By Wally Inglis
During his US visit this week, Pope Francis has been challenging us to end the violence of poverty, war, and environmental destruction. Many of us, as part of Campaign Nonviolence, have been taking this same message to Washington DC and to the streets of every state. Our Hilo Peace Vigil is a vital link in a chain of more than 350 actions which have been speaking out against additional forms of violence—racism, gun killings, nuclear weapons, executions, police brutality, and mass incarceration. In Hawaii alone, there are more than a half-dozen events on four islands connected to the campaign.
Gandhi called nonviolence “the greatest and most active force in the world … a force superior to all the forces of brutality.” It is the spirit of nonviolence that inspires and moves us today as we stand in this place—that same spirit, under the name Kapu Aloha, which motivates the protectors of Hawaii’s most sacred mountain – Mauna Kea.
The Pope addresses his recent encyclical Laudato Si primarily to environmental concerns, while showing the link between our ecological crisis and human violence: “the violence in our hearts,” he says “is reflected in the sickness of the soil, water, air and all forms of life … the earth herself is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor.” And then he points to the ravages of war, magnified by nuclear and biological weapons: “War always does grave harm to the environment … Despite international agreements, research continues to develop new weapons capable of altering the balance of nature.”
Here on Hawaii island we know that training for war causes grave harm to the environment. Chemical, biological and radiation weapons have been tested here, contaminating our soil, water, air, people, plants and animals. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) is widespread on the land and surrounding waters. The Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) is a military toxic stew of weapons contamination that will require billions of dollars to clean up. The Pope has said the production of weapons is an “industry of death.”
Today, we recall the prophetic words of Martin Luther King: “It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.”
For Peace, Justice & the Earth!
1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties.
4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.
Contact: Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760
Phone (808) 966-7622. Email: email@example.com
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Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (Sept. 25, 2015 – 731st week) – Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office