I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones
-Albert Einstein (contemplating nuclear devastation)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Resisting Empire on Jeju Island: Homily by Gilberto Perez

Editor's Note: We previously shared one of the Homilys given by Elizabeth Murray, a member of the Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation (aka: Jeju 10) to Jeju Island. These homilys were given at the Masses at the daily vigils at the entrance gate to the naval base in construction on Jeju Island. Here is another homily by Br. Gilberto Perez. Gilberto is a monk from the Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple. Gilberto traveled to Jeju previously with Fr. Bichsel.

Gilberto bowing to the Peace Center in construction in Gangjeong Village
(photo courtesy of Mira Leslie)
"Resisting Empire on Jeju Island"

My name is Gilberto Zamora Perez. I was born on a Caribbean Island similar in beauty to Jeju Island€”and raised in the slums of the American Empire.

To my brothers and sisters of Gangjeong Village and Jeju Island: I arrived at Gangjeong eight days ago, having always lived as a stranger in the strange American Empire. I have now come home to my family of peacemakers, and to love of Lord Jesus, in Gangjeoung Village.

The American Empire is a merchant of death selling weapons of murder to divide people and nations of color, truly the policemen of the world. It is the greatest military industrial complex of power and racism.

The American Empire claims to bring peace and security to Korea, yet only 60 years ago, 3 million Koreans sacrificed their lives, and still Korea is still divided into North and South. Starting on April 3, 1948, American lead military and South Korean forces murdered some 30,000 villagers of Jeju; this still burns in my heart. Yet what kind of peace and security is it when after 36 years of Japanese occupation, another empire raises its flag of domination and murder?

The Islands of the Caribbean have become a resort destination for the rich of the world. The original Island peoples are all gone, and African slave descendants cater to the rich foreigners. Beautiful Gangjeong Village and Jeju Island may become a play land for wealthy foreigners as well. Our mothers, daughters, and children will be disrespected and treated like trash.

Just observe what has happened in the Philippines, Guam, and Japan, which between them have 45 military bases!!! Since the U.S. military occupation began in Okinawa, Japan, there have been two rapes a month by US personnel and in one case, a 13 year old was raped by three marines...and many more who will not speak of horrors for fear of bringing shame to their families. And all the while, the generals and high officials of the U.S. military have great housing on the best beaches, and play golf.

It is the same destruction the Native Americans experienced, their most beautiful lands stolen. And they brought Africans slaves over, now with four hundreds years of suffering to slave over resources for the rich.

The empire and the Korean government say the navy base will bring peace, security and employment to Jeju Island. A big lie! All governments lie, and the corporate leaders and he rich will never go to jail!

In Gangjeong village as well as the United States, many have been imprisoned as peace makers, and continue to struggle for the poor, because we are not afraid of the empire's power and injustices. Gangjeong Village will be not be a slave, or be forced into serfdom for the empire.

Yet still many peoples of the the world are blind and stupid by materialism and fear of poverty. But not on Jeju. The peace makers of Gangjeong Village know of the Lord's Kingdom. It is alive with the presence of Lord Jesus.

A story from India: There once lived a little parrot in the forest. One night, the friction of strong winds caused bamboos to ignite into a great fire. All the animals in the forest were frightened and ran in confusion with great fear. The little parrot knew that his friends were in danger. The little parrot flew to the nearest pond and soaked his feathers and flew over the great fire with a few drops.

He did this over and over again, and his feathers were burned by the heat of the fire. A heavenly god noticed the little parrot and asked, "What can you do with a few drops of water on such a great fire?" The little parrot answered "These are my sisters and brothers of the forest and I
will do it again and again in this life and the next."

The heavenly god was impressed by the little parrot's courage and helped put out the fire.

May the grace of God be with Gangjeong Village. Thank you.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Homily at the gates of the Empire (Jeju Naval Base)

Editor's Note: During the daily vigils at the entrance gate to the naval base in construction on Jeju Island the people celebrate Mass. Elizabeth Murray, a member of the recent Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation to Jeju, was privileged to be invited to deliver a homily during one of these daily Masses, and we share it with you here.

With special thanks to Bishop Kang and all of the Korean priests and nuns who have demonstrated the best of the church as they translate their deep faith into action. 


My dear brothers and sisters of Gangjeong Village,

I am blessed and honored to have this opportunity to say a few words to you today. For the past week I have been inspired by the courage and conviction of your resistance in the face of a vicious Empire and military-industrial complex that respects no laws and will stop at nothing to satisfy its insatiable greed for power and resources.

Of special significance is the special role of the Catholic Church -- specifically your own Bishop Kang, Father Kim, and other Korean priests and nuns -- in confronting the construction of an illegal naval base which will serve the interests of the Empire, and not the interests of the people of South Korea or Jeju island.

These courageous men and women of faith have joined together with the people of Gangjeong village in carrying out Prayer in Action -- embodying the life that Jesus Christ lived -- who, by his example of speaking truth to power, has shown us the kind of life that we all ought to live.

Was not the life and message of Jesus Christ a direct challenge to Empire (in those days the Roman Empire) and those who collaborated with the Roman occupation? Isn't this the reason why the religious and civil authorities conspired to torture Jesus and sentence him to a painful death on the cross?

Had Jesus Christ simply gone along with and accepted the Empire and its well paid lackeys -- had he chosen to separate his vision of peace and justice from the prevailing politics of those times -- he could have easily led a comfortable life and died peacefully in his bed.

We could all easily do the same. All we would need to do is convince ourselves that Jesus did not really mean to say what he said; that he did not really mean to do what he did in challenging the authorities of the day and exposing the evils of Empire. We could all leave the entrance of this Naval Base right now, and go back to the comfort and safety of our homes and families.

But instead, we stand here together -- including a group of 10 Americans led by Father Bill Bichsel. We have traveled a great distance to be here in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in resistance -- risking arrest, injury and even possible deportation.

As Americans, we believe we have a special duty and obligation to be as one with the people of Gangjeong village in resistance to Empire. For there exists a great gap between our feelings of kindness, compassion, and caring toward your community, and the ruthless way in which American Empire is being experienced, directly and indirectly, by your village. We are here to confront the evil of Empire shoulder to shoulder with you, and to bear witness to the fact that the oppressive American Empire does not represent the will of its people.

Although many of us here profess the Catholic faith, there are also many who do not. Good people do not have to be of any particular religious denomination to stand against the violence of militarism, the destruction of capitalism, or the soullessness of materialism.

At the same time, it does seem appropriate that we Catholics and other Christians who claim to follow a courageous dissident activist (Jesus Christ) -- who was tortured to death for challenging an oppressive system -- have a special incentive to do all we can to confront evil and prevent others from being subjected to injustice and oppression.

May God grant us the peace, courage and strength to continue confronting evil in this world, and may we always love and care for one another - friend and enemy alike - as we struggle together in these troubled times. Amen.

Friday, November 21, 2014

"We shall overcome" (reflection from Mira Leslie)

Dear Friends,

I am home and feeling overwhelmed emotionally. Gratitude, outrage, solidarity, humanity, pain, sadness, celebration, beauty, resilience, change, military and corporate power, faith, truth......

I woke last night with Gang Jeong overflowing my head and heart. Physically one circle away-- connected by spirit. What resonates loudly is the powerful ritual, of art, music, dance, faith, the struggle of indigenous people to protect heritage, life and place.

A large chunk of sacred shoreline has been taken -- a tall white fence with barbed wire separates the naval base from the village and its people. On the west sea side there is a river estuary and a rock jetty. It is a beautiful spot- heron, egrets feeding in the river, gentle fresh water flowing into the sea, Tiger island arising from the sea close by..... a group of stored kayaks-- a peace fleet. The west side of the naval base dissects the scene. There are protest flags and paintings all along the river path from the sea...and an encampment supporting the struggle.

the fence and barbed wire 
Walking north along the riverside fenceline arrive at the bridge, the main road into town. It is another site of significance, heavily decorated with antibase flags and flowers. A few hundred feet up the road from the bridge is a shrine and large permanent peace tent, one side set up for Mass, all decorated with logs carved with prayers.. The other side of the road the base fenceline is adorned with illustrations, peace poetry , flags, murals up to the new main gate.

Six days a week mats are placed on half of the main gate road at 7am with activists and sisters bowing with peaceful intentions spoken over a loudspeaker "as I hold in my heart....I make my 1st, ..30th..88th.. 100th bow. Later, at 11am a full mass with communion and rosary is celebrated both in the tent with villagers and extended along the road over a loudspeaker to preist and activists in chairs blocking the gate- stopping construction trucks. Police interrupt every 10-15 minutes to remove and contain resisters to the side for 10 minutes of truck flow...  After mass is a human chain, and 3-4 dances in the street.

From the gate walk on a path decorated with murals and flags on the fence side depicting Gureombi rock, the imprisoned activists, and lined with several greenhouses. Arrive at the communal kitchen, the residence for sisters, and several living/storage containers abutting the north side of the fence. Resume walking along the continuously protested fenceline to the road.where the fence turns south toward the sea along the road to the marina. The unfenced side of the road has a large 24 hour peace encampment and campfire blocking the proposed naval housing construction.. The last of the fields on this eastern side of the naval base were still being bulldozed and fence erected during our visit.

Standing in front of flag of imprisoned activists
The walk ends just past the marina --a large crucifix where Father Moon was pushed off the rock by police at the end of a high cement dyke facing west toward the base--an evocative shrine.

Every centimeter of land that was taken is a passionate colorful tragic place of resistance -- a cry for peace...

Mira Leslie

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Jeju: Damaged Environment... Damaged Hearts (from Mira Leslie)

In less than 24 hours we will depart Gangjeong village. Jean left this morning. The goodbyes started yesterday. There is tremendous gratitude to us for coming here. In some ways I don't understand that-- hosting and feeding ten people for 10 days is a tremendous task. We have had 'special meal' almost everyday-- and the regular food at the communal kitchen is delicious -- but not too varied. Kim chee varieties, rice and soup- yum. We have been taken to tourist spots including the amazing Buddhist temple grounds and there have been several meetings with key leaders of the movement-- each imparting intense information.

The community of resistance receives support from visitors-- it helps them to have people doing 100 bows and blocking the gate during mass- Eucharistic resistance. The sister nuns are a steady presence - rotating through here from diocese throughout Korea. Foreign visitors are embraced warmly. The community is tired, but still very together (from an outsider perspective). For me, this time will be impossible to forget-- and I am sure I'll ruminate on it after leaving.

How can we to bring this back to our communities -- and honor all we have learned?

The town is decorated with natural images-- of peace. Peace Zone, dreamcatchers, sea creatures, Gureombi rock. WE learned yesterday at the stone museum and grounds "the very deep meaning of stone here'-- much of it volcanic. It is building material, fencing, tools, food prep, sinks, toys and games, water vessel, art, music....

Last night we sat at the peace center with the activists, priests, and a few townspeople. Father Bix and I described some of our peace work in the US and then they asked questions to all of us. They had 2-3 sentence bios of each of us that had been translated and printed. At one moment an activist said - everyone sees the damage done to the environment here- but no one can see the deep anger and damage in our hearts. She asked Sonya who works with trauma teams internationally for advice. You could see the reactions--- it wasn't expected- Korean people don't talk too much about their feelings.

November 19th gathering (photo courtesy of Emily Wang)
The village produces lillies for Japan, a sister told me as we walked to the gate today-- but many of the lilly greenhouses were destroyed when they started the base. There is still fishing-- but it is diminishing as the sea is being altered with destruction of the fragile soft coral reefs, damage from concrete, blasting, construction toxins/waste and later with ship pollution-- oil, fuel, human waste.

We were gifted t-shirts today by the international team. The image is of Jeju island with an open mouthed shark on one end -- the shark is in US stars and stripes with the Korean script word 'Imperialism'.

Mira Leslie

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jeju: Tuesday's Tourists (from Larry Kerschner)

A group of Jeju Island supporters including a vice-Mayor from Gangjeong held a press conference today in Seoul. They asked the ROK National Assembly to cut off the funding for the base on Jeju as part of their 2015 budget negotiations. Doing our bit as tourists, we drove along the west side of Jeju to the Jeju Stone Park. Another wonderful park and museum dedicated to the geology of Jeju. This evening we met with over 40 local activists to share stories and ideas for the future of resistance on Jeju.

Larry Kerschner

Rock sculpture from the wind and water at Jeju Stone Park

Monday, November 17, 2014

Jeju: Monday - High and Low (reflection from Larry Kerschner)

Villagers cheered this morning when they heard the results of the governors election in Okinawa. The newly elected governor of Okinawa has stated that he will veto any permit for a new US military base in Okinawa. There is a growing solidarity among nations of north east Asia concerning the opposition to US military bases.

Several of us were offered the opportunity to present the homily at mass today. This was my homily: Humbled are those who are able to read the truth aloud. Blessed are those who can hear the message of life and can take it into their hearts. The continuing struggle against the agents of death at Gangjeong is like a tangerine tree planted next to running water. It will yield its fruit in due time. Those who can remain patient and steadfast, despite the apparent strength of the opposition, will surely, in time, once again the sweet taste of community. A community in which a gentle non-violent spirit reigns in every house and in the hearts of all the people. (The lying, bribery and duplicity of the Navy has separated some in the village.)

Fr. Kim giving communion during Mass at the gate.
After meeting with the head of the village resistance committee I now have a better understanding of what has happened here. I mentioned before about the secret meetings and bribery that the Navy used to get an agreement to build the base here. I was wrong when I previously stated that the population of the village is 5000; when intact it's actually about 2000. The resistance here was so effective in the beginning that the national police actually sent 2000 police officers to occupy this village on Jeju Island. They intimidated the villagers on a daily basis and arrested many of the leaders. The police occupation lasted for several years. There were a number of national environmental laws that should have protected this area, however the Navy decided to ignore all of those laws. The Korean court system essentially told the people here that they would just have to live with it even though they recognized that these were some illegal actions on the part of the Navy. It appears that South Korea is no more of a nation under law than the United States is when it comes to issues between those in power and the people.

I mentioned earlier that the governor was going to try to get the Navy to move the Naval housing to someplace outside of the village. While we were eating dinner tonight a Korea news program came on in which it was announced that the Navy today refused the governor's request. The villagers are clearly getting tired of fighting the Navy so it will be interesting to see how they respond to this news.

Larry Kerschner

Editor's Note: Per Larry's reference to the election in Okinawa, here is yesterday's news on the subject from the BBC: US base opponent wins Okinawa governor poll

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jeju: "community of peace--fortress of resistance' (reflection from Mira Leslie)

This is a small village-- everywhere I walk there are people I know-- and I haven't been here a week yet. Lunch was delicious today-- and afterward I walked alone down to the port (marina). Women divers were sorting their catch for the day. This is a traditional way of fishing -- they do it without any breathing apparatus - holding their breath, diving down to collect shellfish and seaweed. The younger women don't want to start-- so it is mostly older women. Some of these women were bribed to support the base, so there is a division of in this micro community that is carried into the larger village. The marina is small. The naval base is on one side-- and there is massive obstruction by huge cement pilings making the waterfront mostly inaccessible to shore fishermen .... fish is a staple here.

There is a very good view of the naval base construction from there. Where Gureombi rock once lived and gave life, there is a massive sea wall making an artificial harbor, with a plethora of cement trucks, earthmovers and cranes. One crane in the middle of the harbor lifts a huge weight every 2 minutes or so and then drops it into the water making a bomb-like underwater sound and huge splash. Dredging.

On the way back I stopped and sat with several activists blocking the naval housing site. The site has a barrel fire outside , a bus and tent -- manned day and night with activists communing- talking, laughing, eating, organizing... There is no rush, and people interact with each other rather than their smartphones. Here, and at the peace center and peace café, babies pass from hand to hand, tangerines are piled high to snack on, dogs mingle. Many people have moved here to join the struggle-- --many, many ferociously powerful women.

This is a sacred place and community of peace-- a fortress of resistance. There is no way to describe the intensity of tragedy that is occurring in the environment here as a direct result of our uncontrolled power and greed.

Seeds of peace, solidarity, and love are deeply rooted in this community and throughout the world but the earth and its plants and animals cannot survive ongoing assault indefinitely. We must use every ounce of energy to change course.

Mira Leslie

Please sign the petition (at moveon.org) to Save Jeju Island.

Jeju: Quiet Sunday (reflection from Larry Kerschner)

Apparently the police are trying to save money so the large forces that are out during the week are not here on Sundays. We were able to block the gates into the base for about an hour and a half while mass and rosary was said. The workers were still working today and were not too pleased about us being there. They got quite loud and noisy trying to interrupt us. It was amusing that yesterday the security guards would have been helping the police move us out of the way and today they were protecting us from the workers who are trying to drive out of the base.

In the afternoon we had a long session with Bishop Kang who has been very supportive of attempts to block building the naval base on Jeju Island. We had a wide ranging discussion on many subjects. He said most of the other bishops in Korea have given him lipservice but there's very little actual support. He talked about the fact that the villagers here have shut down one gate to a part of the base that would have had housing for Navy personnel and their families. I hadn't realized that they were talking about 3000 people occupying this housing when the base is running at full. Clearly this would overwhelm a village of 5000 people. And you can imagine what would happen when a US aircraft carrier comes in and sends 5000 sailors on shore leave. The bishop said that the new governor of Jeju Island has said that he will try to have this housing built somewhere outside of the village but he is waiting for some actual indication that this may happen.

Larry Kerschner

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jeju Early Morning: 100 Bows for Peace (and an end to militarism)

The members of the Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation to Jeju Island, South Korea with members of the Jeju resistance community -- early Thursday Morning, November 13, 2014 in Gangjeong at the entrance gate to the construction site for the naval base. One hundred bows (for PEACE).

The man interviewed (in the 2nd half of the video) overlooking the construction site is Sasha Davis, a faculty member at University of Hawaii, Hilo who joined the delegation for the last couple of days. "Sasha's teaching and research focuses on the intersection of environmental and social issues as well as on the relationships between nature and society. Over the past decade his research has focused on environmental contamination, conservation, resource management and politics near American military installations in the Marshall Islands, Hawaiʻi, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. More recently he has also focused on environmental and social movements seeking to re-imagine global geopolitics, environmental sustainability and security" (quoted from the UH website).

Following the interview with Sasha another peace delegation participant, Jean Crawford, tells the Mordor story. Sonja initiates a conversation about the role of playfulness of the protesters. Thanks to Rodney Herold for producing this video!

Playfulness aside, the construction of the naval base on Jeju Island is part of the garrisoning of the globe that has been going on for decades and continues unabated. The United States has a military presence in more than 150 countries and has more than 1000 military bases spanning the earth. As Sasha says in the video, the US is looking to the base on Jeju to help control this strategic "choke point" is the insane quest to control China and its access to resources.

Wouldn't it be more intelligent to engage China economically, politically and diplomatically to build an enduring relationship rather than alienating a country that can be either an ally or a formidable foe? Other nations (such as Russia) seem to understand that military might is not the answer. Our global arrogance is stunning.

Of course one could make the observation that it is the South Korean government that is building the naval base on Jeju. And one can also see, by the evidence, that the port is being constructed to very specific standards to receive US surface ships and nuclear submarines. There is no doubt that the base on Jeju is about the US Pivot to Asia (or Asia Pacific Pivot as it is also called).

As a nation, we can either continue to support our way of life using our military as a BIG stick around the world, or we can ratchet it back, create a sustainable way of life, and engage other nations in diplomacy, cooperation and nonviolent conflict resolution. Of course, this will entail closing and re-purposing military bases; finding alternative and sustainable employment for members of the military as their jobs are phased out; and of course the pursuit of total, global nuclear disarmament. And lest we forget, the very corporations that reap huge rewards from building the weapons of war will need to shift to civilian production.

This will all require such a huge paradigm shift that one wonders if it is remotely possible. For the sake of the people of Jeju Island and people everywhere we can only hope (and work) for this good and noble goal. May it be so.

How You Can Help the Jeju Resistance

Join their Facebook groups: No Naval Base on Jeju and Save Jeju Island  to stay updated

Visit Jeju.

Write letters to Gangjeong's prisoners of conscience.

Organize a solidarity event (concert, sreening of The Ghosts of Jeju, protest, etc.) and share it on social media.

Find out more and read the ir monthly newsletter at savejejunow.org.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Jeju: Uprooting Trees - Uprooting Lives (reflection from Larry Kerschner)

Tangerine Harvest

Currently there is the tangerine harvest occurring on Jeju Island. Everywhere you look there are trees filled with sweet orange fruit. Much of the trees are in very large greenhouses. In the past few days the base contractors haven systematically tearing down greenhouses adjacent to the base. Some of the trees have already been cut. This destruction puts me in mind of the Israelis uprooting ancient olive groves in order to build their illegal settlements on Palestinian land. When I was in Korea in 2006 it was to witness the U.S. Military throwing rice farmers off their land in Pyongteck in order to triple the size of an American base. The same base had previously been doubled in size in 1953 by the U.S. Military throwing many rice farmers off their land at that time. Americans seem good at building death camps where life used to flourish.

"Three days ago this field was covered by greenhouses." (photo, Larry Kerschner)
It appears that the women of Jeju won't take lip from anyone. I have seen quite diminutive women getting right in the face of much larger police officers and scream about what had upset them. There is a nun currently serving five months for getting too uppity with the police. Jeju has traditionally had a matriarchal culture and it shows.

We spent some time with Sasha Davis who is a researcher studying the base opposition movements in many places around the world. He says the places where military bases have been defeated or significantly slowed there have been two occurrences. He says it requires a group of people who have been committed to stopping the base and have spent a lot of time talking with and educating the people. The other thing needed is some sort of tragic occurrence (such as the accidental bombing death of a worker on Vieques base in Puerto Rico) or significant change in the political climate. It turns out thar Gangjeong Village was actually the third site choice for the base. The local people in the other two villages which had much better harbors got organized and stopped the base before it got started. When it came to Gangjeong Village the government bribed some people and held a semi-secret meeting attended by only about 80 people of the 5000. who live here and the base was agreed to by a voice vote with no record of who actually voted. The base was started before most of the people here knew anything about it.

Larry Kerschner

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Jeju: A reflection from Larry Kerschner

Editor's Note: Here is a reflection from Larry Kerschner, a member of the Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation to Jeju (originally posted on November 13th as a comment on Facebook).


Once again I am displaced in time and place. The Jeju Island Naval base is a blight on the southern end of a beautiful island. This naval base is nominally South Korean but it is clear to anyone with any sense that this will in fact be part of the American empire military system. The people of Jeju island won't forget that somewhere between 30 and 70,000 people were killed here on Jeju island in 1948 by Korean troops under American command or directly by American troops. Their crime was wanting to have some say in their own future by having an election that would discuss the question of reunification of the south and the north. In the eyes of the Americans that made them communist and were thus liable for capital punishment. Yesterday we attended the April 3 massacre museum that documents the atrocities committed against the people of Jeju island. The United States still refuses to release all of the documentation of what happened here on this island just after the Second World War.

Jeju April 3rd Peace Memorial Hall
The sadness from looking at the various exhibits was palpable. This was part of the early occupation and domination of the South Korean people by the United States. The Chinese left Korea in 1958 in the United States still has 23,000 troops occupying South Korea. We start each morning with 100 bows meditation in front of the main gate of the base that's being built. Later in the day we take part in a Catholic mass/road block aid. We block the gates by sitting in chairs and the police allow us to sit there for a period of time and then they come and physically pick up the chairs with a sitting in them and move us out of the way so that trucks can come and go. This happens five or six times in a row and then the protesters proceed to dance and gyrate in the streets for quite a bit of time after receiving communion. Today for the first time and announcement was made in the English to the effect that foreigners who did not remove themselves from blocking the gate when told to do so by the police were subject to forcible deportation. However there was no apparent follow up that threat. Today we met with Mr. Yang Yeun Mol Who has spent a total of 400+ days in prison for demonstrating against the base. During his prison sentences he went on three fasts lasting 76, 35 and 45 days. He is a famous theater critic here in South Korea and has given up that livelihood in order to spend his whole life protesting against the naval base.

Larry Kerschner

Larry with Fr. Mun shortly after arriving on Jeju Island

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Video by Rodney Herold of the Pacific Northwest Peace Delegation's arrival and first day on Jeju Island.

Source URL for YouTube video: http://youtu.be/E-oap5I3Yr8

Jeju, Nov 12th Mass Interrupted by Police

Video from November 12th of Police interrupting the Catholic Mass and carrying away resisters, including the Puget Sound area peace pilgrims. (Note: video originally posted at No Naval Base on Jeju Facebook page)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Peace on Jeju: Day 1

Editor's Note: The Peace Delegation to Jeju Island from the Puget Sound region has arrived, and is immersed in the resistance to the naval base. Here is a reflection from Mira Leslie after the first day there.

Jeju is known for '3 manys'- women, wind, and stone  and '3 aren't anys'- no burglars, no beggars, no doors.

The daylight has turned to stars on our first day here. Our peace delegation   has had  breathtaking magnificent, moving experiences today-- 100 bows in front of the naval base construction site, communal Korean meals, tangerines galore, walks through the village, a meeting with Frontiers- a Korean based international peacemaking team,  celebrating mass while doing civil resistance, being carried in a chair  to the side of the road many times, singing and dancing in the street, a food market in the city... traditional Korean bean and rice dessert.

At the construction site entrance (photo by Eunmi, Hosu)
There seemed to be endless daylight yesterday as we flew west-- the hours passed and the day went on and on like a summer day in the north but without waning sun -- long beyond reason. Nine of us travelled together over the dateline,  glimpsing the Aluetians and Northeastern Siberia , by air,  foot, subway and bus,  arriving weary and intact late in the evening. We met Jean at the Jeju airport -- so now we are 10.   By 6:30am we were all at the Naval base gate doing 100 bows to prayers spoken and sung over a loudspeaker in Korean-- how could we keep from praying? 

Father Bix is in good form, despite extra long distance walking yesterday . The community here reacts to him very warmly as communities and individuals do everywhere .

Bix getting carried away... (photo by Eunmi, Hosu)
We   heard from Brother Song and Emily   about the group Frontiers working on solidarity among  Jeju, Taiwan and Okinawa  ; to reunite East and West Timorese families; and   to work in refuge camps in several countries to break the chain of violence, anger and revenge by showing a way of peace-- like the Christian peacemaker teams who they collaborate with. They have been core to the radical direct action here in Guangjong village where many have spent time in prison. To sustain the struggle they are  not  doing things that land them in prison as much right now. My admiration for their fortitude, creativity, and strength is massive. There is something powerful here that I have never imagined.  

 The work to stop the naval base from being built has been ongoing here since 2007. Today, there are several unfinished  two story concrete buildings visible behind a new large   entrance gate, the coral reef is destroyed, the sacred rock blasted away. The  village is adorned with yellow protest flags and beautiful murals promoting peace. At the intersection in the center of the village, a table  draped with flags and artwork is manned all day by Father Moon and other activists holding vigil. They have  successfully blockaded the construction entrance to  the new naval housing building site and from the  corner a couple of blocks away, they prevent construction trucks from getting close.  Meanwhile construction has  started on a new four story Peace Center..  a vision for the future.

Brother Gilberto bowing to the Peace Center under construction (photo, Mira Leslie)
I am the last one awake in our guest house of 6 women. Its difficult to digest so much in one day, and very hard for me to come down from the energy I get from being in a place like Korea for the first time. New smells, sights, language, faces,  experiences stimulate  me  and I crave, explore and savor every moment-- all my senses open and magnified .   Lights out...

Peace and gratitude,


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Video from the Jeju Peace Delegation's retreat at Jean's House

Videographer Rodney Herold is one of the nine accompanying Fr. Bill "Bix" Bichsel to Jeju Island, South Korea next week. Rodney's video below is from the pre-trip retreat last Friday at Jean's House of Prayer at the Tacoma Catholic Worker.  It puts faces to words and gives you an idea what these peace pilgrims are up to! We hope to see more video and hear stories from the delegation in the days to come.

Blessings of peace as ten of us from the North West
journey to Jeju Island in South Korea to join the resistance with the
villagers to a naval base that will service U.S. vessels of war. This
space swells the tide of endless war. We go to support our brothers
and sisters and to draw strength from this deep pool of Peace which
their faithful resistance has bought about.

We need your prayers and appreciate your support.

On the journey of Peace,

Bix & His Companions

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jeju Peace Delegation about to depart: Letter from Bix

Dear Friends,

Please read the following letter (also attached) from Fr. Bill Bichsel, who will be travelling with a peace delegation to Jeju Island in just a few days. The people of Jeju have engaged in a long and faithful struggle to stop construction of the naval base that threatens not only their Island of Peace, but peace and security for the region and beyond. The struggle for Jeju is part of a greater struggle for a nonviolent, just and sustainable world. May we all engage this struggle in our own communities as we are able.

In Peace,



Letter to Korean Pilgrims

A Peace Delegation of nine people and myself are traveling November 9th to the 20th to the So. Korean island of Jeju. There we will join in the resistance to the construction of a naval base that will service US vessels of war. The resistance comes from villagers of Jeju Island along with religious and lay-people from South Korea. They have been at this for seven years along with Bishop Peter Kang of the Jeju Diocese who has been an inspiration for the ongoing resistance. He has invited people of all faith traditions to join him in the non – violent opposition to the naval base. He initiated the celebration of the Eucharist on the road opposite to one of the entrance gates to the construction site.

Over ten years ago the Island was designated, by The United Nations, as an international Island of Peace. Now it is being converted from a place of Peace and healing to a base of violence and endless war. The people of Jeju and South Korea do not want this. They have suffered enough from war and occupation.

Jeju Island is 350 miles from China, the new enemy which the US war machine needs to continue fostering endless wars. The Jeju naval base will be another of the over 900 military bases around the globe to preserve U.S. domination of the world economy.

Last year Gilberto Perez, a Buddhist Monk, and myself travelled to Jeju Island to be in solidarity with the people doing resistance. The day to day faithful resistance, by the villagers and the Korean priests and nuns was the most inspiring sign of hope that we had ever experienced from a faith community.

Our peace delegation will support the daily blocking of the gates to the construction site. Besides that we will also join in the lively song and dance that brings joy and solidarity at the end of each day.

Our meals will be eaten each day in a communal kitchen. The delegation will be open to experience the hope and strength that communal resistance brings.

Our trip to Jeju Island is in keeping with our work with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action which focuses on the abolition of Nuclear weapons and the Trident Submarine. The base will be port for U.S. vessels with nuclear weapon capability. Besides the possibility of servicing Trident Submarines, the base will accommodate the Aegis Destroyer with its missile defense system.

Though the naval base may be completed, the faithful day by day resistance over the years has created a deep pool of grace from which people of peace can draw nourishment and strength to continue the work of peace and resistance to the works of war.

William “Bix” Bichsel, SJ
Tacoma Catholic Worker
Tacoma, Washington, USA

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Join the faithful resistance at the 2015 PLC!!!


The Pacific Life Community is a faith-based network of activists from the Pacific coast and other western states committed to active, nonviolent social change as we organize, demonstrate and pray for a nuclear-free future.

Nuclear weapons are immoral and illegal. We believe that these weapons threaten all life on the planet even if they are not used because their production, deployment, and testing contaminates everything in our world and steals monies from life giving priorities like clear air, housing, education, transportation.

The 2015 PLC retreat will focus on the Lockheed Martin plant in Sunnyvale, California. The Trident D-5 missile is produced there, one of the most threatening weapons of mass destruction ever built. Other weapons systems manufactured by Lockheed in Sunnyvale include parts for Apache helicopter gunships which are a major tool of repressive regimes worldwide. Some version of the Hellfire missile are also produced by Lockheed Sunnyvale. These are used on several “platforms” including Predator and Reaper drones, also terrorizing local communities from Somalia to Gaza to Pakistan.

The retreat begins Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 and will end on Monday evening after a morning DIRECT ACTION. Folks should arrive at Vallombrosa Retreat Center in Menlo Park by 3pm, Friday, Feb. 27, and be prepared to help support an action on Monday, March 2, that might not possibly end until 5pm (including the evaluation).

PLC 2009 at the Bangor Trident submarine base
The retreat will be at the Vallombrosa Retreat Center, 250 Oak Grove Ave. Menlo Park, CA 94025

Retreat costs in the Bay Area are extremely high. Local organizers are raising about $14,000 so that each participant will only be charged $100 for room and board for the weekend including speaker costs.

We need to know in advance how many will attend. Please register early. Registration is $100 (non-refundable). Even if you cannot attend, any contribution will be helpful and appreciated.

TO REGISTER or contribute


The address of the Catholic Worker in Redwood City is:
Redwood City Catholic Worker (att. Larry Purcell)
P.O. Box 513
545 Cassia St.
Redwood City, CA 94064

Please include your full name, address, phone, and email address with your check. Let us know if you need to be picked up at either San Jose, or San Francisco airport and the time of your arrival. They are both about 25 minutes from Menlo Park.

Indicate if you need a special diet.

If you are open to nonviolent civil disobedience on Monday, then you should contact Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ about nonviolence (stephenkellysj@yahoo.com, 510-499-891) or call Larry Purcell or Susan Crane about Lockheed-Sunnyvale at 650-366-4415. General inquiries about the gathering or the PLC may also be addressed to Steve or Larry. Updates about the gathering will be posted here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Reflection on recent workshop: "Nuclear Weapons: The Elephant in the Room"

Editor's Note: The following essay about the June 28th nuclear weapons workshop in Tacoma is reprinted from the Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation's Pacific Call newsletter. The author, Noreen Koga, reflected on her attendance at the day-long session at Tacoma First United Methodist Church. I plan to post summaries of the day's workshop breakout sessions soon.


Nuclear Weapons: The Elephant in the Room

by Noreen Koga

The drive to Tacoma was cool and clear that Saturday morning in late June 2014. Not knowing what to expect I was drawn immediately to the event announcement listed in the Fellowship newsletter. The mention of the word “nuclear” always catches my attention. With my Mother’s family from Yamaguchi Prefecture (next door to Hiroshima) and the mention of how my Mother’s cousin had perished that fateful morning on August 6, 1946, I’ve always felt a deep connection with anything “nuclear.” Remembering my Grandparents visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in 1974 and viewing the booklet from the museum displaying the human atrocities, I recalled feeling the shock and awe as I saw the photos. Although the book was all written in Japanese, the photos spoke for themselves. “Unfathomable and unbelievable” was all Grandma could say in her broken Japanese. She tells of how she cried at the sight of the images and how my teenage ears tried to understand all she had felt, living in America, as her nation of birth disintegrated into ashes.

As I entered the Tacoma chapel where the program convened, laminated black and white photos of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb victims hung on the walls, reminiscent of what I saw in Grandma’s museum booklet years ago. I knew at that point that I was meant to come to this workshop.

Dr. David Hall was first to speak. His involvement with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and the Physicians for Social Responsibility brought to mind Dr. Helen Caldicott’s work, which I greatly admire and respect. Dr. Hall spoke of the American Eagle as a symbol of our Nation and how it’s also used as a symbol for nuclear armament which is “beautiful yet capable of horrible things.” He compared the Hiroshima bomb, referred to as the “peanut bomb,” to today’s Trident missiles, which are 7 times greater and can strike anywhere in the world within 30 minutes. They are located at Bangor Naval Base in Kitsap County, which is about 12 miles away from Tacoma (20 miles from Seattle), thus virtually in our backyard. Dr. Hall stated that decision makers are “immune to mass death and destruction and it’s up to us as citizens to say no more.”

Dr. David Price was the next presenter. As a Cultural Anthropologist, he spoke about the growing pervasiveness of war and militarism as becoming the “new normal” of our American society. As Emile Durkheim had noted, “social facts become part of the background of a culture” and this is what seems to be happening with our American culture. He provided an overview of what some of his peers in the cultural anthropology field are doing in the areas of nuclear atomic energy and social activism. Among these were Hugh Gusterson, who spent time with the scientific community at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, and Joseph Masco, who focused on the Los Alamos Facility in New Mexico during and after the Manhattan Project and documented its effect on all involved. Dr. Price cited the work of Holly M. Barker who has chronicled the lives of the inhabitants of the Marshall Islands in their plight for nuclear advocacy. He also cited the work of Barbara Rose Johnston, who in her book Half Lives & Half Truths reviews the impact of the cold war nuclear culture and its aftermath and continuance. And he too stressed the importance of “breaking the silence.”

Diane Tilstra spoke about our immense military budget for 2015 that was passed in May and noted that 40 cents for every dollar goes into the military defense spending. She mentioned the significance of paying attention to Congress and to support the Washington State politicians who voted against the 2015 budget, Jim McDermott and Adam Smith. Ms. Tilstra stressed the importance of activism in her life and encouraged us to keep that voice going as well. She spoke of her experiences and concerns for the younger generations and their apathy towards the larger problems that they feel they did not create. She suggested that if you can bring the situation down to their level and understanding, then you will have their attention. An example of this is the topic of student loan forgiveness that many young people can relate to.

The day ended well with mini-group discussions and a wrap up. Everyone agreed that there are many ways to activism and every bit counts.

As the afternoon sun warmed the car, I drove back to Seattle with my eyes wide open. I felt a buzz in my head along with a continual hum of “12 miles to Bangor.” There are lots to do in our present time, for this is just the beginning.

This essay was originally published in the September 2014 WWFOR Pacific Call newsletter. Source URL: http://www.wwfor.org/the-pacific-call/nuclear-weapons-the-elephant-in-the-room/

Saturday, August 23, 2014

(Photographic) Memories of Our Dear Friend Lynne Greenwald

Dear Friends,

Here is a brief slideshow celebrating Lynne Greenwald's past few years from the Disarm Now Plowshares onward. It is set to music that was meaningful to Lynne (with thanks to Lynne's family for suggesting the songs).

With thanks for a life lived fully and beautifully,


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lynne Greenwald - Presente!

UPDATE: Please see the Local Events Calendar for information on Saturday's Celebration of Lynne's Life at Ground Zero Center.

Dear Friends,

Our dear fellow nuclear weapons resister, and member of Disarm Now Plowshares, Lynne Greenwald died yesterday. Lynne was very recently diagnosed with cancer. She was surrounded in the loving embrace of family and close friends throughout this time of transition.

Lynne's life is a beautiful testament to the power of servant leadership. Mother, grandmother, social worker, activist and so much more, Lynne was out in the world taking care of those in need and resisting violence and the scourge of nuclear weapons with all of her spiritual and physical strength.

People will be coming together this weekend at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and say Never Again! Lynne's presence will run deep like a river throughout the weekend. Her life is the lesson...

Here is Lynne interviewed in 2012 by Mike McCormick, speaking about her life in resistance.

Lynne has joined the Cloud of Witnesses.

Lynne Greenwald - Presente!

Links to additional videos:

Click here for Lynne speaking in 2010 about why she participated in the Disarm Now Plowshares action.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Dear Friends,

Last Saturday activists from around Puget Sound came together for a day-long workshop on nuclear weapons.

The workshop theme, NUCLEAR WEAPONS: THE ELEPHANT IN OUR ROOM, was an appropriate theme in as much as we continue to live under the constant threat of nuclear holocaust. There is minimal dialogue and debate surrounding the topic even as our government continues to modernize the nation's nuclear weapons complex, weapons and weapons systems.

When will this madness stop??? Only when enough pressure is brought to bear by a groundswell of citizen-based action.

Saturday's workshop was intended to plant seeds that hopefully will one day bear fruit to help bring about an end to nuclear weapons.

The day began with presentations by three speakers who presented diverse and compelling perspectives.

David Hall, MD presented the essential case against nuclear weapons. A member of Physicians for Social Responsibility (as well as Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action), Hall understands that there is no meaningful medical response to nuclear war; essentially there is no cure, only prevention. Focusing on the Trident nuclear weapons system that exists in the heart of Puget Sound, he stated that the "Trident system is probably the most effective mass murder tool ever devised."

Hall reminded us that policy makers are used to making decisions that result in the slaughter of vast numbers of people (millions), and therefore it requires a citizen-led movement to abolish these horrific weapons. We must "change the mindset that we inherited from a century of extreme mass slaughter."

David Price, PhD is a cultural anthropologist with a deep understanding of the significance and impact of militarism on our lives. Honoring the theme of the day, he got us focused on "thinking about the cultural invisibility of nuclear madness." Price helped us better understand how we are socialized in such a way that we don't even notice the vast reach of militarism into nearly every facet of our lives. He shared some of the work of other anthropologists whose work delves into militarism and nuclear weapons.

Hugh Gusterson, author of "Nuclear Rites"; Joseph Masco, author of "The Nuclear Borderlands"; Holly Barker, who has done extensive field work in the Marshall Islands; and Barbara Rose Johnston, author of "Half Lives & Half Truths" and "Life and Death Matters." As Price explained, the anthropologist's role is one of story telling, and the stories these anthropologists are tell are compelling.

Price reminded us that we need to "focus on the costs of militarization on the worlds we work in", and that we also need to break the silence. "Resistance is not futile." History is full of social movements, and we can (and must) question budget priorities. "Continuing the current rate of military spending is unsustainable."

From his anthropological perspective Price stated that by nature we [as human beings] are neither violent or non-violent; that we have the potential to be one or the other."

Diane Tilstra is a Community Action Advisor at the Center for the Study of Community & Society, UW Tacoma. Tilstra brought a unique perspective to the topic of the American dream with her topic, "Military Spending and the American Dream." Reiterating the previous speakers focus on the unsustainability of military spending, she reminded us of the recent 325-98 vote in the House of Representatives to pass the 600.7 billion FY2015 budget request for military spending.

To restore the dream we must cut war spending, reduce the Pentagon budget by $1 trillion over the next decade, and underwrite a domestic Marshall Plan using the savings. Again, Tilstra echoed the fact that only "we the people" can make this happen; without pressure lawmakers will continue writing blank checks for war (and nuclear weapons).

She also focused on the need to engage young people in these issues. The issues that are affecting young people - student loan costs, cost of living/housing, and jobs - are directly and indirectly affected by military spending.

Following the speaker's presentations we broke out into small working groups to discuss topics for further action - Actions (general), outreach to faith communities, news and publicity, educational needs, planning for upcoming interfaith service at Bangor, and personal response to the speakers presentations.

When we came back together someone from each group summarized that group's results and action items. I will be summarizing those in a future post on this blog.

At the end of the session I summarized progress on the NO To NEW TRIDENT campaign and the need for everyone to get engaged in this important effort.

A short while before we ended three members of the 15 Now Tacoma campaign joined us; they were at the church for a planning meeting. We finished the day hearing from them and learned about the campaign. It was energizing to hear from them, understand their focus and feel their passion for their work.

May we all be so energized in our work.

Thanks to the speakers, thanks to the Micah Project of Tacoma First United Methodist Church, thanks to Fr. Bichsel and all the workshop planners, and thanks to all who participated.

May this be a building block toward a nuclear weapons-free future!

In Peace,


End Notes: Fr. Bichsel is planning an interfaith service at the Bangor Trident base. Originally scheduled for July 26th, it is in the process of being rescheduled to a later date. We will post that information on the Local Events Calendar as soon as we have it.

P.S. - Speaking of ACTION, One of the workshop attendees, Brother Fred Mercy, SJ, just organized a petition at MoveOn.org to release Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli & Greg Boertie-Obed from prison for their acts of Civil Resistance. You can click here to learn more and sign the petition.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


A Workshop on nuclear weapons

Nuclear Weapons are in our backyard…
 What have they done to us and where are they leading us?

Come and consider this peril with us.

When: Saturday, June 28, 2014, 9:00AM to 4:00PM
Where: Tacoma First United Methodist Church, 621 Tacoma Avenue
The event is free and includes a light lunch
Free will offering

Nuclear weapons have been called the taproot of violence in our world. Their continued existence of expropriates precious resources for destruction rather than for sustaining life. What has their continued presence done to us as human beings? How does the nuclear Sword of Damocles hanging over us affect our well-being as individuals and as a society?

Nuclear weapons are truly the elephant (or herd of elephants) in the room; we ignore them at humanity’s peril. We, as human beings and citizens, can and must do something.

Join us on June 28th for a day-long workshop on the presence of nuclear weapons among us, and what we can do to bring about their abolition.

David Hall,MD—psychiatrist, member of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, and former president of Physicians for Social Responsibility
David Price, PhD—cultural anthropologist and professor of anthropology 
and sociology at St. Martin’s University
Diane Tilstra—Community Action Advisor, Study of Community and Society

The workshop will lead off the Summer of study, prayer and action working toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. Events will include one or more days of further reflection in July, and an interfaith service at the Bangor Trident nuclear ballistic missile submarine base. 

Co-hosted by the Micah Project of Tacoma First United Methodist Church, Pax Christi Tahoma, and Tacoma Catholic Worker

Endorsed by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent action – Tacoma Dominicans - Tacoma Jesuit Volunteers – Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility – Veterans for Peace, Tacoma Chapter – Jewish Voice for Peace - Tacoma Wages … 15 now – Kerry Watrin, MD – Tacoma Peace Prize – Peter Karlin, MD – Anna Colombini, ND -- Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (Tacoma)

Click here to download the event flier.


9:00 am Coffee and rolls and Sign In

9:20 am Welcome: Bill Bichsel of Catholic Worker – what the day is about
Tom Karlin of Pax Christi
Matt Pattera of First United Methodist Church
Prayer: Sr. Mary Pat Murphy, OP
Song: James Morgan

9:45 am Presentation: Dr. David Hall, MD - psychiatrist, member of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, and former National Chairperson of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
A penetrating view of nuclear weapons and what they are capable of doing. Questions to follow.

10:30 am Presentation: David Price, PhD - cultural anthropologist and professor of anthropology and sociology at St. Martin’s University
The militarization of our culture and what it has done to us. Questions to follow.

11:30 am Lunch (Share lunch with people you don’t know.)

12:30 pm Presentation: Diane Tilstra - Action Advisor to the Study Group of Community and Society.
Questions to follow.

1:30 pm Leonard Eiger, facilitator for breaking into small, designated groups.
Groups with facilitators:
 Actions to take (Mark Bubenik)
 Outreach to other churches (George Rodkey)
 News and publicity (Leonard Eiger)
 Need for education (Patricia Hoppa)
 Interfaith Service at Bangor July 26 (Bix)
 Overall Personal Responses (James Brecht and Tom Karlin)

2:20 pm Break

2:30 pm Reporting back from each interest group

3:00 pm Panel of 3 speakers will give thoughts and responses to reporting back.
Leonard Eiger will make the connections between responses and upcoming actions.

3:45 pm Closing prayer and song.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Join Ground Zero for a Tea Party at Bangor this Saturday!!!

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (GZ) is expanding its annual Mothers Day weekend activities in an effort to wake others up to the real meaning of Mothers’ Day.

We invite you to join us on Saturday, May 10th, as we recapture the original intention of Mother’s Day (for Peace) and continue our work in resistance to Trident and towards the abolition of all nuclear weapons. We also invite you to share our creative Mother’s Day leaflet with people all around Puget Sound the week before the Mother’s Day weekend to raise awareness and invite people to join us.

The leaflet contains excerpts from Julia Ward Howe’s famous Mothers’ Day Proclamation and an invitation to a special Mothers’ Day tea party at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Silverdale, Washington the day before Mother’s Day. Information on (and a link to) the leaflet is at the end of this announcement.

On Saturday, May 10th, people will gather at the Bangor gate at tables with table cloths, cups, saucers, tea, and cookies. The gathering will involve a reading of Julia Ward Howe Mothers’ day Proclamation and much more.

The Seattle Raging Grannies will incite the gathering to (nonviolent) action with their wonderful and catchy tunes around noon!

8:30 AM – Coffee and tea will be available for early arrivals

9:00AM – The day begins, and will include an orientation to Bangor and Trident, nonviolence training, entertainment, and preparation for the festivities at the gate.

Please bring an item to share for potluck lunch. We also invite you to bring cookies or cupcakes to share at the event at the gate–we anticipate offering to drivers and guards, as well as others.

The fun at the Bangor gate will take place after lunch, and we will be back at the center to end the day by 4:30 PM.

We invite everyone to distribute our Mother’s Day leaflet over the course of the week before our event to make people aware of the original intention of Mother’s Day and to invite them to our Mother’s Day weekend event. You can download the leaflet by clicking here.

The leaflet (see example below) is a PDF document, with two leaflets per page. Printing suggestion: Print a test page first to be sure it lays out properly when you cut the sheet in half. When printing in Adobe Reader we printed “Actual Size”, and the document fit the page perfectly when cut in two.

You can print them, cut them in half, and voila, you’re ready to hand them out wherever you wish – at work, at the bookstore, coffee shop, bus, ferry, or just about anywhere you can think of. You can even tack them up wherever you find a bulletin board.

Click here to download the leaflet for printing.

If you have questions about our Mother’s Day event or the leafleting you can send an email to either gznonviolencenews@gmail.com or info@gzcenter.org.

Click here for directions to Ground Zero Center.

Please Note: If you are concerned about the risk of arrest, please rest assured that only those who choose to risk arrest by engaging in direct action on the roadway either blocking the entrance gate or crossing the line onto the base are at risk for being arrested. Our events are always of a nonviolent nature and assisted by trained Ground Zero Peacekeepers who help ensure a peaceful vigil and the safety of all participants.

Bring your nonviolent spirit and join us for a great day of nonviolent resistance to Trident!

This year's GZ Mother's Day leaflet

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter Sunday Eucharist at the Bangor Trident Base

Dear Friends,

Approximately 20 people gathered at the Main Gate of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on Easter Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. It was a most appropriate place for a celebration of The Resurrection as the Bangor Trident base represents the largest operational concentration of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal, a horrific concentration of the dark forces of empire that threaten humanity with extinction. 

The Eucharist was led by Fr. Bill "Bix" Bichsel of the Tacoma Catholic Worker, and the attendees, mostly from Tacoma, including some Jesuit Volunteers. 

The Navy personnel at the gate were respectful and "friendly" according to one participant; they greeted the participants upon arrival and engaged in conversation afterwards.

Reflecting on the Easter Eucharist, Bix said that he felt it was was "very prayerful and meaningful," and that it also felt like the participants were "reaching across the [blue] line [which indicates the transition onto Federal property] with the power of the resurrection."

Here are a few photos from the gathering (Thanks to Mira Leslie for sharing them).

Bix & Rodney Herold at Ground Zero Center

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Transform Now Plowshares: A Trumpet Call to All of Us

by Bill "Bix" Bichsel, SJ

On July 28, 2012, Sr. Megan Rice, shcj, 84yrs, Michael Walli, 64yrs, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59yrs hiked a ridge and cut through four fences to reach the new U.S. storehouse for Highly Enriched Uranium, which is needed for the production of thermonuclear weapons. These weapons, used to threaten other nations, are in violation of the U.S. Principles of Nuremberg (U.S. Law), in which citizens are directed to resist illegal acts by their government. The refurbishing of the weapons is in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in which the U.S. pledges complete nuclear disarmament.

(l to r): Michael, Megan and Greg (artwork by The Washington Post)
They name their lawful act of resistance: Transform Now Plowshares Action, following Isaiah’s injunction, “They shall hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” With faith in following the non-violent Jesus, they poured their blood, painted words of justice and hammered on the walls of the HEU Building.

They were convicted of sabotage (threatening the security of the U.S.) and depredation of government property and were sent directly into jail as terrorists to await sentencing (which took place ten months later). They were charged with $52,000 of damage- mostly to the fences. One of the attendees of the trial drew a parallel, “Would anyone let fences surrounding Auschwitz stand? Much less should we let fences guarding nuclear weapons stand.”

Sr. Megan Rice was given 35 months imprisonment, both Michael and Greg were given 62 months. Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa, editors of the “Nuclear Resister” stated: “As the Hibakusha (survivors of the terror from Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings)”; so do Megan, Michael and Greg offer their lives to prevent similar massacre.

Ralph Hutchinson, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, stated: “Though their bodies are in prison, their voices are free reminding us that the central issue of this action and trial have not been resolved- as long as the government continues to produce thermal nuclear weapons of mass-destruction in Oak Ridge or anywhere, people are required to resist.”

Lynne Greenwald of the ‘Disarm Now Plowshares Action’ (DNPA) at Bangor in 2009 reminds us that the day of this sentencing is the same day, Feb 18th, as the sentencing to death (by guillotine) of Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and six other members of the White Rose Resistance to Nazi Germany’s fascism in 1943 and also the day in 1985 when Lynne and six activists carrying white roses sat on the tracks leading into the Bangor Naval Base blocking the white train carrying nuclear weapons into the base.

Sr. Megan Rice who has spent her life living among and teaching the urban poor of our country and Western Africa, while also resisting U.S. militarism for the last 25 years, when questioned by Judge Thapars: “Do you have any regrets?”, responded: “Only for not starting 70 years earlier.”

Greg Boertje-Obed has been most faithful in his quiet powerful witness against all weapons through many selfless actions of resistance. He has been separated from his wife and daughter for ten years.

Michael Walli is a Vietnam Vet who received a bronze star. After the service his life changed to caring for the homeless and marginalized people in a number of our cities. At the sentencing he asked Judge Thapar to look at his face and see the face of the future~ the many who will follow in resistance.

Fr. Steve Kelly, sj, another member DNPA (Nov-2009) said that the judge’s sentence gave great help to the U.S. in its efforts to categorize peace activists and whistle blowers as terrorists. The guilty verdict is meant to instill fear in the citizens. In contrast to this, Jesus says to Megan, Michael, and Greg: “Be Not Afraid.”

Fr. Bill Bichsel, sj, also of DNPA says that the possibility of redress of grievances, from any of our branches of government, is blocked. The heroic action and subsequent sentencing of the three is a trumpet call to all of us.


Bix lives and works at the Tacoma Catholic Worker

Saturday, February 1, 2014

John Dear speaking on "The Nonviolent Life" in Seattle on March 16th


NOTE: Click here to see the video from John Dear's talk in Seattle.  It was a wonderful evening!!!

A Talk and Book-Signing with Activist, Author and 
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Fr. John Dear 

7:00 PM, Sunday, March 16, 2014 

University Temple United Methodist Church 

(Free Parking in University of Washington Bookstore Lot across the street from the church)

"How can we become people of nonviolence and help the world become more nonviolent? What does it mean to be a person of active nonviolence? How can we help build a global grassroots movement of nonviolence to disarm the world, relieve unjust human suffering, make a more just society and protect creation and all creatures? What is a nonviolent life?"

These are the questions John Dear--Nobel Peace Prize nominee, author and long time peace activist--poses in his new book, The Nonviolent Life. John Dear suggests that the life of nonviolence requires three simultaneous attributes: being nonviolent toward ourselves; being nonviolent to all people, all creatures, and all creation; and joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence. Come hear John discuss his vision of nonviolence, and meet him and get a signed copy of the book.

John Dear is an internationally known voice for peace and nonviolence. He is a popular speaker, peacemaker, organizer, lecturer, retreat leader, and the author/editor of 30 books. He has organized and participated in nonviolent campaigns for over three decades; been arrested some 75 times in acts of civil disobedience against war and injustice; and spent nearly a year of his life in jail for peace. Recently, John was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He works with www.paceebene.org, and writes for the National Catholic Reporter at www.ncronline.org. For further information, see www.fatherjohndear.org.

“John Dear has walked where holy words lead: to a high mountain of instruction, into the desert of forty days, into the garden of anguish. He has poured his blood on nuclear weaponry and has paid up in kangaroo courts and unspeakable jails. He has trekked about the world bearing the gospel in hand and heart, a wing-shod messenger of peace. He has lived in solidarity with the wretched of the earth--whose plight, as he well knows, is the mean feat of abominable economics and killer instincts on rampage. In this century, in this land, cleft in fragments of gigantic disorder, what a witness!”--Daniel Berrigan, author of To Dwell In Peace, The Dark Night of Resistance, Isaiah, and No Bars to Manhood

“Some teachers are all theory and some are all practice. John Dear has earned ability to be both. Some teachers are very orthodox and some open new ground. John Dear puts the two together knowing they are the same.”--Richard Rohr, author of Falling Upward

“John Dear has been arrested in the cause of peace and human decency more times than anyone else I know. I am honored to consider him a friend.”--Joan Baez, folksinger and author of And a Voice to Sing With

“To take care of each other should be our primary concern in this twenty-first century, and John Dear is steady on this course.”--Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist leader and bestselling author of Peace Is Every Step

“How John Dear arrived at such an enviable level of moral and physical courage—reflected in numerous acts of civil disobedience, carried out with disarming nonviolence and joy, and often met with harsh consequences—is simply astonishing. Even more astonishing is that his life’s commitment to peace and justice appears instinctive, springing from an unfathomable source. Surely it is a reflection of John’s deep spirituality.”--Martin Sheen, actor and activist

Free will offering

Co-Sponsors (list in development):
  • Church Council of Greater Seattle 
  • Fellowship of Reconciliation, Seattle Chapter 
  • Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action  
  • Our Lady of the Lake Justice & Peace Committee 
  • University Temple United Methodist Church ·
  • Wedgwood Justice & Peace Coalition
For more information about the evening, contact Lorraine Hartmann: 206-367-1518; lorrainehartmann@comcast.net. Learn more about John at his website, fatherjohndear.org.