Report of Aug. 6, 2018 Pentagon Peace Witness Commemorating the U.S. Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima–1 Arrested

“The bomb exploded within 100 feet of the aiming point. The fireball was 18,000 feet across. The temperature at the center of the fireball was 100,000,000 degrees. The people who were near the center became nothing. The whole city was blown to bits and the ruins all caught fire instantly everywhere, burning briskly. 70,000 people were killed right away or died within a few hours. Those who did not die at once suffered great pain. Few of them were soldiers.”  

–From “Original Child Bomb,” by Thomas Merton, describing the firepower, death and destruction that was unleashed on Hiroshima

Dear Friends,

Today, August 6, from 7-8 AM about 20 people from the faith-based peace community in D.C., Virginia and Maryland, held a prayer witness of repentance at the Pentagon to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. (See Prayer Service Program of Repentance Below) This witness was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and cosponsored by Pax Christi Metro-DC, and Pax Christi USA, Pax Christi International, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Assisi Community,  Jonah House, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the Sisters of Mercy—Institute Justice Team and the Franciscan Action Network.

We gathered for the Prayer Service in the Pentagon police designated protest zone which is located in an enclosed space behind a bicycle fence on the southeast corner of the Pentagon near the south parking lot. As hundreds of civilian and military workers streamed into the Pentagon, they saw several prominent messages that were displayed on a sign and banner: “U.S. Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima, August, 6, 1945—Repent,” and: “Remembering the Pain, Repenting the Sin, Reclaiming the Future—Aug. 6-9 Hiroshima & Nagasaki.” The banner also depicted a drawing of an A-Bomb child victim. Vigilers also held photos of victims of Hiroshima and other signs.

The prayer service began with a statement which I offered (see below). Judy Coode then led the reading of  the “Apology Petition” that was shared and presented two years ago to Mr. Mimaki, a Hiroshima Hibakusha, during our August 6, 2016 White House commemoration witness. Over 700 people signed the petition. (see Petition below)

After the second paragaph of the Apology petition was read by Kathy Boylan, she proceeded to walk out onto the sidewalk toward the entrance to the Pentagon holding a banner that said:“Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Butchery of Untold Magnitude”—Pope Paul VI). Kathy was met by Pentagon police and shortly thereafter was handcuffed and taken by Pentagon police to be processed and released. She was charged with “Interfering with Agency Functions,” and “Failure to Obey a Lawful Order,” and given a September 20, 2018 court date.

At the conclusion of the prayer service, we had a closing circle which included a short reflection from Shizuko, a Japanese peace activist who shared about the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath, as well as a powerful encounter an A-bomb child had with a U.S. Airman who was involved in the bombing.

To commemorate the U.S. Nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and to call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons, please join us on Thursday, August 9th from Noon – 1:00 PM, where there will be a Prayer Service of Repentance outside the White House. Meet on north side of White House on Pennsylvania Ave.–across from Lafayette Park.  

With hope for a disarmed world,

Art

 

Prayer Service of Repentance for Aug. 6, 2018 Pentagon Witness

OPENING (Art Laffin)

APOLOGY PETITION: (Judy Coode)

During our Prayer Service of Repentance in front of the White House on August 6, 2016, an Apology Petition was read and presented to Mr. Mimaki, a Hiroshima A-bomb survivor. Over 700 people signed the petition. In September 2016, Mr. Mimaki  delivered the petition to the Mayor of Hiroshima and is now at the Hiroshima Peace Museum. 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, the Sisters of Mercy—Institute Justice Team, Little Friends for Peace and Jonah House. 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology

Envision the World Without Nuclear WeaponsAugust 6 and 9, 2016— 71st Anniversary of the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki  (Read By Judy, Kathy Boylan, Tony Magliano and Sr. Quincy)

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).

A-Bomb Survivors Song (Art)

Feast of the Transfiguration Gospel Reading from Mark: 9:2-10 (Marie Dennis)

Let us pray that we can truly listen to Jesus and be transfigured by God’s love. Let us renounce what Dr. King called the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism as we seek to follow the way of nonviolence and create the Beloved Community.

LITANY OF REPENTANCE  (Mike Walli and Jack McHale)

For the U.S. development, use, and continued threatened use of nuclear weapons, Forgive us O God 

For the over 200,000 people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a direct result of the U.S. nuclear bombings, Forgive us O God 

For the countless Japanese A-Bomb survivors who have suffered and died from the effects of nuclear radiation, Forgive us O God 

For the unknown numbers of people who have suffered and died from nuclear testing in the South Pacific, Forgive us O God 

For workers in nuclear facilities who have been exposed to radiation and who have suffered and died,

Forgive us O God

For those living downwind from nuclear facilities who have contracted cancer and other illnesses and who have died, Forgive us O God 

For those prisoners and people with mental disabilities who were subjects of nuclear radiation experiments, Forgive us O God

For the U.S. use of highly toxic radioactive depleted uranium weapons in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and elsewhere which have claimed untold lives and have caused dramatic increases of cancer, leukemia and birth defects in each of the countries where these weapons have been used, Forgive us O God 

For the millions who needlessly suffered and died–past and present–because of the money and resources squandered on weapons and war instead of on programs to help eradicate poverty and preventable diseases, Forgive us O God 

For desecrating the earth and the environmental damage caused by the mining, testing and use of nuclear technology, Forgive us O God 

For the U.S. militarization of space and the dangerous use of nuclear technology in space,

Forgive us O God 

For the U.S. military being the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate, Forgive us O God 

For placing our trust in the false security of weapons and mammon rather than in God, Forgive us O God

 

Community Prayers

 “SHADOW ON THE ROCK” by Daniel Berrigan, SJ (Dan Jackson)

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.

 

SONG: I COME AND STAND  (Sing Together)

I come and stand at every door, But no one hears my silent prayer, I knock and yet remain unseen, For I am dead, for I am dead.

I’m only seven although I died, In Hiroshima long ago. I’m seven now as I was then, When children die they do not grow.

My hair was scorched by a swirling flame, My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind, Death came and turned my bones to dust,

And that was scattered by the wind.

I need no fruit, I need no rice, I need no sweets nor even bread, I ask for nothing for myself, For I am dead, for I am dead.

All that I ask is that for peace, You work today, you work today, So that the children of this world, May live and grow and laugh and play.

 

Published in: on August 6, 2018 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dear Friends,

This is a special invitation to join with the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, and co-sponsoring groups Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and the Sisters of Mercy—Institute Justice Team, Pax Christi USA, Pax Christi International, Franciscan Action Network, Jonah House and the Assisi Community, in two nonviolent acts of public witness at the Pentagon and White House 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. 

Please share this invitation with your network of friends. I hope you can join us for one or both of these actions.

 With hope for a disarmed world,

 Art Laffin

When and Where:

Monday, August 6 @ Pentagon from 7-8 AM  

August 6th is the anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the Feast of the Transfiguration. There will be a Prayer Service of Repentance and Nonviolent Witness at the Pentagon. Meet at the “designated protest area.”

If you are coming by metro, please get off at Pentagon stop–Yellow Line. Take south exit coming out of metro. When you reach the top of escalator go left and then right on the sidewalk going away from building toward South Parking lot. Vigil site is down on the left side behind a bicycle fence. Please go directly to vigil site where we will briefly convene before starting our Prayer Service of Repentance.

For those driving, there is now limited parking on Army-Navy Dr., Eads Rd. There are new  “Tour Bus Parking Only” signs on Army-Navy from Fern Street (in front of the Residence Inn) extending east about 3/4 of the block going toward Eads. There are, however, six parking spaces for cars on Army-Navy just before you get to Eads. These spaces are usually taken by 6:45 AM as are all the parking spaces around the corner on Eads and all the way down to 12th Street.  

Thursday, August 9 @ White House from Noon – 1 PM

There will be a Prayer Service of Repentance outside the White House. Meet on north side of White House on Pennsylvania Ave.–across from Lafayette Park.  
  

Please join us! For more info contact Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-360-6416, artlaffin@hotmail.com

“Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil”.

(Epitah at bottom of the Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial Cenotaph and Peace Flame to remember all the victims of the atomic bombings)

August 6-9 Peace Actions Commemorating the U.S. Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Seventy-three years ago, on August 6 and 9, the U.S. government did the “unspeakable” and dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thus beginning the Nuclear Age. As a result of these bombings, it is estimated that over 135,000 people died in Hiroshima and more than 64,000 in Nagasaki. In the subsequent months and years, many more have died from the effects of burns, radiation sickness and other injuries.
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. government possesses nearly 6,500 nuclear weapons, many of which are on hair-trigger alert, and proposes to spend an estimated $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize it’s existing nuclear arsenal. This deadly venture not only endangers all of creation but represents a direct theft from the poor of our nation and world.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has turned its “Doomsday Clock” to two minutes before midnight to signify the perilous situation facing the world due to the dangers of nuclear war and the climate crisis. (https://thebulletin.org/2018-doomsday-clock-statement)  This peril has been exacerbated by an unstable U.S. president  who has threatened to attack North Korea and Iran. As a leading nuclear superpower, the U.S. practices a double standard by calling on other nations to disarm while, at the same time, it refuses to disarm and instead is rapidly expanding its own nuclear arsenal.

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. To date 59 countries have signed the treaty and 11 have ratified it. 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. All of the countries that bear nuclear arms and many others that either come under their protection or host weapons on their soil boycotted the negotiations. We call on the U.S., the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons, to endorse this treaty and to lead the way to total worldwide nuclear disarmament. (For more info about the UN Treaty and Aug. 6-9 ICAN–sponsored worldwide Fast to Abolish Nuclear Weapons see: http://www.icanw.org)

Pope Francis declared:

“If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned…International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms. Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family…The total elimination of nuclear weapons is “both a challenge and a moral and humanitarian imperative” of our time.”

https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2017/november/documents/papa-francesco_20171110_convegno-disarmointegrale.html

The A-Bomb Survivors (Hibakusha) plead to the world:

“Humans Cannot Coexist with Nuclear Weapons!”

http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/pdf/japanconfederation.pdf


Published in: on July 11, 2018 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

End the Crime of Torture! Support TASSC During Its 20th Anniversary Commemoration Events To Abolish Torture

Speaker: Dr. Sami Baloch Badini

Date: Friday, June 1, 2018 @ 7:30 p.m.

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

Dr. Sami Baloch Badini, from Balochistan, Pakistan, is a member of  the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC), and a human rights activist.  

The mission of the  (TASSC), the only organization founded by and for torture survivors, is to end the practice of torture wherever it occurs and to empower survivors, their families and communities wherever they are. TASSC stands in solidarity with all immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and survivors of torture around the world as it tirelessly works for the abolition of torture. This year TASSC is celebrating 20 years as an

organization—a major milestone!  For events taking place to commemorate this special anniversary please see www.tassc.org.

Published in: on May 19, 2018 at 12:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

The US and North Korea: How We Got Here and How to Make Peace

Speaker: Tim Shorrock

Date: Friday, May 4, 2018 @ 7:30 p.m.
Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20010.

Tim Shorrock is a Washington-based journalist who grew up in Japan and South Korea in a missionary family. He has been writing about Korea since the late 1970s for many publications at home and abroad and is currently a correspondent for The Nation and the Korea Center for Investigative Reporting.

Tim will be speaking about the US and North Korea, how we got here, how the situation could be resolved, and how we can make peace.

Please join us!
For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker:
Kathy Boylan — (202-882-9649)

Published in: on April 30, 2018 at 1:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Report of Holy Thursday Faith and Resistance Retreat and Public Witness in WDC-Seven Arrested at Good Friday Pentagon Witness

Dear Friends,

From Holy Thursday afternoon to Good Friday afternoon, about 25 people gathered in D.C. for a Faith and Resistance retreat and public witness that was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and held at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church. Those who participated in the retreat/witness included members of Jonah House, the Atlantic Life Community and students from Loras College from Iowa. The theme of the retreat was: “Standing With the Crucified Christ Today.” Holy Thursday was a day of reflection, sharing, action planning and Liturgy. Good Friday was a day of public witness.

The retreat began with a very rich and inspiring communal Gospel sharing about crucifixion narrative from the Gospel of Luke (Lk. 23: 33-49) and it’s meaning for today. This was followed by a planning session for the Good Friday Pentagon and White House actions.  After dinner, there was a moving Maundy Thursday  Celebration and Prayer Service. Loras Students led a foot-washing ritual followed by Sr. Ardeth Platte and Sr. Carol Gilbert leading the Last Supper Commemoration.

On Good Friday, a nonviolent public witness was held at the Pentagon. At 7:00 a.m. the community processed from Army-Navy Dr. to the police designated protest zone with signs and small crosses with the names of different victims in our society and world written on them. As we processed we sang “We are A Gentle Angry People” (by Holly Near). 

Once we arrived at the Pentagon there was not, to our surprise, the usual large Pentagon police presence waiting for us. Carrying a copy of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, seven members of our community, instead of going into the designated protest area, walked to the police check point closest to the building. They proceeded to offer a prayerful litany with the response: “With every bomb, Christ is killed again!” They then spoke with a Pentagon police officer and requested to speak to a Pentagon official about the urgent necessity for Secretary of Defense Mattis and the Trump Administration to ratify this historic UN treaty. After presumably make a phone call to someone in the building to consider their request, the officer returned saying that they needed to go to the designated protest area. After over ten minutes, they were placed under arrest. They were taken to the Pentagon Police Center, processed and released within two hours. They were charged with “disobeying a lawful order” and given a violation notice to appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA on May 3, 2018.

Simultaneously, as hundreds of Pentagon employees streamed into work, the rest of the community conducted a liturgy in the designated protest area. A huge banner that said: “U.S. Empire Crucifies Humanity” was displayed on the grassy slope overlooking the sidewalk going into the Pentagon metro entrance. Our leaflet was read (see below). Then two retreatants, dressed in a black robes representing victims of U.S.militarism and drone strikes, each took turns standing on a crate, with arms outstretched on a large cross. Reflections were read about each of the victims. In between the readings there was silence and singing “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.”  The final reading was a reflection by Leonardo Boff, “Jesus Being Nailed to the Cross Today.” We concluded the witness by singing “At the Cross Her Station Keeping” (Stabat Mater) by Jacopone di Todi, with six new contemporary verses by Joe Byrne. 

As we left the Pentagon the Loras students led us in singing “ May I Be An Instrument Of Peace.” 

At noon-time, as hundreds of tourists looked on, we conducted a “contemporary crucifixion” on Pennsylvania Ave., directly in front of the White House. For this witness we were joined by an additional dozen peacemakers from the greater DMV area, and two friends from S. Korea. We began by reading our leaflet (see below). Then twelve crucified victims, wearing black robes and a sign signifying each victim, took turns for several minutes in silence, standing on a crate, with arms outstretched on a cross (see the crucified victims below). After each victim came off the cross we sang: “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.” A Buddhist bell was used to signal when each person would go onto the cross. After the 12th victim came off the cross, a reading about how Jesus is being crucified today, by Leonardo Boff, was offered. Joe Byrne then lead our concluding song, Stabat Mater. It was reported during our closing circle that many of the people who observed our witness and received our leaflet offered very positive feedback about the witness. We ended our witness and retreat by giving thanks to God for our time together, for all other nonviolent actions taking place around the world during marking this most Holy Day, and sharing a sign of peace.

 

Let us pray for each other during this Holy Season, and for all those in our world who are experiencing at this very moment the passion and death of Jesus. And let us be transformed by the cross and resurrection of Jesus as we seek to practice resurrection and be living signs of hope for our world.

 

In Resurrection Hope, 

Art

 

Those Arrested:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Joe Byrne

Kathy Boylan

Anne-Marie Eslinger

Sr. Carol Gilbert

Libby Johnson

Sr. Ardeth Platte

Sr. Megan Rice

A Good Friday Plea: Stop Crucifixion Today!

Today is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. On this Good Friday, vast numbers of God’s global family experience a modern form of crucifixion as they are crucified to a cross of war, racism, militarism, economic exploitation and social injustice. In the crucified people of our world we see the crucified face of Jesus.

We, members of the Atlantic Life Community and students from the midwest, witness at the Pentagon and White House today to remember the victims who have been and continue to be crucified and deemed expendable, and to call for an immediate end to their crucifixion. We call, too, for an end to the desecration of our sacred earth.

We say loudly and clearly with Jesus: “Love one another,” “Love your enemies,” “Be merciful as God is merciful,” “Proclaim liberty to captives,“ and “Put away the sword.”

We appeal to the consciences of people everywhere, especially those who lead the nations, including our own, to eradicate what Dr. King called the “triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.” End all racial injustice! Welcome the immigrant! Stop all violence, torture and killing! Abolish war! Abolish all weapons—from guns used in our society, to killer drones used abroad, to the threatened use of nuclear weapons. Endorse the new UN Treaty To Prohibit Nuclear Weapons! Create a political and economic order that rejects empire, upholds the dignity and human rights of every person, protects the earth and meets the human needs of all! Work for nonviolent social transformation! Practice Resurrection!

Please join us as we strive to create the Beloved Community!

For more info contact:

Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649

Crucified Victims Remembered at the White House Good Friday Public Witness

Crucified Victim #1–Iraq War Victim 

Crucified Victim #2–Afghanistan War Victim

Crucified Victim #3–Drone bombing victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Crucified Victim #4–Victim of Militarism  

Crucified Victim #5—Yemen War Victim

Crucified Victim #6–Victim of Racial Violence

Crucified Victim #7–Victim of Economic Exploitation

Crucified Victim #8–Torture Victim (dressed as a GITMO prisoner)
Crucified Victim #9–Nonviolent Revolutionary Victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Crucified Victim #10–Imprisoned Victim                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Crucified Victim #11–Immigration Victim

Crucified Victim #12–Our Desecrated Earth       

Published in: on March 30, 2018 at 5:37 pm  Comments (1)