In the morning Cathy and I went to the Georgia O’Keefe museum and filled up with the beauty and creativity of a human spirit. After that we headed up to Los Alamos where the first atomic bombs were designed and assembled, exactly where the statue looks out on, which is now a park.
Campaign Nonviolence is headed up by John Dear, who has led the processions to the nuclear weapons lab for years. This year the Upaya Zen Center gathered 70,000 paper cranes from all over the world (400 from me,) creating a beautiful stage of peace for us to hear speakers. The foremost speaker was Rev. Lawson who is a contemporary of Dr. King’s and wrote the non-violence guidelines that were the cornerstone of the Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Movement that has followed.
We dressed in burlap sacks and carried ashes to provide a symbolic link to a biblical offering. Buddhists created another thoughtful presence. Everywhere was the past- to what was done in our names, what has come to haunt our world, what must never be allowed to happen again. (Recognizing that the Obama administration intends to spend one Trillion dollars to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile which is directly opposed to the Non-Proliferation Treaty which is our Best Hope for stability in this current period.)
About 350 of us walked the mile and a half to the bridge before Los Alamos Lab being led by this banner– 1 H Bomb = 100 Auschwitz.
When we had gone as far as the police would allow we sat by the road in silent contemplation and poured the ashes. (I kept some to add to Michael’s remaining ashes…strange thing but something I determined to do since his spirit is with me through these times we lived.)
Someone said that Los Alamos is the Largest Terrorist Camp in the World. This imbalance of polarities may destroy us. “They” think the nukes have defended us and “we” think that the nukes have destabilized the world and put us all at catastrophic risk.
I feel somewhat numb to the great grief of annihilation. It is too much to comprehend. In the evening we watched a film called Message from Hiroshima which had interviews from at least 20 nuclear survivors and there was a documentary about their ordinary lives before the destruction. Plain people living in harmony within their community. They were not the enemy. After the film there was a panel with Valerie Plame (of CIA fame,) Jay Coghlan (www.nukewatch.org) and Father John Dear. The audience asked the questions that we all ask but the only answer is that we must keep working and organizing for disarmament and abolition. There is no alternative.
As I have felt in the past I know I am where I need to be with the people that I must be with. Now, I have to find my voice and my feet to do my part and I hope each of you will do likewise.