Women’s March in Eugene

Were you there?

More than 7,000 people gathered for the Women’s March in Eugene in front of the Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse on January 21, to raise our voices and be seen by the nation and the world. The mood was enthusiastic, supportive, determined, and not even the rain could dampen the fervor of the huge crowd that gathered there.

We strained to listen to a variety of speakers but the sound system proved inadequate for the overwhelming size of the crowd. We had come to march — march in the tradition of the suffragettes, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam and Iraq war protests. Of course, being Eugene, we were led by the invigorating drums of Samba Ja.

After the sorrow and shock of the election results, and following the harsh, icy weather of December and early January, this was the antidote. Like every march around the world on that day, it lifted our spirits and galvanized us to action. Now the work to protect our rights and safety in the era of the new Trump administration continues, and the energy has not and will not subside.

Were you there? That will be the question people ask for years to come.
 

Bike Around the Bomb 2016

To commemorate the 71st anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to bring attention to the critical need to eliminate the nuclear arsenal that continues to threaten life on earth as we know it, Global Zero Eugene and groups from around the world participated in the Bike Around the Bomb event on August 6th.

Bike Around Bomb 2016 Eugene

The riders wove through Eugene around a 13-mile radius representing the area of destruction caused by the blast in Hiroshima. The image below shows what such a radius around Eugene looks like. Click on the map to see a larger image and descriptions of the levels of destruction for each ring.

Bomb blast radius if it fell in Eugene

 

Nuclear weapons pose a serious and deadly threat to humanity. It’s time to end the madness.

 

Levelheaded Enough to Hold the Nuclear Codes?

Presidential races in this country often pose the question, “Who is responsible and levelheaded enough to hold the nuclear codes?” On a recent Morning Joe segment, Joe Scarborough claimed that “several months ago, a foreign policy expert went to advise Donald Trump and three times he [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons.” Apparently Trump wondered why we couldn’t use nuclear weapons since we have them.

How does one answer that question? These are the ultimate weapons of mass destruction.  The world’s arsenal has the capacity to destroy the planet multiple times over. The lasting contamination from just one bomb brings deadly aftermath to those who survive the initial blast, and mutates generations of life to come.

In this age of biting social media insults is the concept of mutual assured destruction too nuanced?

Ask the Hibakusha. Ask the Marshall Islanders. Ask the Atomic Veterans. Ask the Downwinders.

The real question is: Why do we still have nuclear weapons at all?

 

Bike Around the Bomb

Why on earth would someone want to bike around the bomb? Wouldn’t that be depressing? And dangerous?

Actually our nuclear industry is the dangerous event and it has been operating for over 70 years. Bravo to Global Zero for raising awareness with the younger set. The gray haired activists, hibakusha, downwinders and Marshallese were beginning to feel as if we would all die off before we could eliminate nukes.

There is value in creating a way to experience the scope of absolute destruction that would occur in YOUR city if a relatively small nuclear warhead were to be dropped on it. Bike Around the Bomb held its fifth annual event on the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. Eugene hosted one of 26 events in five countries – its first annual.

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How does an event that occurred 70 years ago in Japan relate to Eugene? Let me count the ways:

  1. The plutonium that was used in the Nagasaki bomb was created in the Pacific Northwest at Hanford Nuclear Site on the banks of the Columbia in Washington.
  2. Eugene, much like Nagasaki, is surrounded by mountains. The mountains of Nagasaki limited the total area of destruction causing the force to bounce back on the city.
  3. Eugene, much like Nagasaki, has rivers running through it. Those who survived the initial blast and were able, dragged themselves to the river trying to cool the horrific burns.
  4. Eugene, and most all cities, has churches, schools, markets, playgrounds, businesses, homes and many, many people. Just like Nagasaki.
  5. Eugene has a mayor who is a member of Mayors for Peace, just like Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the organization was founded on the belief that cities should not be targets.

It is time to retire the world’s arsenal of more than 17,000 nuclear warheads. Seventy years is long enough to hold the world hostage to nuclear threat.

I’d Rather Pay For . . .

Tax Day protestors held signs in front of the Eugene Downtown Post Office on April 15 – tax day. From climate change and health care to education and homelessness, activists from throughout the area called on the government to redirect tax dollars away from the bloated military budget to issues that impact the well-being of humans and the environment.

Eugene Tax Day Protest image

A central part of this event includes the presentation of checks by war tax resisters to local agencies in lieu of sending it to the government for defense spending. Imagine what this country might look like if all of us could designate where we wanted our tax dollars to go? Things might just even out to everyone’s benefit.

The Nuclear Madness Continues

GZ Center Abolish Nuclear Weapons image “The U.S. empire claims to be dressed in “unassailable” righteousness. We think the empire has no clothes.” In their recent Register Guard Guest Viewpoint, David Hall, Susan Cundiff, and Michael Carrigan discuss the continuing madness associated with the U.S. actions regarding nuclear weapons.

Hall and his wife Rev. Anne Hall of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Washington state will be in Eugene this weekend (April 11 & 12, 2015)  to share their experiences and actions over the past 30 years resisting nuclear weapons development. The event is free. The inspiration, priceless.

Torture Feeds Islamic State’s Narrative

In a recently published piece in the Eugene Register Guard, Dr. Ajit Maan posed thes question:

Ajit Maan“What if torture elicited bad intelligence? Can anyone reasonably doubt that it did? And what if bad intelligence was deemed actionable? What actions, policy decisions or strategies were put into place based upon bad intelligence, and what are the effects? How do we know we are not seeing those results now, and how will we know when we experience the results in the future?”

 

According to Dr. Maan, who is the author of Counter-Terrorism: Narrative Strategies, narratives influence how power works and, more importantly, who it works for. Read her entire article here.