Friday, December 21, 2007

Do all roads lead to my destination?

I arrived at the Children's Peace Palace yesterday about noon after about 40 hours travel, including all night at the Mumbai airport waiting for the 5:55 AM flight to Udaipur. There was a beautiful sunrise to view while flying and eating breakfast on the! After landing, the fun began. I had expected Dr. Gandhi to send someone to pick me up as he said he would. So, after picking up my back pack, I saw a sharp young man in a trim long blue coat holding a sign for the Peace Palace, but with a different person's name than mine. I said, "You must be here for me?" He called someone to check it out, but made no indication. After some conversation between him and his crew, he said that they would send me in a car. I assumed I was with the right people. My car was new with leather seats and a pert driver with white gloves and beaked cap. They gave me a wet towel to wash my hands and face before setting off. When we arrived at Udaipur and at the on shore greeting station, the red carpet treatment began with a ritual reminiscent of the raj: Indians in all varieties of "uniforms".
Before setting off in a boat, I received juice and another wet towel to wash with. The boat took me to a hotel in the middle of the lake. I thought, "I heard that the Jains were wealthy, but never expected anything like this to attend a peace conference concerned about poverty, food, and violence! Udaipur is compared with Venice, the Venice of Asia. At the island, I was escorted up the red carpeted stairs by several greeters into a reception room where I received a bindy, flowers, and a drink. My receptionist gave me her card with the direction to ask her for any needs to be met. After a comment about my coming room assignment, I told her that I thought I might be in the wrong place. Then, it came together that I was indeed in the wrong place. This was a hotel training a new crew who was weloming American looking visitors. After they checked with Dr. Gandhi's Peace Palace, they continued the good treatment by giving me a five star breakfast and arranging a ride to the Conference (for 1000 rupees). I was able to observe the whole ritual set up. What a show! Americans dressed mostly in shorts with thongs or jeans and running shoes being greeted by dressed to the hilt Indians, greeting visiters with namaste, bindys, and bows. Not one American looked me in the eye, but every Indian did! While observing the show while eating breakfast, I could also observe the Indians bathing and washing clothes across the lake in the beautiful warm sun.

I wondered who was setting up whom for what. The Times of India reported that Prime Minister Singh expects India to make a ten percent growth goal in 2008.

My ride to Rajasmand was also eventful, driving for over two hour through old rural villages, as most likely can only be experienced in India. Wild. Trouble was, I was very tired and the ride forced me to stay awake. Dr. Gandhi made sure I napped long and went to bed early.

I'll tell you what it is like hear later, after more naps.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Off to India

Today I leave for India to return on February 12Th. The itinerary is established for several events and contacts with room in the middle for development. I have the opportunity to get a good overview of key developments: nuclear weapons, poverty, agriculture, violence and nonviolence, international relationships for justice and peace, natural resources, destructive forces and constructive work, etc. I appreciate all the contributions enabling me to make the trip. People have given me a sense of mission, rooted in bringing Gandhi to India! I feel well prepared and well stocked with insight and understanding and expect to receive much from the Indian experiences.

At a recent Gandhi presentation someone recommended that I read Freedom At Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. I will complete the reading today. This covered the period from April 1947 to January 1948, the pre and post August 15th 1947 Independence of India and Pakistan from the English Empire. It is an emotional read because of the violence during the period. It is emotional because of Gandhi's "defeat" at the independence (opposed to dividing India, the rejection of his constructive program, and the horrendous slaughter and uprooting). To see how Gandhi responded and was successful in Calcutta and Delhi in stopping killing with two "fasts to the death" is to see how in defeat he found victory, to see how one man could intervene in stopping social violence. For me this is a study in human violence and in human potential.

The Walk in the UK last summer showed the violence of global climate change in its incipience and the violence of nuclear radiation. The flooding last week in western Washington and the continued efforts of the United States to maintain dominance with nuclear weapons and nuclear power show the same realities in the United States and make all the connections. The effects of these on people, most prominently the poor of the world, intensify my motivation for this journey. I hope to share experiences and insights along the way with this blog.


Friday, December 14, 2007

India trip 12/07 to 2/08

This blog began with a trip to Walk from Glasgow Scotland to London England in 2007. My first entry was "why" the Walk. Now, I offer the "why" to India for the next two months.

In late November friends informed me about the 6th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action in Rajsamand near Udaipur India sponsored by the Jain ANUVIBHA PEACE PALACE. The week long process is in three parts: From December 23rd to 25th, International Dialogue on The Challenge of Violence, Hunger and Poverty: Evolving Sustainable Countermeasures. From December 26th to 28th, First International Nonviolence Leadership Training Camp. On December 29th, The Challenge of Inter religious and Intercultural Cooperation for Peace (continuing the High Level Dialogue organized by the UN General Assembly on October 4th and 5th at UN headquarters. These conclude with a Anuvibha Silver Jubilee celebration. I have been given the "mission" to represent the people of the United States to bring my message of peace. I accept with some nervousness, but with deep conviction. Dr. S.L. Gandhi has invited me to make presentations at both of the first segments. I will bring my "The American Gandhi" offerings.

Since I will be in India, I decided to stay for related activities and visits. Most salient is the International Congress on Peace and Non-violence from January 29th to 31st in Wardha India, near Gandhi's last ashram at Sevagram. This Congress has the following themes: Food Sovereignty, Unethical patenting of living organisms, Civil Interventions for Peace, Import of individual and collective action, Education for Peace and Nonviolence, fundamental and civil rights issues, empowerment of women, minorities, and excluded. Before the Congress, four days of visits to Gandhi sights will occur. (I will also visit with my hosts for my 2005 Gandhi portrayals in India.)

I have a number of contacts in Delhi, Chandigarh, and Mumbai with whom I am lining up visits and activities. I will use this blog to journal the experiences. I am particularly excited about the possibility of contacting the organizers of Janadesh 2007, a 320 kilometer walk of the poorest and allies from Gwailor to Delhi with the slogan "Give us land or jail." No doubt, I will meet a large number of activists and folks along the way.

The way I see reality, this India trip has the same urgency as my walk in the UK. Every day I read serious warnings by scientists and others about the growing precariousness of life on earth. Experience backs up the warnings: We had record flooding here in western Washington during the last two weeks, as we had walking through the UK in June and July. The US military/corporate/government cohort continues down the path of nuclear and destructive weaponry. I believe humans can do better.

If you are interested, more information is available: and

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The visible and the invisible

The rains have come and so has the radiation, the visible and the invisible. These are exciting times in many ways. One is sobering exciting times. We have had torrential rains in Western Washington this week. People have lost homes, cars, possessions, lives right here. On the unnoticeable side, we are informed that Tacoma is considering accepting uranium hexafluoride through the port. Seattle has been accepting it for years. Who knows about it? Yet, uranium, if ingested, causes lethal effects. (Check our uranium hexafluoride at

The exiting side is that people are becoming aware, awakened, alive. As I mentioned in the last post, the Port Military Resistance brought the new generation out -- with the old -- saying no to the Iraq war by blocking the roads from the Port to prevent the shipment from traveling to Fort Lewis.

In terms of the rains, they are record breaking. I connect them to the effects of climate change, at least in the sense that climate change will bring increasingly severe storms. (A month ago tremendous winds came through here with harsh effects, even placing large branches from a downed huge tree on my daughter's home.) This storm included 100 mile per hour winds. As I walked through Scotland and England last summer, we walked through record rains in June and July, sometines through flooding. Observers attributed the severity to climate change.

Now, having the rains and news of the uranium hexafluoride shipments in this context, the dots are connecting themselves, at least for those with open eyes.

If you have a life threatening disease, I think it is better to know about it, than to be ignorant. At least you can decide how you want to deal with it. Remember the days when doctors did not tell people about their cancer?

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Developments

I just realized that it has been almost three weeks since my last blog. I want to offer at least one blog each week. But, this has been an intense period. Three significant processes have been going on: the Port actions, a decision to travel to India, and finishing my book.

The Port of Olympia actions mentioned in the last blog continued for nearly two weeks with many demonstrations and several blockades of the Port transfer of equipment and military vehicles used by Fort Lewis soldiers in Iraq. 65 people were arrested. I felt thrilled at the standing up of the youth and adults. Their determination to say "No" to the Iraq war and the killing was inspiring. Despite pepper spray in their faces when they simply stood in front of the gates, these folks stood their ground without recriminations. To date only two have misdemeanor charges against them. In the wings of all this action is the possibility of the U.S. attaching Iran. I believe, as I have for almost two years, that unless some intervention happens Bush and Chaney will attack Iran. So far, elections for Democrats, Congressional actions, and statements by retired military, let alone continued peace actions, have not done the job.

Second, I have decided to go to India to attend the 6th International Conference on Peace and Non-violent Action in Rajasmand outside Jaipur at the end of December. www.anuvbha/6thICPNA.htm While in India I will stay for the International Congress on Peace and Non-violence in Wardha near Gandhi's Sewagram Ashram at the end of January in memory of his 60th anniversary of assassination. This decision was due to some persuasive words which I appreciate. I have the prospect of taking "The American Gandhi" perspective to these conferences.

Third, I am completing my book which was initiated after my 2005 trip to India when I portrayed Gandhi. The book is titled: CRUX OF THE MATTER, Autobiographical Foraging Into Being Authentic In These Times, by Bernie Meyer, The American Gandhi. I will submit for self-publishing within the week. I have also been promised assistance that publishing the book in India while I am there. My hope is that the book will assist peace makers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A greater than titanic illuson

The Port of Olympia is again being used to be complicit with the Iraq war, with occupation and oppression. The USNS Brittin is offloading equipment for the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) after it's tour in Iraq. We are challenging the presence, not wanting to be complicit in this war.

We look at the USNS Brittin. It is bigger than the Titanic. According to The Olympian the Titanic was 882 feet in length and the Brittin is 950. The Titanic displaced 58,587 US tons, the Brittin displaces 69,517 US tons. The ship dwarfs the Port of Olympia in fat gray bulk. Cindy Corrie (Rachel Corrie's mother) told me that she was celebrating her 60th birthday at lunch in a Port restaurant with her husband (Craig) when the ship arrived yesterday, escorted by several tug boats and Coast Guard gun boats. She said it about came into the restaurant, catching everyone's attention! We were protesting the ships mission when our conversation occurred.

"Catching our attention," that is the point, I think. I remember my mother telling me as a boy that the Titanic was considered "unsinkable" when it was built. Humans had overcome nature, and God. It sank on its first voyage.

For me, the Brittin represents waste, illusion, death. The waste of resources for the war in Iraq, war making itself. The death of troops and the Iraqi people. The illusion that this "superpower" can dominate the world by naked power. The illusion that humans can waste the earth's resources and not pay the consequences. Or, should I say the illusion that some humans can live and thrive by wasting the earth's resources?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

History's Perspective

The wages of our times are products of history. Realizing that the rise of the "American Superpower" cannot be separated from the trends which go back in time indefinitely gives understanding to today's events and to tomorrow's possibilities. The Superpower cannot dominate the trends and their effects. And, the less the Superpower recognizes them, the less She will be effective. The United States as Superpower is attempting the impossible by seeking to dominate the earth's human organization, the global economy, and the United States will fail.

That is the conclusion from the historical perspective Joseph Gerson presented at talks in Olympia on October 30th. The United States has grasped hold of (or is attempting to grab all of it) the Middle East as the equivalent of all the historical gold, silver, and resource wealth claimed by previous powers. Gerson prresent this as the great prize as a result of WWII. In this process the United States annually expends over half a trillion dollars on military hardware and forces, more than all other nations together. In addition, the United States debt to Japan, China, and Europe exceeds a trillion. This is matched by personal debt of its citizens. At some point these loaners will cash in their chips. "The Great Game" will take another step in its progression. However, the earth's resources are now nearing exhaustion. With this global climate change, the effects of peak oil, environmental destruction, human unwillingness to find another way than destructive and wasteful war making will change "the Great Game" in my opinion. This is Gerson's analysis simplified by yours truly for the sake of presentation.

Joseph Gerson's well thought out and articulated views are presented in his new book, EMPIRE and THE BOMB, How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World.

His action responses to the present reality encourage organizing to interact with the military and Congressional representatives to prevent war against Iran. "The Iraq War was the worst decision in United States governmental history." Gerson shakes his head with down cast eyes when responding to the possible effects of the waring against Iran as the U.S. is now postured to do. That is the immediate focus.

In the broader context of world developments I just came across the book, PARADIGM WARS, Indigenous Peoples Resistance to Globalization, by Jerry Mander and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. Here are presented the developments of indigenous peoples, especially in Latin America, which counter the historical attacks and exploitation by colonial powers. Indigenous people seek to salvage their sustainable heritage. Merton presented the folly of the West's colonial domination ("domination without understanding") in his introduction to Gandhi and Non-Violence. Again, I carried this valuable tome with me on the Walk last summer to keep before my eyes "the crisis" of the West, indeed, of the world now that the East is emulating the West. Paradigm Wars is a flesh and blood response to this historical overshoot. Gerson too takes note of these developments.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Scotland takes dramatic step

After the last blog posting, I must add a heartening event. The Scottish political leadership is going to conduct a political process with the people to move Britain to reverse the effort to create the next generation of nuclear weapons! That is a wonderful statement in our present context.

A majority of Scottish people oppose nuclear weapons. The Faslane Trident base is in Scotland and under control of England with United States support and ultimate control. Scotland will seek the support of 122 nuclear weapon free nations. The call has gone out!

One of the main reasons I walked in the UK this past summer was to support the Faslane 365 Campaign against the next generation of Trident weapons. I have a good feeling amidst all the negative realities. Even more, I continue to discover peoples around the world who believe in life and are acting on the belief.

My frustration about inaction

What must be said about daunting times? Maybe, start by admitting that daunting times are emerging, not yet daunting to everyone. Certainly, I do not experience hunger, loss of home, life and limb. But, I do experience the pervading consciousness of other with those experiences and the causes welling up in the life of Mother Earth. The rains in the UK this summer I walked through, the draught in the Southeast USA, the fires in California, all portent the growing effect of global climate change.

To date it is estimated that the earth temperature has risen 0.8 Centigrade, that the CO2 emissions have been released which will raise the temperature to the critical threshold of 2.0 Centigrade, that a world wide emergency effort is needed to avoid further increases which could go as high as an increase of 5 degrees.

A peak oil conference took place in Houston Texas the week of October 22nd which gave new perspective about the effects and maintained the dire warnings. One observer noted that most aware Americans have a sense that something is happening, but have little understanding about what.

And, the Bush administration is moving concertedly into attacking Iran. One analysis after another states this. Frontline presented the latest this week.

What did Jesus say about removing the plank from your eye before criticizing another?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Nuclear Power Plants???

The Government will guarantee billions in insurance of new nuclear power plants if proposed legislation is passed. No one else will insure nuclear power plants. The tax payers will be saddled with it, if we allow it. Go to to see video and to learn about the legislation.

The Walk this summer went through Sellafield nuclear power and processing area. We experienced the radiated water and land. We learned about the effects. The above web site gives most of the reasons not to support nuclear power. The one not mentioned seems even more fundamental to me: when radiation enters the body, it can attack the genes and DNA. Thus, untold generations will be susceptible to cancers and diseases. The web site certainly implies that radiation can lead to the deaths of those immediately affected, but the future generations are left out.

Oh well, if future generations are loaded with debt, they might not care anyway! Ugh?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Effects of Walk

Yesterday, October 2nd, we celebrated Gandhi's birthday and my 70th (which is October 11th) with a dramatic presentation of the Foot Prints For Peace walk. I incorporated dance, which was my first action at Faslane Royal Navy Trident Base, as well as scenes and information about the walk itinerary, much of which is on this blog. Now, I share a few facts I did not know while walking.

1. The radiation from Sellafield accumulates on the beaches and sands in concentrations at estuaries. Alpha radiation clings to sand particles. Radiation extends on average for 1000 kilometers inland from the sea. The alpha and DU radiation which enters the body interacts with chemicals and the DNA producing serious effects. This simplistic statement is clearly described by Chris Busby (Statement of Chris Busby in Relation to the Millstone Reactors and Their Effect on Local Health in Populations Living Near the Sea and River Estuaries, March 26th, 2001) and Bill Adamson (The Problem With Nuclear (Part I) November 17th, 2006.)

2. DU radiation from the March 2003 Shock and Awe bombing of Iraq reached England seven to nine days after the bombing. Chris Busby reports that censors were set up around Aldermaston and recorded the radiation. This was 2400 miles from Bagdhad! reports that the "Number of Radioactive Finds on Local Beaches has doubled in a month." 17/7/07 These recordings were taken at the time we walked through the Sellafield and other areas.

Anyone have a radiation detector? My body feels funny.

Friday, September 21, 2007

DU Moves around. So does climate change.

On June 24th I reported in this blog about our walk through the Sallafield Atomic Weapons Establishment haunting presence. We knew about the dumping of radiation into the Irish Sea, making it the most radio active body of water of that size. We knew about the fact that DU radiation from Chernobyl resided in the area. But, we did not know that radiation from the Gulf War (II) also made its way to Europe and England. Sensors at Sallafield AWE recorded the fact seven days after the bombing of Baghdad. Remember "Shock and AWE"? Now that I am home I am catching up on the reading and research I could not do on the Walk. I am surprised by the revalation. No one mentioned it, even though we walked through the Dundrenom DU Testing site down the road. All my reading about DU did not point out this fact of long distant effect.

Googling Chris Busby, a key scientist on low level radiation, I came across "The Problem with Nuclear (Part I)" by Bill Adamson. The article is a good overview of nuclear radiation issues. Regarding Depleted Uranium, he mentions in part: "Meanwhile, a special set of radiation filters had been set up in Aldermaston, England, at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE). A report by Chris Busby stated that within 7 to 9 days after the bombardment of the Baghdad region, higher levels of uranium radiation were picked up at the five sites in Berkshire, England, some 2400 miles away. He believes that uranium aerosols were dispersed in the atmosphere and blown across Europe. Hence, the increase of radiation levels in this globe of ours." (End note about this: "'Uk Radiation Jump blamed on Iraq shells,' by Mark Gould and Jon Angoed-Thomas, The Sunday Times, Feb. 19, 2006, 'From Baghdad in the Middle East: Depleted Uranium Measured in British Atmosphere,' by Leuren Moret, Global Research, March 2, 2006. Also, 'Occasional Paper on Depleted Uranium,' by Chris Busby and Saorise Morgan, Green Audit: January 1, 2006.")

From the time of the Walk in this area, I wanted to put Chris Busby's work on the blog. Walkers told me that he is the leading light in terms of nuclear power and radiation. I have found his comments about the New England Millstone reactors and their effects on populations living near the sea and river estuaries. I recommend his book: WOLVES OF WATER, A Study From Atomic Radiation, Morality, Epidemiology, Science...Philosophy and Death". I am ordering it. ( I will detail why this is important on the blog in the near future, i.e. new methods of determining the effects of low level radiation, internal versus external. the older method is compared to the newer like heat from a radiator versus ingesting a hot coal.

Just in: "The latest study from the United Nation's intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put the inevitability of drastic global warming in the starkest terms yet, stating that major impacts on partos of the world...are unavoidable and the focus must be on adapting life to survive the most devastating changes." The Independent UK, 19 September 2007. I won't dispute it, my walking stick won't either!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pulling back the "security" vail

The Iraq related tensions on the streets is increasing. Here in Olympia vigils against the Iraq war are every Friday from 4:30 to 6:00 PM on Percival Landing. Across the street, "support our troops" people counter and demand "victory". The decibel levels have increased, as a pro-war mother of a son in Iraq uses the whole time to shout her messages continually. On the anti side of the street, a band plays supportive music. Cars drive by tooting their horns, mostly favorable to the anti-side. My sense of the event is significantly more emotional intensithy since I left for the UK in April.

Last evening, an unusual and important incident occurred as an Air Force vet of 20 years joined the anti side with an "Impeach Bush" sign. I spent at least 20 minutes listening to him describe the security procedures for B-52s which carry nuclear bombs. The reason was the August 30th incident which was reported by Military Times stating that a B-52 flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana carrying six nuclear bombs attached to the wings on Cruise Missiles. 1500 miles covered. The flight was against all rules and procedures. The Air Force said it was an "accident." Incredible according to the 20 year vet who joined us at Percival Landing. Incredible according to a number of like vets who have serviced B-52s. There is no way this could have been an "accident" occurrence. I spent this morning checking reports on the Internet. I recommend that readers do likewise.

An investigation is mandatory. The media and the politicians have become silent since the August 30th event. Our street vet, Internet vets and journalists connect the event to Iraq and to the highest reach in the government. The silence must be broken to determine what occured moving people to risk revealing the incident at the risk of their lives.

The three who reported the incident to the Military Times on condition of anonymity had better "keep their backs covered" according to one Internet reporter. Our street vet said he expects them to be removed, which I understood to mean assassinated. This is entirely within the realm of possiblity as I see it.

As our vet was concluding his reporting on nuclear weapon security (I was amazed at the detail and extent of the procedures), a middle aged woman approached us and charged us with being wrong and betraying the country. She was very nervous and anxious. We shared our reasons with her as best we could in the face of the emotional strain she was experiencing. I felt that she was beginning to wake up to the fact that her security, which rested on the strength of the President, was not so secure after all. (This was the day after Bush's national address to continue the course.) We ended shaking hands and smiling at each other. She smiled with wide eyes and nervousness. I cannot help but wonder how many people are waking up to the realities, finding themselves having their trust for security betrayed, or, at least, not up to the hype. What now?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Here is an edited piece I submitted to the Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action newsletter. It is important due to info about the Trident, Faslane 365 Campaign and our Walk.

“Toward A Nuclear Free World” was the theme of the Foot Prints for Peace walk from Dublin to London from March 12th to August 6th, 2007 that I joined in Glasgow. We intended to contribute to efforts by locals’ to stimulate more awareness and action to eliminate both nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Most significant for me was the Faslane 365 Campaign in Scotland to convince the United Kingdom not to engage with the United State in developing the next generation of Trident warheads nor submarines. Since the walk ended, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has revealed secret efforts by the UK at Aldermaston to create the next generation.

I was arrested at Aldermaston on July 27th (See my blog entry on July 28th, “Aldermaston arrest". ) to protest the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s (AWE) participation in the UK weapons program. Now we know more about what is happening there. At the protest we witnessed the building being constructed for a laser named Orion. The laser will be programmed to approximate the basic formation of a planned nuclear bomb explosion. The laser data will be entered into a new supercomputer which will create a simulation of the actual explosion for this particular bomb. Named Larch, the computer can calculate what it would take the six billion earth’s human inhabitants 7000 calculations per second to do. This new generation of nuclear weapons is a counterpart to the work the United States is doing. The UK program is called High Surety Warhead. The United States names its program, Reliable Replacement Warhead. All this reliable sureness is to circumvent the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (NTP) and the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). AWE spokespersons deny that the UK has made a decision to make a new Trident bomb. (The secret nuclear weapon development was reported in The Herald on September 4th, 2007,

I had heard neither about the Aldermaston weapon production site nor the Atomic Weapons Establishment until reviewing Foot Prints for Peace website while researching the proposed walk. I joined the Walk at Faslane because it interfaced with the Faslane 365 Campaign at that point. I fully intended to participate in the direct action to block the gate at Faslane before the trip. By the time we reached Aldermaston two months later, I was more than ready to block the entrance to the AWE facility.

My 700 plus miles participation in the Walk taught me not only much about the nuclear weapons system in the UK, but also nuclear power and radiation. As one of the CND analysts named it, the “Terrible Twins”. Radiation effects from the bomb and nuclear power amount to the same lethal effect. The lethal effects are horrible enough. (I kept the images of the hibakusha from the world before me. We met world representative hibakusha at the World Peace Forum.) Perhaps, one of the most insightful and humanly disconcerting realizations is the sociology and psychology of life under nuclear radiation. People are not only shamed and numbed into silence. Their fears are manipulated into job and future “insecurity.”

The journey toured us through US intelligence bases, missile defense installations, depleted uranium impacts on the environment, and much more. . Walking through beautiful hills and dales, villages and towns, cities gives views and insights, time for thinking and fathoming.

I heard about the Walk at the World Peace Forum, June 2006 in Vancouver B.C., while taking part in the Workshop about Faslane 365 Campaign representing Ground Zero. During the year I ended up deciding to join the Walk. I fully supported the theme of the Walk, “nuclear free world”, and hoped to join the efforts of Scottish and English citizens to persuade the UK not to join the US in the next Trident generation. But, Tony Blair and his cabinet, later the Parliament, blemished that aspiration when the decision was made to move ahead with Trident even before the Walk began. There is still some hope that Scotland will reject its participation, as it seeks independence. The people and the new Scottish parliament leadership have expressed their common disagreement with the Trident system. A new economy will need to be developed to ally local’s apprehensions about jobs.

But, my Walk concerns were also related to climate change, the effects of peak oil on industrial society and the poor around the world. In a word or two, I am most uneasy about viability of life on earth. I walked the entire 75 days as Gandhi to symbolize that the 1.8 billion poorest people, along with creatures like the polar bears, will get the initial brunt of human created abuse. For me the Walk was almost a last ditch effort to say to all of us: “We must change our ways now.” Decades are needed to turn these realities around.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

First Steps At Home

Reentering Olympia after nearly five months, I find it is taking time to reconnect, bodily and psychologically. Wonderful to see my three adult children and my now six month old grandson. Some activist friends are eager to hear about the Walk, others noticed I have been gone but were unaware of my trip. I had a nice gathering the other evening with some to share the events, who said it was enjoyable. I met with Bix, who was arrested with us at Faslane, in Tacoma. We are brainstorming what's next. A walk will occur on September 11th, a Jesuit/Buddhist will share 30 years of peace activity in Cambodia next week. Last night, a friend set up a Gandhi birthday celebration on October 2nd at Traditions Fair Trade to share the Walk experience. I will also make it a celebration of my 70th birthday (October 11th). In between all this I do domestic things, weeding and harvesting, reading many insightful and troubling things, flailing about.

For those who want to acquire an up to date understanding about nuclear abolition, I want to recommend the just published NUCLEAR DISORDER OF COOPERATIVE SECURITY, U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis, and Paths to Peace, by Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, Western States Legal Foundation, Reaching Critical Will of the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom. For those who find it to cerebral and dry, I suggest they follow our foot steps in Foot Prints For Peace walk "Toward Nuclear Free World." I guarantee it will not be cerebral nor dry. The message will be the same.

Zia Mian highlights our context in the Forward: "Polls have also found that almost 60% of Americans did not know that a commitment to disarmament was part of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This is despite the fact that the United States was one of the two original sponsors and the NPT has been a central element of U.S. policy since then, especially in its dealing with third-world states with nuclear ambitions. As surprising is the finding of the scale of ignorance about which other states have nuclear weapons. Large majorities of the U.S. public know Russia and China have nuclear weapons, but more of them (55%) mistakenly think Iran has nuclear weapons than know that Britian (52%), India (51%), Israel (48%) and France (38%) actually have these weapons. The poll shows over 40% of Americans mistakenly believe Japan and Germany have nuclear weapons."

To make the lethal nature of nuclear testing more graphic, my son, Todd, emailed a CNN post,, about the effects of USSR tests beginning in the 1950's. Besides the physical effects, the shaming and numbing of the population are traumatic. We cannot let ourselves assume the blame and silence.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In Persuit of Wisdom

From the beginnings of this journey and Walk I have wanted to share insights about wisdom on this blog. As I observed the effects of human misjudgements on people and the environment in Scotland and England through weapons and nuclear energy, the impulse became stronger and stronger. One of my poetic blurting even screamed, "Wisdom, wisdom, where is the wisdom?" Now that I am home and reflecting on the insights, this blog cannot carry them. The subject is too comprehensive. In fact, wisdom is poetic and elusive. But, wisdom is.

Experience and knowledge are its sources. As are the heart and intuition. Emotion has a role, once understood and disciplined. I have come to see that even the esteemed in truth and nonviolence, though way out ahead in certain areas of human insight and action, have parts that are unwise and weak. Life is really complex. Gandhi, King, Tolstoy could not overcome every aspect of insight to be wise in all things.

I want to share two sources from which I would have summarized on this blog, were it possible. The May 6th issue of the New York Times Magazine's cover article is "Can Science Tell Us Who Grows Wiser?" The basis is psychology and its use of scientific measurement. While frustration is the result of all the efforts over the last thirty years, many insights emerge. "There is a yin-yang to wisdom that makes it difficult to pin down. Wisdom is founded upon knowledge but shaped by uncertainty. Action is important but so is judicious inaction. Emotion is central, yet detachment is essential."

On the other side of learning is observation and experience without measurement. At one of the Quaker Meeting Houses on the Walk I came across Bede Griffiths Universal Wisdom--A Journey Through the Sacred Wisdom of the World. The introduction is an excellent overview. As Griffiths quotes Judith Miller, Vedas..."show that vedic seers sought to transcend conventional religion and discovers hidden source of religion in the divine mind."

These two approaches to wisdom are what Thomas Merton persuded to address the "crisis of the West" (now the East too) and gave body and soul to my search.

In the words of the New York Times article, "As Gandhi (who topped the leader board a few years ago in a survey in which college students were asked to name wise people) put it, 'It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom.'"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Separation, Culture Shock, Death

Honda-shoni is dead. Honda-shoni became a close friend in a very short time. Honda-shoni stands for humanity's cure.

"CIVILIZATION IS NOT ABOUT installing electric lights, having airplanes or producing nuclear weapons. What defines civilization in its entirety? It is not to kill; not to destroy; not to wage war. It is about people holding one another in mutual affection and respect. There is nothing else that defines a viable human civilization. The foundation for these conditions in our communal life is not to be found in the enactment of laws nor in institutions but in religious faith that nurtures tenderness and integrity in our hearts." From Tranquil is this Realm of Mine, DHARMA TALKS AND WRITINGS OF THE MOST VENERABLE NICHIDATSU FUJII.

Honda gave me this book as I left his ashram in Milton Keynes at the end of the walk, when he took me to catch my bus to Birmingham. Nichidatsu Fujii, founder of Nipponzan Myohoji order, spent time with Gandhi and taught him how to chant. (I have not found mention of this relationship anywhere in all my Gandhi readings.)

I received word yesterday by email that Honda was killed in a tractor accident at the ashram.

The Walk spent two nights during the walk at the Peace Pagoda, and also concluded the Walk at the Lantern Ceremony on August 6th. (I mentioned this in another blog.) Honda joined the Walk for a week as did the nun, Martha-shoni. A few memories of my experience with Honda: walking rapidly through a crowded shopping mall looking for a toilet, "the young people have strong blatters" (honda is 50, I'm 69.); Honda's powerful chanting Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo troughout the week walk, not missing a beat during the day, even on the day that the six inch headlines said "TWO MONTHS RAIN IN A DAY"; making coffee to satisfy my need; lending me his poncho to finish the Walk, because mine was held together by tape (A sport's vender told me that "We don't carry ponchos, no need for them here!"); driving me all around Milton Keynes to find batteries for my hearing aides; talking about peace and life. Thank you Honda.

I do not understand many expressions of Honda's Zen practice, except through the spirit. One are the the words in the bowing ritual at every greeting and separation, the practice of Tangyo-raihai. It means "the mission of peace--call it non-violence or ahimsa, passive resistance or not taking life--... the singular practice of bowing and venerating the Buddha in others, is the active precept of cultivating good." How civilized!

Thank you, Honda.

I am going through a "culture shock" of sorts after the Walk. News of Honda's death only accentuates its meaning. The intense living for over two months with a community of Walkers who have nonviolence as their effort to be civilized only accentuates the inadequacies of Western civilization. I remember similar experiences in 1964 when returning to the US after travel to Mexico with a family.

I will continue this blog because so much is accentuating Walk experiences.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I did have an opportunity to share a little about the Walk with a large group of Japanese students at Woodbrooke. The students are from Tokyo and attend a Quaker school there. Their tour is sponsored by the Quakers to give them an exposure to the roots of the Friends in England and Scotland. They will visit some of the same places we walked through.

My Gandhi presentation (in "full" Gandhi attire!) was well received. I felt the intensity as I described my experience with hibacashas in Olympia, the Walk's intent of no more Hiroshima's, and Gandhi's message. My words were translated into Japanese. Their attention was shown by a girl's question, "How were you arrested?" Time did not allow me time to stun them with the situation in the area they would be visiting, i.e. Sellafield's and Chernobyl's radiation. (I had only fifteen minutes at the end of their day.)

Tomorrow I head home to Olympia after five days in New York. I have shared the Walk with the staff at Fellowship of Reconciliation (where my Gandhi portrayals first began), with staff at Democracy Now here in New York, and a number of friends and relatives.

Also, I talked with Leila Zand, FOR's Coordinator of Iran Program. We shared our concerns about US intentions in Iran. She is organizing two week trips to Iran, the next being in October.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Walk moves on

The Walk has ended, the Walk goes on. Here I am on the last day in England before heading to the US tomorrow morning. I am at Woodbrooke Study Centre in Birmingham thanks to some help and encouragement of new UK friends. I just had breakfast with an Anglican priest, Nduma, who was born in South Africa and is now a British citizen due to the twists and turns of the apartheid experience. We had a wonderful conversation about our activities, leading into mutual insights about living with nature as opposed to living by dominating nature. Woodbrooke is a beautiful place to do that, due to its wonderful garden and philosophy. Founded in 1903, the Centre is a Quaker study place which has a rich history including the experiences of coping with two world wars as a pacifist body. And, Gandhi slept here...and more, because the Quakers sent Alexander to India during the Salt Walk so that he could bring to England the reality of the repression which resulted. This was crucial at the time. I will spend the day absorbing the ambiance of the Centre and Birmingham. Also, there is a large group of Japanese youth here who are going to be touring the Quaker places up north, which we had walked through. They are seeing if there is time in their schedule for me to share the Walk with them.

Nearby is Bilberry Centre where a Gandhi Gathering put on by the Gandhi Foundation was held for the past week. I attended from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday. Gandhi books, pictures, references were the unavoidable settings. It felt good to see how people are seeking to learn and apply his way in their lives. The group is religiously diverse and ethnically composed of people from England and Scotland, including a number of Indians living in the UK. I had opportunities to briefly share the Walk with them, and took opportunity to insert insights during their regular sessions. It seemed that most of the mainstream Christian denominations were present through members, as well as others. I think it is indicative of our times that one woman has just been certified to be an Interfaith minister. That means that she will offer various ministries from an interfaith perspective, but not with denominational ties. She has gone through a multi-year program in preparation.

Related to the crucial environmental/human issues, the group members have a fairly good idea about global warming and energy concerns. Of course, I shared my statements. In fact, the organizer had printed out part of my blog for them before I arrived.

One most difficult experience of our last evening was an outburst of a mentally affected person who threatened people. The result was having the police come in at midnight and his arrest. Some felt relief, others felt like we failed him. I left them some suggestions for future organizational tools to handle future possibilities. I compared the week to a Gandhi Ashram, which was meant to include all, also the untouchables, and to be a training place for nonviolence.

In these settings, I have been given heartfelt welcomes and honor. For me, they are opportunities to reenter "the ordinary" after more than two months of intensive involvement with the walk. (An added note, I had opportunity to walk with a man whose parents were part of Bonhoffer's Confessional Church and died leaving him as an ophan. This was a first for me, which I feel blessed with.)

I have been wanting to share a number of insights from along the road. One is from Karen Armstrong's book, Buddha. She writes, "In his view, the spiritual life cannot begin until people allow themselves to be invaded by the reality of suffering, realize how fully it permeates our whole experience, and feel the pain of all other beings, even those we do not find congenial." From especially our own sufferings to that of others like the man arrested at Bilberry to the radiated environment of Scotland and the Irish Sea life will not be full until we pass through the darkness.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Last Day or the Walk

The Walk concluded last night with a Lantern Ceremony at the NIppozan Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes. The Zen Buddhist community put on the most beautiful and heartfelt lantern ceremony I ever attended. This was entirely fitting to commemorate the victims of Hiroshima's Atom bombing and all victims of nuclear weaponry and radiation. Hundreds of people attended, many from Japan and other parts of the world. We walkers had opportunity to be presented. I was asked to bring my Gandhi presence in word and in deed.

The day began when we piled into the van with our luggage to drive across London to the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park where we concluded on Saturday, when we had the most attended day of the walk to enter London. That beaautiful day concluded with a program and meal at Kingsley Hall. It is still a viable community center, which maintains the room where Gandhi stayed in 1932. (I hope to share more of significandce about this day.)

Back to yesterday, we walked from the Pagoda to Number 10 Downing street to deliver our Walk message to Prim Minister Gordon Brown. Work on the street and entrance resulted in our being in a cage to present our message by letter. The security people went through procedures before accepting it. The guards were armed, some with threatening weapons. After leaving Downing Street we walked to Tavistock Square for the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament annual Hiroshima Day event, number 40 at that location. Here again we were recognized and celebrated. CND and its members are dedicated and committed in the face of our Goliath opposition.

Two experiences highlighted the event for me: Len Aldis with the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society spoke of the continuing effects of Agent Orange on the the Vietnamese, showing that also nuclear radiation victimizes future generations. Since I went to prison in 1970 for a direct action with Dow Chemical Co in Washington DC for its production of Agent Orange and napalm, I felt closely connected to his words and deeds.

The second was regarding a documentary film crew from Iran. When they heard of our September 23rd action and my motivation about concern for Iran, they filmed me as Gandhi. They inquired about the US citizens and governments intentions about Iran. I am still most concerned that the US will bomb Iran with fearful consequences. Representatives of Campaign To Prevent War In Iran (I do not have the precise name handy) were also present at the event, passing out their analysis of the situation. Being out of the United States and observing reactions to US actions is a good experience. Wonder, confusion, anger, ignorance, fear, and other emotions are there. The intense interest in the filming of me as American conveyed the desire to find out more about the American people's knowledge. One question was, "Do the American people know that the US has undertaken 270 (?) plus military actions around the world since 1900?

There you have a brief summary of our last day. I will leave on Wednesday for a Gandhi School in Birmingham, England before returning to the US on the 13th of August. I will continue entering more about the Walk as I reflect and have opportunity. The reasons for the Walk are more precisely known now. I need to reflect on their implications. Thank you for staying with me.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


August 6, 2007

Dear people of the United Kingdom and all peoples,

I have just finished walking over 700 miles with Foot Prints for Peace, “Toward An End of Nuclear War”. In thanks to all who welcomed us, I offer my closing words. To those who do not welcome us, I ask understanding and consideration. The world is in a precarious situation due to the exhaustion of the earth’s resources and due to human inventiveness gone awry. Global climate change, fossil fuel decline, and nuclear radiation from war making and from power, and human conflict are primary sources of the dangers. The poor are affected the most and first. All will pay the price.

My journey began at the Faslane Trident base, and proceeded to include Sellafield nuclear power, Dundrennan Firing Base (depleted uranium weapons), and Aldertmaston among others, before entering London. We conclude on the 62nd anniversary of the Atom Bombing of Hiroshima. My observation is that nuclear weapons kill even without their actual use. Nuclear power kills with the mining of uranium, the production of power due to loss and accidents, and the waste. Radiation is entering the human DNA to last indefinitely. People have died and continue to die. We must find other ways. They are available if we make up our minds to use them.

My study of these concerns by compiling scientific research is that we have little time to reduce the harm done and put the human species on a viable and sustainable course. Utmost urgency is required.

Catastrophes are already happening, portending ill for the future. I believe that the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, the Israel Palestinian conflict, the Darfur situation, are symptomatic of the technological policies made with Western leadership gone awry. India and China are now joining this abusive consumption and illegal and immoral war making path. The earth, the air, and the water are first victims. They are our life sources. This catastrophic pattern must be turned around.

Albert Einstein said that the nuclear question will be solved only in “the Truth of village square.” Ultimately, all these life issues will only be solved in the village square.

I have travelled this journey as “The American Gandhi”, because it is the most radical way I have to give this message. Gandhi experimented with truth, lived by love, and took the burden upon himself to suffer for truth, rather than attacking his opponents to make them suffer. And, Gandhi dressed as one of the masses to point out the dignity of every person. Gandhi used the spinning wheel because it was a sustainable tool available to all to provide for him or her self…with dignity. This is what I want to say.

All who have eyes and ears to see and hear, listen, study, discover, do whatever it takes to address human caused problems. Our lives are precious, the earth is precious. We have all we need to address our needs.

Thank you for your attention.

Peace, and love,

Bernie Meyer, The American Gandhi

Saturday, August 4, 2007

London entre'

We arrived in London today! After more than 700 miles for me and more than 850 from the four who started on May 12th in Dublin. We met Buddhists at Battersea Park at 12:30, had lunch at the Peace Pagoda, and then walked to Parliament Square amidst thousands of tourists and vacationers. There we joined an Iraq veteran who has been graphically witnessing to the DU effects on children in places like Kirkuk for several years. I stood for more than an hour next to his display to help call more attention to it. The sun is hot as was the air. The week has been wonderfully summer like, including one shower.

So, we are here. Tomorrow is a rest day. Monday is the last day of the Walk with several activities to commemorate the anniversary of Hiroshima. I will report them later. I feel great physically, though tired from a long day. Tonight we stay at Kingsly Hall, where Muriel Lester began youth programs in poor neighborhood. She is credited with beginning welfare programs in England. Also, she did much internationally promoting pacifism with the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Her friendship with Gandhi led him to stay here in 1932 when he was in England for the Round Table Conference. I visited his room and say where he slept. Nice.

A little piece of drama. On Thursday morning I arose at 6:00 AM to do my meditation, etc, I was quietly starting down the stairs so as not to awaken my roommate, Duncan, nor my hosts, Irene and Paul. A human shadow flickered on the wall at the foot or the stairs and a whoosh sound. No one there when I got to the first floor. But, an open bathroom window indicated that someone had broken and entered. I had scared off a thief! You never know when the unexpected will occur. Except for a stolen purse with diary, credit card, and pounds, all is well. Well, not quite, Duncan is furious about his stolen tobacco.

I hope to find time to do more sharing tomorrow or Tuesday. Peace and love.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Last nuclear weapons establishment

The last weapon system base on our itinerary is Burghfield Atomic Weapon Establishment. We conducted a vigil at the main gate yesterday after circling it for hours searching for the gate, escorted in a way by three Ministry of Defense vehicles. There is more here than loading the nuclear warheads to and from Coulport for loading on the Tridents at Faslane. The experience is sinister, even in the warm sun. We had a discussion last night at our Quaker Meeting House, memorable as we shared the learning and impacts of the Walk with those attending.

The day was exhausting because we arose around 5:00 AM to participate in an Aldermaston vigil with the Muriel Lester Affinity Group at 7:00 AM. No arrests this time.

I fantasized earlier a sunny walk into London. It's happening. Three days sunny summer weather! Three and a half more days of walking to London. Then, we speak to those who set the policy and budgets for this nuclear disaster.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Aldermaston arrest

After a week of walking, at times in the flooded Thames River area, we arrived at Aldermaston, nuclear weapons producer, which is also working on new laser facility. We vigiled with a supportive group, then four of us stepped into the gate road to block traffic. Three strong young folks locked hands and feet together, Dan from London at 32, Lianna and Ita from Atlanta at 23 and 19. Ita arrived the day before. What a team! Police needed special pressure point tactics to separate them before arrest. Meanwhile Gandhi was pushed aside. They did not want to arrest him. Gandhi persisted. He was arrested after the others were hauled off. I kept coming back on the road, despite the loving solicitude of the police. We will be charged with a new law, called the By Laws, which are as vague as the US Congress Guantanamo laws which were denied by the courts. We are now released.

Police were the ultimate in courtesy. While the other three were occupying the police with their resistance, I faced a whole line of police between me and the others, most much bigger than I. One by one I entered conversation with them on various subjects related to our present environment. One, a former Trident crew member, who has even been to Bangor, and was a crusty guy to start, said "In other circumstances, I'd take you out for a pint." After arriving at the police station, the other three were still outside awaiting entrance with their arresting officers. The wait was long. This enabled some conversation. My officer was a fine young man, as were the others. It is regarded as an honor to be a policeperson in the UK.

My Gandhi message which I beamed out while on the street before they pushed me aside was: Aldermaston must be closed. Radiation kills. Aldermaston gets its nuclear materials from uranium mines which are killing now. Accidents here allow radiation into the environment, finding its way into humans and animals. The Bombs will kill when used. Radiation will kill even in the disposed wastes.

This message is a result of the walk. Compare it to my action message at Faslane when I quoted Gandhi's comments on the Atom Bomb.

At the vigil before the citizen's action in the road, I read a victim's of the Atom Bomb at Hiroshima account. It was graphic and moving. I hope to create some kind of litany before our August 6th gatherings in London.

We are now resting for two days, real rest! Then, we move out Monday morning after witnessing another action at Aldermaston by the Muriel Lester Affinity Group.

An aside, While on our last rest before entering the Aldermaston Base, I was looking for a toilet at a closed restaurant. An Indian gentleman inside noticed and invited me in with the comment "You look like Gandhi!" After telling him what we were doing and what I am doing, he took my picture alone and with him, read my statement, and gave me a glass of ginger ale. He invited me back with "I love what you are doing." You never know what unexpected person you will meet.

Today is sunny and nice. The flood waters are receding. On Tuesday, July 24th, The Independent of England said that this is the wettest period on record, wetter than the record set in 1947. The article's analysis attributed it to global warming. (A one day walker told me of her recent voyage up the Norway Coast to the Arctic, led by a geologist who laid out the trends in global warming beginning in 1920. No doubt in my mind.)

Well, one more week til August 6th, the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Peace, Bernie

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Through Thick and Thin

From the Milton Keynes Peace Pagota, the Walk has moved into its last two weeks with growing activities and nature's vigorous participation. I have had almost no opportunity to do internet work for over a week. During that time we have been to Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicester, Lutterworth, Northhamptonshire, and others. People are joining in from each location for a day, half day, week, etc. CND'ers, Quakers, Peace Activists, Buddhists, spontaneous folks, constantly change our parade. Events in the afternoon with mayors and community greeters, evening programs, and logistical jumbling keep us going. A few highlights follow.

Last Sunday we had a vigil on our rest day at Rolls Royce where are types of nuclear cores and armaments are produced. This was followed by a dinner at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Welfare Centre in Derby, an Indian Workers Association seeking to overcome racism, facism, and nuclear armaments. They welcomed Gandhi warmly, even though freedom fighter Singh was hanged in 1931 at the age of 23 for terrorism.

In Leicester the Indian Mayor recognized Gandhi among the walkers and headed for him. Leicester is composed of 50 % Asians, most Indians. The textile industry drew them there.

Richard Johnson, a CND leader, accompanied us on the walk for a day. After reading his "Terrible Twins" paper about organizing for abolish nuclear power and nuclear weapons, I wrote the following:
(With Merton's Gandhi and Non-violence in mind, the One Eyed Giant (the West) heading into Asia, Africa, and American with "dominance and no understanding" in mind)

The Two Eyes seem ever farther apart.
One Eyed giant--the west circles the earth in ever expanding swaths. Defending itself with ancient jungle mentality--grab, kill, consume, kill. Devastation left behind, species extinct, water polluted, ground radiated, air angered with heat. Where will it end? When? How?

The one eye of count, measure, invent, and use, no matter the consequences, is jaundiced by its Smart Bomb powers an voracious appetite.

The lost and ignored eye, seemingly dissociated, is a glowing light before the dawn...the second eye. Wisdom, wisdom, wisdom--come forth. You are in our hearts, in our soul. Enlighten our way. Enliven our courage. Transform the jaundiced eye. END

Then the day heading into Loughborough, July 16th, signs for Trinity Park, Trinity Methodist Church, and other trinities reminded me of Trinity Test on August 16th 1945, when the US tested the first atom bomb. Robert Oppenheimer, head of the Manhattan Project, thought of the Gita words as he observed the test:

"If a thousand suns were to rise
and stand in the noon sky, blazing
such brilliance of that mighty Self."

As the Bomb lite, "I am death, shatter er of worlds,
annihilating all things."

A few years later Oppenheimer went to President Truman in contrition and repentance. Truman told his secretary to keep him out of there.

So, we litter ally go through it all. The weather has given us a day or so of sunshine summer between storms which at times are harsh. On Thursday headlines said "Two months rain in 24 hours." That day the wind, downpours, and chill kept us moving through route confusions, flooding, and soaking shoes and clothing. Some exciting times!

Next weekend, we go to Aldermaston, producer of nuclear bombs, etc. Probably another direct action. I'll try to keep you "posted."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Entering Derbyshire County

Greetings from Fritchney, a small town on the way to Nottingham where we enter tomorrow for a semi-rest day. We are back in the rain after a few days of sunshine weather. Walked ten miles today in the rain, after what I thought were 20 miles yesterday, a beautiful walk from Chesterfield to Fritchney. Although very tired, we were revived by a musician who came special to play for us after hearing our presentation the night before. We presented in both Sheffield and Chesterfield on successive nights. Gandhi spoke truth and love to the adults first night and stories to children the second night. "Humankind cannot bear very much reality." T.S. Elliott Despite our speaking truth, people respond kindly with hospitality and wonderful food.

Duncan Ball, who joined us at Sellafield, is beginning to share his 19 year experiences with this nuclear power base. He narrates the lies and abuses his bosses allowed, etc. Placing a book of documentation on their desks, he ends up in prison for a year...shades of Karen Kirkwood. I am proud to have the opportunity to walk with him daily sharing stories and views. His credentials are his experiences and his openness to truth, overcoming the common fear and denial.

We now have two women from Japan among the walkers. A third Japanese woman from Hiroshima came to our Sheffield presentation. She greeted my American Gandhi presence with tremendous joy and a paper dragon made by her seven year old student.

My Gandhi frustration is that we have little time to speak all we have to say.

Sheffield is the first city to grant asylum to immigrants and political refugees throughout the world as a policy. (I may not have this worded accurately.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Village

"The Truth of Village Square" Einstein quote
Village, Truth of Village Square
Village, the crossroads of the countryside
Village, the place of exchange,
food, clothing, tools, and necessities
ideas, insights, tools, controversy
dance and song
Village, the place of exchange.
In the ideal--Truth and love shared and embraced
Truth to guide the destinies of all
In a nuclear world, truth abandoned...the nation-state finds its power
in The Bomb. The Bomb holds captive in the name of national security.
Nation-state complex...grasping the power in fear of terrorists
Nation-state complex...fear of villagers rejecting the power of the Bomb.
Nation-state complex...tied and bound by national security.
Can't let go. Can't let go.
Gandhi's ever expanding village circles
moved by power of love and responsibility.
Individuals giving themselves for the village.
Villages giving themselves for the greater good.
Truth is the guide, love is the way, taking on all burdens.
Einstein's observation:
Atoms for war, atoms for peace would be solved only in the "truth of the village spuare."
Or else. Or else by the power of nature, nature abused. Or else.
A momentary village: two Australians, one Englishman, One East Cumbrian, One Japenese, one New Zealander, three U.S. citizens,
walking, walking from theheart, walking from the heart,
seeking express truth in village square.
"Truth in Village Square"
from the heart, The American Gandhi

Monday, July 9, 2007

From Barnsby, we are having a needed rest day after a daunting period of coping with the weather, as well as coping with the earth damaging effects of nuclear armaments and nuclear power. Fellow Walker, Dan, discovered a book in the Quaker Meeting House last night that addresses the two inter-related issues in one and concludes with a chapter on non-violence as the only attitude to save humanity and Mother Earth: From Hiroshima to Three Mile Island, by Jim Garrison, 1980. Dan gave it to me with the comment, "It's your kind of book." Indeed, it is so. Garrison quotes Merton's "Gandhi and Non-violence", which has been my constant companion on this trip, among other favorite authors. The introduction is classic Merton with comments about violence being based upon "irreversible" judgements about human interactions and nonviolence upon reversible perspectives. While I am finding it difficult to get into the depths of insight I would like to with both the Walkers and the people along the way, I am heartened with Dan's remarks.

To conclude with our present string of encounters with nuke sites, we visited the Fylingdales Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station, way up north of Leeds. Gifted and committed activists drove us north to England's National Park where we walked in hard rain, mud and wind for a couple miles. When the clouds opened up, we could observe the beauty of this high country where sheep graze and wilds competed. There on the top rise was a massive three-side structure in characteristic grey, puncturing the horizon with defiance. We walked the trails and circled the site, wet and muddied, angered and concerned. The security police met us in vehicles and on foot, in numbers and with a dog. The barbed fences reinforced their message. One of them said to Marcus, our walk co-leader, "I remember you." Marcus was here before, a year or so ago.

The Station is early warning for missiles on the attack. The USSR was the opponent during the Cold War. Both the Russian and the US maintain its missiles on hair trigger alert, despite the end of the Cold War. My sudden realization: "The Cold War is not over." Now, the site will take on the added load of the Missile Defense System being created by the United States with its "allies". This, despite the fact that the System has failed test after test to stop single missiles, let alone gangs of missiles. There have to be other objectives for MDS. The grey sterility of the massive structure and its related facilities stands as symbol and reality of the emptiness of the consumer-industrial world sapping the strength of the earth. Bring back the thoughts of Garrison, Merton, Arndt, Lifton, etc. And Gandhi, nonviolence is stronger than any weapon of violence.

Our route moves on to other areas of England where we will be treated less in terms of bases, and more, I hope, with interactions with real ordinary peoples.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Confrontation at Menwith Hill

From Leeds, an urban center at the Quaker Meeting House, we are moving into the more populated areas of England. The last few days have been most stimulating and insightful. We left Spikton for Otley by an old Roman road that transverses the crest of a "mountain/hill" trough farm pastures. Rain had deposited water filling the wheel tracks, holes, and rivers overflowing. The adventure left our feet soaked and soft. The beauty was awesome. Later in the day we walked along a canal now used for vacation boats converted from hauling barges. Lo and behold a documentary crew on a boat spotted us. They proceeded to film our muddy crew, focusing on the flag holding crew working for nuclear disarmament and the "costumed" American Gandhi. They filmed him beginning with muddy sandals to hairless head. It will be interesting for those viewing to see if they convey the purpose of the January in the Uk and Discovery Channel.

Highlight of the last few days was our trip to Menwith Hill for the demonstration "Independence from America" organized yearly by the Campaign for Accountability for American Bases. We walked the ten miles on July Fourth to be part of the demonstration. Drumming and American flags in distress posture (upside down) greeted our arrival...except for the American flag over the base at its entrance. The base is part of a worldwide intelligence network called Echelon centered in Colorado under a mountain. UK and Australian witnesses say that the bases are also used for economic advantage. Legislative delegations in both countries are unable to learn what is occurring at these bases.

The event was greeted by new rules imposed by the police dressed in their yellow and black uniforms. Citing a 1986 law the demonstration was restricted from the customary walk around the base to a short walk (one mile). We were surrounded the whole way by police on foot and in the presence of horse riding police, motorcycles and paddy wagons. The message was clear, we are going to restrict you.

The climax was the stopping point on the road beyond which we were not allowed to proceed. The two hundred of us needed to turn back or face the consequences. Anni Rainbow was the last to decide. We gathered around her as she struggled to make the decision in her wheel chair, clearly and deeply affected as the police tried to persuade her. The police worked at persuasion, but were ungiving. Anni agreed to return the way she came. I later learned that her son had died in Iraq and that she saw the walk as a way to honor him. The event organizer asked me, "What would we do in the US?" I said, "Sit down in the road." She replied, "The people need to be ready for that." I agreed. This short blog cannot do justice to the drama of the situation.

I did have the opportunity to briefly address the gathering as The American Gandhi, receiving a most warm hug by on organizer at the end.