"Nonviolent Communities for a Nonviolent World" Justice for our Desert, October 6-8, 2023

"Nonviolent Communities for a Nonviolent World"

Justice for Our Desert Report

October 6-8, 2023

The weekend of October 6, 7 and 8, a small contingent of activists from Nevada, New York, Georgia, California and Iowa gathered in Nevada's Mojave to celebrate the desert and offer nonviolent resistance to the militarism that threatens it along with the rest of the planet.

Friday, October 6, performance at The Center in Las Vegas

JFOD Live Performances Flyer

Johnny Bobb of the Western Shoshone welcomed artists and audience with a prayer... Johnny Bobb speaking
Anne Symens-Bucher and Brian Tyrell on Zoom
Anne Symens-Bucher and Brian Terrell remembered Franciscan friar Louie Vitale, co-founder of Nevada Desert Experience with Anne and others over Zoom. Louie died on September 6 and his memorial service was held in San Francisco as we were commemorating him in Las Vegas.
Robert Majors on stage with guitar Along with our featured musician Aubrey Digital and spoken word artists Ms. Ayevee, Alicia Sincera and Jeus Solis, NDE's own Robert Majors returned to our stage!

Saturday Morning, October 7, Yoga in the Park, Visit to Terrible's Casino, Creech Air Force Base and Camping at the Goddess Temple

Yoga and Meditation group sitting on the grass in Craig Ranch Park in Las Vegas
Saturday morning, Mary Lou Anderson lead us in a session of Yoga and meditation in Craig Ranch Park in Las Vegas.

Karen Pettit showcasing the blank wall
AFTER & BEFORE (below) PHOTOS of a casino disarmed!

Terrible's casino and convenience store is located across Hwy 95 from Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, about halfway between Las Vegas and the Nevada test site. Its décor is apocalyptic, including defused bombs and missiles suspended by wires over the bar and gaming tables and, across from the rest rooms, a huge floor to ceiling projection of a full color video loop playing nonstop, 24-7, of the world's largest above ground nuclear explosions and almost large as life hellfire missiles launched from reaper drones.

For several years activists protesting nuclear weapons at the test site and drone assassinations from Creech have used Terrible's as a pit stop on our protests and have watched and commented on the show. Nevada Desert Experience is scrupulous about informing the authorities about our plans that concern them and after informing the officer in charge to the police station in Indian Springs, of our plans to protest at Creech AFB last Saturday, he replied: "I have spent some time looking over your website and speaking with stakeholders for the locations you intend to visit and I have also spoken with management at the Terrible's. Both the convenience store and the Casino. Both locations have stated they do not wish to have demonstration/protest-type gatherings at their locations and ask that you do not involve them/their locations, with your demonstrations." Sgt. Velasquez noted that Terrible's is "private property and they do have the right to ultimately trespass your event goers, but they are hoping to not have it get to that point."

I replied that as we have done in the past on the day in question "we will watch and discuss the video loop of atomic tests and drone strikes that is shown on the wall there and our only interaction with workers there was at the checkout counter when some of us bought cold drinks. We understand that Terrible's is a private business and have no intention to protest there-our protests will be directed to Creech across the road and to the Test Site up the highway. The purpose of such display in a space that is privately owned but open to the public seems to be to attract attention and provoke thought and discussion. Our intention is to be in and out and maybe buy something to drink before we go on to Creech. We will have no signs and will not disrupt business and there should not be cause to ask us to leave."
Brian Tyrell speaking in front of an atomic blast's mushroom cloud On Saturday when we arrived at Terrible's we met not with a show of lurid explosions protected by a phalanx of police as we may have expected, but a with blank white wall. I asked the cashier what's up with no atomic explosions by the restrooms and he was visibly shocked-the projector had never been turned off before! On Sunday, returning to Las Vegas from our protest at the test site, we stopped in for a toilet break at Terrible's and, 24 hours later, the obscenity had still not resumed. In a small way the world is a better place.

(This photo was taken at Terrible's a year ago, a video of that session can be seen on Facebook)
Main Gate at Creech is transformed by protestors with signs and flags
From Terrible's we went up Highway 95 to the old main gate of Creech Air Force Base, the center of the US drone remote control assassination program. We remembered that Creech was chosen as the location to train drone operators because the desert and the mountains around it resemble the terrain of the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We prayed for the drone victims in places far away and for those who suffer dire moral injury at Creech who watch the carnage in high-definition video.

Sunday, October 8, Sunrise at the Goddess Temple, Witness at the Test Site, Art in the Tunnels to Peace Camp

Early Sunday morning after a peaceful night's rest at the Temple of Goddess Spirituality in Cactus Springs, we saw the sunrise from our small fire circle.
Later Sunday morning we travelled further up the road to the nuclear test site, now the "Nevada National Security Site." Recent years have seen dramatic new construction at the NNSS and at similar sites in Russia and China.

Recently United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued a fresh appeal for key countries to ratify the international treaty that bans experiments for both peaceful and military purposes "This year, we face an alarming rise in global mistrust and division," Guterres said. "At a time in which nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons are stockpiled around the world  and countries are working to improve their accuracy, reach and destructive power  this is a recipe for annihilation."
Protestors with flags and signs at Nevada Nuclear Security Site gate
Painting the drainage tunnels From the NNSS, we walked to the drainage tunnels under the highway that lead to the historic Peace Camp, where many thousands of activists gathered to witness against nuclear testing. While the last U.S. below ground full-scale test took place there in 1992, the NNSS continues to conduct "subcritical" tests. The NNSS boasts that it can quickly resume full scale tests if so ordered.

The tunnels have long been a place where artist/activists have expressed their fears and hopes, a tradition NDE continues.
Justice for Our Desert 2023 mural in the drainage tunnels
In 2007, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office had determined that Peace Camp is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and that the graffiti scrawled on tunnels under the highway "possess high artistic values" deserving to be protected by law!

Download the Report in PDF