Ithaca, NY Day of Atonement Events

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Submitted by Mary Anne Grady Flores
video by Heriberto Rodriguez

10-7-21 ITHACA, NY – FAITH COMMUNITIES PROCESSION

A DAY OF ATONEMENT – 20 -YEARS OF WAR ON AFGHANISTAN & SUPPOSED “WAR ON TERROR.” CALLING ON FAITH LEADERS TO END SILENCE ON US DRONES, NUCLEAR WEAPONS, AND WAR.

Members of Ithaca’s Catholic Worker and other people from Ithaca faith communities & welcome the Ithaca community at large as we gather at DeWitt /Sean Greenwood Park to observe October 7, 2021, as a Day of Atonement, for the US – 20-year war against Afghanistan and the so-called “War on Terror,”

Today, we join communities supporting the work of the new organization Ban Killer Drones. ORG, from across the country. Communities are going to different cathedrals and houses of worship, calling on our faith leaders to end their silence about US endless wars and drone strikes. From Des Moines, IA, Greensburg, PA, New Haven, CT, Syracuse, NY, NYC, NY, Long Island, NY, Binghamton, NY, Broom Co., NY., Ithaca, NY, Brattleboro, VT, Portland, OR, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC, and other cities and towns around the country.

We’ll now hear from Holly Gump reading our statement:

Statement Day of Atonement – 20 years of War on Afghanistan 10-7-21

On October 7, 2001, the United States began a 20 year-long war against Afghanistan and initiated the so-called “War on Terror.”

As members of Ithaca faith communities, we are observing October 7, 2021 as a Day of Atonement, a day to repent for the silence of our places of worship concerning the war crimes of our government and military in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the world. More than 1 million people were killed in these wars and 9 million refugees displaced from their homelands. Over 20 years of war the US has spent more than $21 Trillion on militarization, surveillance, and repression.

Emblematic of those war crimes is the August 29th U.S. revenge drone attack in Kabul that killed ten civilians, seven of whom were children.

As U.S. citizens whose tax dollars paid for the MQ-9 Reaper drone that made that attack and paid for the missile it fired, we bear responsibility for this tragedy and seek to prevent its repetition.

The names of the Ahmadi family victims are: Esmarai, (40)

Zeman Ahmadi and his three children, Zameer (20), Faisal (16), Farsad (10). Ahmadi’s cousin Naser, (30). The children of Ahmadi’s brother Romal: Arwin (7), Benyamin (6), and Ayat (2), Malika (3), and Somaya (2).

Today, October 7th, 2021, we gather to call for a REAL end to the 20 years of terror against the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

In our view this means:

-A ban on weaponized drones

-An end to “over the horizon” drone strikes anywhere in the world

-A rejection of the military build-up and threats of war with China, supporting dialog instead.

-A call for our religious leaders to speak out clearly and urgently for peace, including the abolition of nuclear weapons and reduction in the military budget

We urge religious leaders to share these points with their communities of worship and others to share with groups in the Ithaca Community at large.

AT ST. JOHNS EPICOPAL CHURCH: WE CALL ON THE FAITH LEADERS TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST US WARS.

“Silence in the face of Evil is Evil itself: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to Speak is to Speak. Not to Act is to Act.”

3 – Footnotes about the US Military & Wars

A – The US military is the biggest cause of the

Climate Crisis, being the # 1 user carbon in the world, emitting more CO2 than many countries, over decades, causing massive climate disruption, desertification, super storms, sea level rise, and mass extinction of species.

B – This, in-turn, causes massive migration of millions of refugees looking to find shelter, food, jobs, and safety.

C – The US Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq alone caused 9 million refugees and internally displaced people.

“Silence in the face of Evil is Evil itself!”

D – US Drone strikes have killed over 6,000 people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and elsewhere. US Military Generals admit that for every 1 drone victim, 10 more people look at the US as the terrorists. The “Drone Papers” revealed by drone whistle blower, Daniel Hale, shows that 90 % of victims are bystanders, unintended victims, such as the Ahmadi family whose photos we hold here today.

“Silence in the face of Evil is Evil itself.”

AT FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: WE CALL ON THE FAITH LEADERS TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST US WARS.

“Silence in the face of Evil is Evil itself.”

E – US military gave left-over equipment to US city Police Departments, like we saw used on the streets of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, and in Ferguson, to be used on people of color, and at to police at border communities.

Police Departments have many retired military personnel in their ranks repeating tactics used in their training for war, treating US civilians here as enemy combatant.

F – The US military budget uses almost 60 percent of total government expenditures, which steals from the needs of communities, especially from people of color who are left without basic human needs, like jobs, housing, health care.

    • “Silence in the face of Evil is Evil itself.”

G – Veterans and drone pilots have some of the highest suicide rates in the country and some of the worst medical care, being prescribed pills to mask their deep pain and moral injury.

From Eleanor Levine of Code Pink, San Fransisco:

“Over 20 years, the U.S. has spent more than $21 Trillion on militarization, surveillance, and repression — all in the name of security.

These investments have shown us that the U.S. has the capacity and political will to invest in our biggest priorities.

But the COVID-19 pandemic, the January 6 Capitol insurrection, wildfires raging in the West, super storms in the South & on the East Coast, and even the fall of Afghanistan have shown us that these investments cannot buy us safety. The next 20 years present an opportunity to reconsider where we need to re-invest for a better future.”

AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.

Neil Golder reads from Dan Berrigan’s Statement at Catonsville, MD draft board action during the Vietnam War. (Gender has been changed “men” to “people,” and From ‘Christian‘ to ‘People of Faith & Conscience‘.)

The time is past when good People can remain silent, when obedience can segregate people from public risk, when the poor can die without defense.

We ask our fellow people of faith and conscience to consider in their hearts a question which has tortured us, night and day, since the war began. How many must die before our voices are heard, how many must be tortured, dislocated, starved, maddened? How long must the world’s resources be raped in the service of legalized murder? When, at what point, will you say no to this war? We have chosen to say, with the gift of our liberty, if necessary our lives: the violence stops here, the death stops here, the suppression of the truth stops here, this war stops here. We wish also to place in question, by this act, all suppositions about normal times, about longings for an untroubled life in a somnolent church, about a neat time-table of ecclesiastical renewal which in respect to the needs of people, amounts to another form of time serving.

Beth Harris – speaks on the “War on Terror” against Palestinians since 1948, and against Haitians since 1804.

Clare Grady– shares the KBP7 Statement on Nuclear Disarmament from the KingsBayPlowshares7.org website, and about the Catholic Church’s deafening silence concerning nuclear weapons and war.

Thank you all for coming. Please share this message with your communities of faith and conscience.

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