Why I took a walk with friends to stop drone attacks

578150_644791045566502_514480216_nFrom Radical Art for These Times

by Flora Rogers

In the last few years, as news of Drones Warfare perpetrated by the United States has reached my ears, my heart has been opened to exactly what it is I can do to take responsibility for mending this pain.

I have been so fortunate to unite with folks who actively work to heal this issue that we as Americans face today. Those people are a core group of members from Veterans for Peace, Grandmothers for Peace, Code Pink, and generally well practiced activist elders. Until recently I was the youngest regular participant at age 40. We vigil monthly at an Air Force Base near my home and we call ourselves Occupy Beale Air Force Base.

November marked the third year that this group has been actively conducting No Drone vigils here. Having the courage to peacefully resist Domination/Tyranny/Oppression is nothing new to the people of this planet and our work is rooted in the previous successful Nonviolent Direct Actions to resist Military Occupation, Slavery, to gain civil rights, and for all citizens to have representation in their government.

These struggles are not yet over. So on November 26, 2013, a very cold early morning, we dressed in white, wore blue scarfs and stepped up to our November vigil.

For me, the beauty of our Actions is in the Transformative Power we offer as we step onto the World stage. Holding the wisdom that there really is no external enemy and there really is no internal one either, just parts of us requiring our conscious loving embrace and integration, I showed up.

There is nothing beyond forgiveness as long as we take responsibility to learn from our experiences, to make apologies and reparations where needed. (I have found on an individual level there is often nothing to forgive in the first place.) I imagine most individuals already know this so why doesn’t our government act accordingly?

And so who am I to stand up to the Machine of the American Corporate Empire and the Military Industrial Complex? Well, I’m just a woman who loves. Most of the people I spend time with call me an Angel, or a Godsend, or sweet heart. I spend much of my time cleaning, cooking, gardening, and care-giving as I feel called. You know, increment by increment, moment to moment doing my best to lovingly pay attention to the details and taking care to do no or as little harm as possible.

I have been evolving to stand up and step forward for Peace my whole life.

My recent active involvements with OBAFB and work with RAFTT has been most supportive. I have listened to a congressional hearing given by family members of a Grandmother Midwife who was killed by drone strike. Also, I have heard that the number of civilian drone victims is well over a thousand and includes at least 200 children (probably more) as far as I can tell. I have heard it all, signature strikes, double tapping, targeting weddings and funerals, the high rate of PTSD among drone pilots…

Recently Amnesty International has acknowledged that this behavior might even constitute war crimes.

In the December Fair.org Extra, an article titled “Drones, the Media and Malala’s Message” Malala Yousafzai shares her insistence that “…drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus our efforts on education, it will make a big impact.”

I am now reading I am Malala and I encourage every American citizen to read it too, because our media refuses to acknowledge the truth and our government refuses to take responsibility.

I see that all our grievances are connected and that US drone policy sets a dangerous precedent which threatens any vision of a livable future.

Recently, I read something from “Voices for Creative Nonviolence” that touched me deeply. At the end, a statement from Sung Hee, a Jeju Activist, signaled me to go ahead and make myself ready.

It said, “Your voices and stories of hope and peace are so important. …share your ‘face’ with the world. The world needs to see your ‘face’.” And so I prepared myself mentally and emotionally and then I stepped forward with Joy.

There are only a small fraction of people so caught up in the systemic lies that they would possibly give themselves a heart attack at the sight of our blockades or our willingness to be detained for global integrity. As we stand up and step forward to meet all the various local state and federal personnel we are building a rapport and engaging in dialogue.

For example the beautiful young woman who frisked me last Tuesday carries the exact same chap stick in her pocket as I do. Might seem small and insignificant yet it is still common ground, no?

Many base personnel talk of the precarious financial system that keeps them beholden to military service and the additional strain of the military’s unsustainable financial status.

581550_10200942774362881_855234785_nWhile being processed and sited for Federal Trespassing at the Base I sat waiting with another activist calmly discussing US military action with a man who simply expressed nostalgia for a time when the American Military forces were viewed romantically as a benevolent force in the world.
This could also be common ground, as one of our instructional banners makes the positive statement, “May All of Your Missions be Humanitarian”.

Militarism is a protection racket. It takes tax dollars from the poorest hard working folks and serves only the interest of the Corporate Elite who avoid paying taxes and have hijacked our political system. It also only serves Weapons Manufacturers, Arms Dealers, the Military Industrial Complex itself often excluding the welfare of military personnel and Veterans.

This I know because I have been observing and I love humanity and the planet as a whole.

While in the guard house I saw an Air Force sign that said “integrity”. This means wholeness, not just as a country, not just a tight knit family of Air Force personnel, but a whole planet.

1458487_10200942701841068_1637422882_nSo what is your motivation? What will it take for you to break through all illusions and see with loving eyes the truth, that we are all one?

For me it took a life time of learning from those willing to be bravely honest and act courageously. Our greatest strength is in our vulnerability and this is what we demonstrated with our Action last week. It costs less to make friends and way too much to make enemies.

There is a banquet table to be set to serve every person on this planet. Only when we turn all our swords into plowshares can we actualize Heaven on Earth.