"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 11, 2009

Disarm Now Plowshares - What It Was Really About


On November 2, 2009, the Feast of All Souls, a group of five people entered the Bangor nuclear submarine base in Kitsap County, Washington to engage in a plowshares action they called “Disarm Now Plowshares.” They reached the nuclear weapons storage bunkers before being arrested by Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC) security personnel. Before being arrested they were able to unfurl a banner that read, "DISARM NOW PLOWSHARES; TRIDENT- Illegal, Immoral", pour vials of their own blood on the roadway (shedding their blood so that others may live), and bang on the roadway with hammers (a symbolic act of beating swords into plowshares).

These were deeply spiritual people engaging in a religious act based on the Biblical prophet Isaiah who said that one day the people "shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall no lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore."  The Plowshares movement began in 1980 when eight people entered the General Electric Nuclear Missile Re-entry Division in King of Prussia, PA where nose cones for the Mark 12A warheads were made.  The Plowshares Eight hammered on nose cones, poured blood on documents and offered prayers for peace before they were arrested.  Nearly thirty years later, one of the original Plowshares Eight, 83 year old Sr. Anne Montgomery, was also one of the Disarm Now Plowshares Five.  Sister Anne rocks!!!

These long-time peace activists understand that nuclear weapons are illegal under international law; but more importantly for them, they believe that they are an abomination in the eyes of a loving, peaceful God, and they are driven by a deep, abiding faith to bear witness to the immorality of these omnicidal weapons. Their plowshares action was intended not to demonstrate that they could sneak into a high security nuclear weapons storage facility, but to symbolically disarm the many nuclear weapons stored there, and to let the world know that these weapons lay out of sight in their bunkers, waiting to be deployed on missiles, and incinerate millions of people if used.

While politicians and the Pentagon continue to speak of the need for a nuclear deterrent, these five people were willing to risk everything to bear witness to the insanity of such thinking. The longer we embrace our nuclear weapons, the greater the chance that they will one day be used. They are, in a very real sense, the ultimate expression of violence. Perhaps Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best when he described our choice in the nuclear age: "The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence."



No comments:

Post a Comment