A story from the weekly peace vigil at Percival Landing last Friday, 26 April 2013
I went to look at the fire that had broken out in the area of West Bay Marina, and struck up a conversation with an Army Ranger veteran who had toured Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was initially quite aggravated and offended by the sign I was carrying, but once I explained in my own words what I thought the sign meant, he was in complete agreement. He was in complete agreement that the wars were wrong and the foreign policy has been misguided. And that much of the wealth of America has been founded on violence, African and Asian slavery and extermination of Native People, decimations of Native Culture, and industrial activities that have come at the expense of environmental quality, sustainability, and public health. etc.
He said he heard that people in high levels of military and government are asking questions about imperialism and policies of dominance, and mentioned a JBLM Army Officer he knew.
The sign I was carrying read: "Militarism is choking our democracy."
A friend recently pointed out to me that they noticed the Seattle Weekly is not being distributed in Olympia (hasn't been for some weeks or months now.) I checked the website and the Daily Weekly blog has an article about a Cannabis Dispensary in Olympia.
According to my friend, this week's paper was also entirely devoted to remembering Washingtonians who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars: War Isn't Over: Remembering Washington's War Dead.
The Olympia FOR is participating in a larger campaign by the Western Washington FOR (Fellowship of Reconciliation) to "Bring Our Billions Home." The concept is to shift military spending that is geared toward conquest and imperialism, to peaceful alternatives, like healthcare (especially for wounded military personnel,) environmental protection and to promote full employment. As part of the campaign, we are asking people to write monthly postcards to their representatives. Here's an example:
Monday 4 July 2011
NBK Bangor Submarine Nuclear Weapons Facility
About 30 or 40 of us went to the Main Gate of NBK Bangor (Trident submarine nuclear weapons facility) to vigil and witness. By the way, Seabeck was great, and thanks to everyone!
As I walked up the road to get in position for photographing, a lone State Patrol officer approached me. He had a couple questions. He wanted to know who was in charge. I had to think about that for a few seconds. Then I told him Joy was in charge. Which was correct.
He wanted to know what group we were with and what we were doing. I told him that we're the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and we just had our annual conference at Seabeck.
Then he wanted to know if we were going to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience.
I am almost positive that not once has anyone put themselves in a position to risk arrest during the post-Seabeck witness at the Submarine Nuclear Weapons facility.
John Lindsay-Poland, who is staffer with the National FOR and is featured in the photograph, approached when he saw the Officer writing notes. Thanks John!
At the vigil, I told one of the military police: "people are getting rich off of war."
He responded, "Not me!"
My letter to the editor of The Olympian was published yesterday. 250 words makes it difficult to add important details, like the effects of depleted uranium munitions. Or the fact that a very sizable proportion of homeless and indigent pupulations in this country are military veterans. You get the idea. Here's the letter, www.theolympian.com/2011/06/19/1692136/full-employment-is-possible.html:
The military provides opportunity for many people: travel, education, other experiences. In many ways, the military works pretty well as a low-barrier jobs program.
Jobs programs are good for many reasons. One is because people deserve to have jobs; in fact, people need jobs. And if all people had job security and economic stability, then life might be better for everyone.
For example, there would be less violence. One problem with the military as a jobs program is that much of the military efforts of the U.S.A. are violent and suited to serve policies of economic supremacy, to serve aggression. And in the military there is racism, and other oppression. For more information, please see www.coffeestrong.org/.
If only there was to be a jobs program capable of providing meaningful and dignified work for all seekers. If only there was a jobs program as inclusive and extensive that did not operate on a premise of nationalistic dominance. If only there was a jobs program that was not oppressive and not racist, and did not have an essential basis in the killing of human beings.
Such a program is possible, it must be. Cutting the military budget and re-directing military spending to suit peaceful purposes need not result in unemployment for current military personnel.
Speak truth to power!
Dear White House,
A foreign policy of aggression does not honor our military service personnel. We must bring troops home. We must end this international belligerence! Stop bullying!
[memorial day peace vigil video]
For those of you who missed it, Congressman Kucinich visited Olympia this past President's Day, Monday the 21st of February. He attended a labor rally in the Legislative Building, and then he spoke at the Capitol Theater to benefit the Olympia chapters of FOR (Fellowship of Reconciliation, Olympia FOR) and VFP (Veterans for Peace VFP 109.) The Capitol Theater event is available for viewing on TCTV (Thurston Community Television) as well as on the Internet. Internet embeds are included here, with link to the blip pages. Also included below the fold are the scheduled airtimes on TCTV!
Bring the Billions Home! is the brainchild of Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation (WWFOR) organizers, and many FOR activists in the region are figuring out how to get involved in the campaign.For more information, and/or to get involved, please visit Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation!
There are children in Afghanistan who have lived with war, corruption, forced migration and death all around them since they were born. Some of them are now teens. Some of them as young as 9 years old. Many of the male adults in their lives are dead. Killed by the British, Soviets, Americans or their own warlords. They continue to ask, "Why?" No one answers.
And in our American smugness we gather to sing "Oh Holy Night", "Silent Night", and songs with similar words and themes. While we continue to bomb the hell out of innocent civilian populations around the world. But, hey, it's not in our backyard, right? So, let's just go buy the latest gadget and forget about drones killing people in the middle of the night. Let's just grab a cup of something hot & spicy while our military continues to try to figure out what the hell they are doing, day after day after year after year. Lets not fret that the children are not our children, after all they live in a god-forsaken corner of the world. Let someone else care. We're busy shopping.
"Peace on earth, goodwill toward men." Maybe you'll pardon me if I don't get all choked up with sentimentality. That could be a nice song if people were sincere when they sang it. But too often these days it is merely trying to drown out the news of Americans killing people and lying about it. (Don't give me that 'war' crap right now. Can't you see I'm trying to celebrate Christmas - the birth day of Jesus Christ?).
You want the number of the boys in Afghanistan, so you can call them and wish them a Merry Christmas? Better hurry. More soldiers, drones and tanks are on the way.