NDE Logo Nevada Desert Experience  
Home Issues Programs & Events Get Involved History of NDE Newsletters About NDE


- August Desert Witness 2006 -
- Vision Statement -

Each one of us is a child of satyagraha, a tiny seedling of truth-force filled with the capacity to learn, transform, and rejoice. We are called into the service of that abundant beauty present within our need for healing, reconciliation, and peace. We are called to renew our witness to justice at the Test Site and all places and to inspire and empower all relationships within our work, as we remember the genocide of our sisters and brothers in Nagasaki and Hiroshima 60 years ago. Our voice calls out, during this Year of Remembrance and Action, for the immediate ending of nuclear testing at any level and the disarmament and abolition of all nuclear weapons. Our days of dialogue and witness together mark a rebirth, a regeneration of the peoples’ movement in solidarity with the oneness of all living things.

- August 2006 Program -

NDE's August Desert Witness commemorates the 61st
Anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Japan.

People of all religious and spiritual traditions (or none) were invited to gather near the gates of the Nevada nuclear Test Site. Surrounded by the beautiful desert land in the cool of the morning, we prayed together on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima for an end to nuclear weapons development and other war preparations. The ceremony was facilitated by Fr. Jerry Zawada, OFM. Fr. Zawada had been recently released from his 6-month term in federal prison for resisting the teaching of torture and war-making at the School of the Americas (WHINSEC). Afterward, participants took nonviolent action in crossing the line at the Test Site gates and were arrested.

Fr. Louis Vitale, OFM was scheduled to attend but was invited to Amman, Jordan to meet with Iraqi Diplomats to discuss their peace proposal following a nearly month-long fast in front of the White House. You can read more about the fast here and the peace delegation here.

Media coverage included several TV channels, Japanese media, two filmmakers, and a mention the Las Vegas Review Journal in John L. Smith's column (free registration required).

Saturday, August 5
Atomic Test Museum
Las Vegas, Nevada

At the Atomic Testing Museum we listened with awe and grief to the tragic but courageous testimony of hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor) Kazuo Maruta from Nagasaki. We also met Sue Carpenter, who is a hibakusha living in San Diego who wanted to come to our events but was unable due to a health emergency, and heard her outpouring of pain. After the event we stood outside with a series of signs to remind people that in order to fold a meaningful peace crane and build true peace, we have to honor ALL radiation victims, including victims of testing who are largely ignored by the museum's main exhibit.

NDE members vigil outside the Atomic Testing Museum
NDE members vigil outside of opening event for Nagasaki Peace
Exhibit at Atomic Testing Museum, to honor hibakusha and also ALL the
radiation victims who are overlooked in the museum's permanent
exhibit. (1)

Museum Bill Johnson greets NDE members.
Museum director Bill Johnson came out to greet us. (2)

Sunday, August 6

7:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Gates of the Nevada Test Site Mercury exit off of Hwy 95
60 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada

In our Test Site liturgy we explored the contrast between the way of peace and the way of violence - contrasting Psalm 46 with a perverted version of the psalm written by Peter Ediger, in which we declare that the Bomb is god, and in the Bomb we have our refuge. This spirituality of nuclearism is part of a long history of blasphemy which we explored at the line using a Litany of Creation (from Genesis) compared to a more historical Litany of Destruction. Twenty people renewed their commitment to disarmament by crossing the line.

Gathered in the beautiful desert under our father sky
Gathered in the beautiful desert under our father sky (1)

Amy Schultz welcomes everybody
Amy Schultz welcomes everybody (1)

Peter Ediger reads a perverted version of Psalm 46, in which the
Peter Ediger reads a perverted version of Psalm 46, in which the
bomb is God (1)

Br. David Buer, OFM
Br. David Buer, OFM annoints the group with the water of life (1)

Fr. Jerry Zawada
Fr. Jerry Zawada prepares the communion for our morning
service (1)

As sheriffs watch in the distance, participants pray. (1)
Read 140,000 Seconds, a poem read during the liturgy.

Sr. Megan Rice, SHCJ and Patricia lead the group in song on our
procession to the gates (1)

Line crossers and co-resisters recite to each other
Line crossers and co-resisters recite to each other a litany of
creation and destruction at the line (1)

After the litany, co-resisters cross the line, are arrested, detained, cited for trespass and released.

Sunday, August 6
4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
At our teach-in we were able to hear intimate introductions from each person present, all of whom were so happy to be gathered together. We also got special presentations from Tony Guzman (recently of Citizen Alert), who spoke on Yucca Mtn; Vanessa Pierce (HEAL Utah), who spoke on Divine Strake; and Janet Gordon (a downwinder from St. George and founder of Citizen's Call), who shared her heartbreaking story - effectively combining facts about nuclear waste with testimony on its human consequences.

Tony Guzman (center, recently of Citizen Alert) and Vanessa Pierce of HEAL
Utah update the group on Yucca Mountain and Divine Strake(1)

Janet Gordon (center), founder of Citizens Call and downwinder from St.
George, Utah, shares her story of the human consequences of nuclear
testing (1)

Kim Hughes from Tokyo looks at our literature and new t-shirts (2)

Everyone enjoyed a meal together.
Everyone enjoys a meal together (2)

Monday, August 7
7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
Nonviolent action at the Nevada Test Site Contractor's North Las Vegas Office.

Morning vigil at DOE Nevada Site Operations office in Las Vegas
Morning vigil at DOE Nevada Site Operations office in Las Vegas (2)

61 years and one day after the bombing of Hiroshima and dawn of
61 years and one day after the bombing of Hiroshima and dawn of
nuclear age, the US is in danger of repeating history (2)

Focus on new Test Site manager NSTec, a consortium
Focus on new Test Site manager NSTec, a consortium that includes
Northrop Grumman (2)

Wednesday, August 9
Nonviolent action at Bechtel offices in San Francisco, California.
NDE co-sponsored this action.

On Wednesday, August 9th, NDE Focalizer Chelsea Collogne attended the "Stop Bechtel" protest in San Francisco to commemorate Nagasaki Day and the UN's Day for the World's Indigenous Peoples. 200 people gathered for a spirited "bringing together of the issues" and opposition to war profiteering. Chelsea spoke about current Nevada Test Site and Shoshone issues, and shared a message from Corbin Harney, spiritual elder of the Western Shoshone. Visit the August6.org website for more details.

Marching from UN Plaza to 50 Beale St. to protest Bechtel (2)

NDE Focalizer, Chelsea Collonge, spoke about Bechtel's management of the Nevada Test Site and the Western Shoshone's struggle for human and land rights (3)

Starhawk, Morningstar Gali and Patricia St. Onge. From Hiroshima to
Yucca Mtn to Middle East: No nukes, No wars, No war profiteering,
support indigenous rights! (2)

People chalked on Bechtel's building as six others were arrested for trespass (2)

Download flyer (68kb PDF)

Photo Credits
(1) Mariah Klusmire   (2) Chelsea Collonge   (3) Mingsan Lai



Top of Page


| home | issues | programs & events | get involved | history | NDE literature | about us |

©2007 Nevada Desert Experience