Report of October 6, 2017 Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Peace Vigil at the White House Commemorating the 16th Anniversary of U.S. Warmaking in Afghanistan and Kathy Kelly’s talk at DDCW

Dear Friends,

Today marks the 16th anniversary of the immoral and illegal U.S. bombing and occupation of Afghanistan. God, Forgive US!  Yesterday at the weekly Noon-time Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (DDCW) peace vigil outside the White House, nine peacemakers (see photo) remembered the victims and their families and recommitted ourselves to ending this sinful war.  During the vigil Kathy Kelly, renowned global peacemaker and dear friend who has been to Afghanistan over 20 times, shared with us past and present horrors of this war and all wars everywhere. She also shared signs of hope as evidenced by the inspiring witness of the Afghan Peace Volunteers. During the vigil other friends offered compelling reflections. We also called for an end to U.S. military threats against North Korea and Iran and celebrated the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the evening  Kathy gave a powerful talk at the DDCW titled: “What Does War Generate?” Basing her reflection on the two feeding of the multitude stories in Mark’s Gospel, she spoke about the effects of U.S. militarism in relation to the “Four Famines” developing in Yemen and the horn of Africa, the naval blockade of Yemen, and U.S. support for the Saudi Coalition that has been decimating Yemen’s infrastructure. She also addressed how Saudi and UAE airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians, exacerbated a cholera crisis, and displaced millions of people.

Below is the prayer I offered in repentance for 16 years of U.S. warmaking in Afghanistan.

In the face of mass murders at home and a foreign policy based on mass murder abroad, let us redouble our efforts to do all we can to stop the killing everywhere, proclaim the Gospel of Nonviolence and create the Beloved Community.

With gratitude,

Art

Prayer in Repentance for U.S. Warmaking in Afghanistan 

 

Tomorrow marks 16 years since the United States began its criminal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Many nonviolently resisted this act of military intervention and a small group of us were arrested here at the White House. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have suffered and died from the US invasion and occupation since October 7, 2001 and many thousands more displaced. Three presidents have now presided over this war with no end in sight. President Trump announced on August 21 that he would continue the U.S. War in Afghanistan. At that time, Secretary of Defense (War) Mattis stated that some 3,000 U.S. troops (other Defense officials put the number at 3,500) would join the 11,000 American personnel and 6,000 allied troops already in Afghanistan. 


We pray for all those Afghans who have been, and continue to be, crucified to a cross of ruthless U.S. military occupation.  
Sing: God Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2Xs)
Let us remember that on October 3, 2015 the U.S. bombed a Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, where 42 people were killed and 30 injured. A survivor of the attack described how patients in the hospital were literally burning to death in their intensive care unit beds.

Sing: God Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2Xs)

In Afghanistan, year after year, life for Afghan civilians is only more dire.  According to the annual report by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan for 2016 there was a record-breaking increase of casualties–3498 civilians killed, and 7920 wounded and over 80,000 displaced. 

Sing: God Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2Xs)
On April 13, 2017, Holy Thursday, the U.S. military, allegedly targeting suspected ISIS fighters, dropped the GBU-43/B massive ordinance air blast MOAB) on Asad Khel, a small village in eastern Afghanistan. MOAB, the so-called “mother of all bombs,” is the most powerful conventional bomb ever used in combat; its blast effects are said to stretch a mile in every direction. At least 90 people died from the bombing, although the exact number is unknown.
Sing: God Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2Xs)
The UN estimates that 1,652 Afghan civilians were killed from January through June 2017.
Sing: God Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2Xs)
 
The Brown University Cost of War project estimates the total cost of the US war in Afghanistan to be $783 billion through FY 2016. Thant number climbs to $1.8 trillion when factoring in long term spending like veterans care and interest on the debt. Just think how this exorbitant amount of money could instead be used to eradicate poverty in Afghanistan and in the US.
Sing: God Forgive the Wrong We’ve Done, God Forgive Us Now (2Xs)
 
+Let us fervently pray for an immediate end to the immoral and illegal U.S. war in Afghanistan and for the withdrawal of all military and CIA personnel.
+Let us pray that the United States repent for its crimes against humanity, beg forgiveness from our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, and make reparations to these war-weary people.
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Published in: on October 7, 2017 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

What Does War Generate?

Speaker: Kathy Kelly

Date: Friday, October 6, 2017 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20010

Kathy Kelly co-cordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Addressing the question “What Does War Generate?,” Kathy will base her reflection on two feeding of the multitude stories in 
Mark 6-8. She will speak about the effects of U.S. Militarism in relation to “The Four Famines” developing in Yemen and the Horn of Africa, the naval blockade of Yemen, and U.S. support for the Saudi Coalition that has been decimating Yemen’s infrastructure. She will also address how Saudi and UAE airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians, exacerbated a cholera crisis, and displaced millions of people. And she will discuss projects of the Afghan Peace Volunteer “Borderfree Center” that suggest ways to practice the works of mercy, rejecting the works of war. On October 5th, along with Code Pink and other activists, she will join a 12 Noon protest at the Saudi Embassy in D.C. calling for and end to airstrikes and blockades against Yemen.
 
Please join us!

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

 

Published in: on September 28, 2017 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Report of September 20, 2017 Air Force Association Arms Bazaar Protest

Dear Friends,

Last night, from 6:00-7:30 PM, eight 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 and Cyber Conference,” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” Some 130 arms contractors took part in this year’s Arms Bazaar. Our vigil coincided with a $300+ per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen. 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 over 1,000 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. I was able to give security and police our leaflet (see below), shared with them for our protest and invited them to join our prayer service for peace. A police vehicle stationed inside the Gaylord main entrance remained at the site for the duration of our vigil.

Our witness began with the reading of our leaflet (see below). Sr. Megan Rice then read the Gospel account of the Beatitudes (Lk. 6:2-28). This was followed by Mike Walli, Malachy Kilbride and Steve Bush reading a selection of Dr. King’s Riverside Church April 4, 1967 speech about why he opposed the Vietnam War. We then sang “Down By the Riverside.” I then offered a prayer to exorcise the evil of militarism and convert our lives to God’s command to love. This was followed by the song “Peace Before Us.” A Litany of Repentance and Hope was then offered by Marja Hilfiker, Eve Tetaz and Anne Feczko. We then lit candles as each person offered a brief reflection. Hope emerged as a central theme of this inspiring reflection time. Remembering all victims of violence and war, hurricanes and earthquakes, the holy cloud of witnesses past and present, as well as all who are working today to bring about God’s reign of justice, love and peace, we proceeded to sing “This Little Light of Mine.” We concluded our witness with a closing circle.

One thing we all noticed during this witness was that more people took our leaflet or gave a positive response than in previous vigils in year’s past, including bus and taxi drivers, several people coming out of the Gaylord, pedestrians and people who drove by. Even a general took our leaflet!

The times are perilous, yet hope abounds in the actions of countless people worldwide. 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.

With gratitude,

Art

 

Stop the Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber “Arms Bazaar!”

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

From September 18-20, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is once again playing host to the Air Force Association (AFA) “Air, Space and Cyber Conference” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” The AFA, according to its web site, is “the voice for aerospace power and the Air Force family.” To mark its 70th anniversary the theme for this year’s AFA Arms Bazaar is: “Breaking Barriers: Heritage to Horizons.”

The 130 arms contractors taking part in this years Arms Bazaar have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, among others, 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.

During its three day conference, the AFA is sponsoring over 30 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. 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!

As the world’s preeminent military superpower, the U.S. secured $33.6 billion in foreign military sales for 2016. 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 and the Saudi war in Yemen,  proceeds with its military “pivot” in the Asia-Pacific to threaten and contains China, and conducts killer drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

 

The U.S. government also continues with 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. The U.S. military is also the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels which is directly destabilizing the earth’s climate. The victims cry out for justice, and the earth, under daily assault, groans in travail!

 

On July 7, 2017, at the conclusion of a special “UN Conference To Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons,” 122 countries voted in favor of a historic treaty to legally prohibit nuclear weapons. The “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” bans nuclear weapons and establishes a framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons programs – including warheads, materials, delivery systems and facilities. Today, in a special ceremony at the UN, 122 countries officially signed this treaty.

Tragically, the U.S. and other countries that bear nuclear arms, and as well as those nations that either come under their protection or host weapons on their soil, boycotted this conference and have thus far refused to endorse this treaty.

It is hypocritical for the U.S., the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons and the leading nuclear superpower which refuses to disarm, to call on any other country, including North Korea, to give up their nuclear weapons. The U.S. can never request that another country disarm until it first apologizes and atones for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, endorses the treaty on the “Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” and totally dismantles its nuclear arsenal. Only then can the U.S. legitimately ask other nuclear nations to disarm.

 

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, violence and racism–from Iraq to Charlottesville. Together, let us continue to do all we can to establish the Beloved Community, end the climate crisis, abolish war, 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. We act in solidarity today with Campaign Nonviolence, who is sponsoring over 1,000 nonviolent actions for peace and justice nationwide during the week of September 18-25.

For more info contact: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649

Published in: on September 21, 2017 at 1:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Protest the Air Force Association “Arms Bazaar”

When: Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 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/campn-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 – 202-360-6416artlaffin@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 18-20, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is once again playing host to the Air Force Association (AFA) “Air, Space and Cyber Conference” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” The AFA, according to its web site, is “the voice for aerospace power and the Air Force family.” To mark its 70th anniversary the theme for this year’s AFA Arms Bazaar is: “Breaking Barriers: Heritage to Horizons.” (See more below)
 
During its three day Arms Bazaar, the AFA is sponsoring over 30 forums addressing how the U.S. can refine its warmaking apparatus and cyber capability so it can dominate earth and space. On Wednesday, September 20, the AFA is holding a $300+ per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen. 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! 

Some 130 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, Boeing, 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. secured $33.6 billion in foreign military sales for 2016. 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 and the Saudi war in Yemen,  proceeds with its military “pivot” in the Asia-Pacific to threaten and contain N. Korea and China, and conducts killer drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

 

The U.S. government also continues with 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. The U.S. military is also the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels which is directly destabilizing the earth’s climate. The victims cry out for justice, and the earth, under daily assault, groans in travail! 

 
On July 7, 2017, at the conclusion of a special “UN Conference To Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons,” 122 countries voted in favor of historic treaty to legally prohibit nuclear weapons. The “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” bans nuclear weapons and establishes a framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons programs – including warheads, materials, delivery systems and facilities. This is a most encouraging and hopeful sign. However, the U.S. and other countries that bear nuclear arms, and as well as those nations that either come under their protection or host weapons on their soil, boycotted the negotiations and have thus far refused to endorse this treaty. 
 
It is hypocritical for the U.S., the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons and the leading nuclear superpower which refuses to disarm, to call on any other country, including North Korea, to give up their nuclear weapons. The U.S. can never request that another country disarm until it first apologizes and atones for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, endorses the treaty on the “Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” and totally dismantles its nuclear arsenal. Only then can the U.S. legitimately ask other nuclear nations to disarm

 

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, Charlottesville, 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 and Overview: (Taken from AFA web site)

The 2017 Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference theme is “Breaking Barriers: Heritage to Horizons.” It is the nation’s premier event for defense and aerospace professionals from across the globe. AFA brings together Air Force senior leaders including the Secretary of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Major Command Commanders, the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and many more.

Get connected with and gain global perspectives from speakers and attendees with diverse backgrounds and with deep experience in industry, government, and the military.

Participate in three days of rich discussions and gain unique insights into transformational factors that are guiding the Air Force today.  Stay current with a powerful agenda addressing:

  • Changing defense strategies
  • Operational issues
  • Legislative changes
  • Force structure
  • The defense market

Each year, we devise new ways for our attendees to share knowledge and access the most innovative information and ideas.  Our sessions provide a breadth of industry insight and forward-thinking outlooks.

  • Influential keynotes to address pressing topics
  • Networking opportunities for business contacts
  • Dozens of exhibitors to showcasing new technologies and solutions that are driving tomorrow’s industry landscape worldwide

 AFA Technology Exposition and Agenda — See: http://secure.afa.org/events/Conference/2017/Conference2017_agenda2.asp

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.

Over 7,200 people register for the Air, Space & Cyber Conference and Technology Exposition comprising top decision makers from the Air Force.  In fact, last year was a record breaking year for attendance and we fully expect another record breaking crowd.

In the past speakers have included top leaders of the U.S. Air Force such as the Secretary of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.

The Air, Space & Cyber Conference and Technology Exposition will boast over 100,000 square feet of space with over 130 companies showcasing the latest airpower, space and cyber capabilities. Over the course of this three day event, the exhibition schedule will provide over 21 hours of exhibit time, 44% of which are non-compete hours.  There will also be two very popular and well attended receptions for exhibitor and Air Force leaders to network and exchange ideas.

 

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 Resort. If 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 11, 2017 at 9:20 am  Leave a Comment  

NUCLEAR ABOLITION TREATY – NOW THE WORK BEGINS

Speakers: Sister Ardeth Platte and Sister Carol Gilbert, O.P.

Date: Friday, September 8, 2017 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20010.

On July 7, 2017, at the conclusion of the “UN Conference To Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons,” 122 countries voted in favor of a historic “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.” The U.S. and other nuclear nations boycotted the conference. Dominican Sisters’ Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert, longtime peacemakers who have been imprisoned for plowshares actions, attended this special UN Conference. They will explain the process of support for the treaty and provide an update regarding the future steps to be taken at the United Nations. They will also share their first action in distributing the treaty that will affect all nations, leaders of nations, all Commanders of nuclear bases, and military personnel. There will be an open discussion as to where we go from here to keep “the movement for elimination of nuclear weapons and war” going.
 
Please join us!

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649

 

Published in: on August 31, 2017 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment