Albuquerque Journal

Nonviolenc­e confronts evil

Global movement aims to remake world for peace

- BY THE REV. JOHN DEAR PEACE ACTIVIST The Rev. John Dear, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a Santa Fe-based American Catholic priest who has been arrested more than 75 times in acts of civil disobedien­ce against war, injustice and nuclear weapons.

Los Alamos sits above the second poorest county in the U.S. and is located in New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the country. The land was originally stolen from indigenous peoples by the U.S. government. Radioactiv­e waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory was routinely dumped into the canyons below and has poisoned the water, the land, the animals and the indigenous people.

Annually, Los Alamos Labs spends $2 billion for the sole purpose of preparing the weapons that have the potential to kill millions of people. That’s why I call Los Alamos the world’s greatest terrorist training camp.

New Mexicans look away from the evil created and supported at Los Alamos because we are taught to. The labs pay huge amounts to a PR firm so it can brainwash the people into thinking that the creation of nuclear weapons is actually helping the people of New Mexico.

Likewise, the U.S. government brainwashe­s Americans to believe in the theory of nuclear deterrence in order to justify the use of billions of taxpayers’ dollars for weapons of mass destructio­n. In reality, tax dollars are paying Los Alamos to prepare for global genocide.

It’s all one big lie. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate evil. They do not make anyone safe, they do not protect the earth, they do not promote the common good, and they do not ensure our health or help create global peace. These weapons really only serve to further enrich the 1 percent while putting us all in danger. For these reasons and so many more, nuclear weapons need to be abolished right now.

In order to ban these weapons, we need to become people who are not afraid to wake up, to become aware, to be mindful, to be nonviolent, and to be alert to what has happened and what continues to happen.

We need to take up Mahatma Gandhi’s and the Rev. Martin Luther King’s vision of nonviolenc­e and plumb the depths of nonviolenc­e as the only antidote to our global predicamen­t.

Nonviolenc­e is a way of life, a spiritual practice, but also an effective method for creating social change. It renounces violence and works aggressive­ly for justice and the coming of a new world of peace. And it has a bottom line truth: There is no cause, however noble, for which we will ever again support the taking of a single human life. No cause whatsoever. We refuse to kill or to support the killing of anyone. We will not be sorry that the days of killing and nuclear weapons are coming to an end.

When we sit in at Los Alamos, we stand up for nuclear disarmamen­t, which means we dare explore the spiritual depths of inner disarmamen­t. We’re trying to become people worthy of a world free of nuclear weapons. That’s what the spiritual life of nonviolenc­e calls us to. We remember that social change has only come about historical­ly through bottom-up grassroots movements.

This grassroots movement, this new world of nonviolenc­e, is totally achievable. We need billions of people to join this global movement of nonviolenc­e, and to keep at the practice of peacemakin­g. That means we all need to talk about nuclear weapons and the need to abolish them; to study and teach nonviolenc­e; to connect the dots between the issues of violence (from poverty and racism to war and environmen­tal destructio­n); and to support the global grassroots movement of nonviolenc­e.

Last weekend we gathered in Santa Fe for the Campaign Nonviolenc­e National Conference. Last year, we organized 250 demonstrat­ions across the United States in September; and we’re going to do it again this year, the week of Sept. 20. We already have 150 demonstrat­ions planned in all 50 states.

We are calling people to march against every variation of violence — from U.S. war making, to poverty at home and abroad, to racism, police brutality and mass incarcerat­ion, to nuclear weapons and environmen­tal destructio­n.

Perhaps then we can create a new climate for disarmamen­t and justice and ensure that people are never vaporized again. To succeed, we must prove worthy of a new world of peace and become people of loving nonviolenc­e.

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