Letter to Young Activists from Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

January 4, 2010

Dear young activist,

I’ve been spending some time thinking about nuclear weapons. I will be honest and say that of all the injustices to fight against, nuclear weapons are not where I find my energy or my passion. In my mind, it seems like there are more imminent threats to human beings and the world.

I do not know the reality of the Cold War. I have no memories of hiding under my desk during bomb drills. The words Mutual Assured Destruction do not stir up fear or memory. In fact, nuclear weapons have seemed to disappear from the public eye almost entirely. Do they really still exist? Is their use possible and imminent? What threat do they really have today?

However, the fact that they have become invisible to my eye is what makes them even more powerful and violent and real today. Their power lies beneath and within all the justice issues that I and we care about. Their existence is deeply interwoven with all forms of domination and oppression.

We cannot stand for environmental justice without in the same breath calling for an end to nuclear weapons! Weapons and war are one of the largest threats to the planet. The pollution and destruction and diseases caused by nuclear weapons are never ending. Depleted Uranium which is a nuclear weapon and is being used in our current wars (so, yes, nuclear weapons are being used today) has a half life of 4.5 billion years! Our use of nuclear weapons is an irreversible decision towards destruction of the earth. If we are to stand up against Global Warming and work to change our global footprint, we could begin by disarming nuclear weapons.

We cannot stand against poverty without in the same breath calling for an end to nuclear weapons! The United States’ Department of Energy has budgeted $6.4 billion dollars for 2010 for nuclear weapons programs.  We can’t afford health insurance for everyone in this country? We can’t find homes and food for people? Or pay people a living wage? Yet, we can throw billions of dollars towards creating machines designed to do nothing but kill innocent human beings.

We cannot stand against war without in the same breath calling for an end to nuclear weapons! As we become a more technologically advanced world, it seems our weapons exponentially become more deadly. We now send unmanned drones over to bomb “the enemy.” It’s as easy as a remote controlled video game. I wish I could say that in the future I wasn’t worried our weapons would become more drastic, but with the recent examples of depleted uranium and white phosphorus, I have no doubt that there is a willingness from our country to use nuclear weapons.

We cannot stand against globalization and US imperialism without in the same breath calling for an end to nuclear weapons! Although, our generation may not know the reality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons are being used on a daily basis and we do see its consequences. The very existence of nuclear weapons is the strongest weapon of the US empire. The threat of their use is what keeps us as the most powerful and oppressive country in the world. If we are against imperialism, capitalism, globalization, corporate domination, empire, then we must know that under the belly of these systems lies the threat of nuclear weapons.

I end by naming the easiest reason of all to stand against nuclear weapons; I am a human being who chooses life. I choose to stand for what brings healing, joy and life to all people and to the world. Therefore, I cannot and will not ever condone the existence of weapons designed and created to mass murder people and the earth.

From one young activist to another, I look forward to our future work together of community and resistance. Our fates are bound up together because our generation has no choice left but to fight for justice in so many ways and on so many fronts. In that work, let us together refuse to let nuclear weapons remain invisible.

In hope,   A young activist
Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, 23, is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, and is now living in Detroit, where she and others are beginning a Catholic Worker house focused on urban farming, resistance and hospitality for teen mothers.

She has also been involved with Witness Against Torture, traveled to Palestine with Michigan Peace Team, and spent some wonderful time at Jonah House. She is on the board of Michigan Coalition of Human Rights.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you, Lydia. Thanks for sharing your vision of the just world with us.

  2. Lydia, a fine article to wake up all and get people energized.

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