By Robert M. Smith with the Brandywine Peace Community
Bring the message of Pope Francis home: Stop U.S. drone wars; Stop the Drone War Command Center in Horsham
On Saturday, September 26, during the Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions, as the Pope was beginning his visit to Philadelphia, people protested in front of the Horsham Air Guard Station where the U.S. Air Force is readying a drone war command center for the remote-controlled killing of people around the world. Amidst large banners and drone props, people held signs reading: Bring his message home: Stop U.S. drone wars; Stop the Drone War Command Center in Horsham and wore blue scarfs in honor of the youth Afghan Peace Volunteers and their message of one blue sky above us not wars and drone attacks.
The quotes and passages below were read aloud at the protest. There we also read appeals to drone operators and trainees, with a large banner line reading ‘Dear Drone Operators: Just walk away. Stop the killing. Peace, Your Neighbors’ as a few people flew kites (“Fly Kites, Not Killer Drones.”), one of which “crashed landed” just inside the base and as others threw sunflower through the base line fence.
An after demonstration postscript; As protest organizers we’re packing up, a team from base security, a couple of whom were carrying AK-47s, came over to the fence line to determine the nature of the kite inside the property line and to find out just what was being tossed onto base property. The kite was returned to us pleasantly. May the seeds sink into the ground and grow into a sunflower’s peace.
In Pope Francis’ address to the U.S. Congress last week he exemplified the lives, toil, and sacrifice of four Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. May their words resonate in our lives every day.
Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States
“You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
“If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.
“No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.”
“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.”
Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement
“Love in action is harsh and dreadful when compared to love in dreams.”
“People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”
“Those who cannot see Christ in the poor are atheists indeed. “
“Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”
Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, Contemplative mystic, writer
“If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.”
“We believe that our future will be made by love and hope, not by violence or calculation… Everything is emptiness and everything is compassion.”
“The real focus of American violence is not in esoteric groups but in the very culture itself, its mass media, its extreme individualism and competitiveness, its inflated myths of virility and toughness, and its overwhelming preoccupation with the power of nuclear, chemical, bacteriological, and psychological overkill. If we live in what is essentially a culture of overkill, how can we be surprised at finding violence in it? Can we get to the root of the trouble? In my opinion, the best way to do it would be the classic way of religious humanism and non-violence exemplified by Gandhi…”
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., prophet of nonviolence for social justice and peace
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
“…As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — ‘what about Vietnam?’ They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”
“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”