"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I just received news of the sentencing of Lynne Greenwald, a friend and fellow member of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, in Federal District Court on November 24th. Lynne was in court for crossing the blue line (in an act of nonviolent resistance) onto the U.S. Naval submarine base that is home to the West Coast Trident nuclear submarine fleet and one of the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons in the world. Lynne's nonviolent act was one of resistance to the illegal actions of the U.S. Government in continuing to operate the first strike weapons system known as Trident.

Hidden behind the chain link and barbed wire of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor is an unimaginable destructive force. Each Trident nuclear powered submarine carries 24 Trident D5 missiles, and each missile carries 8 nuclear warheads with an explosive force of from 100 to 455 kilotons. For comparison, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 15 kilotons. Just think; each of these submarines could unleash its entire missile payload in minutes, destroying an entire continent within a half hours time - all in a day's work of course. These are weapons of almost unimaginable destructive force, and beyond their immediate destructive force are the long term effects of deadly radiation; the survivors of any nuclear war would surely envy the dead.
The prosecutor at Lynne's trial made a comment that caught the attention of someone observing who wrote it down. Said the prosecutor, "The government hopes you will explore other avenues to express your discontent with foreign policy." Well, that one caught my attention too. One has to wonder what kind of foreign policy it is when a nation threatens other nations (and in reality, the entire world) with incineration at a moment's notice? What kind of nation squanders its treasure on the ability to render the world essentially uninhabitable with deadly radioactive substances.

We (yes, we the people are complicit) prosecute an endless War On Terror throughout the world even as we build a larger and larger fortress to protect ourselves. And yet, everyday we unleash terror on innocents in nations like Iraq and Afghanistan. And then we prepare for the ultimate terror act of all, the unleashing of nuclear weapons that would render the Holocaust of World War II mere child's play. Could there be a truth more terrifying than that which exists behind the chain link and barbed wire and running silent and deep beneath the seas?

So tell me about truth and why a women of sound mind (or anyone for that matter) should be prosecuted for resisting (in a completely nonviolent way) the actions of a government that are not only illegal, but so morally reprehensible. Lynne, along with five others, crossed the blue line on Mother's Day 2008 because knowing the truth about Trident compelled her to act. Here are the words Lynne spoke at the end of her Court Statement before sentencing.

Knowing what I know about Trident, I was compelled to act to do what I could to stop the threats and possible reality of using nuclear weapons. As a citizen, I must act to prevent the U.S. Government's criminal activities that threaten the lives of all children, and all of creation. For 38 years I've worked as a nurse and a social worker and have experienced the suffering of our sisters and brothers in this country. We live in a society where 1 in every 10 individuals are living below the poverty level, and this country continues to prioritize war and destruction over health care, education, housing and food for all.We can live without war and nuclear weapons - this nation can do so much better. And we all must do what we can, to create a peaceful world for all children.

I think that seems eminently reasonable, don't you? What better way to celebrate Mother's Day?



Notes: The top photo is of Lynne being escorted back from the base after being processed by Naval security. The bottom photo is of all six Federal arrestees after their release. Check out the YouTube video of the Mothers Day vigil.

No comments:

Post a Comment