In July 2013 along with long-time peace activist Graeme Dunstan, I trespassed onto Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area. I stood in front of a column of armoured humvees participating in the Talisman Sabre War Exercises. The military reported that consequently we had halted activities of millions of dollars of people and equipment while they arrested us.
Very few times in my life have I felt as free as when I was breaking a lower law to speak up for the higher law of peace and love of my neighbours.
What if there were 100 peace pilgrims seeking to disrupt our war practice?
Imagine the disruption that can be caused and the attention commanded if 100 people made the pilgrimage onto the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area. Perhaps we could even put a stop to the live firing War Rehearsals. Maybe we could show that there are enough Australians who don’t want us to become a militarised client state of the USA.
It’s time – could it be you in 2015?
Do you feel a call to do something for peace in our country, our region and our world? Do you want to be a voice for all of those who have died needlessly in wars of aggression in the last ten years?
I want to gather 100 people willing to make a pilgrimage to Shoalwater Bay and disrupt the Talisman Sabre military training exercises that will be taking part between US and Australian troops.
It’s time – 2015 will be the year
In 2015 it will be one hundred years since Australia invaded a foreign country that did nothing to us and posed no threat to us.
In 2015 we will be bombarded with the message that it’s only through war that we are at peace.
That through the deaths of our soldiers in the wars of our big brother allies that we are strong and free.
We are now spending $1 billion dollars per Collins Class submarine and nearly $1.4 billion dollars on the botched Joint Strike Fighter program to support these alliances.
Australia is becoming an outpost of the USA in the Pacific, with increased American troop, naval and air power presence in Australia. We have followed the USA into Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq leading to nearly 1000 Australian military deaths. In Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than creating a more just and stable world, we contributed to the deaths of over 1 million people and the creation of over 4 million refugees and internally displaced peoples and spent more than 50 billion Australian Dollars on death and destruction since 2001.
We can do better!
Throughout Australian history there have been other voices. From the frontier wars against Aboriginal people, through the world wars and beyond, there have been voices who have told a different story. That violence breeds violence. That war cannot bring peace. That our brothers and sisters deserve more than to be sent to fight in some unjust war.
Why Talisman Sabre?
Talisman Sabre gathers tens of thousands of Australian and US troops in live fire exercises every two years, mostly focused in Shoalwater Bay in Queensland.
These biennial war practices serve two purposes. They say to our vulnerable neighbours such as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, that we are the strongest in the region. Do as we say. Secondly the exercises train Australian troops for greater interoperability with US forces in wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Talisman Sabre is a public relations dream for those who want to sell the Arms Industry and violence as a solution to Australians. Pictures of American troops and machinery training side by side with the Australian military along with headlines and editorials sell the message that “Talisman Sabre is good for the economy/ Helps us feel safe.”
I believe we can do better.
Your Cost/Benefit Analysis
The most it will cost you will be ten days of your life (this includes to and from Rockhampton), a night in a watch house and $1000 in fines (much less if you have no previous convictions).
With just 100 people committed to peace, we could stop the live fire war rehearsals, overwhelm the media message that war is inevitable, acceptable or even good.
Yes we can make a difference
If you believe as I do that a just and peaceful world is worth working for.
If you believe that as a nation, we can do better than build security through bigger and more expensive weapons and regional bullying.
If you believe we can do better than rattle our sabre at our poor neighbours.
If you believe no-one else should have to die in a needless war,
Then come and commit yourself.
Start to prepare to come to Rockhampton in July/August 2015 and join us in a Peace Pilgrimage.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re ready to take a stand against war and make a stand for peace.
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