinion pieces have been published in the Chicago Tribune and Common Dreams

Please join us!

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649, artlaffin@hotmail.com.

Published in: on October 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just Peace, Just War, Just Catholic: Where are we Going?

Just Peace, Just War, Just Catholic: Where are we Going?

Speakers: Rose Marie Berger and Judy Coode 

Date: Friday, October 7, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day  Catholic Worker: 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW,

Washington, DC, 20010.

In April an unprecedented conference took place in Rome on re-centering the Roman Catholic Church on active gospel nonviolence. Hear about the gathering from those who were there. More than 80 Catholics from around the world gathered with the Vatican to discuss how to renew active gospel nonviolence as a “instrument for peace,” to paraphrase Pope Francis. Join the global conversation on moving from a war church to a peace church. Sign the appeal asking Pope Francis for an encyclical on nonviolence. Be part of Francis’ 3-legged legacy: A church of the poor, defense of creation, and radical Christian nonviolence.

Rose Marie Berger is a Roman Catholic peace activist and senior associate editor at Sojourners magazine. She contributed a framing paper on Just Peace to the April conference in Rome. (Read No Longer Legitimating War: Christians and Just Peace.)

Judy Coode was lead organizer for the conference and is program coordinator for the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (www.nonviolencejustpeace.net).

Please join us!

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: artlaffin@hotmail.com —
Published in: on September 28, 2016 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

TWENTY-ONE ACTIVISTS ARRESTED AT THE PENTAGON DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR WAR CRIMES AND AN END TO ONGOING US WARS

Dear Friends,

Following the conclusion of the World Without War Conference that was held this weekend at American University, 21 people were arrested yesterday at the Pentagon as part of a Campaign Nonviolence action that was organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. (See below the press release about this action). The arrests occurred as peacemakers attempted to redeliver a letter previously sent to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, as well as a petition to stop the use of killer drones, at the main Pentagon police checkpoint outside the Pentagon south metro station.  Simultaneously, some 50 other peacemakers who attended the World Without War Conference held a demonstration in the Pentagon police designated protest zone located near the police checkpoint.

It was an honor to be part of this action, yet another “experiment in truth” in nonviolent resistance to a warmaking empire. During this witness, I carried in my heart and prayer those in whose name I was acting: all the victims of violence, racism, torture, war and poverty, as well as the holy cloud of witnesses–past and present. I also prayed for our sacred earth and climate which is under daily assault and “groaning in travail.”  In this time of perpetual war, unrelenting racial violence, mass incarceration and pervasive poverty, I was also very mindful of the compelling words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who declared: “Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometime hostile world declaring eternal hostility to racism, poverty and militarism.” 

God calls us to love and not to kill, to practice mercy, to love our enemies, to establish justice for the oppressed, to beat all the swords of our time into plowshares and to abolish war. During this election season and beyond, let us continue to do all we can to enflesh these biblical mandates as we seek to create the Beloved Community and a nonviolent world. 

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WHO:  On September 26, 2016, after years of unsuccessfully seeking meetings with elected and appointed government officials over the ongoing US wars, proxy wars and military occupations, armed drones, US war crimes, and the increasing Pentagon budget activists associated with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) went to the Pentagon today once again seeking a meeting with decision-makers in the Pentagon chain of command including Secretary Ashton Carter. They told Pentagon police they wouldn’t leave until they spoke to an official in a position of authority about war crimes committed by the US and that they were following their obligations under Nuremberg to draw attention to these crimes of US government elected and appointed officials. Although the activists were nonviolent the Pentagon police placed 21 activists under arrest and charged them with “Violation of a Lawful Order”.
 
WHAT: The presence of antiwar activists today at the Pentagon follows the International Day of Peace, the over 700 actions of nonviolence around the US and other countries organized by Campaign Nonviolence calling for an end to war, poverty, and for serious efforts to address the climate crisis and environmental degradation. In addition, many of the activists had attended the World Beyond War conference held in Washington, DC at American University over the weekend entitled “No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism”. The attempted meeting by activists was a continuation of the over 700 events organized by Campaign Nonviolence this month in addition to carrying the message of World Beyond War to the Department of Defense and Obama Administration. The activists tried to also deliver a petition signed by over 23000 people to President Obama, Secretary Carter, and German Chancellor Merkel calling for the closing of a drone relay station at US Air Force Base Ramstein in Germany which has been linked to the deaths of innocent civilians. Activists in Germany also attempted to deliver this petition to Merkel today. Australian activists acted in solidarity at the US military base in Pine Gap and another solidary action was held at West Point, NY by others concerned about the US drone program.
 
WHY:  Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska one of those arrested explained why she was at the Pentagon seeking a meeting today “The measure of a healthy society is how we treat the marginalized. How we can care for them in a just and humane manner when 56% of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon for its 800+ military bases and the killing? That fills the pockets of the weapons manufacturers!” The World Beyond War conference and Campaign Nonviolence say there is a link between poverty, war, and the environmental threat to the planet. They say that there needs to be a new way of running our planet and resolving international conflict through nonviolence. “The reason why I took action today is because I am moved by conscience by the words of the late peace activist Daniel Berrigan who said “Because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total – but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial.” We all need to get out of our comfort zone and away from what is convenient for us when it comes to taking action. We cannot continue on the path of more war while so many social problems exist in society. War is a threat to Mother Earth and all humanity. The way of war is not sustainable” Kilbride said.
 
Those arrested include Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Richard Ochs, Malachy Kilbride of Maryland, Alice Sutter, Felton Davis, and Chat Gunter of New York, Don Cunning and Manijeh Saba of New Jersey, Brian Terrell of Iowa, Phil Runkel of Wisconsin, Joan Stallard, Art Laffin and Eve Tetaz of Washington, DC, JoAnne Lingle of Indiana, Howard Mettee of Ohio, Phoebe Sorgen of California, Henry Lowendorf and James Pandaru of Connecticut, Beth Adams and Paki Wieland of Massachusetts, Nancy Gowen of Virginia.
 
A November 3, 2016 court date has been scheduled in the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. The activists said they are looking forward to their day in court.
Published in: on September 27, 2016 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Report of September 19, 2016 AFA “Arms Bazaar” Protest

Dear Friends,

 

Last night 9 peacemakers vigiled outside the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at the National Harbor, ten miles south of D.C.,  to decry the scandalous Air Force Association (AFA) annual “Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo,” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” Some 150 arms contractors are taking part in this year’s Arms Bazaar. Our vigil coincided with a $300+ per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen. Members of Pax Christi, two Carmelite sisters and friends from several other peace groups attended the vigil which was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. The action was held in solidarity with Campaign Nonviolence (CN), a long-term movement to build a culture of peace and nonviolence free from war, poverty, racism, the climate crisis, and the epidemic of violence and injustice. This week CN is sponsoring some 700 actions in the U.S. and worldwide.

 

As we arrived at the Gaylord,  a contingent of Gaylord security and Prince George Police were on hand to greet us. Max Obuszewski and Janice Sevre-Duszynska were the first to arrive and had an animated exchange with the head of security. Shortly afterwards,  I was able to give security and police our leaflet (see below) and invited them to join with us. Several police vehicles stationed at the Gaylord main entrance remained at the site for the duration of our vigil.

 

Our witness began with singing “Down By the Riverside” and the reading of our leaflet. Bob More then read the Gospel account of the Beatitudes (Lk. 6:2-28). This was followed by Janice, Max and Sr. Carmen Soto reading a selection of Dr. King’s Riverside Church April 4, 1967 speech about why he opposed the Vietnam War. Bob Cooke then offered a prayer to exorcise the evil of militarism and convert our lives to God’s command to love.  We then sang “Do Not Be Overcome by Evil.” This was followed by Janice, Max, Bob Cooke, Steve Bush and I sharing reflections about the human cost of warmaking, the plight of refugees, the courageous witness of whistle-blower and truth teller, Edward Snowden, the urgent need to cancel weapons systems like the $400 billion F-35 Joint-Strike fighter program, killer-drones and all nuclear weapons, and the moral imperative of exposing and resisting the addiction to militarism.  A Litany of Repentance and Hope was then offered by Brian Barrett and Sr. Carmen. We then lit candles and sang “This Little Light of Mine,” as we remembered all victims of violence and war, the holy cloud of witnesses past and present, imprisoned truth-tellers, resisters and whistle-blowers, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all who are acting to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, and all who are working today to bring about God’s reign of justice, love and peace. We concluded our witness by singing the Vine & Fig Tree and having a closing circle.

 

Let us redouble our efforts to do all we can to nonviolently resist the forces of violence, racism and death and witness to the God of Life and Love as we strive to create the Beloved Community.

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With gratitude,

Art

Published in: on September 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment