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 of opening event for Nagasaki
Exhibit at Atomic Testing Museum, to honor hibakusha
and also ALL the
radiation victims who are overlooked in the museum's
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
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
Amy Schultz welcomes everybody (1)
Peter Ediger reads a perverted version of Psalm
46, in which the
bomb is God (1)
Br. David Buer, OFM annoints the group with the
water of life (1)
Fr. Jerry Zawada prepares the communion for our
As sheriffs watch in the distance, participants
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
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
Janet Gordon (center), founder of Citizens Call
and downwinder from St.
George, Utah, shares her story of the human consequences
Kim Hughes from Tokyo looks at our literature and
new t-shirts (2)
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 (2)
61 years and one day after the bombing of Hiroshima
and dawn of
nuclear age, the US is in danger of repeating history
Focus on new Test Site manager NSTec, a consortium
Northrop Grumman (2)
Wednesday, August 9
Nonviolent action at Bechtel offices in San Francisco,
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
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
support indigenous rights! (2)
People chalked on Bechtel's building as six others
were arrested for trespass (2)