The Ground Zero Newsletter July 2016 edition is at the printer, and you can read it here right now. Our editor has put out another great issue full of information on what we’ve been doing and what is yet to come. Click here to read it cover to cover!
The Golden Rule, under the command of Ground Zero Center’s Cap’n Tom (Jolly) Rogers, is making its way to Puget Sound where it will be making many stops this summer. This historic peace boat is once again sailing as an emissary for peace and nuclear disarmament.
You will be able to meet the crew, tour the boat, and even take a sail at some locations. One of the first stops here in Washington will be in Poulsbo.
Tuesday June 28, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00pm
Kitsap Regional Library, Poulsbo Branch, 700 NE Lincoln Rd, Poulsbo, WA 98370
Meet the crew, hear from Cap’n Tom, and enjoy music by folksingers Hank and Claire.
Click here to see the Golden Rule’s full schedule of stops around the Pacific Northwest the summer.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Glen Milner, of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, wrote this Op/Ed to provide a broader perspective on President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima than the one found in most of the corporate press. Beyond apologies (and empty rhetoric), humanity needs real, concrete actions toward a nuclear weapons-free world! Thanks to Crosscut.com for publishing Glen’s Op/Ed, originally published yesterday, May 26, 2016.
Obama’s Hiroshima visit has a unique Northwest link
by Glen Milner
When President Obama announced Friday’s visit to Hiroshima, local media outlets provided a one-size-fits-all script: “Japanese welcome Obama visit to Hiroshima, apology or not.” Our regional history and our concerns, however, are ignored.
Peace activists in the Pacific Northwest have unique connections with the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and victims of the atomic bomb. Even in the immediate postwar years, Seattle Quaker Floyd Schmoe believed that building new homes for victims was more important than an apology. Schmoe, Daisy Tibbs Dawson and others from the Northwest founded the “Houses for Hiroshima” project and built 21 homes between 1949 and 1953.
In 2012, the last remaining house was dedicated “Schmoe House” as a branch of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Since 1984, the annual “Hiroshima to Hope” lantern floating ceremony at Green Lake has honored the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 6, 1990 (the 45th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima), another Floyd Schmoe project, the Seattle Peace Park was dedicated. The Peace Park is home of the Sadako and the Thousand Cranes sculpture by Seattle artist Daryl Smith.
Since the 1970s, Northwest peace organizations such as Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility have worked to raise the public awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war.
In 1980, Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist monks announced plans to build the first Peace Pagoda in the U.S. on property owned by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action adjacent to the Bangor submarine base. An arson fire ended the project in 1982, but Buddhist monks have recently renewed efforts to build the Peace Pagoda near the site of the original project.
There is another and darker side to our connection. The plutonium made for the atomic bomb used on Nagasaki was made at Hanford. And the largest concentration of nuclear weapons in the United States is deployed at the Trident submarine base in Hood Canal.
Many in the U.S. are indifferent to the threat of nuclear weapons or believe that the danger of nuclear war was somehow resolved with the end of the Cold War. Yet our nation spends more each year on nuclear weapons programs than during the height of the Cold War.
There is a Northwest connection to the question of whether an apology would be appropriate. In 2009, a Jesuit priest from Tacoma, the Rev. Bill Bichsel, went to Hiroshima and Nagasaki on what he called a “Journey of Repentance.” Then, Father Bichsel did apologize. “The apology is necessary in order to begin to repent for the sins of war,” he said. “What we have done not only has inflicted tremendous damage on the Japanese, it also has done tremendous damage on the (American) people when we don’t remember what we have done.”
In Hiroshima, President Obama will likely be genuinely moved. But an apology for dropping the bomb makes no sense while our nation is feverishly working to make newer and more dangerous nuclear weapons. There is also the issue of war — which, in the end, is always total in its destruction.
For all the ceremony around Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, we are witnessing a world leader who is helpless to create a meaningful and lasting peace and fully aware of the consequences. Obama’s journey does serve to remind us of the past and of the necessity to focus on a very different future.
Original source URL: http://crosscut.com/2016/05/obama-hiroshima-visit-seattle-northwest-peace-groups/
Editor’s Note: The following essay was written by David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. It was originally published on March 12, 1998. This version was revised on August 21, 2015. Ground Zero Center used it for a leaflet that is to be distributed next week when GZ members leaflet at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base. Click here to see the finished leaflet.
Sunflowers are a simple miracle. They grow from a seed. They rise from the earth. They are natural. They are bright and beautiful. They bring a smile to one’s face. They produce seeds that are nutritious, and from these seeds oil is produced. Native Americans once used parts of the sunflower plant to treat rattlesnake bites, and sunflower meal to make bread. Sunflowers were even used near Chernobyl to extract radionuclides cesium 137 and strontium 90 from contaminated ponds following the catastrophic nuclear reactor accident there.
Now sunflowers carry new meaning. They have become the symbol of a world free of nuclear weapons. This came about after an extraordinary celebration of Ukraine achieving the status of a nuclear free state. On June 1, 1996, Ukraine transferred to Russia for dismantlement the last of the 1,900 nuclear warheads it had inherited from the former Soviet Union. Celebrating the occasion a few days later, the Defense Ministers of Ukraine, Russia, and the United States met at a former nuclear missile base in the Ukraine that once housed 80 SS-19 missiles aimed at the United States.
The three Defense Ministers planted sunflowers and scattered sunflower seeds. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said, “With the completion of our task, Ukraine has demonstrated its support of a nuclear weapons free world.” He called on other nations to follow in Ukraine’s path and “to do everything to wipe nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth as soon as possible.” U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry said, “Sunflowers instead of missiles in the soil would ensure peace for future generations.”
This dramatic sunflower ceremony at Pervomaisk military base showed the world the possibility of a nation giving up nuclear weapons as a means of achieving security. It is an important example, featuring the sunflower as a symbol of hope. The comparison between sunflowers and nuclear missiles is stark—sunflowers representing life, growth, beauty and nature, and nuclear armed missiles representing death and destruction on a massive, unspeakable scale. Sunflowers represent light instead of darkness, transparency instead of secrecy, security instead of threat, and joy instead of fear.
The Defense Ministers were not the first to use sunflowers. In the 1980s a group of brave and committed resisters known as “The Missouri Peace Planters” entered onto nuclear silos in Missouri and planted sunflowers as a symbol of nuclear disarmament. On August 15, 1988, fourteen peace activists simultaneously entered ten of Missouri’s 150 nuclear missile silos, and planted sunflowers. They issued a statement that said, “We reclaim this land for ourselves, the beasts of the land upon which we depend, and our children. We interpose our bodies, if just for a moment, between these weapons and their intended victims.”
Which shall we choose for our Earth? Shall we choose life or shall we choose death? Shall we choose sunflowers, or shall we choose nuclear armed missiles? All but a small number of nations would choose life. But the handful of nations that choose to base their security on these weapons of omnicide threaten us all with massive uncontrollable slaughter.
In the aftermath of the Cold War, many people believe that the nuclear threat has ended, but this is not the case. In fact, there are still more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the arsenals of the nine nuclear-armed countries. These countries have given their solemn promise in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which entered into force in 1970, to negotiate in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament, but they have not acted in good faith. It is likely that until the people of the world demand the total elimination of nuclear weapons, the nuclear weapons states will find ways to retain their special status as nuclear “haves.” Only one power on Earth is greater than the power of nuclear weapons, and that is the power of the People once engaged.Watch Cyberbully (2015) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download