Resisting DU at the US Consulate
Scores of people gathered for a vigil and demonstration in support of four U.S. anti-war activists currently facing 26 years in jail took place Tuesday, February 29, at 10 am at the U.S. Consulate (360 University Ave.). Among the featured participants in the vigil and religious service of solidarity were Rosalie Bertell and Ursula Franklin. The service was conducted by Rev. Brian Burch of the Community of St. Thomas.
The four U.S. activists&endash;Father Philip Berrigan (at age 76 a multiple Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has spent 9 of the past 30 years behind bars for nonviolent anti-nuclear actions), Steve Kelly, SJ, Susan Crane and Elizabeth Walz&endash;disarmed two A-10 Warthog fighter jets a week before Christmas, 1999, and have been held on $75,000 bail ever since. The Warthogs are responsible for dumping most of the depleted-uranium-coated munitions over Iraq and the former Yugoslavia.
"By dropping radioactive ammunition over these two countries, we have, in effect, been fighting nuclear wars, and Canada too is complicit, both for dropping the bombs and for exporting and processing the depleted uranium munitions," says TASC spokesperson Matthew Behrens.
The vigil called for an end to the use of depleted uranium and, indeed, for an end to all nuclear war preparations, which unfortunately continue unabated through programs such as the newly-revived U.S. Star Wars program, a program Canada is seriously considering joining through a $635 million investment.
At the end of the vigil, American Kirsten Romaine requested access to the consulate and, after many worried looks from securityy staff, she delivered the following letter:
Toronto Action for Social Change
PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800; firstname.lastname@example.org
FEBRUARY 29, 2000
Consul General, USA
To whom it may concern,
We gather at your consulate this day to protest the fighting of nuclear wars, and the jailing of those who try and stop them. The dropping of depleted uranium-coated munitions over Iraq and Yugoslavia constitutes the fighting of nuclear wars, and their radioactive legacy to the future is one of unending cancer. Cancer for civilians, for former soldiers, for members of the armed forces of Canada, the U.S., and other combatants.
Phil Berrigan, Susan Crane, Steve Kelly and Elizabeth Walz face up to 26 years in prison for disarming two Warthog planes, the type most commonly used for dropping of depleted-uranium-coated munitions. The men who ordered these warplanes into action sit back comfortably. The blood of millions is on their hands, yet they receive medals and applause in a society which values violence and power over understanding and peace.
We are sick at heart to be here, for we are complicit in the fighting of these nuclear wars; but we are hopeful that four of your citizens are willing to place their lives on the line to try and stop these wars.
We call on your government to end the use of depleted uranium, and further, to stop pouring untold billions into the sinkhole of militarism, and to convert your economy to one which meets human needs, not one which protects through force corporate and individual greed.
We also demand the immediate release of the "Plowshares vs. Depleted Uranium" activists, all gentle souls whose desire to see a just and peaceful world has landed them in your jails in Maryland.
We have seen how once-dismissed and criticized actions by the like of the suffragists, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other nonviolent activists is now celebrated as something which advanced the cause of civilization; it is not too late to recognize the good deeds of the likes of Plowshares vs. Depleted Uranium. Let's not wait fifty more years of nuclear wars, of environmental contamination, of flooding the gene pool with cancer, before recognizing how right these four individuals have been in their efforts to achieve disarmament.
Toronto Action for Social Change
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