Friday, April 24, 2015

Interrconnecting Peace Traditions: Blue Vigil in Solidarity with Okinawa on April 25 after Peace & Planet Event • Relaunch of The Golden Rule, a Quaker sailboat that protested US nuclear test bombing of the Marshall Islands in 1958

Blue Vigil in Solidarity with Okinawa in NYC on the coldest day of 2015.

Via our good friends, Blue Vigil in Solidarity with Okinawa in NYC:
With Reverend Kamoshita who has been praying in Henoko and Takae, we will have our monthly peace vigil for Okinawa! Please come and join after the Peace and Planet event.
The Okinawa vigil is part of supporting events  for the Peace and Planet Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World gathering in the NY this weekend, April 24-26. The focus of the gathering at Cooper Union in Lower Manhattan is to discuss how to encourage their governments more effectively for nuclear disarmament. Okinawan peace activists and global hibakusha (nuclear bomb and nuclear test bomb survivors) from Japan, Korea, Australia, and the Marshall Islands will participate.

Jun-san Yasuda and Peace Walkers. 
They walked from San Francisco to NYC for the Peace and Planet event. 

The Peace and Planet event precedes the ninth Nuclear Non Proliferation Review Conference which meets at the UN every 5 years. More than180 nations ratified the NPT 40 years ago, including the US, Russia, France, Great Britain and China, all nuclear states.  Article 6 of the treaty called for nuclear states to begin good faith negotiations toward the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately the nuclear states of Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan have refused to the NPT.

While NPT member nuclear states have made some progress in reducing the number nuclear warheads, they [notably President Obama, as demonstrated in his 2009 Prague speech] have strengthened their commitment to "nuclear deterrence" as the cornerstone of their respective foreign policy platforms, and have turned their focus to developing a "new generation" of  "smarter" and more powerful nuclear bombs. Moreover, despite overwhelming evidence of causation of birth defects and cancers, the US government has increased the testing and use of radioactive depleted uranium weapons worldwide.

This Nuclear-Free Movement is now a 70-year old global peace tradition. For decades, downwinder survivors of nuclear test bombing began joining Japanese survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, global atomic soldiers, indigenous peoples whose lands are used for uranium mining,  nuclear test bombing, and nuclear waste storage, together in dialogue and psychological healing.  They have witnessed together at the Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Nevada nuclear bomb test site, the former USSR nuclear bomb test site at Kazakhstan, the Marshall Islands.  Although the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons started as a one-issue campaign, the movement is increasingly integrating at the global level with overlapping peace, environmentalist, indigenous, women's, and faith-based movements.

Albert Bigelow; Bert Bigelow; architect, former Navy commander, and Quaker, 
who sailed the ketch Golden Rule into the U.S. nuclear bomb test site
 in the Marshall Islands in 1958. This act of civil disobedience resulted 
in the arrest of Bigelow and his shipmates and their imprisonment in Honolulu. 

This year, at Peace and Planet, Ann Wright, a supporter of the Okinawa Movement, will tell the story of The Golden Rule, a crew of 4 Quakers in a 38-foot sailboat who attempted to sail from Hawaii to stop U.S. nuclear test bombing of the Marshall Islands in 1958. The U.S. Coast Guard jailed the crew twice to stop them. The Golden Rule inspired the formation of Greenpeace International, a longtime NGO supporter of Okinawa, which used boats to attempt to stop nuclear test bombing in the Pacific.

The Golden Rule was renovated by chapters of Veterans for Peace, another NGO supporter of Okinawa, in northern California. She will be launched on April 22, 2015 in Humboldt Bay, CA and sailed down the coast of California to arrive in early August in San Diego for the national Veterans for Peace conference.

Global Hibakusha will lead a workshop at the NY event at Cooper Union Great Hall on April 25. Participants include Japan Council Against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo): Japanese Hibakusha; Shim Jin Tae (Korean A-bomb survivor); Peter Watts (aboriginal nuclear test victim, Australia); Abacca Anjain-Maddison (Marshall Islands); Manny Pino (Acoma-Laguna Coalition for a Safe Environment). Their testimonies reveal and illuminate the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.  The over 2,000  nuclear test  bombings worldwide have devastated indigenous peoples and their ancestral homelands in the American Southwest, the Asia-Pacific,  Xinjiang,  China,  and Kazakhstan.  This personal level of understanding  is now recognized and discussed in the mainstream debate on nuclear weapons.

The late Western Shoshone leader Corbin Harney
praying at the Nevada Test Site on January 1, 2007.
The nuclear bomb test site was located on sacred indigenous grounds. 

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