Editor’s Note: Anabel and David Dwyer sent this in honor of Jackie’s life, and it was included as an insert in the memorial bulletin on Saturday, August 13th.
So many years of faithful, courageous, kind, steadfast and joyful work to rid ourselves of hideous, grotesque nuclear weapons. Can we now take up your skillful lead to stop this idiocy?
Who can together affect the urgency for nuclear disarmament that we failed to pull off to save your exemplary life?
What of Jackie’s example of taking proper and measured responsibility for stopping the nuclear terror? What kind of society would even arrest, let alone punish any of the Y-12 13 or the Disarm Now Plowshares or Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares? Perversely painting such people as terrorists, saboteurs even trespassers is a blind, horribly jaded eye of a demented nuclear system. Even today the 66th anniversary of Nagasaki we sell nuclear weapons as “safe and secure” by being “reliable” for mass annihilation.
Jackie was not alone in intelligent, thorough, painful research, in hearing, yes really hearing Hibakusha, down-winders, atomic veterans, uranium miners, looking at the effects not only of actual use but also “experiments” and profit-taking for our elimination, systemic contamination, and inhuman stupidity. Yes starving children anywhere or in Sudan do have a connection with unacceptable misuse of resources. Sue Ablao and all the Ground Zero people and Plowshares People and Dominicans and many others understand too.
And once Jackie looked she could not, not act and not only based on the obvious immorality of the Trident or the Minuteman III or the refurbishment of the W-76 or nuclear armed B-52s flying over the Great Lakes. With kindness toward us all who are shackled by these horrors Jackie engaged many of many stripes and professions saying, “It is actually unethical and criminal not to insist on and demonstrate non violent nuclear disarmament processes in places where the extreme danger is perpetuated.”
In a little book that Judge Weeramantry, the former Vice President of the International Court of Justice wrote, “Why the Nuclear Danger Grows from Day to Day” are summarized essential nuclear disarmament facts and law. On the side of the fence “unauthorized” by the nuclear weapons manufacturers, DOE and Babcock and Wilcox, the Y-12 13 including Jackie committed the “crime” of citing and paraphrasing J. Weeramantry in the Declaration of Nuclear Independence July 5, 2010; “Under principles of democracy we exercise the right of every citizen of this republic and this planet to peacefully resist the nuclear threat, attacking as it does every core concept of human rights.”
We weep with these awful results of Jackie’s straightforward courage and sense. And too amid tears, we smile as we long have with Jackie’s savvy, open daring as she donned her Detroit Baseball cap or hazmat suit with the light bloodedness of a lover of music in pursuit of nonviolent disarmament one bloody weapon at a time.
Jackie and her cohorts make disarmament organizing an art, a dance of generous hearts. We are drawn to her because she softened our edges without losing the sharpness of her wit and focused action.
And she thanked us for affirming the obvious moral conclusions with obvious and consistent analysis of the law even as the courts and prosecutors flippantly persecute and she endured long bouts of asthma in moldy jail and suffered enormous untreated pain in a private prison in Georgia before sentencing? Jackie saw the ironies but dying for them is not a laughing matter.
About the Arab spring President Obama said (5/19/11), “You can’t have a real dialogue if parts of the real opposition are in jail.” Yet we seem unable 66 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki to even acknowledge let alone correct the most egregious mistakes of our times or to recognize that the real nonviolent direct opposition to nuclear weapons should be part of a real dialogue, not in jail in this country or anywhere else.
What was/is Jackie about? Surely we are not merely an older and smaller group that pushes the ways and necessity of complete nuclear disarmament from below from the grass roots at each nuclear site while ignorance, denial, delusion and institutional inertia slither along to oblivion.
So for us as activists and lawyers who work for nuclear disarmament let us heed. Heed the urgency. Heed the details. It is not acceptable that Jackie’s illness should have been exacerbated in jails and prisons and gone undiagnosed so that she could not survive.
Blatantly unfair trials such as that of the Y-12 13 and the Disarm Now Plowshares are not acceptable and none of these people should be in prison let alone punished before trial or sentencing. Similarly it is not acceptable that radioactive and chemical contamination at Oak Ridge and Kitsap-Bangor and the ever present danger of nuclear weapons at any phase of preparation should be exacerbated by refurbishment of the W-76 nuclear warheads at Y-12 for Trident submarines.
Here as anywhere, when it upholds and supports plans for mass murder a la Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist, “The law is a ass—a idiot… and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience.” And the law is also cruel when it punishes citizens through contorted upside down trials. How can we still punish people for peaceably pointing out that as a matter of elementary customary and common humanity and as incorporated directly through statutes, the Constitution and formal treaties and agreements, it is necessary that we adhere to the basic rules of humanitarian law and get on with nuclear disarmament?
Jackie faced the ugliness of the perverse reaction to reality with beauty and love. Even as she was very sick she wanted us to concentrate on systematically completing nuclear disarmament.
In Jackie’s honor and with our own common decency, let us get ourselves together and effectively and massively support campaigns for good-faith nuclear disarmament keyed for success by groups such as Ground Zero and OREPA who have knowledge of and experience at specific nuclear sites. When closure and clean up of these sites is well on its way, governments need only formalize the process through treaties completing nuclear disarmament.
We love you and thank you all,
Anabel and David Dwyer
August 9, 2011