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.

arms_bazaar_2016-jpeg

With gratitude,

Art

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

Protest the Air Force Association “Arms Bazaar”

When: Monday, September 19, 2016, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. 

 

What: A Nonviolent Vigil and Prayer Service for Peace during the AFA $300+ per plate banquet (please bring a candle) As we undertake this vigil, we do so in solidarity with Campaign Nonviolence, who will be sponsoring a week-long series of actions nationwide from September 18-25. See: http://www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence

Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD 20745. 
We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd., directly across from the Gaylord National Resort (See Directions Below)

Sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

For more info contact: Art Laffin – 202-360-6416, artlaffin@hotmail.com

 

                                                                                                                                 

War should always scandalize the faithfulThink of the children starving in refugee camps, these are the fruits of war. And then think of the great dining rooms, of the parties held by those who control the arms industry, who produce weapons. Compare a sick, starving child in a refugee camp with the big parties, the good life led by the masters of the arms trade.”                                                                                                                                                                                      — Pope Francis, February 25, 2014 Mass at the Vatican’s Santa Marta Chapel                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.” 

— Pope Francis, September 24, 2015 Speech to the U.S. Congress

 

Dear Friends,

 

From September 19-21, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is once again playing host to the Air Force Association (AFA) “Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo,” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” The AFA, according to its web site, is “the voice for aerospace power and the Air Force family.” This year’s Arms Bazaar will focus on: “Air, Space & Cyber Theme: Airmen, Industry, and Allies-A Global Security Team.” Some 150 arms contractors taking part in this years Arms Bazaar have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. These arms contractors, like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that’s not all. The Pentagon and numerous arms dealers are committed to U.S. nuclear/military/cyber superiority and militarizing and controlling space.

 

As the world’s preeminent military superpower, the U.S. is the #1 arms dealer with $46.6 billion in foreign military sales for 2015. The U.S. supplies weapons to much of NATO and Middle Eastern allies like Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. U.S. arms sales in the Middle East are fueling widespread wars in the region, as the U.S. continues its quest to destroy ISIS. In concert with weapons contractors participating in the AFA Arms Bazaar, the U.S. is engaged in direct military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, continues its military support for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, threatens Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine, proceeds with its military “pivot” in the Asia-Pacific to threaten and contain China, and wages killer drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.

 

Additionally, the U.S. continues its “Missile Defense” deployments encircling China and Russia, constituting a flagrant violation of its Anti-Ballistic missile treaty with Russia. Moreover, the U.S. plans to spend $1 trillion over the next thirty years to modernize its own nuclear arsenal, instead of pursuing a real path to disarmament. And the U.S. military, the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, is directly destabilizing the earth’s climate. The victims cry out for justice, and the earth, under daily assault, groans in travail!

 

During its three day Arms Bazaar, the AFA is sponsoring nearly 40 forums addressing how the U.S. can refine its warmaking apparatus and cyber capability so it can dominate earth and space. Tonight the AFA is holding a $300+ per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen. On Wednesday night there will be a similar banquet. We decry the AFA Arms Bazaar for what it is: a scandalous affront to God, a theft from the poor, and a threat to people worldwide and all of creation!

 

Who will speak for the poor and the victims, as arms dealers reap huge profits from their lethal weapons and death technology? Who will protect our sacred earth and environment? We urgently need, more than ever, to nonviolently resist all war and violence–from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza, to Ferguson, NYC, Baltimore, Charleston, Orlando, D.C. and elsewhere. Together, let us continue to do all we can to establish the Beloved Community, end the climate crisis, eradicate poverty and create a world free of nuclear and conventional weapons, killer drones, war, racial hatred and oppression. In the name of God, who calls us to love and not to hate, demonize and kill, it’s time to end this Arms Bazaar!
Please join with members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi and other peacemakers as we seek to say YES to Life and a resounding NO to the merchants of death and war profiteers.

With gratitude,

Art Laffin

Theme for AFA “Arms Bazaar” (from AFA web site): Air, Space & Cyber Theme:  Airmen, Industry, and Allies – A Global Security Team

  • Airpower success in the future will depend on close relationships between our Air Force, industry, and our international partners.
  • We leverage our capabilities, through cooperation, to mitigate risk and respond to global crises as a global security team.
  • As defense budgets shrink and threats increase, it is critical that industry and our international partners come together to provide the air, space, and cyber capabilities and effects essential to ensuring the freedom and security of our nation and its allies.

AFA Technology Exposition Agenda (From AFA web site-see: http://www.afa.org/airspacecyber/conference/agenda)

The Air Force Association’s Annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference and Technology Exposition is the premier event for defense focused aerospace industry professionals. This event brings you face to face with key decision makers from the United States, as well as international Air Forces, DoD, members of Congress, and industry leaders and innovators.

Your attendance at AFA’s yearly Air, Space & Cyber Conference is the ideal opportunity to preview and discuss the latest developments in air-power, space and cyber capabilities vital to the Air Force Mission.

The speaker line-up will include top leaders of the U.S. Air Force, including the Secretary of the Air Force – Deborah Lee James, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force – James A. Cody.

Directions and Public Transport Info to Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

Directions from Downtown D.C., Parking and Meeting Place
Take 395 South (off of New York Ave. or Constitution Ave. at 9th St. NW) Merge onto 295 South via exit on left (crossing into Maryland) – 7.4 miles. Take the exit toward National Harbor. Take ramp to National Harbor Blvd. Bear left on National Harbor Blvd. and go two blocks to St. George Blvd. Make a right on St. George Blvd. Go to one block before Waterfront St. and look for street meter parking. Also St. George Parking Garage is on right in case you can’t find street parking (just past the cross street called Mariner Passage). The garage is one block before Waterfront St., where the Gaylord National Resort is located. We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd. on the sidewalk in front of the Gaylord National ResortIf you are coming from Maryland or Virginia use Map Quest for the most precise route to the Gaylord.

Public Transportation
If you would like to use public transportation, take the Green Line to Branch Ave. Get off at Branch Ave. and take the NH1 National Harbor bus line. This bus takes you to the corner of St. George Blvd. and Waterfront St. across from the Gaylord National Resort. Call 202-637-7000 and select “ride guide” for best directions. Or go WMATA web site.
Published in: on September 12, 2016 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

It All Started With Dan Berrigan, S.J.– A Conversation About Dan’s Life and Witness on the 36th Anniversary of the Plowshares 8 Action

Speakers: John and Carrie Schuchardt (Co-founders of the House of Peace, Ipswich, MA)

Date: Friday, September 9, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m.

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

Washington, DC, 20010.

On September 9, 1980, eight peacemakers, including Dan Berrigan and John Schuchardt, entered the General Electric plant in King of Prussia, PA and hammered and poured blood on nose cones of the Mark 12A nuclear warhead, thereby enfleshing the biblical prophesy of “beating swords into plowshares.”(Is. 2: 1-4) This first “plowshares” action has inspired nearly 100 similar actions in the U.S. and abroad. 

Dan Berrigan, renowned prophet and one of the most influential peacemakers of our time, was a Jesuit priest, poet, teacher and author of over 50 books, who died on  April 30, 2016 at the age of 94. John, and his wife, Carrie Schuchardt, will share about how Dan profoundly influenced their lives. In 1990, John and Carrie founded the House of Peace, a small community in Ipswich, Massachusetts, which offers spiritual and physical shelter to victims of war in companionship with some adults with special needs. During these last 26 years over 400 refugees from over 30 countries have been received in the healing embrace of the House of Peace which gives supportive assistance for resettlement. In recent years children with serious war injuries who come with a parent to receive medical treatment at Boston hospitals also receive hospitality at the House of Peace.

Please join us!For more info contact Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649 or artlaffin@hotmail.com

Published in: on August 30, 2016 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Report of August 6, 2016 White House Prayer Service of Repentance for the U.S. Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

This morning, the 71st anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the feast of the Transfiguration, about 30 peacemakers held a prayer service in the sweltering heat outside the White House to repent for the U.S. nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. (See below the prayer service program). This peace witness was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Isaiah Project and the Sisters of Mercy— Institute Justice Team.
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The prayer witness, which was held from 8:00-9:00 AM, began with an opening reflection which I offered. This was followed by a period of silence to remember the nuclear victims at 8:16 AM, the exact time in Japan that the bomb was dropped. Then Mr. Toshiyuki Mimaki, (pictured above speaking in front of the White house) Vice President of Hiroshima Prefectural Hibakusha Organization and a former Executive Board member of Nihon Hidankyo (The Japan Confederation of A & H Bomb Sufferers Organizations) was introduced by Kio Kanda, from the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area, the group responsible for bringing Mr. Mimaki to the D.C. area. Speaking through an excellent translator, Mr. Mimaki, shared that he was born in Tokyo, experienced the Great Tokyo Air Raid and was then exposed to the atomic bombing at the age of three in his father’s hometown of Hiroshima, where he had moved. On August 8, 1945, he walked around the whole neighborhood of Hiroshima Station with his mother and younger brother in search of his father, who worked for the Japan National Railway. He also conveyed the horrific experience his family endured as a result of the bombing. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Mimaki stated that he appreciated President Obama’s recent historic visit to Hiroshima. He also made a plea to Mr. Obama to visit the Peace Museum in Hiroshima and do the right thing, together with other nuclear powers: abolish all nuclear weapons! 

Following Mr. Mimkai’s powerful remarks, Bob Cooke shared about the groups who were involved in sponsoring the “Apology Petition,” and how grateful we are to Paul Magno and Nonviolence International for posting the petition on their web site. (People can still sign the petition at http://action.nonviolenceinternational.net/apology_petition.  To date 555 people have signed on to the petition. Scott Wright and Jean Stokan then proceeded to lead a moving ritual of repentance atoning for the nuclear sin and distributed red and white roses to all gathered. The red roses symbolized the sacredness of all life as well as the grief and suffering caused by war and the Bomb. The white roses symbolized hope and our commitment to work for a nonviolent world, free of weapons, war and violence. Following a community reading of the Apology Petition, each person presented their rose to Mr. Mimaki, who graciously received them. The Apology Petition was then personally presented to Mr. Mimaki, who expressed his profound appreciation.

After the presentation of the Apology Petition, Paul Magno and Sr. Megan Rice led a Litany of Repentance (see below). Following the Litany, Marie Dennis read a passage for the Gospel of Luke, marking the feast of the Transfiguration, as well as a short prayer. Liz McAlister then read a poem titled “Shadow on the Rock,” (see below) that was written by her brother-in-law, Daniel Berrigan, S.J. who died on April 30th. (Daniel Berrigan–Presente!) The witness concluded with everyone singing “I Come and Stand” (see below) and “Vine and Fig Tree.”

On Tuesday, August 9, from 7:00 – 8:00 AM, we will hold a nonviolent witness at the Pentagon to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Nagasaki. For those in the greater D.C. area we cordially invite you to join us.  For more info email artlaffin@hotmail.com.

Apology Petition

 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology

Envision the World Without Nuclear Weapons

 

August 6 and 9, 2016–71st Anniversary of the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 

 

The anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a time of remembering the horror, repenting the sin and reclaiming a future without nuclear weapons. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the work of disarming and dismantling the machinery of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons are sinful and idolatrous. Their research, production, possession, deployment and use are a crime against God and humanity. We decry the fact that the U.S. government plans to commit a trillion dollars to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years.

 

On this August 6 and 9, we gather with people of faith and conscience across the globe to mark the anniversary with a daily presence of prayer and action. As citizens of the United States, we invite people to publicly ask God for forgiveness for the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused the immediate death of more than 200,000 people, and hundreds of thousands more who died in the aftermath as a result of radiation poisoning. Pope Paul VI, in his 1976 World Day of Peace Message, described the bombings as “a butchery of untold magnitude.”

 

We apologize to the people of Japan – and to the survivors of the bombing, the hibakusha – for our country’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we ask forgiveness for these atrocities. We repent for the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons at the expense of unmet human needs. Further, we offer repentance for threatening to use nuclear weapons and keeping many of them on a first-strike hair-trigger alert. We firmly resolve, with God’s grace and mercy, to reject the false idols of nuclear weapons, and to embrace the life-affirming work of abolishing these weapons of terror.

 

Now is the time to pursue non-violent alternatives to war and proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, as both the Scriptures and Pope Francis suggest: to restore justice for the poor; to lay the foundations for peace; and to seek a nuclear-free future for our children. In that spirit, we renew our commitment to the biblical vision of peace, a world without weapons or war, expressed so well by the prophet Isaiah: On that day, “God will rule over all nations and settle disputes for all peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).

 

(This petition was prepared by Scott Wright and Art Laffin. Groups sponsoring the petition include: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Isaiah Project, the Sisters of MercyInstitute Justice Team, Little Friends for Peace, Jonah House and the Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area. This petition was presented to  Mr. Toshiyuki Mimaki, Hiroshima Hibakusha (A-bomb Survivor),  at the August 6th White House prayer witness.   If you would sll like to  sign the petition please go to  http://action.nonviolenceinternational.net/apology_petition.

Published in: on August 8, 2016 at 12:38 am  Leave a Comment  

White House and Pentagon Peace Actions to Commemorate the U.S. Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Dear Friends,
This is a special invitation to join with the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Isaiah Project and the Sisters of MercyInstitute Justice Team in two nonviolent acts of public witness at the White House and the Pentagon to repent for the U.S. nuclear bombings of Japan on August 6 and August 9, 1945 and to call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the U.S. and worldwide. See details below.
Also we are circulating an “Apology Petition” (see below) regarding the U.S. nuclear bombings of Japan, which we invite you to sign and share with your networks. If you are not able to be in Washington, we encourage you to hold a vigil in your area on August 6th and use this petition.  
Please share this invitation with your network of friends.

With great gratitude,

Art Laffin, Scott Wright, Paul Magno, Bob Cooke, Jean Stokan

Hiroshima

August 6-9 Peace Actions

Commemorating the U.S. Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Seventy-one years ago the U.S. Government did the “unspeakable” and dropped atomic bombs on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, thus beginning the Nuclear  Age. The U.S. has never repented for the use of these weapons of indiscriminate mass murder. Moreover, it has continued to build even deadlier weapons which endanger all of creation. Today the U.S. possesses nearly 7,000 nuclear weapons, many of which are on hair-trigger alert, and proposes to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize it’s existing nuclear arsenal. 

Please join in two nonviolent actions as we seek to remember the pain, repent the sin, reclaim the future and create a nonviolent disarmed world. At the August 6th White House witness we will be joined by a Hibakusha (A-Bomb survivor) from Japan.

When and Where:

Saturday, August 6 (Anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the Feast of the Transfiguration): Nonviolent Witness and Prayer Service of Repentance at White House. 8:00-9:00 AM on north side of White House on Pennsylvania Ave–across from Lafayette Park. (8:15 AM is the exact time that the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima) The Apology Petition will be presented to the Hibakusha during this witness.

 

Tuesday, August 9 (Anniversary of U.S. nuclear bombing of Nagasaki): Nonviolent witness at the Pentagon. Meet on corner of Army-Navy Drive and Fern St. @ 6:30 a.m. Witness from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.

Please join us!

For more info contact Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-360-6416,

artlaffin@hotmail.com

Apology Petition

 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology

Envision the World Without Nuclear Weapons

 

August 6 and 9, 2016–71st Anniversary of the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 

 

The anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a time of remembering the horror, repenting the sin and reclaiming a future without nuclear weapons. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the work of disarming and dismantling the machinery of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons are sinful and idolatrous. Their research, production, possession, deployment and use are a crime against God and humanity. We decry the fact that the U.S. government plans to commit a trillion dollars to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years.

 

On this August 6 and 9, we gather with people of faith and conscience across the globe to mark the anniversary with a daily presence of prayer and action. As citizens of the United States, we invite people to publicly ask God for forgiveness for the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused the immediate death of more than 200,000 people, and hundreds of thousands more who died in the aftermath as a result of radiation poisoning. Pope Paul VI, in his 1976 World Day of Peace Message, described the bombings as “a butchery of untold magnitude.”

 

We apologize to the people of Japan – and to the survivors of the bombing, the hibakusha – for our country’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we ask forgiveness for these atrocities. We repent for the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons at the expense of unmet human needs. Further, we offer repentance for threatening to use nuclear weapons and keeping many of them on a first-strike hair-trigger alert. We firmly resolve, with God’s grace and mercy, to reject the false idols of nuclear weapons, and to embrace the life-affirming work of abolishing these weapons of terror.

 

Now is the time to pursue non-violent alternatives to war and proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, as both the Scriptures and Pope Francis suggest: to restore justice for the poor; to lay the foundations for peace; and to seek a nuclear-free future for our children. In that spirit, we renew our commitment to the biblical vision of peace, a world without weapons or war, expressed so well by the prophet Isaiah: On that day, “God will rule over all nations and settle disputes for all peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).

(This petition was prepared by Scott Wright and Art Laffin. Groups sponsoring the petition include: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Isaiah Project, the Sisters of MercyInstitute Justice Team, Little Friends for Peace, Jonah House and the Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area. To sign the petition please go to The Apology Petition. This petition will be presented to the Hibakusha at the August 6th White House witness. Please sign by August 5th. If you are not able to be in Washington, we encourage you to hold a vigil in your area on August 6th and use this petition.  For more info contact artlaffin@hotmail.com)

Published in: on July 7, 2016 at 1:30 am  Leave a Comment