Those fields of corn will never see the plough those fields of corn look so deserted now…
Seven activists illegally entered the largest nuclear submarine base in the world, King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base Georgia on April 4th, 2018 on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. MLK devoted his life to furthering human rights and in addressing evil in militarism, racism, and materialism. The 7 entered Kings Bay base, breached a security fence, spilled blood on Navy wall insignia, spray-painted anti-war slogans on a walkway, and banged on a monument to nuclear warfare with hammers made of melted-down guns. Their goal was to symbolically disarm US Trident nuclear weapons and what weapons, submarines carrying a thousand warheads, and more. They were all Catholic and became known as the King’s Bay Plowshares 7. They aimed to beat swords into plowshares following the exhortation of the Biblical prophet Isaiah. By doing so they hoped to call attention to the destructive capacity of nuclear weapons. Now, these anti-Nuclear Weapons Activists face long prison sentences. Their sentencing will be presided over by the Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Georgia.
Judge Lisa Godbey Wood denied dismissal of all charges based on religious grounds and scheduled a jury trial where they were found guilty of trespassing on the U.S. Navy base. Their sentences can be up to 25 years. The physical damage to government property was minimal and equivalent to the cost of several ventilators to treat lung collapse during COVID while existing preventive treaties that protect billions are being knocked down one by one. We are 90 seconds before the dreadful hour of midnight with one treaty holding us back heaven forbid, from irrecoverable catastrophe. Their dramatic protest was to alert the world to the dangers of nuclear weapons and while an act of trespass is an act of trespass it can also be seen and must be seen as a courageous service and noble gesture for the preservation of mankind.
To the honorable and esteemed Judge Godbey Wood we forward our greetings from Greece and the Athens based World Philosophical Forum with our letter mailed from Greece (22-6-2020) and just one additional thought: while Coronavirus is a divider of nations and a super spreader, multiplier and an accelerator of all bad things, nothing can compare to the potential devastation posed by nuclear weapons, the greatest hazard to life on earth. Should a button be pressed, by accident or intent, time will have run out on humanity and the olive branch will have no symbolism. We believe that the judicial system can help build peace in countries and a world, tragically divided. What other choice is there? 1
Respected Judge Wood, Greetings from Greece from where I would like to share with you an extract from conversations recorded in Bhutan: Radiant Jewel of the Himalayas, Keeping pace with a Peripatetic Education Minister. Our conversation began in Asia as the devil Coronavirus jumped species and it was completed for publication as lockdown came to its close. It started out on the subject of peace, peace as a process or happy sum of many good human acts, and positive behavioral attitudes. We talked about his little book (Gyal-Khab) with its strong tone of optimism on state, citizen and citizenship education. It reflects on the thoughts of President Andrew Jackson who said every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru who said citizenship consists of service to the country and Socrates who said, I am a citizen of the world.
I asked him what does he have to say given that Socrates broke the law and so did the Kings Bay Ploughshares 7? He replied: “In my limited understanding and unlimited admiration of Socrates, the philosopher represents an infallible sensibility, a wide-awake consciousness, a flowering of human genius that saw it all and saw it fully. What looks exceptional to us mortals is in essence the comprehension of truth as it is. Socrates didn't have to say it; it was enough that he was. As to the Ploughshares it may be helpful to put it through the prism of means and ends and seek to resolve the apparent tension between them. In my scheme of things, the means must justify the ends: if the end is noble, the means to achieve that end must be noble” .
My response to Thakur S Powdyel: “As a teenager, it was greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for another. Now as an octogenarian, I say greater nobility has no-man or no-woman than to sacrifice freedom to turn back the symbolic atomic clock that stands at 90 seconds before midnight”. Thakur’s closing words: “l hope that COVID-19 will have a powerful cathartic effect on our world and that we will emerge a little better, more humane and much wiser. Not to learn anything redemptive from so much pain and suffering would be a tragic waste. I believe in the great goodness of the world and the collective merit of humanity, which can take us to the sunnier side of the street.
To the best of my knowledge the Kings Bay Plowshares like Socrates have not asked for leniency for their principled action but prison in the time of COVID-19 should I believe not be an option (659 new deaths today). My simple request is that any decision you hand down will return them to the sunny side of the street”. In doing so, I believe you will register one great act for humanity and make the world a little wiser. Respectfully, we thank you for considering this request and hope that our voice is heard.
1 The agony of an actress of incredible beauty, a national icon drenched by Hiroshima’s blast of nuclear light, brighter than a thousand suns is always worth repeating. After regaining senses, her one thought was to inform the Emperor of the horror of the atomic bomb. She made it to the river, floated down it for some time, and was then pulled out by soldiers. Two weeks later, in Tokyo, her skin was gone, corroded; she had no hair; nothing remained of her youth and beauty. The happiness she gave to her doting audiences was no more.