WENT 2 THE BRIDGE / Lisa Savage / Sunday, October 13, 2013
Why Buddhists Are Walking Through Maine To Call For #NoDrones
Photo credit: Starr Cutler-Gilmartin. Walkers about to begin on Day 1 in Limestone.
The most common question asked by journalists covering the Maine Drone Peace Walk this week: Why are you doing this? Why have people come all the way from Japan, Malaysia, Washington State, New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts to join Mainers on a peaceful walk from Limestone to Bath?
Our answer: so the public knows what is happening globally with drones — and what is about to happen with drones in Maine if the state and federal governments get their wish.
TV station WLBZ in Bangor gave the best comprehensive coverage of the event and the underlying issues yesterday on Day 3 of the walk.
WABI also sent a reporter; I’m hoping their evening news did a better job of coverage than this video archived on their website. The unattributed quote was from Veterans for Peace past president Dud Hendrick.
Today my local newspaper, the Waterville Morning Sentinel, has said they’ll send a photographer to catch the walk nearing Skowhegan. Led by Buddhist nuns and monks in saffron colored robes banging drums and chanting, and accompanied by Japanese peace activists in colorful wigs and clothed in carp banners, it is a sight to see.
Many fine signs by the Artists’ Activists Rapid Response Team are on display. Hard to see in this screen grab, but the horse on the sign I am holding is saying “Nay!”
People who stop to gaze are offered a flyer explaining how drones are used currently, and how a militarized drone testing site for Aroostook County is being promoted by both corporate parties, the Democrats and the Republicans.
Buddhists of the Nipponzan Ryohoji order in New York are experienced peace walk leaders as this is the work they have taken on in this life. One who spoke to us in Brewer last night at the conclusion of Day 3 is from Japan and said that his first trip to the U.S. was a peace walk from Toronto to New York City retracing the route of freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad. He then sang us an African American gospel hymn in a lovely baritone. Cultural potpourri!
Some of the activists from Japan are working on a project to save Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, which was written post Hiroshima and Nagasaki banning the rebuilding of a military. Now that Obama has announced a “pivot to the Pacific” Japan’s right wing government is falling in to line and working to gut Article 9.
Remember the U.S. Constitution with its emphasis on civil liberties and the rule of law?
What would an independent Supreme Court have to say about secret NSA courts, dragnet spying on entire nations, and a “kill list” updated weekly by the person heading up the executive branch of a government designed to safeguard liberty by means of checks and balances? Just because the authors had never heard of drones doesn’t mean they would not have recognized that they pose a grave challenge to democracy.
Also, that free press that was going to safeguard the people’s rights over the abuses of government is in tatters.
To join the Maine Drone Peace Walk through October 19, check out the route and schedule here.
The Maine Drone Peace Walk is being sponsored by the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home and Maine Veterans for Peace during Keep Space for Peace Week and is just one of many such events that will be held around the world.
President Obama has announced that as many as 30,000 drones will be flying around the US doing surveillance of the American people in the coming years. Thirty-seven states have applied to host one of six military drone test centers across the nation.
Communal lunch along the Penobscot River on Day 3 of the Maine #Drone Peace Walk##
—Lisa Savage | CODEPINK State of Maine
Went 2 the Bridge blog
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