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.

 

The Drums are Calling

This will be a long day for the Peace Walkers – 17 miles.  They will be on country roads around Olympia.  I was only able to join this year’s Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear Free World on the first day.  On Saturday, Lee, another walker from last year, and I drove to Salem to participate in the start of this annual 2 week walk.

Riverfront Park, by the Globe…those were the instructions. Where were the walkers?  And then I saw them. The distinctive canvas painted sign that is carried at the front of the column of walkers.  Senji in his saffron robe, fairly glowing in the sunshine of a day that was already heating up.  And then I finally heard it…the familiar cadence of the drumbeat.

Peace Walk 2014 Photo by: Lee DeVeau

I have been flooded by memories from a year ago, with special intensity for the walk to the gates of Hanford. That long, eerie march in Richland, along George Washington Way.  The neighborhoods drop away as it becomes an industrial park of one nuclear related business after another.  And then the landscape changes to parched desert and you reach those foreboding signs at the gates to this deadly dump for the nuclear industry.

Theodore VanKirk died on Monday at the age of 93.  He was the navigator on the Enola Gay.  The headline referred to him as “last survivor of Enola Gay atomic bombing.”  My thoughts have always focused on those who were on the ground when that incinerating blast hit.  That team of 3 didn’t know if the shockwaves would rip them apart.

Although VanKirk believed the bombing was necessary to end the war, he also came to realize that “wars don’t settle anything. And atomic weapons don’t settle anything…there shouldn’t be any atomic bombs in the world.”

I agree.  Let’s keep beating the drums to spread the message…atomic weapons don’t settle anything.

 

What’s for Breakfast?

Janet Weil, who works on the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign (and others) for CODEPINK, posted an excellent piece regarding out of control Pentagon/federal spending.

Read it here.

What's For Breakfast photo

More Say on Tax Day

What would you rather pay for with your taxes? On Tax Day in Eugene, Oregon WAND and members of the community had their say at a rally focusing on redistributing tax dollars to “Fight Climate Change Not War.”

What would you rather pay for? Let us know!