Saturday, August 16, 2008

Report on Hiroshima Day Vigil (6th August 2008)

On 6th August Jahwork held a small vigil to remember those whose lives were taken from them by the dropping of the most destructive weapon ever created – the atom bomb. Moved by the discovery of the extent of our own numbness and apathy towards our history of violence we decided as a community that we must remember the horror of the dropping of the first ever nuclear bomb.

Last year we also remembered by holding a vigil outside a small Military Depot in Doveton, located on the Princess Highway. Partly swayed by the fact that our candles were blown out by every passing car in 2007 and partly swayed by our growing awareness of the contributions by Corporations towards violence and murder we decided to shift to hold our vigil out the front of Lockheed Martin (worlds number one weapons manufacturer) office in Dandenong.

We are constantly amazed that the culture and business of war sits on our doorsteps as easily does the local Safeway or Coles. It also goes to show that there is so much we all can do in our communities, in our localities.

We gathered around 7pm with some good friends of Jahwork. Placing our banner strategically over the corporate Lockheed sign, we begun with some sharing of the events of Hiroshima day and some sharing of the ongoing nuclear weapons industry as it is today. Krystal then appropriately sang us a song by Michael Franti – “You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb it into peace”. While Sarah read out a reflection from Jesuit Priest Father John Dear who lives near Los Alamos – the birthplace of the bomb.

After some prayers, we were invited to take some chalk and write our messages, our apologies, our yearnings and our prayers. These chalk prayers stretched all the way around the Lockheed building with some special emphasis on the driveway to which the employees would drive in the following day.

Surprisingly security had remained silent all night, despite the heavy face set by the high fences, barbed wire, razor wire, floodlights, security cameras, and impenetrable gates. Yet, as we gathered to leave the Police arrived in convoy to ensure the peace wasn’t being disturbed (their words!). What a surprise! We were there for the same thing! Unfortunately a witty comment wasn’t produced by our crowd – but we did get to explain why we were there on that cold winters evening. And I thought to myself for perhaps the first time the people of Lockheed Martin in Dandenong felt in-secure.

So from a night set apart to remember, it became a night to remember. As a few of us ordinary people gathered underneath the lights of a deadly corporation – that may have just lit another tiny spark towards a bright future without war.